How to Find & Cultivate Female Friendships with Melissa, Jess, Lauren, Samantha, and Taylor
Hi Tribe! I hope you’re having an amazing week! Thanks for tuning in to this very, very special episode of The Jenn Kennedy Show — recorded from Tulum, Mexico!
This morning I’m here with Taylor Simpson, Lauren Salaun, Jess Glazer, Samantha Kozuch, and Melissa Martin to talk about how we all became friends. We’re on this amazing trip in Mexico, and I’m so grateful to have these women in my life. It’s crazy to think we’ve only known each other for about a year!
We cover a TON of interesting topics in this episode and give you a little inside peek into how we all became so close. I hope this conversation inspires you to think about how you cultivate friendships with people who add to your life and lift you up! Jess, Lauren, Taylor, Sam, and Melissa all had a lot to add about setting boundaries, saying goodbye to friendships you’ve outgrown, and living in your purpose.
If you want to learn how to find your own Tribe, read on!
Are Your Existing Friendships Serving You?
In order to truly cultivate a friendship and relationship with someone who lifts you up in life, in business, and in your relationships, you often have to say goodbye to people who aren’t supporting you anymore. One of the first questions I had for the group was, “How do you make space for new friendships in your life?”
First, it’s about getting really clear about what your values are. Check-in with yourself to see if you feel that you’re starting to slowly compromise your values in hanging out or speaking to some of your existing friends.
It’s possible that you and your friends are on different trajectories. You may have outgrown people who were in your life from years ago — high school or even childhood friends. For many of us, our first friends are getting married, having kids, becoming lawyers, and doctors. They may not understand or even be supportive of, the entrepreneur lifestyle. Some of us even had friends who were antagonistic about our career paths.
Then there are some friends who are fun to hang out with, but the relationship has its limits. You might love spending time hanging out with them, but you’re not able to discuss anything professional or spiritual. These are friendships that won’t go deeper than a good time — and that’s ok! Everyone needs a few friends who are up for a laugh, as long as you hold the right expectations for those friends.
As you think about your existing friendships, ask yourself: Do you have friends who constantly second-guess or doubt you? Do you have friends who are fun to grab a drink with but won’t be there to support your career? Before you can make room for new friends, consider how you’re holding space for the existing friendships in your life. Maybe it’s time to close the chapter on some of your less supportive friendships.
Setting Expectations: How You Show Up in Friendships
One big thing we’ve all learned is how to set boundaries — in our careers, in our relationships, and yes, even in our friendships. A big part of cultivating amazing, lasting friendships is teaching someone how to support you and setting strong boundaries so you can treat others with the care and compassion you expect to receive back.
A good way to set boundaries is to only say “yes” to things that give you that good gut feeling. Not interested in going to someone’s baby shower? Send them a nice gift, and RSVP “no.” Only say “yes” to the things that really light you up inside.
Some friends won’t understand or won’t take it well when you set boundaries. What you can do is positively communicate your reasons for why you have that boundary. Explaining your boundaries gives you a chance to use your voice, and it also helps the other person understand your thinking. There’s no ambiguity where that friend might think, “Have I offended her in some way?”
Here’s an example that Melissa gave to explain how this works in practice. A friend invited Melissa on a weekend away right before she was scheduled to go to a networking event where Melissa would be speaking to dozens of strangers. Her immediate gut feeling was she didn’t want to go away with her friend.
“I had to really sit in it, and then I had to explain to her why it was a ‘no.’ I had to say, ‘Thank you so much for the invitation. I appreciate you. I have this thing coming up, and it's going to require a lot of energy. What would feel the best for me right now is to stay home and find another time where I can be fully present with you.’ I'm communicating to her that if I say ‘yes’, I'm not going to be fully present. One of my core values in my friendships is to be present. If I say ‘yes’ to her, not only will I not be present and that will dishonor our friendship, but I won't be energized for me — and that dishonors my needs.” - Melissa Martin
It can be scary to assert your boundaries! We’re programmed to people-please, so when you first start saying ‘no’ to things that don’t resonate with you, you’re going to feel guilty. But, boundary-setting is like a muscle — the more you do it, the better you get at it, and the easier it becomes.
