There is a new culture of “no new friends.” The idea of friendship has been stifled due to the idea that as humans and creatures craving companionship, that our friends from our past should continue to be our friends. Factor in the idea that we are continually supposed to disconnect from friendships at the smallest miscommunication and most individuals are left with a circle so small that oxygen barely enters. As women, having a support system is crucial. How do we navigate life and build with women if “no new friends” is the expectation?
21Ninety caught up with the beautiful soul, Sybil Amuti. As the founder and host of, The Great Girlfriends Podcast, Amuti tackles friendships and support as well as how the pandemic affected the dynamic.
21Ninety: Thank you for taking time out of your day to chat with us. Let’s dive right in. What are your thoughts on “now new friends?”
Sybil Amuti: The data shows that millennials have far fewer friendships than boomers and Gen Z. Then it also shows that social media has caused an increase in loneliness, rejection and isolation for people. I look at friendship as relationship building, and relationship building is a skillset. It is interchangeable with every facet of your life. And whenever you withdraw love and connection, or the desire for that in areas of your life, you start to see that there are deficiencies in the amount of support.
21N: Outside of social media being a distractor from friendships, how do you perceive its impact?
SA: The last ten years of growth and influence of digital media have definitely persuaded things. The way that we see ourselves and other people. I think that we put people on a pedestal when we see that they have followers, when we see that they get more likes or when we see that they can filter their pictures better. Also, when we see that they are jet-setting or cruising. We position them higher, and we esteem them higher than ourselves. If I esteem you higher, that makes me lower. Right? And if I feel like I'm lower, then I don't feel equal to you.
21N: What about friendships with respect to ourselves?
SA: Everything lies in my contribution to the world, how I show up for myself, and ultimately how I can show up for others. I am my most when I have loved myself when I have told myself as the mistakes are not my failure, they are not my finest thought. And when I had given myself second, third, fourth, fifth chance or however many chances and I feel equipped to go out and give and receive the type of love that I deserve from other people. And that's the power of community, building community, true community, true friendship says, I see you. I see all of you. It doesn't matter what you're going through. Doesn't matter where you came from, where you started. Doesn't matter where you're sitting right now. It doesn't matter what you decide to be tomorrow. I see you and I want to honor the person that you are and a true friend doesn't require you to be any more than who you are.
21N:You have a platform called The Great Girlfriends. Can you speak more about that?
SA: Yes. I'm so excited about that question. The Great Girlfriends, is a personal and professional development platform for women that was established in 2015 as a podcast that was intended to serve as a mentorship space for women that I and my business partner mentored, and we couldn't find enough time to get to them.
I was living between New Jersey and San Diego at the time and our space and our calendars were booked. We just didn't have the bandwidth, but we knew we wanted to continue to mentor. Well, she and I both were podcasts listeners, and so we thought, 'oh, why don't we start one of these?' Although, we didn't fully understand how to start a podcast or what it would mean to other people.
We knew at the that most of the podcasts we both listened to or that we found were dominated by white male voices. I'm a Southern girl with a lot of twain and I wanted to present a relatable voice that would allow women to know they had connections. And so we launched it! With $250.00 and a weekend of branding and in a few months of content development we reached 1500 downloads in the first week.
21N: What are your goals for your platform and conference?
SA: My goal with the podcast and the conference is to continue to offer the day summit for women who want to come together in the entrepreneurial small business space and learn from other tourism disruptors. The next stage of the conference itself is to build a festival centered around the power of friendships and bringing grants and celebrity and non-celebrity influencer friendships together to help share examples of stories, times of support, and then offering a relief fund or other support solutions.