Whether you call it a tribe, squad, crew, clique or posse, building a variety of relationships with like-minded people is one of the most important and fulfilling aspects of life. The world can be quite cruel to black women especially, so it’s fundamental that we surround ourselves with empathetic people who offer total support and acceptance. As we get older, however, it becomes more difficult to create the strong, lasting friendships that are so easily made in elementary school, middle school and high school.
If your social life leaves something to be desired and you’re still looking for your group of ride-or-die besties, you can rest assured that the formula to finding friends is quite simple, although unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy as interacting on social media or liking Facebook posts. True friendship requires a lot of time spent bonding and doing activities that you both enjoy. According to a study by Jeffrey Hall, an associate professor of Communications at the University of Kansas, "it takes roughly 50 hours of time together to move from mere acquaintance to casual friend, 90 hours to go from that stage to simple 'friend' status and more than 200 hours before you can consider someone your close friend."
Whether you’ve recently moved to a new city, or you’re simply looking to expand your social circle, here are a few tips to help you meet new people and find new besties:
1. Download An App For Making Friends
There’s an app for everything these days, including making friends! If you’re like me and you’ve recently moved, apps like Hey! Vina and Bumble BFF allow you to get connected with the other ladies in your city. To get started, simply set up a profile with a few pictures of yourself and a short bio to describe who you are and show off your stellar personality and swipe right on some other ladies you think might be potential besties. If you hit it off particularly well with someone, don’t be afraid to ask them to meet up for coffee and get to know them in person.
2. Sign Up For A New Class
According to the aforementioned study, it takes 40-60 hours to form a “casual friendship”, 80-100 hours to become friends, and up to 200 hours to become close friends. This means if you want to make some good, lifelong friends, you’re going to have to see them on a very regular basis. While you’re in the early stages of a friendship, spending time with them once a month simply isn’t going to cut it. That means that taking a class or joining a group that meets regularly will give you a better chance of making strong friendships. If you’re in college, consider joining a student organization or starting a club. Likewise, if you’re religious or spiritual, joining a religious club or meditation group can be a great opportunity to expand your squad and spend time with people who are on the same spiritual journey as you.
Meetup.com is another social networking app that allows you to join or host events to meet people with similar interests in your city. Most of the time, you can join a group for free and RSVP for a group event ahead of time, although there may be a small fee to join some clubs. The best part about Meetup is you can join a group that is centered around a hobby you’re interested in, which automatically places you in an environment with people who you have something in common with. If you’re looking for more black, female besties, consider joining one of the many groups for black professionals or black millennials, or even signing up for a natural hair group or a book club for women-of-color. And if there are none in your city, start a group! Remember, making friends is a difficult process, so even if you don’t hit it off with anyone at the first meeting, keep trying.
3. Be Approachable
You can join all the clubs you want, but if you’re not an approachable person, you’re still going to have a tough time making friends. I will be the first to admit that I suffer from Resting Bitch Face Syndrome (RBF), and I often have to remind myself to smile and make eye contact with the people around me! You may be the friendliest person in the world, but if you’ve got a frown or grimace on your face, people will be less likely to start up a conversation with you. Your facial expression is the first impression you give people about your character, so try your best to appear welcoming and pleasant.
4. Never Say “No” To An Invitation
Even the wildest extrovert still needs time alone every now and then. That being said, staying in all the time watching re-runs of your favourite television shows is not going help you find your crew of lifelong buddies. You need to make an active effort to place yourself in situations where you can meet like-minded, potential besties, which means you’re going to have to accept a lot of invitations. Don’t wait to be invited to events, initiate friendships and invite your coworkers to the movies or to grab some coffee downtown.
"You can’t make people spend time with you, but you can invite them," says Hall. "Make it a priority to spend time with potential friends. If you are interested in a friendship, switch up the context. If you work together, go to lunch or out for a drink. These things signal to people that you are interested in being friends with them."
And don’t forget to follow up after you’ve spent time with people! According to John Boese, founder of GoFindFriends.com, consistency is an important factor in turning an acquaintance into a friend. He states, “Don’t let more than two weeks go by without seeing them. If you spend time with someone and then don’t talk to them for a month, it’s going to be tough to keep them in the friend zone.”
"Grace is a freelance writer and blogger from Canada. Her work has been featured on HerCampus, 21Ninety, Read Unwritten. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where she is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law."