I’m all too familiar with the difficulty of making new and genuine friends as an adult. I don’t live in the same town, or even the same state, that I grew up in and the paths of college friends have gone in many different directions. I have a few close girlfriends, but it honestly took several years to develop those relationships.
Making friends is not for the faint of heart.
It’s like dating all over again (from a married woman’s perspective) and who wants to do that? Sorry single ladies, dating isn’t for the faint of heart either.
And for the introvert (hello!), it is even more difficult. The introductions, the small talk of trying to find some common ground, and then the dreaded phone number exchange. Who asks who? There isn’t a man involved to take charge of the situation. It’s awkward, it’s uncomfortable, and frankly, I have mostly chosen to be “single” without close friends rather than go through all that weirdness.
As I mentioned, I do have a few close girlfriends, but the reality is that they aren’t the friendships that help deepen and grow my faith and relationship with God. And I’m OK with that. I love those friends and the sweet friendships that we have. But as a Jesus follower desperately seeking to grow closer to my Savior every day, I need genuine friendships that encourage exactly that. I need people in my life who are looking for the same thing; ladies that can both support me and want to be supported by me in that all encompassing life aspect.
So I have decided to actively attempt making friends with women that I can share my faith with.
My husband is very outgoing and makes conversation easily so he agreed to an after-church lunch with some of his friends one Sunday. I sat next to his friend’s wife and made casual conversation. When she invited us over for our children to play and have lunch later that week I thought, “now or never.”
So later that week as I was nervously preparing to go to her house I received a text from her asking if I had any bread because she didn’t have enough. I instantly relaxed a bit. “She’s out of bread and rather than running to the store, she’s asking me for help. She isn’t perfect. Whew!” I thought.
I arrived to her beautiful home in a newly built and gorgeous neighborhood. But what I walked into was what I least expected. A lived in home. Breakfast was still on the table, dishes were still in the sink, and I’ll stop there before I unfairly paint my friend out to be something inaccurate. No judgement here. I am a mother of a 4 year old and 1 year old. I get it! And so did she.
She asked me to pitch in and help clean if I wanted. This gave me a job I could focus on and something to accomplish while chatting and getting to know one another better without staring at the walls during awkward silences. She served me tea, we sat outside as our kids played, and then we ate lunch. We actually did “life” together that day.
I could relax because I knew she didn’t have it all together. Nor did she act like it. And that spoke volumes.
I’m not saying to purposely never clean your house if that isn’t who you are. But if you are willing to be real, authentic, transparent, and vulnerable with others, they will more feel comfortable doing the same.
The following week she came to my home and I can’t say I was totally relaxed about it. But I did a lot less prep cleaning than I normally would have.
Adult friendships that are genuine and run deep are hard to come by and develop. They often don’t form within a few times of grabbing coffee together. They take time, dedication, and usually small sacrifices.
Spending that time with my new friend and seeing things that I would have naturally tried to hide gave me the courage I needed to be that kind of friend to someone else.
I pray that if you are seeking genuine friendships with other women which you can share your life and faith with, that God will place these ladies before you. At a recent Bible study solely on the topic of friendship, our speaker suggested that we should first be a friend to someone who needs a friend more than we do. So pray for boldness and the courage to be authentic and transparent so that they may be able to do the same.