I never felt that way. Though I had three sisters and eventually a brother, I never quite “got it” when it came to the social skills/cues that others seemed to have naturally.
It didn’t help that I was book smart and younger than the cut-off date for school. I thought of myself as a little adult and most of my friends were teachers.
Still, when I got to college, I finally began to think, “perhaps that person is just as shy as I am and if I say hi first, they might want to be my friend!”
It worked! All of a sudden, being friendly was giving me friendships and I no longer needed to feel alone and sorry for myself!
That worked okay in college, but when I moved across the country to a new town where I knew a handful of my husband’s friends and had no family or support system, I felt alone once again.
Of course I had my faith and my devotional life and my new husband, but I was craving that deep bond of sisterhood with somebody IN PERSON. The problem lay in my inability to see beyond my empty chair.
Here I was with so much to offer if somebody would just come along and sit in that open chair of friendship. I was afraid to reach out, but longed for somebody to reach out to me!
I began to get involved at our church, and my husband and I began attending a small group Bible study. That did help me to meet other wives and slowly I began to feel like I was a part of a community, but I was craving a more exclusive friendship-an inner circle kind of friend.
Those are difficult to find, and I had some poor choices of friendship along the way. I was so desperate to find deep friendship that I ignored some signs of unhealthy friendship. A friend struggling in her own marriage became too dependent on my friendship and it was taking away from my own marriage because I was letting her lean on me so heavily.
After having our first child, I was fairly isolated until I began attending the daytime Bible study our church offered. It was nice not to be the only young mom among grandmothers, and I started to get some deeper friendships.
After a few months, a new family joined our church and we hit it off! Their daughter was only a month older than ours, and it was a fabulous friendship. We went through some great trials-their daughter developed cancer just before her first birthday but responded well to treatment and just celebrated her seventh birthday, still cancer-free!
They conceived their second child a month after we conceived, and they conceived their third about five months after we conceived our third. We went for walks together, we’d pray together, we laughed and cried together, and the emotional and spiritual bonds we forged were strong. (They still are)
I remember still the day they came by when our second born was about to have a birthday. They were going to move out of town for a new job, and he had gone ahead of her and the children. We were still supposed to have a month together, but just like that, she was leaving town!
It felt like a piece of me left town with her. I was so pained and depressed. How often do you have a friend that is perfect for you whose children are so close in age to your own? I had other friends whose kids were off-set by a year with my own or whose youngest matched the age of my oldest. They played together, but it wasn’t easy for me with the moms as we weren’t exactly at the same points in life.
I’ve had some great friendships since then, but it seems to be a pattern for me. I’ll get really close to a friend, and then, right when I’m appreciating the depth of the friendship and the trust we’ve built, she has to move away.
Does this mean I should not invest ever again in a deep relationship? Though my short-term dark-mood pity-party self might want to say “yes,” Jesus is reminding me of something else.
I’m not the only person to want or need a deep friendship. His Holy Spirit is going to meet my deepest needs, but He knows I need fellowship.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.“ (Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV)
He gave me a new friend this year, at my daughter’s school. We’ve been at the school for three years now and I noticed one mom pushing a jogging stroller daily, so after about a week, I intentionally reached out. She seemed like she needed a friend, but truly, I didn’t see how much it was I who needed her.
This summer she moved away for her husband’s job, and she sent me a photo on my phone of her son’s injury the exact night we took my daughter to the ER for an injury. I know it’s much harder to keep up a friendship at a distance, but the deep friendships survive the tests of time and space. You can pick up right where you left off.
I’ve been resting and listless a bit this summer, but I know that when school starts back up I have two choices. I can feel sorry for myself, or I can be the friend I am looking for, and for some other person, she will be that friend to me. Instead of looking inside myself at a hole, I’m seeking to fill one in somebody else.
At Brave Girl Community, we are here to help you be brave. We’re sponsoring a book giveaway of “Let’s All Be Brave” by Annie F. Downs and we would love to be able to send this book straight to you! If you haven’t already, make sure to enter the giveaway. You can receive up to 10 extra entries each day just for stopping back by!
Perhaps reaching out for friendship seems like an impossible act of bravery for you – Please let us know if we can pray for you and make that first step a little easier!
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV)