"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Friday, August 28, 2015

Because friendships are important

I consider myself pretty blessed when it comes to the friends I have in my life. There are several people I consider my best friends and even more that I consider pretty good friends.

But it wasn't always that way.

In high school, I had two best friends. Seriously, two. Sure, there were other people I considered friends, but as far as hanging out and calling people? Just my two BFFs. And my twin sister.

And then in college I had a pretty awesome roommate (hi Lauren!) and a couple other friends while I lived in the dorms. But nursing school was pretty crazy, and it was hard to stay close with old friends, even though I went home on weekends. And then Logan and I broke up for an extended period, my parents moved out-of-state, friends moved on to other things, and...I was pretty lonely.

While I definitely think quality over quantity is more important when it comes to friendships, I also think it's possible to have more than a handful of people that you consider close friends. And in case you need a little help in the friend department, I thought I would share a few things that I do to help foster and maintain friendships. I hope you find it helpful!
Our high school reunion with my 2 BFFs...one is still one of my best friends!
Stay in touch.
Text, call, email, you name it. There's really no excuse these days as to why you haven't talked to a friend in over a month, because there are a million ways to keep in touch. My fave these days is texting, because it takes about 10 seconds to send a "Hey! How are you doing?" or "Can you say a prayer for me please? Rough morning" to a friend, and it doesn't matter if your day is full of diaper blowouts and toddler tantrums...you can still text in the midst of the craziness. (And you'll probably feel a little less alone.)

Show up.

Never underestimate the importance of showing up! Birthday parties, girls' night out, etc. If I invite you to things and you consistently don't show up, no offense, but...I'm going to wonder if you even want to be friends.

Let some friendships go.
This one is hard but important. Sometimes someone might not want to be friends, and that's okay. I know there are some people who used to be my best friends that seemed to fall off the face of the earth once I got married. Or they just kind of pull back as situations change. If you're constantly reaching out and they don't reach back, don't take it personally. Focus on the friends you do have! (Do keep in mind that some people just go through periods of needing space and might reach out again at some point. Welcome them with open arms!)

Be honest.
This goes two ways - be honest when sharing about your life (even the hard stuff! especially the hard stuff!) and be honest when a friend asks your opinion. I've always been a pretty honest person, but I've learned to not be so blunt sometimes (um, I try, anyways...). And I really think most people appreciate honesty, as long as you are tactful about it. If I ask a friend for an opinion, I want the truth! Not just what you think I want to hear. So if I'm complaining about my husband a little too much, you can tell me. Really. I need a kick in the pants sometimes.

Go out of your way sometimes.

Your friend really needs a babysitter but that means you have to wake up earlier and rearrange your day. Just do it. And don't expect anything in return! (I firmly believe that you will be rewarded, whether in this life or the next.)

Remember the important stuff.

It's the anniversary of the day your friend lost a parent. It's almost the due date for the baby your friend miscarried. Send a card, shoot a text, or bring her out for dinner if she could use the distraction. Write those dates down if you need help remembering! I've texted on the wrong day more than I care to admit, but my friends still appreciated the fact that I was thinking about them and praying for them.

Surprise her.
Know your friend is feeling just a little overwhelmed with life right now? Mail her a gift card to her favorite coffee place and don't tell her beforehand. Drop off something sweet for her on her birthday to find on her doorstep when she gets home.

Don't just offer - just do it.
It's pretty common for people to say, "Let me know if you need anything!" - especially after having a baby, losing a baby, or just going through a rough period. And I know during those times I HAVE NO IDEA what I need. I just know I need help! If you ask if I need anything, I'll probably say, "I'm good, thanks!" But if you just say, "Hey, I'm bringing you dinner tomorrow night. Is that okay?" I will say, "YES, you rock!!" I'll also love you forever and ever.

Quit making excuses, and don't give up!
I used to make excuses that I was too busy for friends, that finding good friends was too hard, and that people never seemed to reciprocate when I tried to be friends. Don't give up! Chances are there is someone out there feeling just as discouraged as you are, and God will bring you together at the right time. Keep being a good friend, and one day you'll realize you have the best friends in the world.

So...what do you think? What would you add to the list??
"No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.John 15:13

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