Added: Roger Wyse - Date: 05.09.2021 07:37 - Views: 27297 - Clicks: 955
Lonely women around NZ are using the speed dating formula to make female friends. Amy Ridout reports. Using the speed dating format as a way to make friends and combat loneliness sounds a little unconventional, but Sarah Clarke believes it's the ideal way for women to connect with each other. Over the past seven months, the psychology trainer and co-founder of The School of Feminine Arts has made around matches at 17 friendship speed dating sessions in Tauranga, Hamilton, Auckland and Christchurch. I head along to a Nelson event to find out how it works - and hopefully, make a friend match.
At first, the atmosphere is slightly awkward and formal, like a group job interview. A few women look really nervous. But as the session progresses, we all relax. There's a lot of laughing and lighthearted banter. Talk quickly moves away from basic introductions into more intimate conversations where confidences are exchanged. Afterwards, Lonely women of New Zealand catch up with Sarah, an articulate and softly spoken woman in her early 40s, with curly blonde hair and a penetrating gaze.
She came up with the idea for The School of Feminine Arts and friendship speed dating while working with women in private practice, she says. Many women feel terribly lonely, and have no idea what to do about it. I thought, let's resolve this. A report found that Those aged between 15 and 24 were the most lonely at Women at Sarah is choosy about her friends, which is an absolutely okay way to be, she says.
When I tell her that, at the event I just attended, I thought about writing down every name to spare others' feelings, she tells me that's a bad idea.
It's fine to be selective about who we spend our time with. Selectiveness, of course, is the basic principle behind friendship speed dating. Participants spend a few minutes with each other, noting down names and other salient information "Cyclist, blue jumper.
Likes dogs". Afterwards, you write down the names of the women you'd like to see again, and if you match, Sarah passes along your contact details. I tell her that the New Zealand General Social Survey found that 40 percent of women in New Zealand felt lonely to some degree in the four weeks preceding the survey. The figure for men was a little lower, at 32 percent. Sarah isn't surprised by the figures. Living in nuclear family units in a patriarchal society where women are encouraged to compete against each other means we find it difficult to find connections, she believes.
If we feel if we're not sharing our thoughts with other women we feel removed from society. When I ask if she thinks opening themselves up to rejection might hinder rather than help lonely women, there's a long silence. We're here because we want to make friends. Because we're all a little bit vulnerable that competitive stuff is stripped away and we're just there going, 'I hope you like me'.
She mentions a woman with questionable hygiene who attended one of her events and didn't get a single match. She remembers this because it was one of only two times it's happened. So that woman might need to come along to 15 gatherings before she finds someone with whom she feels she might resonate. Some of us find Lonely women of New Zealand easier to fit in with a crowd, while others are unique and it will take them longer to find their own tribe. If one friend is considered enough, then Nicola from Tauranga hit the jackpot when she attended one of Sarah's events last year, ending up with a small gang of like minded companions.
Nicola and her husband abandoned Auckland's overheated housing market for Tauranga four years ago. For a long time, she thought she'd made a mistake. In Auckland, she'd had plenty of friends she'd made through her children's school, and at work. However, in her late 40s, with grown up children and an illness that left her unable to work, she felt isolated.
While her husband is "lovely and supportive," he works away a lot, she tells me on the phone.
This took a toll on her mental health, and her marriage. I thought about leaving him and going back to Auckland to live with my. Last September she ed up for a local speed dating event. She was excited, but when the day came she nearly bailed out. The thought of putting herself out there was terrifying. What if nobody writes my name down?
What if no one's interested in meeting up with me again? Happily, Nicola received three matches out of the six names she wrote down. The four women ended up forming a small group, and seven months later they meet regularly for dinner or local events.
The speed dating saved me from myself, and probably saved my marriage. While one match is enough, there are things you can do to improve your chances of making a connection, Sarah says. To make a good impression, she advises women to be curious and interested.
Make them feel memorable. Then, when your new friend is enjoying the conversation, make your exit. Say, 'hey great to see you, gotta go! Leave on a high note. I call Erin James, who went to a speed dating event in February, and ask her if the five-minute chat format is a solid enough foundation for a lasting friendship.
The year-old moved to Christchurch from Auckland in January. Determined to avoid the unrooted feeling that comes from leaving an established network and transplanting yourself somewhere, the stay-at-home mum put making friends at the top of her to-do list. Erin turned to the internet to look for ways to make friends, and discovered an upcoming friendship speed dating event. It's not something I would normally think of doing, it was out of my comfort zone. The main worry was the thought of being judged by strangers, she says.
As much as we don't want to admit it, as social beings we are very quick to judge. There were a few people that I thought, I'm going to clash with that personality. And then there were people I could see myself having a coffee with and getting to know better. Of the four matches she made, Erin's been in touch with two for coffee, and a third she now counts as a close friend. Sarah has big plans for The School of Feminine Arts. She's working on building her online community, with plans to hold virtual speed dating sessions.
She's also organising retreats where women can build relationships, intimacy and personal growth. But most importantly, they'll be a way for women to spend time together. Want to connect? Tackling loneliness in women with speed dating for friendship.
Amy RidoutAug 31 Sarah Clarke started meet up groups for women after discovering many women were terribly lonely.
Sarah Clarke. Sarah Clarke runs meet ups for women around New Zealand using the speed dating formula. The attendees at a friendship meet up run by Sarah Clarke in Tauranga. Speed dating meet ups are being held around New Zealand as a way to help lonely women find new friends.Lonely women of New Zealand
email: [email protected] - phone:(603) 918-3517 x 5079
Tackling loneliness in women with speed dating for friendship