By: Hanna Gilland
Just three days ago I was sitting in my small group at church and I mentioned that most of my friends these days are “virtual.”
Uhh, did I just say that? I thought to myself after it came out. What does that even mean?
Sure, it may have sounded silly, but it’s true.
And I know I’m not alone here. If it wasn’t hard to make friends, then they wouldn’t have friend-finding apps like Bumble BFF, Peanut, and thriving mom groups on Facebook (all of which I have joined, by the way). They all serve the purpose of making friends easier.
Virtual friends aren’t bad. In fact—they’re great! As an introvert myself, sometimes we prefer online friends, but they don’t take the place of the in-person friendships and community we’re hardwired to crave and need.
I think the reason that making adult friendships is so hard is because, for most of our lives, our friends were handed to us. Our elementary school classmates, our high school sports teammates, and even our college roommates. But as the adult years creep in, a lot of those early friendships begin to fade out. Can you relate?
After college, my husband and I got married and we moved 700 miles away from friends and family. I knew no one in the entire state and as someone who worked remotely from home, I realized that it was going to take an honest effort to make friends.
I tried to join some local gyms to make friends. But I realized that most people want to slide into the gym and slide right back out.
When we joined a church, it was so big that it was easy to be looked over. And to be honest, people like to slide in and slide out of church too.
Last year my oldest son went to preschool and I thought, “Yes! I’m going to make so many friends now!” But once again, I was met with a slide-in and slide-out culture.
Do you see what I’m talking about? I know I am guilty of it too.
Plus, as a mom, there’s always an excuse to get out of going somewhere or doing something out of the house.
“Sorry, Oliver has a snotty nose.”
“Sorry, Macon just went down for a nap.”
The excuses can be endless.
But, let’s be honest, one of the biggest reasons we aren’t making friends is that we aren’t making ourselves and making friendships a priority.
Having friends is good! And they are good for you! Therefore, if you are passionate about self-care then you should be making friends and enriching those relationships. Investing in friendships is investing in yourself.
So, you and I, let’s make a pact together.
Let’s make a list of all the places—that we already go to—where we can make an effort to grow and nurture new friendships.
My short list would look something like this:
- Coffee shop
- City park
When we go to these places this week, let’s slow down and give ourselves time to think about having a simple conversation. Even if it is the person working the front desk. It can all start with a simple, “Hi. How are you?” Don’t overcomplicate it. Resist the urge to slide in and slide out. Don’t do it! Hopefully by the end of the week we can see the beginnings of at least one new friendship.
I never knew that it was hard to make friends, but I know that with some effort and consistency, there are many people out there waiting for a friend like me and you.
There is coffee to be laughed over.
There are playdates to be planned.
There are friend trips to be taken.
There are genuine, deep friendships to be made.
If you want it, go for it!