When I was in fourth grade my family moved and I had to change schools. Walking into a new class mid-year as a 10 year old was SCARY. I didn’t know anyone, but the kids in my class were great and welcoming and included me right away. Before long I received a note from a blonde girl named Emily. It simply read, “Do you want to be my best friend?” Fast forward two decades and Emily and I are still friends!
Last year, however, we both moved to new places, states apart. That took us from our hometown where we had grown up and had our babies, with our familiar friends and family, our churches and our lives.
Once the dust had settled from the move and I was busy making my family’s new home on the central coast, I was taken back to that fourth grade classroom on the first day of school. It occurred to me that while everything was new and exciting, the fact that I had no friends was also SCARY. The thing about being the new girl when you are a 30 something in a new town with kids and a husband, is no one is lining up at your door asking you if you want to come out and play. Chances are, you are not going to get a note from the cute blonde girl asking you to be her best friend. If you want friends, you have to do the work to make them.
You know what is easy? Just finding fulfillment and joy in spending your hours with your family. And don’t get me wrong, that is fine! However, there is something rich and fulfilling about girl time and being able to unwind and have a great time with girlfriends. God has put this desire in us and encourages us to grow friendships.
Proverbs 27:9 Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.
You know what is hard? Putting yourself out there! Risking rejection! Sacrificing your ego in hopes that you find a kindred spirit! It is NOT easy, but I hope you take the challenge. In case you find yourself craving that friendly feeling, here are a few ideas for you:
- Eat lunch with colleagues. Leave your office, cubicle, or classroom and eat with those you work with. You already know you have at least one thing in common because you work at the same place. Work friendships can be great because they are convenient and add simple joy to your day!
- Join a Bible Study. Some friendships are easier to sustain if you can find “couple friends.” My husband and I joined a small group Bible study through our church and have made friends with some couples.
- Join a Club. A couple months ago my coworker friend Chrystal asked if I would want to join her book club. I absolutely love it and I have found some amazing, brilliant women to mingle with. My friend found the club a year ago on Facebook. There are many groups that you can find online and then meet in real life.
- Make friends with other parents. We signed our daughter up for soccer and enjoyed spending our Saturdays getting to know the other parents and families. My mom’s closest friends are other football moms she met through my brothers. Joining the PTA at your child’s school can also be a way to get involved and make friends.
- Be friendly. This may seem obvious, and it can be scary to try new things, but when opportunity comes knocking, SAY YES! If a co-worker invites you to lunch, say yes. If a neighbor invites you over for dinner, say yes. If your child’s school is hosting an event, go! Saying yes and putting yourself out there can make all the difference. If you don’t seem friendly and receptive, you may miss the chance to make a new friend.