When Making Friends Feels Like a First Date

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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 33yearold 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?





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Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I too have been praying for a good friend for years. For me it is just scary! I want so much to have a good friend, yet Im busy with my kids-I get interrupted, need to run someone to the bathroom, change a diaper, calm a squabble….sometimes I wonder if I can even handle a friend at this point! But you’re right, we do need friends. Thank you for the encouragement, I guess I’ll keep praying along with you for that “kindred spirit” :)

    • I know exactly what you mean: who really has time for a friend when there’s so much else that needs to be done, when I have so many demands on my time. Friendship requires time, commitment, energy, which are all things moms may have low supplies of. I’m right there with ya! But we do need friends to pick us up and keep us moving forward when those piles of laundry just keep coming and the diapers seem to be endless. Let’s keep praying :)!

  2. I remember moving to another state, calling my mom, and asking, “Mom, how do grown ups make friends? Where do they go?” Hahah. I was completely serious. I knew no one. So, I went to church. Five years later, that’s where my friends come from. Well, there and work. It’s hard as a grown up. Love the date metaphor. So true! So is the last line… to have a good friend is the richest of blessings… ((Hugs))

    • Yes, I’ve made some sweet friends at church and my Bible studies. Those are the best places to find Godly women and lifelong pals. Sometimes I just wonder if it’s possible to find that one friend, that one kindred spirit who completely gets me and who’s thinking about me when I call her. You know what I mean? I had a friend like that growing up, but since then we’ve gone different directions. Maybe it’s not reality for adults, but I really would like to find it. Maybe someone needs to invent a Matchmaker service for friends :)

    • I would sign up!!

  3. Wonderful post, Keri. I know exactly what you mean, and I admire your transparency here. I hadn’t thought of it as dating, but you’re spot on.

  4. Someone needs to TEACH us how to make friends as adults, I think. (Someone also needs to teach women in the Church that friends are needful. Too many Christian women just can’t be bothered to spend time with other women because it’s “not a worthwhile” use of time.) Because you’re right, opportunities for making friends were “built in” and obvious when we were children. And you knew what to do to spend time together – you just played. But I’ve asked the exact question Falen mentioned: “how do grown ups make friends?” I mean, what do you do? I can’t just go knock on the front door anymore and say, “Can so-and-so play?” Even if I can find someone to call, I don’t know what to ask. Why is no one teaching us this skill?

    • I agree, Rachel. I definitely could use a class in friend-making. I feel like I’ve made the effort so many times to extend an invitation to friendship and been rejected or ignored so many more times that I just don’t want to take the risk any more. Yet, I know how valuable good friendships are. It’s so easy to get caught up in our lives and not extend hospitality to others, to encourage new friendships, but it is no excuse. I’ve been guilty here, I know. But I’m learning that if I want to have a friend, I really have to make the effort a little bit more than I have been.

  5. Oh, how I love this post! We moved last year to a new community, a very small town where everyone knows everyone else and has for years and years. It’s hard not to feel like an outsider even at the small grocery store we have! I, too, have been praying for a kindred spirit. One thing I’ve learned though is that perhaps God allows us to go without kindred spirits for a season so that HE can be our kindred spirit. Not to say that we should not search for that friend, but that sometimes He deliberately removes people like that from our lives so that we’ll draw nearer to Him. I’m learning this from a timely Beth Moore study and that was a point she made. So now I’m trying to wait patiently. :) But I appreciate your candor because now I know I’m not the only one who yearns for that depth in friendship!

    • I think you’re right on about God being our kindred spirit in seasons when we’ve become TOO reliant on friends and not on Him. We do have to remember that He is the one we should take our troubles to first and foremost. Good point!

      And, no, you aren’t alone!

