Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)

Making Friends As a Grown Woman


I came across I Never Grew Up (written by a fellow Utahn) through another blog that I read fairly regularly.

For the past week or so, I Never Grew Up, has had guest posts from various female bloggers on a topic that I’ve thought about quite a bit as of late: how to make friends as a grown woman.

The concept seems fairly straightforward until you really start to think about it. Gone are the days of meeting a fellow kid on the playground and being best buds by lunch time. Gone are the days of bonding over sleepovers and late night talks about cute boys.

Although, adult females have their own version of these ubiquitous childhood events. I still have sleepovers occasionally with a few of my friends and even now that a lot of us are married, we still talk about men we think are especially yummy!

I suppose that the reason why this series of (very well-written) posts got to me so much is that I now find myself 6,000 miles from home. An ocean away from my closest confidants and hang-out pals.

Truth be told, I find myself pretty much friend-less these days.

Yes, I have my awesome group of friends back home. Friends whom I have known for years and count amongst my favorite people on the planet. Friends who were nothing but supportive of my decision to pack up my life and move overseas.

Unfortunately, they aren’t here. I can’t simply pick up the phone and organize a movie date, plans to meet for coffee, or quick (who am I kidding? Hours long marathon is more like it!) trip to Target to check out the new merch.

Which brings me to my current sad-sap state. Two weeks into life as an expat and I am desperate for female company. I love my husband and our quirky, fun-loving relationship, but there are just some things a girl needs another girl for!

Trying to make friends as an adult is not something I am extremely used to nor comfortable with.

You see, I am a bit of a wallflower/homebody. I have never been one for going out clubbing or to parties thrown by people I have never met. It’s just not my thing. I have a small group of friends that I have known for years and, given the choice, I would rather go to a movie or have a nice dinner with them than get my inebriated dance on.

My friends, because they know me so well now, would argue this but I have to also point out that I can be pretty shy. I take some time to warm up, but once I do… Bow howdy, watch out!

I’m a simple girl with simple tastes. In fact, some of my best memories include sitting around at a friend’s house knitting and going for late night drives to Hobbitville and Emo’s Grave (you SLC peeps will know what I am talking about). Nothing big. Nothing fancy. Just small moments that will stick with me forever.

I cherish these relationships with girls I met as long ago as Kindergarten to as recently as college and summers working in Alaska.

However, I’m at a {very} different point in my life now and I know that if I want to make new friends, I need to put some effort into it.

I have some unique obstacles: language barrier, cultural differences, travel distance, etc.

But, if I am going to maintain even a little bit of my sanity, I need to focus on having a life outside my husband and our home. I need to cultivate new relationships. This is an especially important endeavor to undertake before I have children. I think that once many woman become mothers, their entire lives become wrapped up in that identity. I know that being a mother is the most important and rewarding job a woman can have, but I also believe that having a life outside of that role is essential.

So, that brings me to today. I guess what I am attempting with this post is to throw my net out into the friend-ocean and see what I reel in. I won’t ever meet anyone just sitting in my apartment. One of the reasons I started this blog was to meet new people and I think I have certainly accomplished that. Now I just need to move beyond the world of the web and meet people in person (like I did recently with Lauren and Martin).

If you’re like me and looking to meet new people, let me know! It takes some courage to put oneself out there, but I think the rewards can far outweigh the risks.


18 thoughts on “Making Friends As a Grown Woman

  1. Pingback: 2012: A Year in Review « Girl Meets Bulgaria

  2. It’s so interesting how many of your posts are so timely and applicable to my own experience! I just moved to San Francisco, and I’ve only been here a week but already am hungry for some friends. And I don’t have nearly the language and cultural barriers in place! Sometimes it’s hard to just put yourself out there. 😦 I understand!

  3. Have you found your local dance class? Usually there is one in the schools where they teach хоро, you normally will meet a lot of women there.

  4. whit….
    k that’s it. I am moving to Bulgaria (I wish). Anyway keep in mind you are one of the bravest most adventurous gals I know. I have faith that you are going to meet tons of people and come to make Bulgaria your home! Miss you! Tell Vince we love him too!
    Aunt Sherie

  5. I also wish you luck in your endeavor. It isn’t easy in any country or even if you just move to a new city. You are so right about having to put yourself out there. I have met some awesome people here in Brazil, but sadly they have been tourists! I would say start with something simple. My plan: hit the local coffee shop with my son regularly during the week and see who’s there. The coffee shop lady is warming up to me even though we can’t really speak together that well. Then I walk with my son on the beach and smile at other mothers. It seems to start a conversation even if we can’t talk about much. When my son gets older I plan to use the playground. Maybe we both will find good friends. Thank you for sharing and for referencing other great writers on this topic!

  6. It is hard making new friends, especially in a foreign land. When I went to Norway most of my friends were non-Norwegians – people from various countries who were on the language learning course. I found a friend by joining a society at the university, but of course you don’t have such an option. You could try finding out if there are any groups which have shared interests – a knitting group? The language can be a problem of course, even if you are learning well, they can speak very fast and if you use English you need to be a good guesser if their accent is bad and they know few words 🙂 But it is fun getting to know very different people. When I moved to a new part of England I found new friends through church. Good luck in your hunt for real life friends and never forget you have lots of new friends on the web 😀

  7. I just want to say that I really love you blog. I recently relocated from Australia to Canada and luckily I don’t have to deal with too many cultural barriers, but your comment about missing your girlfriends in a different country really struck a chord with me, because lets face it, they are irreplaceable! I’m sure there are many beautiful friendships to be made which makes life in another country all the more exciting 🙂

  8. Oh Whitney, my love, it’s no wonder we’ve been friends for years! You pretty much described my social life in regards to dinner and movie with friends rather than clubbing. I would describe myself as a killjoy in pajamas. Love you friend!

  9. It is hard isn’t it? I had the same feeling in NZ for some time and I was fluent in the language. It took time and yes it took a lot of stepping out of my comfort zone and opening up to strangers. But it worked then and it worked when I got back after 11 years, though that was easier as in part I was picking up old friendships. Still as I moved to a different part of the country it was still strange.
    I am sure it will happen for you as well. You are surrounded by people that love you and that will make a huge difference. 🙂

  10. I’d come be your friend if I were in Bulgaria. But I don’t know if that counts. 🙂

  11. Hey Whit, what not love about your blog post 🙂 from today.I am married too and of course I love spending time with my husband,but like you mentioned there are certain moments when we need a girl’s support and company :).Speaking for our small family(me and my husband), I am the extrovert and the friends seeker :).I am definitely looking forward meeting new people and would like to have you on the list for 2012 :).I would LOVE to see you during your next visit to Sofia,really!

  12. Any Bulgarian chickie would be lucky to have you as a friend Whit! Spring is just around the corner. Then you can venture out more and explore the nooks and crannies of Smolyan, which looks beautiful btw!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s