“I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends” A Q&A with Shasta Nelson Founder of GirlfriendCircles.com
INTRODUCTION: We all have heard of on-line dating but who knew you could shop for friends on-line! It sounds cold and awful when I say it like this, but Shasta Nelson’s book and website are far from cold and detached. Put simply her book is all about making friends and keeping friends. The book “Friendships Don’t Just Happen” has received national attention by all the women’s magazines and just recently Shasta appeared on the “Katie Couric” show! I love the circle idea but must admit I find it difficult to navigate the circles and this where Shasta’s book is so useful. Her book is chock full of good advice on how to create and nurture lifelong supportive friendships which too many of us have not been taught or shown. I dedicate this post with love to my dear friends Shelly and Debs who have taught me the true meaning of “through thick and thin” constancy in friendship.
Welcome: Thank you Shasta for stopping by World Wise Beauty and for making friendship your mission! You are truly a World Wise Beauty Icon and I am thrilled to give the title! You join a few other outstanding women who like you, have made it their mission to encourage women to value and honor their inner lives.
Lauroly Q- I can personally say, as you age and life circumstances change, so do your friendships. When I was young in my mid-twenties, I was in a committed relationship and then married when most of my friends were single and hunting! I felt a little out of sync. Then as time would have it, I got divorced when everyone was getting married and having kids! To be honest I was kind of out of sync a good portion of my life. Let’s not leave out that most of my career I was traveling and I missed out on a lot of social rituals which would have nurtured my friendships. I am your perfect case for almost every friendship challenge! How important is “lifestyle” when it comes to making friends? I ask because as you have learned I just seem to be out of sync! Maybe others feel the same?
Lauroly Q- Your personal story is so interesting and I can’t tell you how much I related to your story about peering into a window watching a group of women laughing together and wishing you could just walk in and join them. You compared it to like being a puppy in a pound peering through the glass. You touched my heart with that story because it was so honest and you really showed vulnerability. Tell us more how you evolved from that lonely day and how you became our “friendship” expert.
Lauroly Q- In your book you touch on an important necessity about friendship which doesn’t get discussed enough in our society. You share that experts assert supportive relationships improve our odds of survival by fifty percent. You cited a landmark study of 3000 nurses with breast cancer where they found that women without close friends were four times more likely to die from the disease than women with at least 10 close friends. If that doesn’t speak volumes on how mind, body spirit is interconnected I don’t know what would! So I think your billboard idea mentioned in your book “make a friend, save a life” is timely and sorely needed in our culture today. But back to the title of your book “Friendships Don’t Just Happen”, what are the three major steps we can take to improve our current friendships and develop new ones?
First, do your friendship evaluation using the 5 Circles of Connectedness– it’s like a check-up so you can see what types of friends you most need to cultivate right now. For some of us we’ll need to meet new people, whereas for some of us we may just need to deepen some of the relationships we’ve already started. Based on which Circle someone needs, the 3 first steps might be different.
My second suggestion though would be, once you see which Circles you want to intentionally foster, one of the best ways to do that is by adding consistent time together. That regular time spent together was what made our school friendships feel so automatic. Now as adults we need to figure out the best way to see each other often enough that we can eventually go beyond “updating” each other into what I call “sharing.”
And third, if there is someone we need to forgive, then this is the time to do it. Our lack of peace with how we’ve been disappointed by other friends will bleed into our current experience. We want to show up now not just ready to create meaningful friendships but also grateful for those we have had and at peace with those that have ended.
Lauroly Closing- Thanks so much Shasta for sharing your work and creating an important conversation in wellness culture too. May your circles widen and deepen as you continue your journey in life…
I could talk to Shasta all day about her wise and enlightening work but I highly recommend you read her book “Friendships Don’t Just Happen”and also join her community called GirlfriendCircles.com. If ever there was a gift to give to yourself, these are two that should be at the top of your list. So don’t buy the designer bag and treat yourself to a good book and a friendship service that will lead you to a life full of love and nourishment. Objects will never bring personal fulfillment but loving friendships will. Just ask yourself—how is it that the cultures with the longest life expectancy generally are living in modest to low-income communities? Their secret is having supportive friendships and community. The research is there but we don’t need research to tell us what the Beatles already said “all you need is love and we get by with a little help from our friends”.