While scrolling through Facebook the other day, a friend posted a picture with the caption, “Mom, look at all my new friends!” The joys of a precious three year old entering her first preschool classroom. This little girl loves people; there’s no question, they will love her the same.
Last night I was laying awake when the random thought of friendship came to my mind. I laid in bed, thinking about friendship. How does friendship work? What makes a good friendship? Why do we connect with some people and not others? Just thoughts as I drifted back off to sleep.
Upon waking the next day, I decided to dive into friendship. The meaning, examining friendships I have had over the years and looking at my life and the friends I have now. When looking at my own life, I examined how my friendship connections are different: Are they changing as I age? Who am I as a friend? Let’s look at what friend/friendship actually mean before we dive any deeper.
Webster’s Dictionary defines friendship and friend as follows:
Friend (\ ˈfrend \) noun:
- a person who you like and enjoy being with. “I’d like you to meet my friend.” “She is such a good/close/dear friend (of mine).”
- a person who helps or supports someone or something (such as a cause or charity). “She is a friend of the environment.” [=she supports environmental causes] “The strikers knew they had a friend in the senator.” [=knew that the senator supported them]. “Are you friend or foe?” [=do you support us or oppose us?]
Friendship (friend·ship | \ ˈfren(d)-ˌship \) noun:
- the state of being friends “They have a long-standing friendship.”
- the quality or state of being friendly: FRIENDLINESS. “The friendship shown to him by his coworkers…”
- obsolete: AID
After looking at these definitions, do you see a common ground in your friendships?
Thinking back to my first friends I can remember we skipped, ran, laughed, and enjoyed life with a sense of no responsibility. As we grew, in our later years of elementary school, we discovered an element of jealousy and meanness. These childhood relationships were on like peanut butter and jelly or off like oil and water. Did you have this same experience?
Entering middle school, my family and I moved across the country, literally west coast to east coast. I am not going to say the adjustment was an easy transition for me. I was quiet and a bit reserved in school. The most change came through finding myself in church and my youth group. I thoroughly enjoyed my youth group, the peers, and the friendships I built. These friendships were built on experiencing church activities together, fundraisers such as selling hoagies or collecting steel, attending sporting events, learning to drive, and making what we thought were adult decisions as we worked and spent time maturing together. I am still in contact with several of these ladies, although I moved back to the west coast following high school graduation.
Upon returning to the west coast, life began as a full-time employee, an 18 year old entering the workforce. The majority of my co-workers were my parents’ age, leaving me to figure out how to find friends my age. I learned to maneuver life, connecting with older friends and slipped and slid along the way. Eventually I met a man close to my age, we married, raised two boys, while we both worked along the way.
Friendships through the years of child rearing involved church life, kids activities, and my work. All of us were busy, involved in different activities, and going several directions at once. Looking back, we shared life, connected, but in my relationships, we seldom sat and enjoyed our adult time together. I am not looking at this as anyone’s fault. It was life, mine was a life one way in the home; and another on the outside. Yes, I was the queen of trying to make everyone happy; in the end I discovered, I’ve missed out on a lot of life.
As my first husband and I reached our empty-nest years, he died of a sudden heart attack! Yep! Who were my friends??? You’ve guessed it! Those I made along the way that did not come along as kids’ parents, church activities, or friends as couples.
Those who walked by my side were the friends I had struggled with. Those whose burden I had lifted in the past, helped to lift my burden when I needed them. The friends who we took the time to sit and cry together, the friends who called because we knew each other well enough to have the feeling they needed to connect that day. Yes, the long, tried-and-true friendships! Lasting friends!
Once I was able, I left my home state for a new position to an area where I could count on one hand the number of people I knew. Finding my courage, learning I wanted to change my destiny; I wanted to enjoy friendships with women rather than continue running through life. I began to invite women to come together for coffee, tea, or a beverage of their choice. We began to have lunch, dinner dates, take day trips, and spend time together outside of group planned church activities. Ladies began to bring their friends and soon we were meeting daily for activities, events, and outings. This was 6 years ago, and we are continuing through to this day.
In the midst of rediscovering friendships and my new life, I met a man, married him, and have discovered life is full! I have learned the joy of a healthy marriage without giving up myself and my women friendships.
Tools I have learned:
I am worth being me! God created me! Genesis 1:27 — Take the mask off. Be the real you!
Life is to be lived fully, abundantly and with joy! John 10:10 — Discover things you like to do. Try something new.
Women need women! We are made for connection and friendship! Put yourself out there. Join a gym, take a class.
If you are feeling alone, unworthy, or empty, I encourage you to seek a friendship. If you have a long-lost woman friend; don’t hesitate to reconnect. You may be living in a new area; seek out other women to have coffee or tea time with.
Still wondering how? I invite you to connect with me. Walking With Women has in-person and virtual connections. We’d love to connect with you!
Life Coach/Director of Walking With Women
Best Selling Author and Speaker