Some of us have them but have no time to see them. Some of us want them. And some of us don’t really see the point.
I used to fall into the first and last category. I mean, how were you supposed to keep in touch with other women as a busy mother and what was the point anyway?
When You Don't See the Point
Issue #1: One of my biggest issues with mom-friends, was the tendency to sit around and bash our husbands and complain about our children. I am in LOVE with Elisha, and even when we have our rough patches, I have his back.
Proverbs 31 one says a good wife does her husband good and not evil all the days of her life. Proverbial wisdom also encourages us that a wise woman builds her house, but the foolish plucks it down with her hands (and words).
Just as I want Elisha to speak well of me to other men, I want to sing his praises and respect him even in private with other women.
Cool news: I eventually found was that not all women are this way! It just takes a bit of hunting to find them! Now I am quicker to drop mom-groups or play-dates that have this culture-heavy narrative, because I know encouraging women are out there!
Issue #2: I am very introverted . . . and driven. So why bother? I just wanted to visit with my husband, and call my mom every once in awhile. Other friendships seemed to just be a distraction from projects and goals I could be working on.
Slowly I came to realize we live in a relationship deprived society. Our desire to succeed and achieve can be a lonely road. And while we go faster alone, it is healthy to get out of our comfort zones and share someone else’s burdens, laughs, and stories. And what a blessing they can be!
These don’t have to be kindred spirit friendships, but getting out of my own little world can help put my problems into perspective, put me in a mode of service, and give me opportunity to learn something new.
Issue #3: Clearly had a lot of hold ups when it came to pursuing in-person female friendships, but here’s the last big one.
Women can easily be sensitive. Needy. Competitive. Emotional, etc.
This is one reason I am thankful for masculine energy. It is so stabilizing .
Of course, I’m not above these traits, and at times I can hardly handle being around myself, let alone someone else who shares my weaknesses.
But I have learned that kindred spirits are out there, and over the years I’ve learned enough about myself to view different relationships for the blessings they are, and not try to cram them all in one category.
Some women I will meet once and be encouraged, but not really click with, ya know?
Some friendships will be more of a ministry opportunity. I interact to give, not to make bestie memories.
And some women . . . they have skin as thick as mine. We can talk about anything. We can have radically different perspectives and not get offended or defensive. We can both not text back and the other person knows we still care. We can see each other whenever it works—days back to back or months in between—and hit it off like no time has passed at all.
THOSE are my girls. And I have found it is a blessing to have these friendships.
Who is your girl? Is she soft spoken or outspoken? Is she thoughtful? Remembering birthdays and the little details? Is she big-picture drop the ball (which makes you feel better because you drop it too)? Is she empathetic with past trauma? Understanding? Someone you can laugh with? Cry with?
Who is she? I encourage you to write her down.
Over the years I started picking up patterns about who stuck around and who was a brief acquaintance. This helped me quickly let go of friendships that weren’t going to go the distance and keep an eye out for ones that were going to accept me, challenge me, and love me for who I was.
If You Want Friends, But Don't Know How to Find Them
This is the fun part! There is a plethora of ways to make friends. But to keep it easy, here’s a little formula I used moving to a new state that worked even better than I hoped.
1. Write down what traits are important to you. (Maybe start with traits you admire from an old friend or family member.)
2. Go to church, mom’s groups, nursing rooms, gyms, kid’s extra-curricular programs.
(If these aren’t your things, don’t worry! They aren’t mine either, aside from church). You just need to go long enough to see if there is a woman or two that seems like it might be worth a try to get together.
3. Invite them over for a play date, lunch, or dinner!
Dinner is my favorite, but more on that later.
4. Practice the TWO TIMES rule.
Relationships are give and take. And just how some people aren’t going to be our cup of tea, we aren’t going to be theirs every time either! Since we can’t force friendship, I reach out two times.
After that, it’s up for the other gal to initiate. If she invites me to something, wonderful! We can keep hanging out. If not, no biggie! There are millions of people on this planet.
5. Friendships change
Sometimes we outgrow friendships, sometimes they are wonderful in one season, and just don’t work in the next. So I like to hold friendships loosely, and be prepared knowing that when one of us inevitably moves into a new stage of life our friendship will change too.
How To Make Time for Friendship in Motherhood
This was a big hold up for me, but the hard truth is, we make time for what we value.
Culture says that female friendships are formed on nights out, weekend vacations and spa trips. Now, if you have a rhythm for this, fun! But with four kiddos five and under, I am not going to be able to maintain a healthy marriage, a peaceful home, a thriving business, and happy homeschooled kiddos with female friendships taking this kind of consistent time.
The simplest way for me to begin cultivating friendship is during a time of day that is free for me anyway . . . dinnertime.
Every night I am making dinner whether guests are there or not. We are all sitting down at the table whether the conversation is with adults or toddlers, and afterwards we are hanging out until bedtime whether another family is with us, or we are by ourselves.
Growing friendships this way--at least starting them--takes no extra time, and very little energy in my already very full life.
Another benefit of inviting people over for dinner, is that it introduces my husband to male friendships as well. It’s easy for certain men to also become isolated, or maybe their college friendships are no longer serving them. I view dinnertime hospitality as a beautiful way to grow my children’s friendships with children I want influencing them, bring men into my husband’s life that are like-minded and seeking God, and get to know women who will challenge and bring fresh perspective into my own life.
The better friends we become, the more likely I am to drive over in the middle of the afternoon and can applesauce together. Or participate in a Bible bee together. Or do a homeschool co-op. Or go on a field trip. Or hang out at the park. Or just plain invite someone over to plop on the couch and visit while our kiddos jump on the trampoline.
For you, maybe your mornings are more free and you are trying to come up with things to keep your young ones busy anyway — enter play dates!
Maybe you want to go blueberry picking, sledding, or shopping at Target — hello, friend-time!
Something I’ve completely let go of, is that my female friendships need to be created alone. I live in a family unit, and I love that I’m able to cultivate relationship not only for myself, but for my home.
Have I done a girl’s overnight weekend? Yes! I slept in a bunkbed and missed Elisha the whole time, but we made good memories!
Throughout life there will be opportunity in different seasons for pampering and late nights and uninterrupted heart-to-hearts.
But day in and day out, we can still be in rich in-person friendship.
And I encourage you to try it out . . .
From one friend to another, it’s worth it.
If you are looking to create more systems that simplify your home, check out Katie's Free Masterclass to learn her top three tips for creating a peacefully productive home!
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