10 Ways to Make 2009 a Friendship-Filled Year

By , SparkPeople Blogger

By Debba Haupert, creator of GIRLFRIENDOLOGY.com – the online community for women focused on female friendship

Every year, we host a New Year’s Day brunch. Neighbors and friends join us as we celebrate the new year and the wonderful "extended family" we have in our community. Each guest fills out an order form that indicates what you’d like on your omelet but also requests your New Year’s resolution. It’s a fun way to record our goals for the coming year and a great reference the following year to see if they followed through on their resolutions!

We’ve recorded resolutions to get pregnant and a celebrated a new baby at the following New Year’s Day brunch, as well as adoptions, life changes and a girlfriend who wanted to move to Colorado and find a cowboy (and she did!). Mostly though, everyone makes the usual resolutions--lose weight, exercise, healthy eating, and drinking less alcohol and more water.

These resolutions make us healthier and happier, and having great girlfriends does the same! The fact is: Female friendships lower our blood pressure, reduce stress, make us feel more beautiful and help us live longer! So, why not prioritize friendships as resolution-worthy?

As you consider your 2009 New Year’s resolutions, think about these ideas for making 2009 healthy, happy and filled with friends:
  1. Start a girlfriend group – Make getting together with your girlfriends a regular event. Start a book club, knitting group or monthly dinner club.
  2. Reconnect with long-distance friends – Find them through Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace or Switchboard. Make contact and stay in touch. Share photos, memories and updates with the people in your life with whom you share a past and make them part of your future. Who was your best friend in high school? Look her up and laugh about old times together.
  3. Establish a habit of friendship – Call a girlfriend every Sunday night or plan a regular lunch date with a local gal pal. Start a girlfriend group and send email updates every Friday so you all know what everyone is up to. Or, plan a happy hour every month and invite all your girlfriends. I promise you’ll look forward to this get-together!
  4. Celebrate girlfriends – Commit to sending a birthday card or calling all your girlfriends on their special day. Let them know you’re thinking of them and how much their friendship means to you. Start out by writing down all your friends’ birthdays. Check out applications on Facebook and other social media sites for birthday calendars.
  5. Volunteer or take a class with your girlfriends – This is a great New Year’s resolution because you’re doing good – for yourself and/or others. Plan time where you help others or learn together by volunteering or taking classes. Or give back to others in your community by starting a non-profit organization or educating others about great causes/information.
  6. Get social online – Start a blog about your life and your friendships. (Blogger, Wordpress and Typepad are common blogging services.) Get your girlfriends involved by asking them to contribute or at least read and comment on it. Post your updates, thoughts, activities, photos and share girlfriend advice others would appreciate. Sign up on Twitter or other social networking sites and start building your friends online. Often these friendships are just as tight as with friends who live close by.
  7. Meet new friends – Decide to get out more in 2009 and find new friends. Join an organization, introduce yourself to your neighbors, participate in a local charity or group. Network for work connections but also for future friends.
  8. Start a fun tradition – Just like our annual New Year’s Day brunch, start a tradition of having a party or getting together with your girlfriends for a fun event. Host an Oscars gala (Feb. 22) or plan a Summer Solstice party (June 21). Or find a "strange" day and celebrate it (National Hat Day – Jan. 15, No Socks Day – May 8, Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day – July 1, or Sept. 17 – Wear Something Gaudy Day!). Just make it a tradition, take photos and have fun.
  9. Create memories – Create a "bucket list" of things you’ve never done but always dreamed of doing. Now find friends to accompany you on adventurous list checking events. Longed to go skydiving or scuba-diving? Find girlfriends to join you and make it even more memorable.
  10. Reach out to intergenerational friends – Your girlfriends don’t all have to be exactly like you. Variety is the spice of life and having friends from different decades, backgrounds, neighborhoods or countries is a wonderful way of meeting new friends and learning from one another.

So, girlfriends, how are you going to spend the New Year? Try making some new friends, staying in touch with old friends and just making great memories with all your favorite gal pals!

Start the year out in a great way – with your girlfriends!

Girlfriendology is the online community for women based on inspiration, appreciation and celebration of female friendship.
Founded by Debba Haupert in 2006, Girlfriendology inspires women to make new female acquaintances, spend time with their girlfriends, and appreciate those friendships that are vital to women’s health and happiness. Girlfriendology.com features inspiring women in semi-weekly podcasts, contests to share girlfriend stories and provides videos, shopping, reviews, blogs and more.

