Everyone needs people to live life with.
The people that you can call anytime and you know they will be there for you.
The people that will be straight-up honest with you.
The people that will have your back first and ask questions later.
The people that you can have a disagreement with and you know that neither of you is going anywhere because you are in it together.
Some are lucky and have the same friends from when they were little.
Some found this in a spouse.
Some have this in their family.
Some can feel like they are on the outside looking in for what seems to be a majority of their lives.
A few years back, I wasn’t feeling very connected with the women in my life. I could just tell that my presence was being tolerated more than enjoyed. I never felt very positive about myself when I was with them and when I wasn’t with them, I felt like I was missing out on something going on without me. It wasn’t a “mean girl” situation. I think we simply didn’t click. We weren’t meant to be close. I firmly believe that God connects us with people for reasons. Maybe you need to learn something from them. Maybe they need to learn something from you. Maybe you start something great together.
One day when I wasn’t invited to an event and I just couldn’t get past it, I decided to talk about it with another friend. She told me something that instantly freed me and has enabled me to navigate relationships with a different outlook. She simply said, “God did not intend for you to be there.” BOOM… Right?! God simply did not intend for me to be a part of this event. I instantly felt free. I no longer felt like it was up to me to try so hard to fit into this group. I decided to see where this would take me and wouldn’t you know, within a few months, we just naturally fell apart. It just wasn’t meant for me to be in that inner circle, in that group. That is okay. It doesn’t mean I don’t like them or that they don’t like me.
I wanted to get a group of friends that we could live life with. A group that we could call if we had an emergency. A group that would spring into action if a family needed meals or babysitting. A group that would tell me if I was being a terrible parent. A group that could flush out issues with their kids and get honest feedback with no judgement. Sometimes those groups naturally fall together. A small group from church just clicks, or a group of old friends never lost touch. That hadn’t happened, so I had to be intentional about it.
Right smack in the middle of all of this, I attended a homeschool conference. Two of my favorite speakers were on the schedule. Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom and Heidi St. John of The Busy Mom. Both women spoke about how to have healthy relationships with other women. Until this very moment, I secretly thought I was the only one with this issue. I thought it was “a me” problem and not something that other people went through.
Two things stayed with me.
1. Pray for God to lead you to the right women.
2. Have an honest conversation about what you want and expect from your friendship.
I asked God to point me to my people.
I prayed for a few women to come into my life. I prayed that I would fill needs for them and they would be exactly what I needed.
Over time, I would hear a gentle whispered “her”. With each new friend, I thought quietly about who they were. What did they value, how did they treat their other friends, husbands and children. Most important… could we laugh together?
Feeling exposed and unsure of myself. I took the first step to higher quality friendships. I felt like I was on a date, trying to figure out “where we were in the relationship”.
I had never taken friendship that seriously before. I always treated everyone that talked to me like they were in my inner circle. Assuming that about a friendship without talking to the other person isn’t fair. People do not have a free pass to hurt you, but they do deserve to know what you expect.
I told them that I was looking to form some new tight knit friendships. Ones that were straightforward with no hidden agendas. I told them that I expected them to talk to me first if we had any issues and that I would do the same. I told them that I would be there for them and I expected them to be there for me as well.
I have people now!
People that I can count on. People that can count on me.
Years ago, I would have thought being so intentional and talking about my feelings and expectations was silly. The fact of the matter is that it is important and allows for both people in the relationship to be vulnerable and feel safe.
So do it! Be brave. Talk about what you need and what you can give to a relationship. It leads to powerful friendships.