Do you feel disconnected from a friend you’ve known a long time? Or maybe you know someone you’d love to become a closer friend? Both situations bring uncertainty on how to move forward. Once we reach adulthood, making new friends and keeping old ones requires a certain level of intentionality and vulnerability.
Two years ago, I found myself in both places – at the same time. It was awkward and scary, it very possibly made me a little crazy. Or it definitely made me crazy, but we just aren’t going to put too fine a point on that!
At that point, I realized I wasn’t good at keeping friends. Acquaintances sure, but real friends, not so much. So I did what I do best, I read and researched. Seriously, I plan vacations impulsively, and read news pages for random facts and knowledge.
So, after all of that research (mainly, Anne of Green Gables and my mom), I came to the realization making new friends isn’t the hard part. The hard part remains in keeping the old friends, allowing the friendship to deepen and blossom.
There are some friends who will always be the “lunch on the weekend” friend, and others will be the “we have had candy for dinner three nights in a row, HELP ME” friend. But at some point the second kind of friend was the first kind. How do you go deeper? How do you get that pick-up-right-where-you-left-off kind of friend?
I learned about it the awkward way at first.
I had an acquaintance/friend I had known for several years. We were at an event for our life group, and I shadowed her the entire night and kept inserting the phrase, “If we were friends we could do _______.” Yeah, it was rough. Finally, she said firmly, “HEATHER, we are friends, and we should find time to hang out.
Awkwardness wins the day y’all. Thankfully, she was mature for the both of us and took the lead. It began with simple things really: messages on Facebook, coffee, checking in with each other at church, and little things adding up to comfortability with each other.
The intentionality struck me.
Deepening a friendship doesn’t occur like when we were in school and hung out with the same people five days a week, eight hours a day. We didn’t have class together, we didn’t have the same schedule, but somehow this new grown-up friendship was better and deeper. And more real than those other friendships before. I had a grown-up friend, and I felt so cool. (Y’all can roll your eyes here. It was a big deal for me.)
I decided to take that new friendship intentional-ness and apply it to my another friend situation. She is a friend who is honestly more of a sister. I nannied her kids, she was in my wedding (pregnant and contracting during the ceremony), she and her family are at every holiday and life event. But when I got married, I moved 27 miles away. A huge change from the 1.75 miles separating us before.
I resolved to make time to work on keeping that old friend. Armed with Anne quotes and all the determination my 5’ 4” body can handle, I started to “work” on our friendship. I made sure I read her Facebook posts and not just looking at the pictures. I started texting her with fun quotes or memes. I would ask real questions when I saw her. Not, “How is it going?”, but “Hey, I wanted to check in about ______.”
I worked on being a real friend.
Both of these women mean so much to me. A new friend and an old. Today, make that phone call, send a meme for a laugh, write a note or carve out time for lunch or coffee. It is so worth it. Like the song says:
Having friends, especially in adulthood, requires a certain level of intentionality. But it's worth it!Click To Tweet
Make new friends,
but keep the old.
One is silver,
the other is gold.
A circle is round,
it has no end.
That’s how long,
I will be your friend.
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Heather Banks is a born and bred Georgia girl that loves traveling as much as coming home. Wife, expectant adoptive mom, sewist and photographer. She believes in Jesus, laughing, sweet tea, showing love with food, and being available!
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