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Great list no matter what the year. It is one of my 5 goals this year. Report
Great article! Our circle of friends grows then nature (death) makes it smaller. For a year or so we've been rebuilding the circle. Thank you for all the great ideas. Report
I've recently have been trying to reconnect with old friends who I've neglected for a year or so.... I want to strengthen these relationships and make new ones this year :) I want to make some traditions with my friends :) Report
I'm actually not a social person, so I don't have many friends, let alone girlfriends. :o) BUT I would like to get out more and try to make some new friends, I just don't know where to start, LOL. Report
This past year I've gotten more active and involved with the women's group at church; we do trips together, craft meets, luncheons, etc. and it's so much fun. We're planning an old-fashioned tea party for this fall, big hats and all. Report
Some of my high school classmates get together once a year a have pottey party at a local store where we pick out items to paint and have fired. It is family friendly so kids (and spouses) can come too. Report
Thank you for this posting. I think it is a great idea and it gives me somewhere to start when trying to enter my "NEW YEAR, NEW LIFE & NEW BEGINING" 2009 Report
Thank you for the article. Just yesterday an old friend came over so we could clarify some things from work. We vowed that we will get together at least once a month just to spend some time together. It was so good to see her and I realized how important it is to keep our friendships alive and thriving. I honestly felt more relaxed and happy after our visit. Report
Someone may have already suggested this in one of the comments, but meetup.com is a great place to meet others that share your interests. I joined the "hip chicks" book club that way and it's fabulous.There are meetup groups for jsut about any hobby, political interest, etc. Report
This is awesome, I have been thinking that I miss having a girls day or night out. Since my company went under, I feel so unconnected. Thanks for sharing. Report
I have an AWESOME friendship circle. It started out as an online Mommies group, then we all found out we all scrapbook and make cards, and now we are always getting together once a month for girls night out! So much fun and so needed, my friends ROCK! We differ in ages and backgrounds and we help eachother out with EVERYTHING. Facebook is a huge help too to keep us connected! I couldnt ask for better friends! Report
Really great ideas Report
Terrific idea! Report
great ideas!! Report
How you knew that is what I think my whole weight loss journey is about. I really want to make more friends. Report
I have 3 sisters and now that we all live in the same area, we get together once a month to gab and spend time together just us girls. We haven't solved the world's problems yet, but we have gotten closer and look forward to our time together. November was a tea party at thintwin2's house and December we did a pedicure/foot spa party at my apartment. Two of us belong to Sparkpeople which is something we share and a way for us to encourage each other in our weight loss/healthy living plans. Report
We have "family" gatherings several times a year, be it long time friends and or family, and we scrapbook together at least once a month. My long distance friends are email, phone and get togethers at least once a year. It will be good to renew these this year as I now have more time to do so. Report
Oh, how I'd love to be geographically near my friends! But I have to settle for email, snailmail, phone calls...and Spark! I'd love to meet some of you...
Friends are definitely important-for so many different reasons-and we should do all in our power to maintain the true friends that God has sent our way to touch our lives. Report
Our church has a 'friendship' group of women that have grown up together. We are together most Sundays and at least twice a month. We look forward to being together and we cherish each other as we are 66-90 in age so we never know when one will get sick or be gone. It is a great group and I would be lost w/o them. Report
I have a friend that I walk with 3 days a week when the weather is nice. But it's hard to self motivate in the winter when we don't exercise together. Report
These are some really great ideas. I have been wanting to do something like this myself for quite awhile. Report
What started as a thing we were doing to be nice turned into a girlfriends night. My friend and I (and subsequently another friend joined) started going to this older woman's house (her kids are spread across the country) to keep her company on Thursdays by watching Grey's Anatomy. Now, we have been missing that time since the holiday hiatus and we can't wait until Thursday's new episode! Report
I know my social life has taken a big hit over the years and I miss it deeply! Women, in general, seem to be so much better keeping in touch than men. One of the things I love about SparkPeople is the opportunity to socialize. However I know that I need to push myself to create more REAL, face-to-face social time!

