Danielle Bayard Jackson

Moms to Know: Danielle Bayard Jackson, Friendship Coach, Educator & Author

We may not always remember where we placed our keys or what we had for dinner last night, but we will never forget our first best friend. As fulfilling as friends can be, science tells us that friendship is also critical to our overall well-being, health, and longevity.

This is why we inherently crave and pursue authentic platonic connections as adults, and observe in wonder (and sometimes horror) as our children do the same.

With schedules that are packed with playdates, sports, school, and the many other ways we socialize our kids, what, then, is left for us parents who also dream of a Monica to our Rachel? This is where a Friendship Coach comes in.

Danielle Bayard Jackson

Tell us about the journey that led you to this special way to offer your well-researched expertise and innate skill set.

Danielle Bayard Jackson: I began as a high school teacher and eventually worked my way up to being an academic chair. The teachers in my department found that the number one issue students were facing was interpersonal matters. We had a front-row seat to the ways that friendship impacted everything else, including their attendance, mood and performance.

When I left the classroom and got into the public relations industry, I found that my charismatic, high-achieving women clients were dealing with the same friendship issues that my teens were facing—it just looked a little bit different.

That’s when I became curious about the ways in which our social network impacts our health and happiness. So for the past six years, I’ve dedicated my career to studying what the research has to say about women’s conflict and connection.

Why do adult women struggle with friendship, and how can a friendship coach help?

Danielle Bayard Jackson: The research suggests that women have higher expectations of their close relationships than men do; this includes both romantic and platonic relationships. We give a lot to our friendships, but yes, we also expect a lot more. So I believe that women sometimes struggling with meeting their friends’ needs and knowing how to get their needs met.

Communicating through those issues can be tricky, though, because we are also trying to manage our reputation, not wanting to come across as being difficult (a societal pressure that women often face more than men). At the heart of it, we want women we can love and be loved by, but there are a lot of personal and cultural things that often get in the way of us being more satisfied in these kinds of relationships.

A friendship coach can help you figure out a friend-related goal and figure out tangible steps to do something about it. Most of my clients are high-achieving women who are privately unsatisfied with their female friendships.

I’m not too often dealing with those who are “socially awkward.” It’s the extroverted networkers who often feel the most alone and misunderstood. They find it helpful to have someone who can equip them with research and strategies to experience more platonic intimacy in their friendships.


What has been most rewarding in being a part of their growth and success?

Danielle Bayard Jackson: The best part of this is when women tell me, “It feels like you’re in my head!” I don’t think it’s necessarily because I’m so intuitive, but I’m a good listener and I’m an educator.

So it’s important to me to keep a pulse on current friendship trends and struggles while also finding research-based solutions. It’s such a blessing to have so many women trust me with such a personal issue.


You have garnered the attention and adoration of notable figures we all know and admire. What has been one of your proudest moments of recognition to date?

Danielle Bayard Jackson: I’m really proud of my partnerships with Bumble. When they asked me to be the spokesperson for their new app, Bumble for Friends, I felt very seen. That company is such a champion of connection, and it’s always nice to partner with brands that feel like an extension of your own values.

It’s also really nice when I do interviews on celebrity podcasts, because people often admire them for their accolades and charisma, but when we’re done recording, they often open up about ways they’re struggling to connect with other women.

And it’s a reminder that friendship is the great equalizer—it doesn’t matter who you are or how much money you have, we’re all trying our best to create and sustain quality relationships.


Through motherhood, women share so many relatable experiences that should bring communities of moms closer together. However, this isn’t the case. What happens among mothers that makes it challenging to find their ideal mom-group or that one ride-or-die mom friend?

Danielle Bayard Jackson: Connecting with like-minded people can be challenging in any context, but it can be especially difficult in motherhood. Moms need a lot of support, and it can be hard to find another mom who shares your values, can offer support and has the capacity to engage the way you desire.

But it’s possible. I recommend three things: try not to dismiss women as friends because they parent differently; be careful of getting caught up in cliques; and remember that you don’t have to get all of your social needs met by one person. It’s healthy to have a diverse portfolio of relationships.

I would also encourage moms to ask for the help they need. We so often feel bereft in our friendships because we don’t get the support we’re looking for, but we’re also afraid to ask for fear that we’ll look like a mom who doesn’t have it all together. But the truth is that none of us do, and you can’t get your needs met if you won’t make your needs known.


As parents navigate the friendships of their kids and stumble through the difficulties of “mean girls,” “achievement disparities,” and so much more, what resources or strategies do you recommend for mom and dads to best support their child? 

Danielle Bayard Jackson: As a former teacher, I can’t stress the importance of being in community with your kids’ teachers. They have a unique vantage point and intimately observe your child’s social dynamic in ways you don’t get to see. Let them know you want to work with them to understand your child’s behavior and their insights as a key stakeholder in that child’s life.

For parents with daughters, I also recommend the book “Untangled” by Lisa Damour, Ph. D. and “Set Boundaries Find Peace” by Nedra Glover Tawwab. These books will equip you with tangible ways to support kids who are struggling to connect with others or speak up for themselves.

Also, speak up to people you trust about your issues, because they can share intel about resources that can be helpful. You will never benefit from keeping your kids’ friendship issues private out of shame or because you want to look like the perfect family.


We are so excited to share that your book (published by Hachette) is available now for pre-order! What can you tell us about this project?

Danielle Bayard Jackson: I’m so thrilled to get “Fighting for our Friendships: The Science and Art of Conflict and Connection in Women’s Relationships” in people’s hands.  This book is meant to help people understand the mechanics of women’s friendships. What brings us together? What tears us apart?

I share research to help us understand the bigger picture because having healthy conflict in friendship is inevitable, but if you don’t know how to manage it, you’ll find yourself friendless or in low-quality relationships.


What do you love to do most with your family in Tampa Bay?

Danielle Bayard Jackson: I love walking the Riverwalk or going to Lowry Park with my kids during the day, and then exploring new restaurants for date night with my husband. I’m so proud to live in Tampa because of both its rich history and rapid growth. We’re so happy to call this place home.


Connect with Danielle:


Meet MORE Moms to Know in Tampa Bay:

Photo credit: Shaniya Clarke | Originally published in the March 2024 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.