As we close in on the end of our Community and Friendships series, we’re reflecting on the great conversations we’ve had toward building relationships in our lives. And this week’s convo puts the cherry on top as we discuss our friends as “chosen family” and the shape that our friendship and communities take when we are in a place where we need extra support. Our guest this week, Emma Nadler, is a therapist, author and speaker who is doing valuable work in helping people build deeper relationships. Emma knows firsthand what it means to rely on her circle in ways she never thought she would, when her daughter was diagnosed with a DNA disorder, shifting the life she knew, and navigating the special care, multiple hospital stays, and more than full-time parenting her daughter needs. By leaning on her community and being brave enough to ask for help (when sometimes the tendency is to act like we’ve got it all under control). Emma’s goal is to show us how we can look beyond preconceived notions about what it means to be valued and to belong, and leads us toward building a world where thriving in community is possible for every single person.
Emma and Jen touch on:
What it looks like when our “family” looks different than expected in the context of friendships and our communities
How to understand and learn to tolerate our emotions when it comes to interacting with friends and community and how to find meaning in everything—good and bad
Practical steps on fostering really authentic connections, asking for help, and creating inclusive spaces
The power of being direct when reaching out to connect with new people, or friends you’ve drifted from, to foster a deeper relationship
There’s so much value in learning how to meaningfully connect with others and create communities and friendships that celebrate our joyful times and anchor us at difficult times.
We’re back with our “For the Love of Community and Friendship Series, and this week, we delve into an area of friendship that all of us may face, but inevitably dread. It’s that moment when you know a friendship has run its course, or perhaps has become toxic, or you’ve just drifted apart–and you don’t know how to go forward. When life changes, when we change, and a friendship no longer serves us, how do we gracefully (and honestly) communicate about it? Our guest this week, who is here to walk us through this touchy topic, is writer, former standup comedian and political consultant Erin Falconer. Erin’s written a book called How to Break Up With Your Friends: Finding Meaning, Connection and Boundaries in Modern Friendships. Lest you think this is just a conversation on how to wipe your friend slate clean, stick around–you’ll hear Jen and Erin talk about how to create and maintain the healthiest friendships through all the seasons of our lives in order to avoid the painful friend breakup.
They also discuss:
Erin’s “Six Pillars of Friendship” that help us take stock of who is in our life and how we’re serving each other
What to do when we see a friendship has run its course or needs to shift or change in some way
How to keep the source of joy going in our adult friendships, and minimize the pain
It’s tough to grapple with the complexities of friendship breakups, but it all starts with building healthy relationships from the start.
When was the last time you reached out to one of your neighbors? Not just the people you feel comfortable with, but the ones who live near that you might not know beyond a “How are you?” in passing. As we continue our Community and Friendship series, we’re taking a look at why it enriches our lives (and the lives of our neighbors) to invest in the people around us. It doesn’t have to mean they all become our best friends, but a little curiosity, a little paying attention, and a little effort to listen will go a long way in developing the kinds of relationships that make life sweeter. To help guide this conversation, we’re delighted to welcome author and speaker Shannan Martin back to the show! Through her writing, Shannan has revolutionized the way we think about relationships with her refreshing perspectives. She articulates the need for genuine, deep-seated friendships that stretch beyond conventional norms. She also unravels the complexities of forging meaningful connections in our modern world, and her last book “Start with Hello” beckons us toward extending hospitality in ways that might feel awkward at first, but will net us that sense of community and belonging we all long for.
Shannan and Jen discuss:
How Shannan, a self proclaimed introvert, faced her loneliness after she and her family moved from the country to the city by getting outside her comfort zone and making herself available to meet her neighbors
What it means to be deeply embedded in a neighborhood where you are both a good neighbor, and your neighbors are good neighbors to you
How making new friends, no matter how big or small, always starts with a simple “hello” and the small steps towards getting to know someone by making eye contact, paying attention and helping when we can
Shannan and Jen agree that when we reach out beyond our fears, beyond our comfort level, and beyond our borders with radical hospitality, good things start to happen in our neighborhoods which then trickle out to our communities and begin to affect society as a whole. And, be sure to stay with us ‘til the very end–you won’t want to miss a little bonus chat among friends about whether ice cream is healthy for you or not, and what flavors Jen and Shannan swear by.
