Friendship seems to be especially important to women. We all want a good girlfriend or two to talk, laugh, cry, and pray with from time to time. Still, making friends can be challenging for some of us, particularly as we get older and enter new seasons of life. Friendship may be tricky at times, but it is definitely possible and definitely worth it at any life stage.
Friendship is a lot like courtship. Sometimes a great friend falls right into your lap when you least expect it, and other times you have to put in a bit more effort. In the end, though, love is love and friendship is friendship.
If you’re looking to make new friends, consider the tips below. If any of the advice sounds familiar, it is probably because you heard the same things when you were courting.
1. Open up.
Open your heart and your mind to the friends that God wants to bless you with. Opening up to someone new can be scary, and you may feel a bit vulnerable. Mutual openness and vulnerability are what ultimately creates the lasting bond of friendship, though. Should you open yourself to everyone? No. When making new friends, ask God to lead you and to give you wisdom and discernment.
It can be really tough to make new friends if you never meet new people or if you refuse to interact with the people you already know. So get out of your comfort zone. Try a new restaurant, join a book club, take a fitness class, or check out a women’s Bible study at your church. And if someone invites you to something, go. Don’t make excuses or decide in advance that you won’t have a good time. Just go!
3. Make the first move.
Sometimes it’s okay to make the first move. If you meet someone who seems nice, fun, or interesting, ask her to do something. Don’t waste time with “We should get together some time.” Go straight for the invitation, and make a solid plan. Invite your potential friend to meet you for coffee or lunch. Maybe she’ll become your new best friend, maybe she won’t. You’ll never know, though, unless you try.
4. Don't judge.
Do you have a long list of things you’re looking for in a friend—married woman between the ages of 28 and 32 with 2.5 children, a good job, and an anointed women’s ministry? Oh, live a little! It might be fun to be around someone who’s not exactly like you. In addition, your differences might actually be opportunities for each of you to support, encourage, and even challenge one another as you grow together.
5. Don’t move too fast.
As tempting as it might be, it’s not always a good idea to share your most intimate thoughts with a brand-new friend. Don’t hide who you are, just remember that sharing too much or expecting too much too soon can be a turnoff to some. On the flip side, if you do pour out your heart at your first meeting, and she prays or cries with you rather than running for the hills, she’s a keeper.
6. Skip comparisons.
Women love to compare themselves to one another. At times, our insecurities lead us to ponder who’s skinniest, prettiest, smartest, the best mom, etc. There’s no room for comparisons in friendship, though. In friendship, we all win! God created each of us differently, and true friends can and should appreciate their differences rather than being drawn into unnecessary, uncomfortable comparisons.
7. Be thoughtful.
Does your new friend have a birthday or anniversary coming up? Send a card or take her to lunch to celebrate. Or call to let her know you’re thinking about her. Did she get a new job or get engaged? Congratulate her! We all know how great it feels to be recognized on our special day. So, share the love.
Don’t just take, give. If someone always calls, emails, or texts you, it’s time for you to reciprocate. If your new friend has repeatedly cared for your children so that you can have a date night with your husband, consider repaying her kindness. It’s not about keeping score, it really just goes back to being thoughtful.
9. Be loyal.
The quickest way to lose a friend—new or old—is by gossiping or otherwise failing the loyalty test. As your friendship grows, you will learn what your friend is most sensitive about, what type of humor she has, what you can share with others, and even which photos you can share on social media. Until then, though, play it safe. Keep what happens between the two of you between the two of you.
10. Have fun.
If there’s no fun, there’s no friendship. Yes, each friend is different, and each friend will likely meet a different friendship need or bring out a different side of your personality. However, you should genuinely enjoy being around your friends. So relax, laugh, take a few selfies, and have some fun!
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