Just Be Friends: The Search for Sisterhood

By Charlotte Bumstead
Regina local Janice Taylor was married for 12 years before she and her husband separated. Taylor found she was in need of a friend—someone to go to the movies or out for dinner with, whenever her kids weren’t around. “I didn’t necessarily want to date, but our society is built on couples,” said Taylor. “I really just wanted a friend to do things with.” Taylor does have a best friend of 23 years named Mona Crandell, but Crandell is married and therefore limited in availability.

Last June, the single mother and former pharmaceutical sales rep founded www.justbefriends.ca, an online match-making website for female friendships. Taylor was inspired through her own experience and desire for such companionship. She pursued an ongoing interest initiated from her university studies in women’s self-esteem, a course she originally took with the hope of delving into herself, as well as the relationships around her. “My friendships have had incredible highs and incredible lows, sometimes of my own doing,” writes Taylor on her site. “Through it all, I have persevered, and now it is time for me to give back; [to] encourage other women to live their best life possible, regardless of their situation.”

Though 35-year-old Taylor is not yet a Zoomer, her site welcomes women of this demographic with a bright smile and offers them, “The very best that a friendship could and should be.” She also looks up to women of experience for their female bonding expertise—specifically admiring the zoomin’ queen of daytime talk. Only two months after launching her site, Taylor wrote in to The Oprah Winfrey Show explaining her root for motivation: “Every woman should have a Gayle.”

Taylor hit Winfrey’s soft spot, and before she knew it she was granted a seat at Oprah’s 25th season premiere on Sept.13. Winfrey awarded that audience of 150 “Ultimate Viewers”—plus their guest of choice—with a free, 10 day trip to Australia in December. Taylor took Crandall along for the adventure.

Now, along with a membership login, expert advice, video diaries, chat and much more, you can also find Taylor’s blog describing her “Quest to Oprah” on the site. With your membership you are offered: an opportunity to connect within your community; discounts from local businesses; fashion tips and advice, as well as the chance for a makeover; and the option to join the movement of Generation Give and donate to a local charity of your choice.

Who knows? Maybe your very own Gayle King really is just a mouse click away.