GirlCrew – Friends with Benefits (no, not that kind)



Newbies, newbies, newbies, this one is especially for you. Even if you’ve been here for a while but haven’t braved an event this is what lies ahead when you attend one of our lovely newbie nights. I’ve now overused the word newbie, and it feels weird, so Sarah Jane can take it from here.

My GirlCrew Experience…

Sitting cosily on the couch in my dream home I have the laptop out. I’m perusing Facebook when I stumble across an article about a girl called Elva Carri who decides to use the dating app Tinder to find female friendsfor drinking, dancing and other leisure pursuits. She calls it GirlCrew. I’m impressed by this innovation. I call out to my partner to tell him about it. “Isn’t that a great idea, if I were single that’s what I’d do, I wouldn’t sit at home complaining that my friends are settled down”. He nods along in agreement and soon the conversation is forgotten.

Fast forward 18 months. The relationship is over and our little cosy home is gone. Going from a smug married, to a thirty something single is a truly daunting task. Having been attached my entire adult life I knew nothing of the single life. I discover that indeed, my friends are all settled and I would be lucky to have two nights out a month at a push. I joined the online dating crowd and for a time this was my main source of social recreation. Unfortunately this was more hassle than fun most of the time. I grew frustrated with the cancelled dates combined with the reluctance of my friends to get out and mingle. Swiping my way through Tinder one boring evening, there she was again, it was Elva’s GirlCrew profile! This time I had my chance to join in the fun. I swiped right and we matched. Result! Thus began my GirlCrew experience. I messaged her to ask, what happens now? She added me as a friend of the GirlCrew Facebook page and I received invitations to “newbie” events thereafter. A newbie event is a gathering of new members for a drink and some finger food. It’s less intimidating as everyone there is new and have no prior knowledge of each other. I still needed time to work up the nerve to go as the idea was exciting and terrifying simultaneously.

One bank holiday weekend I was let down by a close friend and spent the entire thing on the couch, miserable, I’d had enough. I swore that I would overcome my fear and attend the next newbie event which was the following Friday. I accepted the invitation on Facebook and there was no backing out. The week in work was short and passed quickly. On Friday the meeting was arranged for 7 so I brought my clothes to work and decided to go straight into town. I was a nervous wreck. As I prepared for this night out I thought to myself, it’s a bit like a date, with twenty women, who are going to judge me. I didn’t do well in school in the popularity stakes and this had put me off peer groups for life.  I felt shaky and nauseous on the Luas and as I tip toed through Temple Bar en route to Dame Lane my anxiety shot through the roof. On Dame Street I seriously considered turning back, but something, desperation perhaps, spurred me on. At this stage I just really wanted a large alcoholic beverage.

Walking into the darkness of the multi-level bar it occurred to me that I had no idea what they would look like or exactly where to find them. Panicked I dashed into a corner and frantically tapped at my smart phone. I found the post of FB saying they were on the ground floor and as I turned there were a large group of young women seated in a booth behind me. I moved towards them stooping and squinting at the little GirlCrew sign on the table, they recognised a lost soul and welcomed me. As I sat down I was relieved, but still very nervous. The warm, easy atmosphere suggested that they all knew each other but they assured me they had just met. How different this was from the cold, critical stares of bitchy schoolgirls. They were warm, genuine, smart, fun women and they wanted to be friends. My inner child was ecstatic. More arrived and soon we filled two booths. We had drinks, laughed constantly and the bar supplied some finger food to keep us decent.

After this we moved on to a late bar in Dawson Street and this was the night when the world opened up to me. I had lived in a very tiny corner of it for so long. I had the same friends from my youth and shared similar demographics with them all. My newfound group were from all walks of life and every corner of the globe, I loved that. After that one night out I received non-stop invites to nights out, cinema/theatre trips, fancy dress, sports events, weekends away and day trips in the country. I could find a partner in crime for any activity I could possibly think of. I met a group of wonderful, interesting and exciting women whose lives are just like mine. I never imagined any of this could happen outside the college years. Through opening myself up to a new experience I enriched my life with a large number of extraordinary new friends who have seen me through some tough times. They have not replaced my existing friends, they simply complement each other. Women really are at their best when they are building each other up.

Sarah Jane, GirlCrew Dublin

It this story doesn’t warm the cockles of your heart, nothing will. As with everything that happens in the land of GirlCrew each group has their own set up for these events – in Dublin they are the first Friday of every month, in Glasgow they host Flirty Friday on the last Friday of the month, while both Oklahoma and Birmingham have events coming up over the next two weeks. If you’d like to join the next newbie night in your city just check the events tab. So from all us at HQ, and all of us across all the groups – “Welcome newbies!”

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