Have you ever struggled with friendships?
You’re not alone.
Making friends is uncomfortable for most of us. First, we are in different life stages and juggling multiple commitments. Those two things make it difficult to get together and eventually awkward. Ever had the thought, “Do I ask her out to coffee again or just let this go?” Or is that just me? 🙂
The other piece I think that makes new friendships uncomfortable is the misconception you need a best friend or a tight-knit group of people to have a friendship. This can put a lot of pressure on someone to “fit in.” It also causes us to analyze social interactions way more than necessary.
Take the Pressure off Friendship
I have good news for those looking to make new friends, well at least I hope it is because there is always a chance I could be wrong. The good news is that through my experience I have discovered you do not need a best friend or tight-knit group of people to experience life giving friendship.
While I do not have the magic pixie dust to make a friendship appear, a season of not fitting in taught me so much about friendship.
For a few years, I was part of an incredible group of women who met every single week. We started the group together and met every single week. These were ladies I admired in their faith, kindness, careers, and marriages. However, while they were people I liked, during those few years I always felt out of place. I felt as if I was always saying the wrong thing and should be acting differently. The truth is, I was a combat female veteran in a church group. I did not know the first thing about normal and fitting in, but I so wanted to.
My place at the table never really felt right, not like Goldilocks and Little Bear’s chair, so I eventually gave them a break and transitioned out. Even though that was a really difficult decision to make, because they were my only friends in town and I still really liked each one of them, it gave me space to reflect on what that group of women taught me about myself in friendship.
3 areas to focus on if you are seeking friendship and it hasn’t quite clicked yet.
- Spend time with people you like. It’s that simple. You do not have to be bestie’s to experience the benefits of friendship.
- Ask yourself: How can I be a better friend? If you are longing for deep friendship then become the healthy friend you hope to find.
- What do I like about this friendship? Think of a friend you enjoy being around, who always makes you smile. Write down 3 ways they make you smile. Do they ask thoughtful questions? Do they greet you with a smile? Are they understanding of a bad day?
It may sound too simple, I get that. I thought it was too. 7.5 years after my first meet up with this group of beautiful women, whom I am acquaintances with today, I have discovered the most important insight they gave me. If you are seeking friendship, spend time around people you like.
Friendship & Trauma
On a side note, a couple of years later I realized making true, deep friendships wasn’t going to happen in that group because I had mountains of healing to experience first. I mean, the last friend I had made ended up in a military hospital and I was so freaked out I ghosted. There was a lot my therapist and I needed to talk about before I could enter in healthy relationships, both didn’t happen for years.
But consistently showing up and spending time with women I liked was a key part of creating my life of hope after trauma. They demonstrated healthy friendship, showed me what female relationships could look like. They continue to be acquaintances I enjoy running into today.
Take the pressure off. Depending on where you are in life showing up may be the only step you have the capacity for. And let me tell you, that is a huge step. So pick a book study, hobby, an activity that meets several times a month and commit for 6 months. You might hate it most of the time. That’s okay. Just make sure they are people you kinda like and they don’t put you down.
Oh, and guess what? If you don’t know how to make time for being around people you like, I hope The WE Spot will be that for you. As Sarah Monares, the visionary of this community, says in her invitation to the table, “We promise to show up with you for any conversation. We will talk about the hard stuff and funny stuff. Nothing is off limits.”
So, if that sounds amazing, be sure to join The WE Spot community. We would love to get to know YOU!