As a child it is fairly easy to make friends, right? We just share a toy or snack, or even just jump right in playing with someone new. Maybe those friendships don’t last, maybe they do. But kids don’t worry about saying something awkward, or appearing too eager to make friends, do they?
Why is it so much harder to make friends as a grown woman? I am by nature, a quiet person, so I am not likely to approach people and start a conversation unless I have to. I had only a few close friends growing up, one of whom I am still in touch with (we have been dear friends for almost 20 years!), but sadly, she lives far away from me so our visits are infrequent. I love my friend greatly, but she is not always available to chat or hang out, so I decided I should make some new friends locally. Well, that was easier said than done! As a classic introvert, I prefer to spend time alone with my husband, so the idea of meeting someone new was a bit daunting. But I knew I needed to do this. Living in the country made for many a secluded day, especially when my husband was working full time. And while I love my husband very much, he doesn’t share my interest in knitting, books, cooking, sewing…well, you get the idea! Even though I enjoy his company greatly, I wanted female companionship.
In all seriousness, I had considered posting a “friends wanted” ad on Facebook because I so desperately wanted company! Side note: I am dear friends with Amanda, creator of this blog, but we live in different countries so our time together is limited to occasional Skype chats and all day Facebook messages. I am so blessed by her friendship! As wonderful as long distance friendships are, sometimes it is just so uplifting to meet with someone face to face, which is why I still desired local friends.
So what does a rational person do when they seek friendships with other women? Instead of whining about having no friends, I decided to take charge and LOOK for someone to befriend. After thinking about it for a bit I realized there was someone I knew through church, but I didn’t know her well enough to count her as a friend. Once I decided that I’d like to be friends with her, I realized I didn’t really know how to go about it. I mean, do I just walk up to her and say “let’s be friends”? So I waited some more until I could figure out a mature way to approach her with my offer of friendship. Finally, I decided to ignore how uncomfortable I thought it would be, and just send her a message on Facebook. I basically told her that I would like to get together sometime soon because I would enjoy getting to know her better. If she ignored me, that was okay, but at least I took the first step.
We did end up going out for coffee shortly after, and it was great! For almost two hours we talked about anything and everything, and it was great. We are at different places in our lives, but our morals and values are the same. Even though we may not share all the same interests, we were still able to talk about our hobbies and activities, and learn from each other.
If you find yourself desiring friendships, allow me to leave you with some advice. First of all, pray about it. I know it sounds silly, but like I tell the students in my youth group: no request is small or silly to God. He hears all of them and wants us to talk to Him about what is on our hearts. Ask Him to make you the kind of person that is a good friend, as well as to send people your way that would be suitable friends for you.
In order to have a friend, we need to first be a good friend, right? Nobody wants to spend time with someone who is selfish, always checking their phone, is not a good listener, etc. So if you are in that “in between friends” stage, take some time to work on yourself. Work on putting other’s needs before your own (one idea is to volunteer somewhere), taking time to be present in conversations, and generally being the kind of friend you would want. Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:12, which say
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Also make sure you are actively looking for friendship, instead of waiting around for someone to approach you first. If you are involved in a church, be mindful of your fellow congregants and take note of someone who looks like they need a friend. Or make a bold move and approach an older lady that you would like to get to know better. Friendships don’t need to be between people close in age!
As I said before, Amanda and I are dear friends separated by distance, but our friendship truly is a God-send. If you are unable to find people to befriend locally, don’t be so quick to rule out online friendships. Obviously, you should exercise caution when doing this. Amanda and I “met” in a group, and then I realized she was the author of this blog (which I had read before, but back then it had a different name). When I saw that she was looking for contributors I quickly applied, and our friendship bloomed from there.
Speaking of online friendships, I encourage you to join The Homemaker’s Corner on Facebook, where you can talk with like minded women in a safe place.