3 steps to forming friendships

This small five-acre farm is where I lived and learned for 19 years. I had my wedding on that land in the same field where my would-be husband and I once talked and dreamt under the star scattered sky. That land shall forever be my Tennessee home though I have lived elsewhere since.

Life was simple then. I would sit on the edge of a feed trough with my harmonica tooting nonsense songs to our bull who presumably digested that harmonica. My closest friends were cows, sheep, chickens, dogs, cats, and horses. Who knows what secrets we shared while hanging out in the barn and pastures?

Looking back, I imagine this is how God intended for his creation to interact—closely, relying on one another for their very being.

We were made to love and have relationships. Never were we meant to live solitary, lonely lives. Even before beasts of the field were formed, we were not alone.

Even gaining people friends was simple back then. You found a person you liked and if they liked you back then you would do stuff together, or if they didn’t like you then you would just move on to someone else who did. Easy-peasy. No talking smack about how mean that person was, or being jealous because this person is friends with x-number of people.

I think making friends becomes harder when we’re adults because we try to complicate everything. If we think about it long enough, we can create several different circles of friends and somehow we start thinking that everyone must get along.

Why? I’m not sure. It’s a bit unrealistic based even when only considering the personalities a small group of friends is composed of.

Gaining and maintaining friendships become even more complicated when a person moves around every few years (can I get an amen?).

So what’s a girl to do if I know I’m meant for relationships and it’s impossible to be everyone’s friend?

Here’s the solution in three steps:

  1. Find a person who you kind of like and have one thing in common with
  2. Do the common thing
  3. If you still like this person, do the thing again and try to learn more things you have in common. If not, find a new person and start with step one again.

For example, 1) This person you met likes coffee, 2) Go get coffee together, 3) Drinking coffee with said person was enjoyable, so you make another coffee date to learn what other things you can do together.

I know these steps seem oversimplified like they have no place in the real world, but what if instead of searching for friends who we completely agree with in all areas of our lives, we start finding coffee friends, book worm friends, co-worker friends, candle-loving friends, and whatever your interest of the day may be friends? What if we were okay with a few simple friendships that could grow into more instead of trying to find that carbon copy of ourselves?

If you’re still worried that you’ll never be able to do group things, just remember your coffee friend is meeting up with YOU for coffee, not the person sitting at the next table over. For whatever reason she finds you acceptable to drink her coffee in front of. For group activities, the commonality could be you… or a hot beverage.

So, get out there and find a person you kind of like and go do the thing. This life is much better when we do it together.

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