  6. Wonderful post! Something that is dear to my heart and a topic I have blogged about myself. It really is so hard to find that kindred spirit relationship. Praying for you dear blog friend and asking God to give you wonderful kindred friendship. Blessings~Heather@ourcutlivatedlife

  7. I get this completely! I had a couple really close friends, but they both moved away. Right now I feel like there’s just no one like you said that’s a “kindred spirit” for me. I need to start praying more intently for a friend. I did that when I was a teenager and God sent me a girl who is now still my best friend even though she lives far away. I’d love to have another kindred spirit to fellowship with on a face-to-face basis!

  8. Well, it’s nice to know I’m not the only one with trouble finding close friends. I have many acquaintances, but it is very difficult to have close friends as an adult. I often find a potential close friend wants a sort of double-date relationship with my husband and I. My husband is somewhat introverted. He works hard at being as outgoing as possible during his work hours, because he runs his own business and talking to people and being friendly are necessary. But he then he doesn’t have a lot of need or desire for friends on his off hours because he’s been talking to people (often the same set) all day. Add to this that the potential friend’s husband and my husband often have very different interests. I find that if the husband’s don’t hit it off, the woman often loses interest in being friends with me. Many women don’t seem to want to just do women (and kid) only activities when the husbands aren’t available. Then they often want their children to be close in age and interests with mine. We are not into sporting events, although we love nature. But often if a woman can’t talk you into signing your kids up for little league or soccer, she loses interest. It’s all very complicated.

  9. Wow – this post really spoke to me. I could have written it myself. I find it comforting that so many women are in this same position – and I’m not all alone.
    I’m still praying for that friend – I hope she comes soon. :-)
    Visiting from Proverbs 31 Thursday.

    • Stacy, isn’t it reassuring that you aren’t alone? I thought that when I hit publish on this post that I would get crickets chirping as my response to it, but I’ve been amazed at how common my struggle for real friendship is! It’s sad that mothering–even just being an adult–can be such an isolating experience. It shouldn’t be. We were created for companionship.

  10. I am visiting you from Raising Mighty Arrows. I thought the photo was about child relationships. As I started reading, I was hooked to read the whole thing. This captured my heart. I immediately looked to see where you lived so we might be friends. I subscribing was the next best thing. I feel that I have less friends now that my children are grown. During the younger years it seems that they were always involved in something that other moms were around. Read my post SAHM: Is Anyone out There? for concrete suggestions on finding friends:

    http://www.thelostapron.com/2012/10/sahms-is-anyone-out-there.html

  11. I know exactly how you feel! I have one really good friend who I met in college. I really love her! I do wish I had one more friend like her. But it’s SOOOO hard to find a good friend. I’m not good about putting myself out there to make new friends. I’m horribly insecure when it comes to making new friends. Anyways, enough rambling….I really enjoyed your post. :)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Sometimes I wish I even had acquaintance friends who would check in with me now and again. After having a baby and leaving the work world I seem to have been left with no one to talk to or turn to for advice. I don’t have siblings to turn to either and while I try to make an effort at church, most people seem to be content staying within their own bubble. How do you cry out for help without seeming needy and strange? It’s like people expect women in their 30’s to have built-in friends with no need for them.

  13. I feel the same way! While I do have a few very good friends, one of whom I’d even call my “kindred spirit”, I am moving to a new state in a few weeks and am worried about making friends. Can’t they make an “online dating” site for friendships?

  14. Okay Keri, now I want to know where you live so I can come over, knock on the door, sit down on your couch, give you a great big hug and say “hi, my name is Kathy” and you and I are going to be great friends. 😉 I know. Life doesn’t work like that but I definitely enjoyed reading this post and can sooooo relate. Thanks for sharing on T2T. See you next week.

  15. This is such a tough topic for me as well. For me, I have noticed that too many women are just too busy! Each kid is in 3 different activities, she is on 3 different committees, and the husband travels 3 times a week! Its a miracle she is even alive! To make friends we have to make time. Cut back, relax, and enjoy people instead of things. I try to always make time for friends, but that doesn’t always mean people make time for their friends! Being an adult is tough!!

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