Do you remember when you were in school and how effortless it was to make a new friend? You walked up to that little girl with piggy tails and said, “I like your pink dress.” And then that little girl said, “Thanks! Wanna swing?”
There were no worries that you weren’t cute or funny enough. Sure you had to have the right pair of shoes to be friends with some kids, but for the most part, you spoke a few kind words and then ran hand in hand to the merry-go-round.
Making friends when you’re grown up is considerably more challenging. You don’t have a playground or classroom to find someone to talk to and play with. You have responsibilities, a job, and minimal down time. Now your world is diapers and after-school sports, grocery shopping and errands.
Yet as women we
desire need friendships. Friendships are what connect us to the outside world, encourage us in the midst of adversity, and give us ideas when we’ve plum run out. Godly Christian friends are hard to find as we grow older, but they are essential to our growth and development. So, when we find someone who might be what Anne of Green Gables called “a kindred spirit,” we want to make a lasting impression.
Do you remember your first date with your husband? How you were so nervous and excited all at once? You wanted to look your best, and you probably spent hours getting ready, thinking about what you’d say and where you’d go, praying that he was “the one.” You knew the importance of the first date: If it went badly, then there was no second date, no return phone call.
I feel like, as a mom in her 30s, making friends is a lot like that first date. I find someone I’m interested in pursuing as a friend. I ask lots of questions and try to get to know her well. I reach out and offer help if she needs it. I try to be a good conversationalist and learn more about her. I make a real effort to “be a friend.”
Sometimes I see that this person is not “friend material” for me because we’re in different places in life or we don’t have similar faiths, backgrounds, or ideologies. But other times a potential friend just isn’t that in to me. I call; she never calls back. I text; she never responds. And then I feel used and sad, wondering what’s wrong with me. Even as a 33-year-old woman, it hurts when friendships don’t work out the way we want them to.
I’ve been praying on and off for years for a friend. Sure I have lots of “acquaintance-type” friends who bring food when I’ve had a new baby. Those friends are sweet and I love them dearly, but they aren’t the kindred spirit I’ve been searching for. Someone who will call me right back if she misses my call, who will pray for me daily, who I can trust with my children, and who doesn’t inwardly cringe at the fact that my child is not wearing underwear. Someone who gets crazy old me and my weird family.
It’s hard. We aren’t kids any more. The jungle gym where I used to climb on with my friends is long gone, but I miss those easy friendships. In fact, now that I have kids and life is busy and complicated, I crave real friendships even more. They require serious effort and sacrifice on our parts, but to find a good friend is the richest of blessings.
What about you? Do you have a kindred spirit? If so, how did you meet her?
How do you find new friends? Where do you meet them?