Hey there! You’re probably here to find out the answer to the riddle I posted on my Instagram page, right? In case you missed it, here it is one more time…
If you’re like me you probably guessed the answer is love; it makes sense, right? But, the actual answer is…
I’ve thought a lot about this post over the last few months and exactly what I wanted to say about friendship. After graduating from college and getting married, one of the biggest things I struggled with was building deep, meaningful friendships. My closest friends didn’t live in the same city and I found it difficult to find people to connect with. Until the last two years or so, I felt pretty deficient in this area. I knew that this was something I had to work on. Being a wife and now a mom, my thoughts about and approach to friendship have changed. I’ve learned several lessons over the years that I want to share. I hope you find some encouragement from the things I’ve learned.
Lesson 1: Maintaining friendships requires being intentional.
I have been blessed to have some amazing women in my life that I can truly call my best friends, but it’s taken a lot of work to sustain those friendships through distance and life change. In college, I could literally walk downstairs or across campus to hang out with my friends. Now, with two of my closest friends living out of state and another balancing family life and work just like me, maintaining those relationships isn’t as easy as it used to be. Because I value these relationships so much, I have to be intentional about doing the work to keep them growing. For me, that means texting or calling to check up on my friends on a regular basis or making plans to see them when I know they are in town for a visit. I have found that intentionality is something that I need to continue to work on, especially as I build relationships with new people locally.
Lesson 2: Connect with people who share common interests.
This has probably the hardest for me. Historically, I have kept my circle of friends small, but in recent years I have had to be open to meeting and connecting with new people. I think having my son has helped me the most in this area. I have found it to be much easier to connect with other moms since we for sure have one thing in common, our kids. Even if you don’t have children, the key here is that finding commonality with others can help open doors to building new friendships. Look for people who share common interests. Look for opportunities to connect others at work, in your church, or local community groups and organizations you may be involved in.
Lesson 3: Get to know people in different stages of life.
Two of my closest friends are single, with no children. We are in completely different stages of life, yet, these ladies have been two of the people who have challenged me the most in the areas of spiritual and creative growth. I am inspired to do better because of the strides I see them making as they chase their dreams. In addition, I have found it beneficial to connect with people who are older than me and have more life experience. I have been able to observe and learn from these individuals as they live out their lives in front of me.
Lesson 4: Get to know people in similar stages of life.
In the last two years, the Lord has blessed me with friends who are like me, married with children. It’s been such a blessing to have people that I can relate to when it comes to issues of marriage and raising my son. These ladies have become a great support system; they continue to encourage me and challenge me to be a better wife and mom.
Lesson 5: Change your perspective.
Friendship is not always about you and your needs. One thing I’ve learned is that if I want good friends I need to first be a good friend. I can’t pursue a friendship with an agenda of my own. I have to invest in others, being willing to be kind, encouraging, and supportive regardless if it is reciprocated. Does this mean I continue to pursue a friendship with someone who takes advantage of my kindness or is completely uninterested in being my friend? No, but it does mean I seek to be the kind of friend I would want others to be to me.