Your GirlCrew Survival Guide

It can be easy to turn your nose up at something new out of fear, but sometimes taking that first step is all you need. For those of you in the GirlCrew Dublin 40+ group, I’m sure you’re all  familiar with Aileen by now. Her ever-cheerful posts and boundless enthusiasm are infectious, but did you know she had a cautious start? So pop the kettle on, grab a biccie, and hopefully some of her bravery will rub off on you. Here’s her story.

A Rocky Start

GirlCrew 40+……..the name was enough to bring about a snort of derision when I first heard it – but also fear at the idea of joining what sounded like it could be a militant bunch of menopausal women in dungarees with severe anger management issues.

At 45, I was on disability pay, living in a small village and finding that I was looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. My well meaning friends were busy with their own lives and families. And for a woman who had once had to book in time in her diary to bless herself, I was lonely and bored  and wondering how my life had ended up in this dustbowl cul-de-sac.
Long-term health complications with type 1 diabetes and then cancer took their toll on my career prospects. And that particular glittering ship I’d spent the best part of 2 decades building sailed off without me.
…..and looking back I can see I kinda let it. For over 10 years…..
But girls, you can stuff the violins back in their velvet cases, the fact is I’m all better now……. My diabetes is a well trained demon and I’m cancer free – but when you find the only thing you’re getting excited about is a hospital appointment (or 4) it’s time to have a not-so-quiet word with yourself (seriously??). 

Diving In

My good friend Christina mentioned GirlCrew 40+ to me and for a week or so I blatantly ignored it (40+!!!??) and her.
Then one Sunday in town, having yet another Billy No Mates lunch with my phone I decided to casually glance at the GirlCrew group.
Long story short – I am currently having an absolute  ball. Actually I could have done this a long time ago but my head wasn’t in the right space (lodged up my kiester).
Basically it was fear of meeting up with a group of unknown women (dungarees, menopausal, vitriolic) that was holding me back – but I tell you they must have something going for them because  I’ve a big poshed up night out with 29 of them (eeeeeek!!!) in Luigi Malone’s.

A post shared by GirlCrew HQ (@girlcrewhq) on

Yup….i thought I was shy too…..
But back to the business at hand – you’ve managed to hit the “send” button and join up  (well done you!!) and chances are a bunch of women have already welcomed you on board and you’ve checked the Events section on the GirlCrew 40+ page but………
The majority of us girls tend to suffer “social freeze” at this point.  And suddenly remember just how comfy and accommodating the sofa can be on a Friday night. Throw  in a bottle of vino and it’s the ultimate relationship.
…except it just isn’t.
So here’s what you new lost lambs need to know.

GirlCrew Nervous Newbies Survival Guide

  1. Start off getting to know who’s in your local area first (just ask!!).  Some women can join up and go out to an event where they’ll meet 20+ strangers – others just can’t. And that OK. It’s not a competition.
  2. Chat online – message each other and expand your dwindling list of Facebook friends. You’ll be amazed at how much you have in common.
  3. Appreciate the fact that making friends at 40+ is a bit more intimidating than it was at 5. No skipping rope or rollerskates to bribe potential new buddies with for one thing.
  4. GirlCrew isn’t just about socialising – it’s a support network. We’re all here to help you with your problems, give you advice, steer you in the right direction. There is a wealth of life experience here – tap into it!!!
  5. Every woman you meet has her own story and is fighting her own demons – but she joined up because she’s wants more from her life. You can have that too.
  6. Meet someone for a coffee after you’ve been chatting and you feel comfortable – if they live nearby then when an event comes up you can go along together. And that is FAR less intimidating….isn’t it?
  7. Don’t feel you have to be best buddies with everyone you meet. RELAX – you’ll naturally gravitate towards certain people. Through laughing and chatting and getting to know them…….et voila – you can give them a buzz and meet for lunch or shopping or underwater basket weaving if that’s your thing.
  8. Everything doesn’t have to be an “event”.  As you make new friends your confidence will grow and you can organise things a few of you might be interested in.
  9. Remember – people socialise and make friends at different speeds. That’s OK – no one is timing you.
  10. Despite what you may think,  the majority of women joining up are nervous and fearful of rejection. But their fear of loneliness is stronger – and that’s what’s pushing them back out there in the hope that they can make new friends and have fun again.
  11. You’re a “newbie” now – remember that feeling. So when you get the hang of things you can reach out and welcome the women who are anxiously trying to find their feet.
  12. A great tip I picked up years ago….when entering a room full of strangers –  smile! It’s the easiest way to make everybody like you.
Enjoy it ladies and take full advantage of everything GirlCrew has to offer. I did and I can honestly say I just feel reborn. Yes, I had to pull on my Big Girl Pants and get out there a couple of times before I found my feet (because NOBODY lives where i live). But these wonderful newfound friends are giving me my confidence back and now I’m even looking at going back to work too.
Looks like that ship hasn’t sailed yet after all……

Huge thanks to the ever-wonderful, Aileen, for this piece. She’s a legend in that group – and rightly so. If you’d like to link in with other women make sure you join the app, select your Home crew, and say hi!

14 comments

  1. What a fun group! I would definitely join, feeling alone or not alone its never to much to have more friends! I am happy that you had the courage at the end to join and that you will continue to have a blast with these girls! I can join in 3 years!

  2. This is a great site and a wonderful introduction. A committee of support and networking is really uplifting. I will definetly research any groups in my area as well.

  3. Awwww so happy you found a great group of supportive friends! All my besties live so far away so I really wish I had a local crew of girl friends

  4. Getting ready to hang out with other mothers in your area is so exciting. You definitely need to connect first online to make sure that everyone (or the majority) is able to connect together at a certain time and place.

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