Hi everyone, and welcome to Friendshift! I’m Hannah - yoga-loving solo mum and UK-based friendship coach with ADHD and a serious coffee addiction.
Here’s my story…
As a young adult, I struggled to feel connected. I filled my time with work, socialising and dating - short-term relationships which eventually fizzled out. I worked hard to build my career - but outside of work, I often felt exhausted, disconnected, and uncomfortable in my own skin. I had good people around me, but struggled to build balanced, healthy friendships, and often looked to others to set direction for me. I spent my energy on trying to ‘fit in’ – shutting down the parts of myself that I assumed other people wouldn’t like, and trying my hardest not to upset anyone with my opinions, wants or needs. I’d learnt, somewhere along the line, that it was my job to make other people feel okay, even if that came at my own expense. I lacked the confidence to stand up for who I really was, or to ask for help when I needed it.
As we got older and my friends' priorities shifted towards their partners and their children, I felt more and more adrift. I realised I was looking for a relationship just to fill a void, and started to think hard about what it meant to be single in my early thirties.
In 2017 I started The Living Well Alone Project for people living alone like I was. Through the Project, I met hundreds of amazing people who were living outside of the mainstream. Some were struggling – like me - to find the emotional intimacy they needed, outside of a romantic relationship. But I met so many others leading empowered, deeply connected lives with powerful friendships at their heart, rather than romantic relationships. I spent years talking, learning, absorbing everything I could from them.
In the last few years I've been on a journey of stepping into my own power, putting myself in the driving seat of my own life. Inspired by the amazing Brene Brown, I’ve practiced vulnerability - learning how to show up authentically in a way that’s much more in keeping with my natural energy, and how to be there for other people without exhausting myself (especially while managing my ADHD). It hasn’t been easy – I’ve had to let some people go who just weren’t good for me, and I've learnt the importance of setting and holding strong emotional boundaries. And I’ve grown in self-awareness too – taking more and more responsibility for my health and happiness.
I now go through every day knowing that I'm cared for and loved, with friends who would fly across the world for me (and I for them).
Now I work with amazing people who are exactly where I was. People who are conscientious, thoughtful, caring and kind – but struggling with the skills and confidence to chart their own course, or to create a circle of connections that are as supportive as they would want them to be. I help my clients find the confidence to build thriving, purposeful, successful solo lives, as well as building authentic, emotionally intimate, sustainable non-romantic relationships which sustain them. In other words, deep friendships that stand the test of time. It’s wonderful seeing people I’ve worked with find fulfilment in their lives ‘as they are now.’