I don’t make friends easily.
Before you get images of me not playing nice with the other moms or as some socially awkward no- sense- of- personal -space kind of person, it’s not so much that I can’t. I can, I really can. Not that I don’t have my awkward moments, but it’s not lack of ability, it’s more a lack of desire.
It’s just that it’s so hard.
There’s a reason my sisters-in-law are my best friends. These were relationships cultivated over 13+ years and from which I had no escape. After all they were family. I was bound to see them again and again.
We had our trials. My sister-in -law Anna and I actually got into a food fight once. And before you ask, we were in our twenties and no, it wasn’t funny at the time. It involved a Subway ham sandwich, two very overtired moms of toddlers, finals week, and some heavy-duty PMS. Needless to say, it passed and we can now laugh at the absurdity of it all but at the time I never wanted to see her again. And that might have been the end of it except, it wasn’t. She was family. My mother in law watched both of our children while we were in school. I carpooled with her. We had classes together. We ate dinner with them at least once a week. Awkward! We both had to humble ourselves and kiss and make up. And I’m so glad we did. She is one of my dearest friends.
It is so easy to cut our losses when we begin friendships. If you are like me, an introvert, making friends is tiring. I feel a tiny twinge of relief when plans are canceled and I can change into my jammies and climb in bed instead. And though most people would never guess it who know me, I am actually really shy. This is a bad combo when it comes to forming new relationships.
Making friends means getting to know someone and letting them get to know you. It’s a process. It’s getting past the small talk, finding common ground, finding grace for the differences. It’s quieting my cynical voice that finds fault in so many, myself included. It’s letting your guard down.
It’s vulnerability. Something I’m really bad at.
It’s the cliché of all the emotionally unavailable. I’ve been hurt.
I’ve had friends betray me. I’ve had those close to me hurt me. I’ve grown into my scars.
But now I have Jesus, Healer, Redeemer, Maker of all things new
and He requires more
He created us to be in fellowship with one another. It’s one of the ways he refines us. It’s the process of rubbing up against others that sands down those rough edges.
The friction that refines.
So here is my action plan
- I will invite someone over for coffee or meet them at Starbucks if my house is a mess.
- I will invite someone over to dinner once a month.
- I will not automatically think of all the things I have to do when someone invites me to hang out.
- I will practice hospitality.
- I will work on making friends.
- I will play nice and try not to invade your personal space.
- I will promise not to judge your grammar, your children, or your taste in movies.
- I will be obedient to God’s prompting and allow myself to be available.