Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Coming Full Circle with Shasta Nelson... plus a giveaway!

**Giveaway is now closed**

Introduction and interview by Tracey Meyers

About a year ago, I went to a book event featuring Rachel Bertsche and her book, MWF Seeking BFF.  In the book, Rachel talks about her search for a new best friend.  As part of that search she used the website GirlFriendCircles.com which connects women together for the purpose of developing friendships. After this particular event, I got to thinking long and hard about how people make new friends as adults and what I could do to make new friends myself.

Recently, I started using GirlFriend Circles to make new friends and admittedly, I was nervous about it.  I mean, sure I had used the Internet to meet guys for the potential of love, but using the Internet to meet new girlfriends, though similar in theory, was uncharted territory for me.  To date, I've been to two GirlFriend Circle events.  Though this process is still a bit foreign to me, I'm starting to become more comfortable with how things work and am hopeful that I will possibly make a new friend (or two) from it.

As I was researching GFC for my personal friendship search, I also learned more about Shasta Nelson as well.  Shasta, a Life Coach and Ordained Minister, is the founder of GFC and the author of the book, Friendships Don't Just Happen (reviewed here).  The first thing I noticed about Shasta was her upbeat personality.  Seriously!  Can't you even see it in her photo?!?  Then I checked out a few of the videos she's put together for her blog and other online sites.  After watching those, my assumption about her personality was confirmed!

What I like most about Shasta is her style of communication and the message she is putting out to the world.  In my humble opinion, I believe her messages about friendships will not only transform the lives of other women, but could transform the lives of everyone who hears them.

Shasta can be found on her website, Facebook, Twitter and GirlfriendCircles.com.

Thanks to Shasta, we have THREE copies of her book for lucky readers residing in the US. She's also visiting our Chick Lit Cheerleader, Jen Tucker, today. Stop by and learn more about her over at Jen's blog!

You are a Life Coach and an Ordained Minister, what role did those two career paths have in your decision to pursue helping women form new friendships?
It was actually while in those roles that I kept seeing the need for more connectedness in our world. As a life coach I kept working with amazing women who were going through life transitions and having a hard time figuring out how to establish new friends in their new cities, new jobs, or new life stages. And it was as a pastor that I continually witnessed the value that relationships have on our own personal growth, how much happier people are when they feel a sense of support and belonging. Both those roles gave me a lot of room to practice teaching healthy relationships. Now my roles aren’t religious, but I’d still say it’s deeply spiritual work I’m doing. I’m helping introduce women to potential friends and trying to inspire those friendships to transform into the relationships that can support our lives.

Of all the friendship connection stories you've heard about, which one stands out the most?
One of my favorite recent memories was being invited over to the apartment of a GirlFriendCircles.com member who wanted me to meet a few other members in New York City. Sitting at that table with a small group of women who have become friends from through the website warmed my heart. We get a lot of emails with thanks and gratitude, but spending the whole evening listening to their stories, seeing their gratitude, and knowing that there were women who now had friends because they courageously reached out and connected reminded me of the possibilities for all of us.

What is a common frustration you hear about from women regarding making new friends?
How to pick just one?! Prior to meeting people I think the most frustrating part is not knowing how to actually find people to hang out with. We don't have platonic pick-up lines, we can't flirt for friends, and there are no bars where you can hang out and meet them. It can feel hard to know where to find other women who value new friendship and to know how to actually start spending meaningful time together. But I'd say the one frustration we hear repeatedly usually comes down to not feeling like the other person is following up. They had a great dinner but then haven't heard from the other since.

How did you meet your best friend?
I actually have a handful of best friends-- for me the term doesn't refer to quantity but to quality. One of my besties goes back to college days, another few come from a weekly small group that I was a part of ten years ago and we all still get together every year, one of them I met while walking along the water in San Francisco, another used to be a coaching client of mine who I really clicked with, and now most of my good friendships are being made in networking groups of entrepreneurs that I'm a part of. In all the cases, what makes the biggest difference is simply we put enough time in together to build up familiarity and trust so we could experience what I call Frientimacy-- friendship intimacy.

What was your primary goal for writing, Friendships Don't Just Happen?
To tell women it's normal to need new friends! In fact, research shows we're replenishing half our friends every seven years! It's important to realize that this is very normal; otherwise women feel bad about themselves as though they've done something wrong. Or we fear people will think that when we say "I need friends" that it might somehow be misunderstood as "No one likes me" or "I'm not good at friendships." But the need to become practiced at building new friendships is one that all of us face. And if we admit that then we'll start being willing to learn more about what it takes to build up friendships that matter as adults. My book breaks down the pieces of friendship in a way that helps us see the types, the stages, the steps, and the threats.

