How to Make Friends Post School

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So a Cosmo girl can’t be a gal about town if she has no pals to strut with. No matter your age or location, friends are key to a fulfilling life. However, unless you’ve kept your same crew from school, once you graduate it can be hard to make new friends. I had gals I was so close with in school but once we graduated we slowly went our separate ways. Some of this was due to moving, some due to a shared experience being the real bond holding us together.

So what is a girl to do when she’s ready to make her social mark on the world but does not want to do it alone? Here are some areas I’ve found that did me wonders in my search for friends as a big girl:

  • Make friends at work- This is an obvious and easy one. I’ve been blessed that in most of my jobs I’ve been able to make at least one friendship that holds past my time working with the person. Sometimes these friendships are with older people who become mentors or are simply with women (or men) my age who I can socialize with off hours.
  • Online- Just like dating sites some sites are great for making friends. I had one friend find her bestie on craigslist, that’s a one in a million. But there are other sites that are great like Meetup.com where you can find people in your area through shared interests or backgrounds. Forums are also another way to make friends. I know people who made friends through talking about a topic like sports or a tv show often via a certain forum (like yahoo) or a facebook group.
  • Volunteer- I’ve also had success at making friends this way. Do an interactive activity where you can easily talk to others who also have the same spirit of giving. Habitat for Humanity or cooking and feeding the homeless for example.
  • Networking groups- I’ve also made friends when going to certain functions that are work (or hobby) related. For instance, I did the 48 hour film project as a writer and actress and made friends with another writer on the same project.
  • Friends of friends- This is another very easy way to make friends. Look to the friends of the friends you already have. When your friend has a function, don’t just stay under her go mingle with her guests. Now I’m not condoning the stealing of friends (that really burns my britches, no one wants to feel their friends are hanging out without inviting them), just be more inclusive if the setting is right. I am blessed enough to have a sister close in age and we’ve shared friends for years.
  • Social sports- I made a few good friends from the many social sports groups I joined. There is no easier way to make pals than playing a round of softball and then going out for drinks and food after.
  • Just say hi!-  I’ve made friends by just randomly talking to people. You can do this at events or on trips. I made a friend while on a cruise once. My friends I was on the trip with had all gone on an excursion I did not want to do and instead I wanted to do another event. I went up to two girls on the ship who were doing my same event and asked if I could hang with them and they said sure. I’m still friends with one of the girls to this day.
  • Look around you- My mother is great at this. She is the Oprah of Maryland. I swear she makes friends just by materializing at places. On the plane, at the beauty counter, in the gym, at parties, with her neighbors, her children’s parents. It’s really amazing how she connects with people. Sometimes you just have to be in a spirit to attract positive people to you and…sounds crazy but, like magic they appear.

So we may be older, we may not have school forcing us into social situations but we should never neglect the need for friendship, whether we are married, single, parents, young or old. So get out there and say hi!

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How TV Has Ruined Dating

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Long ago, in a land not far, far away, there was this thing called courtship. Men asked you out in person, by letter or on the phone. They met you with flowers and took you to nice establishment that made you feel special. Women were chaste and gave the art of conversation. Plans were made, you saw each other again. The longer you courted the closer you became. Eventually you reached a commitment and things were good. It’s true, I tell ya, these things did happen. I read about them in books and stuff. And I vaguely remember experiencing this in high school. And sometimes, on rare occasions, I even still see these things happen, but then I rub my eyes and it’s gone. Perhaps just a dream.

Because now our courtship consist of back and forth texts, requests to “hang out” or “meet up” at some non set time (say 7 or 730ish) at some non set place (translation: no reservations) where food may or not be had (usually coffee or drinks will do). If you are really lucky, both parties will be on time and  you’ll be told you look nice.  The idea of courtship has become the thing of Jane Austen novels.

So how in tarnation did this happen?

I blame TV. Sure magazine and internet have their roles but not as much as TV. How you ask? Simple. Women are inundated with messages of what they hope love is 24 hours a day in every form. We can barely escape it. There is even something now called the Bechdel test where women in tv/movies must discuss something other than men in a conversation (Sex and the City would fail and State of Affairs would pass) to pass.  This rarely happens. More importantly, we are stuck on this undying, all consuming idea of love where all the woman has to do is appear and the man is (sometimes for reasons unknown) totally stricken with eyes to no one else (think Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries… maybe it’s just vampires). We, perhaps, subconsciously, believe we must be thin and beautiful and that’s all we need to achieve happiness or at least get a date.

But that’s not what men are seeing.

