Monday, October 26, 2009

Making Friends

I've been reflecting a lot lately on making friends, trying to remember how to do it. As a child it was so easy - see someone about your age at the park or in the school yard, walk up to that person, introduce yourself (although, this step could easily be done much later, or omitted all together), and ask the other kid, "Would you like to be friends?" As an adult, it seems so many more personal insecurities play into the friend-making process. How did I do it several years ago when we joined our church and I felt lost, alone, and depressed? I knew I needed someone, and now I have many someones - but how did it all happen?

I remember walking into the basement of the church on a Wednesday morning, terrified. So many women, all smiling and chatting over their crafts. Ugh, how I loathe crafts! So I make my way to the coffee pot, feeling tentative but trying my best not to look either afraid or stand-off-ish. I stand back and peruse the tables filled with friends.

Where should I sit? One table seems to be "older" women - ack, one of my high school teachers is sitting there! Another table of very young women (maybe close to my age, but I feel older). There they are...a table of women who are laughing loudly, talking back and forth and over each other, shouting out greetings to women walking in the door. They look welcoming. So I take a deep breath, stand up straight, put a smile on, walk myself, my coffee, and my craft supplies (ugh) over and ask, "Is this chair taken?"

I sat, I crafted (ugh), I listened, and every now and then I talked. And though I didn't feel comfortable - no, not for one moment - something in me knew that I could be comfortable in the place...eventually.

Wednesday after Wednesday, I went, I looked, I sat. And one week, the dam broke. I had tried a couple different tables over the weeks, but this week I was back with the group of loud outgoing gals. One of them said something that got all my senses firing. I heard her say, "When I had post-partum depression after..." That whole morning I waited for a chance to talk to her somewhat privately, because she knew my pain. Eventually, over another craft, that moment came. I can't recall if we made some small talk first and I somehow led the conversation around, or if I just jumped right in. But with a choked voice and tear-filled eyes I shared with her how I was struggling with post-partum depression. And that common-thread drew us together.

The next week she invited Pat and I to join the life group they were part of. Through that group, friendships bloomed. I began to learn who I was, what I was looking for, and who I wanted to spend my time with. Because of the love from that group (which, ironically, included my old high school teacher and her husband), I found healing in my broken places and friendship for my empty spaces.

It's good to remember that time. Though my friendships have changed over the years, and I am no longer connected with the people from that original life group, I will never forget the impact of knowing them and being welcomed by them.

As we step into this next place, I will remember. Be bold. Do not be afraid. Don't allow discomfort to make me shy away. Be real and open and honest. Look for opportunities. Be willing. Friendship will come, if I look for it. But it means stepping outside the bounds of where I feel comfortable, talking to people I don't know, possibly doing crafts (ugh), and looking for that common ground.

We've all had to make new friends at one time or another. What did you do to find those connections?


  1. This is how I created life-long-lasting friendships....

    Thanks for reminding me.


  2. Your love for crafts comes across so clearly in this post...haha!

    I found that some of the friendships and connections I have made have been the result of being being outgoing and putting myself out there. That is not my style whatsoever, or wasn't my style until I saw the benefits of doing it. I guess it may be easier to sit and wait for someone to approach you, but one could wait a long time and may eventually get turned off by "waiting".

    I know your new ventures will bring you many new friends and connections because you are able to reach out to women. I am so thankful that you reached out to me my dear are so loved!

  3. It is hard to make friends as an adult! I have made friends in two ways. I either look for the woman I admire and want to be more like and try to hang out with her or I reach back to the struggling woman whom I can help in some way and befriend her.


I am so glad you stopped by! My hope is that we can engage in a conversation together. I love to reply to your comments, but I need your help to make that happen.

If you have a blogger profile, would you consider editing your profile to "show my email address?" Then, when I receive your comment in my email inbox, I can reply directly to you.

Alternately, you can check the box "email follow up comments to..." so that I can reply to you right here. (You will also receive other readers' comments using this method.)

I'm excited to get to know you better!