What is the greatest lesson you learned while you were writing this book?
I'd say one of the piece of research that surprised me the most was from the book "Click" that talked about how people bond. I've always been a fan of friendships with women who are different than we are (i.e. big age gap, different life stages), but even I was shocked that researchers found that it didn't matter at all what things we had in common with each other, only that we ended up finding them. The number of things we have in common mattered more than what those things were. In other words, they said both "sharing a strong dislike of fast food was just as powerful a predictor of attraction as favoring the same political party." I found that amazing because so many women feel that they can only be friends with other mothers, other retirees, or other women in the same church. But in truth, if we'd give ourselves time to get to know each other, we'd actually have more time to find out all these other things that we have in common.

Do you have a special place where you go just to write? If so, where?
Nope, just my desk. This book poured out of me. I've been teaching this content long enough that when I gave myself permission to sit and write-- it actually came quite easily. I absolutely loved the writing process of staying in my yoga pants all day, drinking tea, and writing.

Do you think you'll ever consider writing a novel?   If not, do you foresee writing additional non-fiction books?
 I'd love to keep writing. If I had to guess, I'd bet that the next one out would be non-fiction, but one never knows!

Thanks to Shasta for visiting Chick Lit Central and sharing her book with our readers.

How to win Friendships Don't Just Happen:
Please comment below with your e-mail address. (Please note: Entries without an e-mail address will NOT be counted. You can use AT and DOT to avoid spam. Or provide a link to your facebook page or blog if you can receive messages there.) 

Bonus entries (can be listed all in one post):
1. Please tell us: How did you meet your best friend?
2. Follow this blog and post a comment saying you are a follower (if you already follow, that's fine too).
3. Post this contest on Facebook or Twitter or in your blog, and leave a comment saying where you've posted it.
4. Join Chick Lit Central on Facebook. Edit settings if you don't want to receive a lot of messages at your e-mail account. Please read our posting guidelines as well. (If you're already a member, let us know that too.)

5. Follow us on Twitter and/or Pinterest.
6. Add a friend to our Facebook group. (Tell us who you added.) Be sure to remind them to edit their settings.

7.  Join GirlfriendCircles.com on Facebook.

US only. Giveaway ends February 10th at midnight EST.


Mrs Mommy Booknerd said...

I met my best friend in 3rd grade when she was the new girl mid year. I walked up to her and asked if she would be my friend and she said yes. That was a long time ago and we are still friends! I follow here and Facebook!

Mrsmommybooknerdsbookreviews at gmail dot com

Lauren McCormick said...

I haven't met my best friend in person yet, but hope to do that later in the year. We met on an online game. We started texting and sharing photos with an App for privacy. Then thankfully found another App where we could talk for hours every day for free. You see, my best friend lives in Spain. Other than my husband, in our first year of communicating to one another, she knows me better than anyone!
I follow CLC Blog, am a member, and follow on Facebook and even Pinterest. I will share this contest on FB. Thank you for this opportunity to win your book.

Nova said...

I met my best friend at work. We both have a silly way about us that other people do not get! lol
I follow CLC blog by email.
I follow CLC on pinterest.
I am a fan on Facebook.
I follow CLC through GFC.
sparkle40175 AT Hotmail DOT com

rhonda said...

I met my best friend teaching.we are both former new yorkers living in California. We look alike sound alike and think alike.I follow by email Lomazowr@gmail.com.folllow on twitter @rhondareads will tweet.

Allison said...

I met my best friend at graduate school. It's kinda boring but we just clicked. I've never really had a friendship happen that way!

I follow CLC.


bn100 said...

Nice interview. We met at school.

I follow via email.


Hannah said...

I met my best friend in high school. We were both on the newspaper staff together for our school. We are total opposites but it seems to have stuck!

I follow on pinterest.

hannahdavidson84 AT yahoo DOT com

Marthalynn said...

I agree, creating friendships is indeed spiritual work!

I met my best friend through a mutual friend at church.

I follow :)

marthalynn16 at gmail

Unknown said...

I met my best friend in high school, I was a sophomore, she was a freshman. We just clicked! We live in different states now, but still keep in touch!

I follow the blog
I'm a member of CLC on Facebook
I follow on twitter


Book Mama said...

I met my best friend my first year of college. Her and I looked so much alike that people thought we were sisters. Unfortunately she is no longer with us and I miss her dearly. Finding friends like her is so few and far between these days. It's a shame that more woman can't have strong, long lasting friendships.


susieqlaw said...

I have a handful of best friends too. One is my childhood next door neighbor. She was five-months-old when I was born. We have been friends ever since. Another, I met at a grad school welcome reception, I just walked up and introduced myself and knew we'd be friends!

I follow CLC blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

I tweeted this contest @susieqlaw

sendsusanmail at gmail dot com

I live in the US.

Videoclimber said...

I met my best friend at church.
I follow on GFC as Tia

Anonymous said...

I have three BFFs. The first I met in my freshmen year of college, second sophomore year of year of college and the third hired me mid-career. I ended up hiring the third one later for another company. We live all over the country and go for years without seeing one another but it's as it no time has passed when we see the other. writeoncindy@yahoo.com