"I'm trying to connect with a new friend, but when we meet she brings along someone else.
I joined a new group last year related to my business. We exchange ideas and network, and I like the people I've met so far. It's been a good way to meet new people, and I'd like to be friends with a few of them. One person in particular seems to feel the same way. At least, I think she does. She's always very friendly with me, and we've talked about us getting together for coffee outside the group. We've met up on three different occasions over the last year, but every single time she brings someone else along. Should I read into this? Does she really not want to get to know me individually? What's going on?"
Depending on the person, it could mean a lot of things.
Introversion, Shyness, and a Business-Only Mindset Could All Be to Blame
Perhaps this person is very shy or somewhat introverted, and feels that another person can help carry the conversation involved in getting to know new friends. After all, when you're first getting to know someone, it's more work than if you just hang out with your old pals. In order to truly make a new friend, you need ask a lot of questions and navigate some degree of small talk in order to find out what you have in common.
Perhaps she brings along someone else because she is afraid she won't be able to keep the conversation going. If this is the case, it will take time to get to know her on a personal level, but keep trying anyways. Continue asking her for coffee occasionally without overwhelming her, and eventually she may just show up by herself so you can connect on a more personal level.
Networking Mode Only
Another possibility is that since you met your friend at a business networking event, she assumes that you want to continue talking about business only. Therefore, she brings along someone else to better throw out ideas and add to the conversation. When it comes to networking, more people is always better than less.
If this is the reason behind her bringing along a friend, it will take you a while before she begins to see you as a social acquaintance rather than a work friend. To speed up this process a bit, try turning the conversation to personal topics more frequently. When she does share details of her life, listen closely and ask more about herself. Relate any stories to her experience, and try to find personal details that you both share. When she realizes you both have a lot in common, she'll want to spend more time with you one-on-one.
The More Friends the Better
Still another reason for her bringing along someone else could be that she just feels as if more people equals more fun. Perhaps she is so extroverted that one-on-one time seems boring to her. She likes you, and therefore wants you to meet her friends.
This might not have been what you had in mind when you made a point to connect with her, but if this is the case you can be assured that she enjoys your company and wants you to be part of her social circle. You might rarely, if ever, get to spend alone time with her, but perhaps you'll connect on a different level, which you'll come to appreciate. Or, you might meet one of her friends in the process who also wants more of a best friend relationship and is willing to meet you for coffee and get to know you.
Not Interested in Being Friends
Another possibility is that she already has a lot of good friends in her life, and as a result isn't interested in a personal relationship with you. She might not even be consciously trying to put you off, but is naturally trying to connect you with others because she knows that is what you are looking for.
If this is the case, don't take it personally, because, as you said, she is friendly with you and is willing to meet you (albeit with another person along.) Continue meeting her occasionally, and if at some point the future she desires a closer friendship with you, she might seek you out.
Why Does She Bring Another Friend Along?
In order to determine which of these scenarios applies to your friend, you need to give it some time. You'll be able to tell once you learn more about her life and the way she interacts with you which one of these situations most closely sums up the reason behind her need to bring someone along to your coffee dates and get-togethers. In the meantime, enjoy her company and continue to network with her and others in your group.