Men, on the other hand, are hit time and time again by images of women who are other than real. In the reality shows the women are done up to the heavens as if they are going to their wedding or prom every day. They fight over the same sorry dude or put up with the foolishness of said sorry dude who isn’t even doing anything special for them. Even if you don’t watch these shows as a guy, you are easily seeing images of socially deemed “hot” women (usually thin, blond, tan with a large bosom and bottom). With so much flesh randomly shown, where’s the challenge? Women see this and want to fit that ideal.

So where does that leave us? Impatient? Lazy? Distracted? Superficial? Unrealistic?

Yep.

Now, mini disclaimer, I know this is not everyone. If it was no one would be or stay married. However, it is factor. But it’s not the sole blame. We allow dating to change by not demanding more as a group. We also go to media before we go to our elders to define what real romance is. Look to real life married couples in love to discuss what is really important in a relationship: a mythical prince charming or done up arm candy? Or should we take a step back and look to what would really bring us long term happiness. The TV show romances rarely last or if applied to real life might not be so pretty (if we’d done the things Bella and Edward did in Twilight in real life we might be arrested or put away in a mental institution).

So do you watch less TV? You probably should but who am I kidding, I’m not. At least take note that that is all it is, make believe and real love is not the stuff of fairy tales or Victoria secret catalogs. So let’s do ourselves and each other a favor and think out the TV box and date the way our hearts need for true happiness.

 

What’s your vision?

Blond tresses perfectly coifed, flawless skin, outfit on fleek to hug her curves all day every day, and stellar songs for any occasion. If you think Beyonce really “wakes up like this” you’re not a crazy in love fan of Queen Bey. You’re just plain crazy.

Beyonce is indeed a woman of many talents, but even the diva of all divas has to make practical decisions to get superior results.

Prior planning prevents poor performance. You cannot expect a win without a game plan. No dream home was built without a blueprint. And contrary to popular belief, success cannot happen overnight. Even the singer who gets discovered inadvertently has to put in prior work with recording demos, voice lessons, and whatever else is needed to make that happenstance moment count.

Think about your own life and goals. Where do you want to be in your career next year? What getaway vacations do you desire to take? How small do you want that waistline to be for your class reunion? You can’t get too far without a plan of action because the good book states that faith without work is dead. It also says that we need to write the vision down and make it plain. That means be specific about what you want God to do for you in this season.

I challenge each and every one of my followers to create a 2015 vision board because, in all honesty, most of us operate on the principle “out of sight; out of mind”. So if you literally see it on a big ole poster, that’s an even closer step to mental manifestation! Don’t know the first thing about making a board? Grab the January issue of Essence for Lucinda Cross’s article.

Be wise and prepare for the best year of your life thus far. Of course, you can expect a few mistakes and moments of self-doubt, but with a plan built on purpose, those moments will not be the end of you. You’re just a vision board and a prayer away from having your own Bey-like victory if you give it your all. Get your life in 2015!

New Year…New-Better Me?

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h06144AF4So I suppose I have to write the obligatory new years post. I won’t be talking about any resolutions. If I didn’t do them before, I’m not going to do them now simply because a new year came around. The pressure of trying to achieve goals simply because it’s a new year doesn’t really add up to me. We say we’ll do something to change who we are and don’t have a real game plan or don’t like the work we have to do to change and end up dropping the idea. Why do we need to change? Why can’t a new year just bring out the same you just better? The idea that there must be a new you each year in itself sets you up with the dark feeling that you aren’t enough and that you’ve wasted yet another year. I say, forget about new year’s resolutions and just always aim to just be more of the best of what you already are.

Therefore, the one thing I will aim to do for for every day, is be happy as often as I can and in every situation that I can.  Happiness will allow  me to reach my constant goal of being and living a fulfilling life. The process to be happy is simple in theory. Think and do things that make you happy. Traveling makes me happy- book some trips. Dancing makes me happy- dance more (which in turn might help me lose the weight I want to drop). Be around people that draw out the positive/happy in me. If that means reducing or removing yourself from people who cause you aggravation then, hey, do what you have to.

However, if you are unlucky and can’t escape a certain person that tries to invade your happiness, deal with them in a way that will result in you keeping your happiness. Don’t argue with them. Assume that their interactions with you are not coming from a malicious place. Do what you think will bring out positivity in them which will in turn make them less annoying to you.

Maybe it’s all new agey  but I firmly believe that if you focus on already being the great person that you are it’s a lot easier for you to reach goals. So no new years resolution for me. I’m just going to do more of what I’ve been doing that I loved and really make it a happy new year and a happy life!