Hey friends, we are back with another episode in our For the Love of Community & Friendships, and we happen to have a true friend of the show returning to lay down some expertise about what it means to make and keep friends. We’re delighted to have Dr. Marisa Franco, (who also partnered with Jen to create a MeCourse on Friendship) who delves into the fascinating world of friendship attachment styles. Dr. Franco shares her extensive knowledge and insights on how our attachment styles, often formed during our early years, can significantly influence the type of friendships we form as adults. She discusses the three main types of attachment styles—secure, avoidant, and anxious—and explains how understanding our own style can help us navigate our friendships more effectively. Jen and Marisa touch on:
How the three main types of attachment styles can change over time as we typically become more secure as we mature
How, when we’re younger, we tend to have more friends (and friends who are very similar to us) as we look to expand our identity, and when we become more solid in our identity, we’re more open to be friends with people who are different from us
Why friendship doesn’t just typically “happen,”–it takes effort, and some ways you can put yourself out there to make new friends, and how to do the work to keep the friends you already have
How to approach conflict in friendship where we kindly share our needs with a spirit of reconciliation over an attitude of defensiveness
Genuine heart friendships have an incredible impact on our lives, including our health. Many recent studies tout the connection between health and the quality of your relationships, and that loneliness (not to be confused with being alone) can have a negative effect on our health–possibly even bigger than smoking or drinking or poor eating. So is it possible that our friends can actually help save us? Our guest today thinks so; writer and poet extraordinaire Maggie Smith recently went through a divorce and she credits her close knit friend group for being “her parachute” in that process (much like Jen’s friends have been for her as well).
Jen and Maggie discuss these topics around friendship:
The way friends can invest in you in a way that family isn’t able to when you’re going through disruptive life moments
The friends that intuitively know what you need during a rough patch and show up proactively with solutions so you don’t feel so lost
How we can nurture those “life saving” friendships by being a good friend ourselves
Thank God for the friends who remind us of who we are–of our core goodness and worth– when a disruptive time shakes up our identity. They help bring us back to ourselves.
We’re in a brand new series; For the Love of Friends and Community. Friendship and community often serve as the cornerstone for many women’s lives, providing a vital support system that nurtures connection, empathy, and mutual growth. In a recent survey from Psych Central, nearly half of most women report having fewer than 3 close friends, one third report having between 4-9 close friends, and 12% say they have no close friends at all. We know that friendship contributes to more satisfaction in life and is good for our overall health. So what’s the key to finding and keeping friends? How many friends do we need to get those good friend vibes? Our guest this week, author and podcaster Laura Tremaine, has written extensively about friendship, drawing from her own experiences and the experiences of other women she has talked to. Laura wants us to identify, create and nurture these deep connections that we long for. She also teaches us that friendship takes work, and vulnerably shares her friendship fails (yes, even a friendship expert has a few friend misses now and again).
Jen and Laura discuss:
The key qualities that make a friendship meaningful and enduring, and how those things are defined by what you value
A rundown of the things we all may think are important about friendship and looking at the things that aren’t as important as we’ve been made to believe they are
How to navigate friendship breakups and friendships ending, allowing grief over that loss, and leaving room for that vacant “chair” to be filled by someone new
Finding the “fellow obsessive” friend – the one you can geek out about with things that you both love
Creating meaningful friendships is not just about having a social circle. It’s about experiencing true companionship and vulnerability and support. And it’s these soul connections that can bring so much joy and fulfillment to our lives.
Jen asked YOU, her Tribe, to tell us your best friendship stories. After hundreds of responses on Facebook, we ended up with two sets of friends sharing their amazing stories with Jen—probably the most touching friendship stories you will ever hear! Vivian and Nancy recount the story of Nancy’s friendship with her friend Denise and the promise she made to her that altered the course of her life. Ann and Anne became “mother and daughter” after a series of events that will bring tears to your eyes. Get the Kleenex, y’all; these stories. We. Just. Can’t. Even.
Nobody has more fun with their friends than Annie F. Downs (the “F” stands for “fun!”). Author of 100 Days to Be Brave, Annie is a national speaker and lover of banjos, boiled peanuts, and Westward expansion (???) –we promise; it will all make sense. You’ll love getting to know Annie, plus you’ll learn some tips for navigating online dating, how to be a “show-er-upper” for your girlfriends, and ways just to have more fun generally in life.
Did you know that there is a science around “girlfriendhood?” Shasta Nelson, a noted “friendship expert” and author of a book series on friendships does. Shasta’s life work is to help women make and keep great friendships, and she has studied the actual science of why having girlfriends makes us stronger, smarter and healthier! Plus, you’ll find out what kind of friend Jen is, when you hear the results of her taking Shasta’s “friendtimacy” quiz (don’t worry, she passed).
When talking about girlfriends, no one has more insight than the original “best girlfriend” herself – Vicki Iovine! Author of the “Girlfriends Guide” series, Vicki has guided a slew of women through pregnancy, motherhood, toddlers, and even getting their groove back! She shares how she started writing for girlfriends from a practical standpoint, peppering her stories with her hilarious take on all the things women face. She also shows us her perspective on how “lifetime” girlfriends bring us joy, strength and a lot of fun.
Take a peek around
If you’re not sure where to begin, I got you, friend. I’m always bringing you something new to enjoy.