If you have difficulty making platonic female friends, understanding how women interact with each other can help you figure out why and what you can do differently. Whether you are trying to make friends with women in college, at work, or even online, this article can help. You will learn steps and strategies to make more female friends, as well as ways to deepen and maintain your friendships with other women.
It can be difficult to make friends as an adult, but most other people have this problem, with 3 in 5 adults in the US reporting feeling lonely and wanting more meaningful connections. This means it is highly likely that you will find other women who are eager to become friends with you. Often, getting out, talking to people, and taking the first step to getting to know someone is the hardest part.
1. Look within your existing social circles
Friendships tend to develop more naturally with people you see a lot, so it’s a good idea to start looking for female friends within your current network. For example, if you are in your 20’s, you might be able to find female friends in college classes or people you see at the gym. If you’re in your 30’s, you might be more likely to find friends at your job or in your child’s PTA group.
2. Expand your circle online
It could be that your circle needs some expanding, in which case it’s a good idea to look for ways to be more active and social within your community. You could begin by joining groups on Facebook, looking for local activities and meetups, or even downloading an online app to meet friends. The more you put yourself out there (online and in real-life activities), the more opportunities you have to meet people and make friends.
3. Show that you are friendly
When you meet someone you have things in common with, try sending them clear signals that you are interested in getting to know them. Since female friendships are all about emotional support and validation, sending clear signals is one of the best ways to start a friendship with another woman.
Here are some ways to signal to other women that you want to be friends:
- Smile and greet them warmly when you see them
- Show interest in things they say
- Ask questions geared towards getting to know them
- Single them out for 1:1 conversations and small talk
- Say, “it was great talking to you” when ending the conversation
4. Avoid rivalries
Jealousy can undermine friendships among women and even lead to behaviors that undermine the relationship. Women who struggle with insecurities may struggle more with this issue, but many women can sometimes see other women as rivals instead of friends.
Avoid rivalry traps by following these steps:
- Don’t compare yourself to other women
- Don’t focus on appearances
- Avoid the urge to one-up female friends
- Celebrate the successes of your female friends
- Look for things you have in common with women instead of differences
5. Take the initiative
Many people don’t know how to approach someone they want to be friends with or how to ask them to hang out. Not everyone you approach will end up becoming your friends, but the more first moves you make, the more likely it is that some of these friendships will develop.
Here are some non-awkward ways to ask people to hang out:
- Casually suggest getting coffee or lunch sometime
- Tell them your plans and let them know they are welcome to join
- Ask them about their schedule or plans for the weekend
6. Dare to be open and vulnerable
You don’t need to overshare or tell someone you just met your deepest secrets, but being open and vulnerable is the key to making friends with women. Talking openly, sharing feelings, and deepening your conversations help generate closeness and trust. Start small by admitting when you’re having a bad day or when things aren’t going perfectly for you, and work towards bigger disclosures when the friendship deepens.
7. Offer emotional support to friends
Because women tend to have more emotional needs in their friendships with each other, it’s also important to make sure you are there for others when they need you. Providing encouragement, comfort, help, or even just a listening ear for a friend in need is a great way to deepen your friendship. This helps to prove you are a loyal and trustworthy friend while also helping to strengthen your bond with someone.
8. Make time to talk
Staying in touch with someone is also important to maintaining a friendship, even after it’s been developed. Spending quality time together helps to cement a bond with a friend, but even just making time to text and call them helps. In fact, studies show that men tend to bond over activities while women bond more over conversations. Make a point to text, call, or Facetime your friends at least once a week, even if it’s just to say hi or check in.
9. Show interest in their loved ones
Studies show that in conversations with friends, women are more likely to mention their friends, family, partners, and kids than men are. By showing an interest in the people your friend cares about, you create opportunities to bond with them on a deeper level.
Work to show interest in their loved ones by:
- Remembering the names and ages of their children
- Asking about their partner, family, or kids when you talk
- Remembering significant family events they have planned
- Showing interest in getting to know their family and other friends
- Suggesting getting together with your partners and/or children
10. Become a skilled listener
If a friend calls you to vent about an issue or bad day, don’t jump straight into giving advice. It’s OK to give advice when they ask for it or when you ask if it’s OK to do, but it’s important to know this might not be what they need from you. Saying, “that sucks, I’m sorry” or, “ugh, that sounds stressful” is often the key to providing them with the validation they want from you.
11. Dare to show who you really are
When people are afraid of rejection, they tend to send parts of themselves into hiding, but this tends to make it harder to form deep, meaningful friendships. Resist the urge to pretend, hide your flaws, or be perfect, and instead let your true self show when you’re with others. You might like this article with more tips on being authentic.
12. Tell friends that you care about them
Often, people assume that other people know how you feel about them, but they may not. It’s important to tell your loved ones you care about them, as well as showing them.
While this might not come naturally to you, there are many simple ways to do so, including:
- Saying, “it means a lot to me that you called”
- Thanking a friend for their time or help.
- Saying you are lucky or grateful to have them as a friend
- Telling them they mean a lot to you
You might like to get some inspiration from these thank you messages for friends.
13. Show that you care about your friends
Good friends can be hard to come by, so another way to make a strong connection with women you want to be closer to is to be a stand-out friend. You stand out when you demonstrate you are kind, loyal, trustworthy, and that you care. These are the qualities that women are often looking for in their friends.
Find small ways to brighten the day of a friend, like:
- Sending a text to say good luck before an important meeting
- Sending a card, small gift or flowers on their birthday
- Boost their self-esteem by giving them a shoutout on social media
- Call to check in when you know they’re going through a hard time
14. Make regular contact with friends
According to the research, a newly married woman or a new mom will often ‘shrink’ her friend group and cut back on her social life. While life transitions can make it hard to stay in touch with friends, this can result in losing friendships you worked hard to build. Make a point not to cut yourself off when you are going through a life transition (e.g., a new relationship, having a kid, starting a new job, etc.). That way, you won’t have to start from scratch to rebuild your friend group anytime your life changes.
15. Work on problems in your friendships
In any close, long-term relationship, there are bound to be some hiccups, misunderstandings, and challenges. These small issues don’t have to spell the end of a friendship. In fact, reaching out and trying to work through things can even result in a stronger bond with your friend.
Here are some ways to work through some of the common issues with friends:
- Reach out if it’s been a while just to check in and see how they are
- Apologize if you’ve made a mistake or not been in touch
- State your interest in seeing them or talking to them
- Ask them if there’s anything bothering them if something seems “off”
- Let them know you’re there for them if they want to talk
- Clarify if you feel misunderstood about something you said or did
Final thoughts on making female friends
It can be hard to make friends, especially as an adult. While it may require you to leave your comfort zone, it is possible to form close, meaningful relationships with other women. Often, the biggest hurdles are internal and involve getting over your own insecurities and anxiety. The chances are that once you venture out, you will meet plenty of other like-minded women, and some may become your closest friends.