You Attract The Energy You Put Out
Protecting yourself from friendships that don’t align is only one part of the equation. How do you bring new, positive friendships into your life?
It’s all about putting the right energy out into the world. If you want the women around you to support you, you have to support them — love each person for who they are and embrace their whole self.
As women, we’re constantly told how hard it is to be friends with other women. It’s a story we’re almost definitely telling ourselves. It’s time to change that narrative and take ownership of our story. If you find yourself getting jealous of or feeling competitive with other women, realize that it’s something that’s coming up in you — it’s a behavior that you might have learned when you were a kid or some deeper trauma that’s playing itself out in your adult life.
If you don’t go back and do that deep work and really heal yourself, you won’t be able to put the right energy out into the world. This is the process I think all of us here today have gone through — confronting our limiting beliefs and taking control of our own narrative.
If you want women in your life who are supportive, kind, and generous, then you must be supportive, kind, and generous to other women. If you find that difficult, look into what’s stopping you — was there something that happened to you as a child that makes it difficult for you to be vulnerable? Don’t be afraid to do that deep inner work.
Let’s Get Tactical
Here’s the part where we get into the good stuff: Once you’ve put in the work of valuing your friendships, making space, and doing the internal work, how do ACTUALLY go out there to find great female friends?
One way to get started is to do lots of journaling — kind of like you would in your professional life. Ask yourself, “What type of woman do I want surrounding me? What are her values? What does she do for fun? What type of friends do I want?” Start manifesting who the perfect friend would be for you.
Taylor says she actually puts herself out there and will message women on Instagram.
“My tangible tool is literally DM-ing on Instagram or sending people a voice message or video. …[I’ll say] ‘Hey girl, I love what you're doing. It's so much fun. I would love to get on a call with you. It's to learn more about who you are and to maybe be besties. I'm down for new besties. How about you?’” - Taylor Simpson
If you take Taylor’s approach, just make sure you’re reaching out to someone for the right reasons — not because they have 50,000 followers! It’s so easy to get shiny object syndrome and forget about the human connection. In business and in life, start by making real connections at the human level — and worry about the business stuff later.
And, lastly, just start putting yourself out there! So many people hate networking events, but they’re a great way to meet people. Just put a few good questions in your back pocket to help jumpstart a more meaningful conversation. Try asking people, “What's something in your life right now that you're super excited about?” You’ll make more genuine connections than if you just talk about the weather!
How We Got Here
Tribe, that’s it! That's how we found each other and got all connected. We've grown, we've been open, and we've done that deep work to really be able to have these real connections. There's intention behind these friendships: We make time to do trips together, to connect, to hop on Zoom, to support one another, and to check-in regularly.
We're sending you all the love and all the good vibes because if you long for friendships like these and you’re really out there searching for a girl group like this, you WILL find it. Do the work and put yourself in rooms to have conversations and make connections. I can’t wait for you to find your Tribe and your people. I’m so grateful that you joined in to hear more about mine.
Reach out to any and all of us if this episode resonated with you and if you have anything to add. Here are all of our handles:
- Taylor Simpson, @iAmTaylorSimpson and listen to her podcast! A Taylored Adventure To Happiness
- Lauren Salaun, @LaurenSalaun
- Jess Glazer, @jess.glazer
- Samantha Kozuch, @Samanthakozuch
- Melissa Martin, @themelissamartin and listen to her podcast! Boldly Courageous
And of course, tag me, @thejennkennedy, on Instagram and tell me who your friends are and why you appreciate them! I’d love to see the important women who bring joy to your life — and there's nothing that I love more than connecting with you guys!
Talk to you soon!