Suggestions on how to start a women's group, from "Girls' Night Out":

* Find a co-creator. You may find it more satisfying and less intimidating to start a group with another woman. A partner can help overcome self-doubt, that nagging fear of throwing a dinner party to which no one comes.

* Choose members carefully. Think before you ask someone to join. Consider personal styles, personal histories and existing friendships. Also, decide how diverse you would like the group to be -- do you want a group that can relate because members are at the same phase in their lives, or do you want to broaden your horizons and delve into differences?

* Consider the size of the group. Groups with five to 12 members seem to work best. Think about your goals; study groups may function better with more members, while groups formed just for friendship work better with smaller numbers. Also consider your policy with regard to accepting new members.

* When in doubt, eat! Early meetings may be a bit awkward; a good idea is to convene around an activity, theme or intention that captivates interest. Or, do what comes naturally -- tell each other your stories. But no matter what, share a meal together. Go out to dinner, cook together or for one another, serve a meal portrayed in a movie or a book. All the groups in the book found joyous collective meals to be a sure way of connecting.