Something I found interesting today—three times in the past several weeks I have been asked to speak on the same topic—friendship. Each group requested this topic, not knowing I have been asked by another group. It wasn’t a situation where word got around and another group asked me to do so as well. Three different groups from three vibrant churches.
I thought about this today. Friendship always has been and continues to be a felt need for women.
We all want friendships—a comfy place we can be ourselves and come away feeling loved and understood; feeling that when we need someone, someone will be there, that we are not ultimately alone. We crave that connection, but we don’t want the drama or the risk.
Why is it so hard for women to find good friends? Many reasons, but I think one of the biggest contributing factors today is social media. We mistakenly think online relationships are equal to in-person relationships. They are not. They give the illusion of relationship but do not produce the same chemical in the brain that gives us that feel-good-because-hung-out-with-my-besties feeling. We think we are connecting with friends but in truth we are not. It’s a psych-out courtesy of your favorite social media site.
If you find yourself in a place of wanting real relationships that work, I have two ways to start you on your path. Well, maybe three. . .
- Don’t blame others. It’s up to you to pursue good friendships. This may be a lengthy process so don’t be discouraged. It takes time (and I mean even months or longer) to find a good friend. At different times in my life I experienced a friend-desert lasting for years. It has taken years for me to build the friendships I have today.
- Pray. We cannot possibly be a good friend to everyone we know or meet. We need God to guide us to those women who will be good for us. Even Jesus was not best friends with everyone. He had His Inner Circle, twelve disciples, the Lazarus, a group of women supporters that followed Him and the disciples around and took care of them. These are the people He intentionally poured into. We need to ask God to show us the people He wants us to reach out to, to invest in, and to create community with.
- A genuine smile. Would it kill some of you to smile—and at someone you don’t know? I am always amazed at the most often positive response I receive to my smile. Look at whoever is coming your way and smile. Our culture doesn’t see people any more. We have our faces locked on our phones or staring into space. See others and smile. The results will bless you.
I will definitely be discussing this more in coming days, but this is a good start. Building friendships is more like a marathon than a sprint, But women often expect the friendship building process to be a sprint. Most often it takes time to get to know the other person and build trust with each other. So give your relationships time to grow. Speaking from experience, it will be well worth it.
Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.