By Lisa Jordan
Over Labor Day weekend, I met up with a couple of friends, and we took a mini road trip to a beach about an hour from our houses. We packed a picnic and planned on looking for beach glass. Unfortunately, the weather was a little cooler than we would have liked. But we made the best of the breezy waterfront by having a tailgate picnic and lunching in my car.
As we ambled along the coast, laughing, talking, and snapping pictures of the gorgeous scenery, we kept saying the same thing over and over, “We really needed this.”
With the pandemic restrictions in place, we haven’t been able to get together as a group—there are five of us. The other two weren’t able to meet with us.
However, we amended that last weekend by gathering together as a group for the first time since February and celebrating belated birthdays, eating pizza, and indulging in ice cream. Again, we repeated, “We really needed this.”
A year or so ago, another friend commented that she didn’t have a group of friends like mine and expressed a twang of jealousy. Earlier in the week, another friend shared she wasn’t good at nurturing friendships.
I get it.
As we go through different stages in our lives, our friendships may come and go as well. Even though we may pinky swear in third grade to be best friends forever, life doesn’t always allow for those childish promises to be fulfilled. Not only that, but as we grow and mature, our attitudes and opinions change, causing rifts and distance. Wives and moms can become so consumed with their family roles that they forget about their outside friendships.
Nurturing friendships is essential because God created us for relationships—with Him and with others. He didn’t design us to spend our days alone.
The Value of Female Friendships
Even though I have a very healthy marriage and a strong relationship with our two sons, I need my female friends to sustain me in ways that my husband and sons can’t.
For the most part, women understand other women. PMS. Purses. Shoes. Feelings. Emotions. Decorating. Crafting. I mention any of those and my guys scatter faster than children on a playground. Sure, those may sound like cliché topics for women, but there’s a reason they’re so relevant. My guys want to talk fishing, gaming, and shooting guns. While I appreciate their hobbies, they’re not things I enjoy.
Also, there’s a bond between friends that is different than a marital bond or one between a parent and a child. And while my husband and boys may appreciate my creative endeavors, my female friends share those same hobbies and understand their value—in the creative pursuit and spending time together.
Chatting with a friend over coffee feeds my inner needs of being heard, being noticed, and being needed because hopefully, I’m strengthening the relationship with my friend as well.
But what if you don’t have a close-knit friendship or circle of friends, and you want one? How do you go about cultivating those friendships?
Five Thoughts for Nurturing Friendships
Think about what you want in a friendship and what you’re willing to sacrifice and offer because any relationship worth having requires sacrifice, compromise, and your willingness to invest in that bond.
How do you like to spend your free time? Are you a classic movie buff? An avid knitter? An outdoorswoman itching to go for a hike or launch the kayak as soon as the ice in the river melts? If you’re involved in particular hobbies, see if there’s an acquaintance who shares your ambitions.
Like with any relationship, start slow and take your time to get to know your new friend. Invite her to go for a walk, or maybe get a cup of coffee at your favorite shop.
Send a note to let the friend know you appreciate the time they’ve given. Consider scheduling a regular time to meet together so you’re nurturing that relationship.
And, of course, life will not always go according to plan, so be willing to compromise, adjust schedules, and take a step back, if necessary.
I love this quote by Dale Carnegie, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Take time to be the kind of friend you’d like to have, and you’ll find by investing in others, you may be rewarded with friendships that last a lifetime.
What about you? What are you doing to nurture those friendships in your life? What hobbies or interests do you share with your friends that offer opportunities to spend time together?
Bio: Heart, home, and faith have always been important to Lisa Jordan, so writing stories with those elements come naturally. Represented by Rachelle Gardner of Books & Such Literary Management, Lisa is an award-winning author for Love Inspired, writing contemporary Christian romances that promise hope and happily ever after. Her latest book, A Love Redeemed, released in September 2020. She is the operations manager for Novel Academy, powered by My Book Therapy. Happily married to her own real-life hero for over thirty years, Lisa and her husband have two grown sons. When she isn’t writing, Lisa enjoys family time, kayaking, good books, and being creative with words, fibers, and photos. Visit her at lisajordanbooks.com