Don, Co-Leader of All Health Professionals SparkTeam Report
Thanks for the article. With 4 kids, a husband and a fulltime job, I've lost my friendships because I haven't devoted the time. This made me realize I'm not the only one and what to do about it. Report
What a great article!!! I'm 53 and am lucky to have friends from my daughter(29 yrs. old) to several friends who are 80 yrs. young. I am going to use your tips for making some special memories this year!!! Report
Great ideas. I especially like the suggestion of making a new tradition. Sounds fun, I'm going to try that one for sure. Report
Hmmmm. Report
This sounds good and so needed. Report
Wow.. I need this as I have become more or less a hermit and that is not my personality. But most people don't understand some health issues or I think they won't understand and still want to be around me. I am guessing I am wrong, and just have become a recluse to make it easier. This is a good thing for me to work on this year and to come back out of the shell and get more involved with people. Hmm.. Thanks. Deb Report
I spent hours on the phone lately connecting with old friends. Remember the Girl Scout saying, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold." I have always made use of that saying. Report
I really liked this article. Staying in touch with people is very important. My daughter helped me set up my facebook account and I do not have too many friends, It has been great with keeping in touch with my nephew who is in the Marines. Report
I'm pretty well on my way - I have a variety of different "friend groups" including two here on spark people - Kimberly's.Challenge team and the Teachers with an Attitude - I've come to care very much for my on-line friends. I have a service sorority that meets twice a month, and my dear friends from church. In fact one of my resolutions is to do something for me for half an hour once a week. This week I visited with John and Dorothy for a few hours, had dinner (which is usually by myself) with them. It was nice, not to worry about the school work that needs done - because - if God forbid - I didn't wake up tomorrow - the fact that lesson plans for one subject aren't done, won't really matter in the whole scheme of things - normally, I'd be all worked up - but I managed to forget to bring that book home before vacation - I know what to do - so all will be good. I WILL stress less! Report
With how busy we all can be, it can be an afterthought to spend time with people we really enjoy. These are great ways to make time for your friends without compromising other areas of your life. We cannot forget to connect with people who mean something to us. Just like marriages, friendships need to be nurtured and cared for in order to grow. Report
Why not just FRIENDSHIP instead of restricting to gender? Fail. Great in theory, as spending time with my BFFs is atop my resolutions list - but they're all boys.

Best part? I don't have to talk about anyone hoping to get pregnant. Report
This is a really great article. I have a difficult time making friends. And in the recent months I've been thinking about it more and more that I would like to have and keep more friends. I would love to have outside my family friendships where I can go and vent and be there for someone else and have someone there for me. Great ideas and I will definitely try to put them to good use this year. Report
What a great article, to many times I put friendship on the back burner.I am going to try a few tips to make this year full of freindship moments! Report
These are really good reminders that I have lots of work to do this year! Report
These are great and I can definitely do better in this area. Just a reminder, though, please don't forget your daughters, mothers, sisters, grandmothers, cousins, etc. The women in your family can be the best friends you'll ever have! :) Report
Just started on Facebook to connect and build/rebuild friendships :) Report
Great ideas! I started a book club with other teachers in my school a couple of years ago. We meet once a month and really enjoy the camaraderie. It might also be fun to get together for other "occasions" as well. I especially like the idea of celebrating National Ice Cream Day! Report
Great ideas! Have any of you met new friends on SparkPeople, as I have? Report
I enjoyed this very much, some great ideas!! I am thankful that I already have a wonderful circle of "galpals" and this article gave me some ideas of what we can do together for fun and enrichment. Thanks for sharing..... Report
I enjoyed this very much, some great ideas!! I am thankful that I already have a wonderful circle of "galpals" and this article gave me some ideas of what we can do together for fun and enrichment. Thanks for sharing..... Report
I have just found this blog and it is terrific. A lot of ideas to think about and a lot of things to do to make friendships last longer.
Thank You! Report
I have committed to doing a better job managing the relationships in my life in 2009. I get too wrapped up in my own life, raising my child, managing my household, etc. and I forget how important the people in my life are to me. This is a great reminder with fun suggestions on keeping those people close. Report
Great article---it is true how important friends are to a fulfilling life. Report
This is a great reminder. We get so busy with our jobs and our families that we forget how important it is to cultivate our friendships. Thanks! Report
I love this post. I wish I would have read it before New Year's Eve. I would have planned a brunch. I will figure out something else now. This seems like fun!
~ Marjorie ~ Report
This is such a much needed blog for me to read! I forget sometimes how important having time with my friends is. It's really easy to just get bogged down in life and shut out the much needed interaction with my peers! Thanks for the great ideas. Report
This is a great idea, as we've all pretty much said. I've lived in this area for 2 years and besides my son's teacher's (more people-I-know), I don't have any "friend" friends. How sad is that? I need to make some friends! Like now! Report
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