I can tend to get a little dramatic in my head. I work myself up into believing a truth that is actually a lie and it all starts with one “off moment”.
It doesn’t take a massive poll or Gallup research to determine, women today are in desperate need of close, authentic friendships and it’s getting harder and harder to make them.
This “off moment” came the other day and the inner dialogue went something like this (after leaving a women’s event where I was an acquaintance with about 3 people out of 50):
“Gosh, I had no friends in there”
“Everybody else was there with their best friends”
“Where are my best friends?”
“Do I even really have any best friends?”
“If I did, wouldn’t they have been there with me?”
“I’m all alone”
“Apparently, my husband and children are the only ones that really care about me and that’s just cause I cook and clean for them”
“I may need to pull over cause I’m about to start losing it…”
I’m pretty sure I’m the only one in the whole wide world that has gone through any inner dialogue similar to this or any feelings that resemble these but just in case I’m not alone … I went home and processed through my thoughts and feelings and this is what I came up with.
When I moved back to South Texas after college I had the amazing privilege of meeting 3 amazing women. We were all single and ready to do life. We began friendships in a totally different stage of life than we’re in now.
I never would have thought in a million years our friendships would last over a decade. But they have, and I’d argue that, even though we’re all separated (by many, many miles) we’re closer than ever.
We stay in touch with a voice messaging app, we write letters, send gifts and every year, new babies in tow we get together. Our bond is thick and we’re united through something no time or life stage could ever break.
These women have taught me about friendship and so much more.
WHY IS MAKING FRIENDS HARD
Today we spend time serving little people, we fill our lives with gobs of “stuff for others” and our moments of restorative care are limited (can I get an amen from every preschool mama out there!)
It’s no secret that we spend 30 minutes on social media but when it comes to a 5 minute conversation on the phone, we just “can’t find the time”.
No matter what your love language is, if you are not investing in others, they’re not going to invest in you. Simply put.
Our time is divided and scattered and when we find so, so many other things that rise above a new and budding friendship, the other girl is going to do the same. Find other things more important than you.
Why is making friends hard? We don’t have time for new.
WE’RE AFRAID TO ADMIT WE DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER SO WE PRETEND
Because we think the whole wide rest of the world has a bestie and a totes perfect life (thanks insta!) we try to give off the same impression instead of being honest and vulnerable. Letting in a friend means risking they find out the truth.
The truth that real life is messy, hard and takes work.
I’ll give you a little vulnerability. So you can see what it looks like. That story up at the top, the downward spiral of self doubt, that happens OFTEN. Even with close friends, I can feel like it’s not real or they have other better friends than me.
This is something I’ve cried in my closet about and something I hate to share cause, don’t we all want everyone else to think we have it wonderful behind closed doors?
I know it’s hard and, to be perfectly honest, it won’t always work out the way you planned. But where friends are involved, true friends, try to let your guard down and be GENUINE! (and not Ginuwine the rapper!!! ha)
THE ABILITY TO SAY YES, SEEMS TO BE A LOST ART
Keeping those close friends is NOT always easy. It takes time and sometimes more time than you expect. A commitment to be there, the ability to say YES to them, even if it’s hard and inconvenient.
Now beware, if you’re the one always “being there” and dropping everything to help or doing 100% of the inviting ASK THEM ABOUT IT. Bring it up in an easy way, ask if they have too much on their plate or if they need to take a step back because you’re feeling a little depleted. What have you got to lose?
On the flip side, letting a new friend know you’re “in it for the long haul” could feel like you’re coming on too strong or getting too vulnerable too soon but try asking them in a way that’s authentic but still truthful.
It boils down to this. Be honest with them and yourself, be there when it’s not always easy for you and be aware of the mutuality between give and take.
Remember that the ability to say yes to playdates and dinners, zoo trips, and coffee meetups are all ways to invest. If you say no more than yes…they’ll stop inviting is my guess.
WHERE MY GIRLS AT?
I can’t even begin to write words to describe the women in my life. I’ve walked through many seasons with many amazing women.
Through each friendship I’m amazed at the difference but one thing rings true with all of them.
No relationship has been picture perfect, they each take effort and a deep true desire to be there.
I honestly don’t remember where I heard this but the concept makes perfect sense. You need about 50 hours with someone to call them an ‘acquaintance’, 100 hours to call them a ‘good friend’ and over 150 to call them a ‘best friend’. This is why we feel so close to Rachel, Phoebe and Monica from Friends. We could sit down and Netflix with those gals for about 150 hours (10 seasons!) and feel like they are part of our lives.
Think about this the next time you sit down to click Hulu. Could you take that season or episode and instead write a letter, make a phone call OR like in the old times, sit down and just chat over coffee?