The Lonely Girl’s Guide to Making Friends (and Keeping Them)
Looking for friendship?
Every year when summer rolls around, my mind and heart get thinking about friendship. Whether it’s enjoying summer concerts with friends, attending the farmer’s market with friends, or doing other summery things together with friends, I’ve honestly always been hungry for more friendships in my life. When I asked around, I heard a lot of the same message. A lot of people have been longing for friendships, but—like me—they’re not sure how to go about making friends.
We’re in this together.
At the beginning of 2018, I set a goal for myself to make more friends. I‘d been hoping for a group of women to befriend me for so long, but I’d been too nervous to even pursue friendship. Then something changed. The ache felt real in my stomach and I became determined that I couldn’t live scared anymore. So I did something. I put a random photo on Facebook that said, “I’m lonely and I want to gather a group of women at my house on Tuesdays! Just comment below if you’re interested.” Turned out I was just one of 78 of my friends who were all equally desperate for friendship.
So, I started opening my home every other Tuesday to meet new friends. And guess what? It worked! I had my home flooded with women who craved the same friendship I’d been wishing for.
Let’s say this isn’t your personality, though. Inviting people into your home doesn’t sound like the best fit for you. Well, after chatting with some friends of mine, we’ve come up with a few tips for making friends in your community.
Learn what interests you and just show up.
One of my friends joined a yoga studio when she moved to a new town. It allowed her to meet new people while doing something she loved. Once she knew a few names, she had the confidence to invite them to brunch or to go for a walk. Her new friendships bloomed. And if you’re not into yoga, you can join a book club, or take a class at a technical school near you (sign language, anyone?), or try one of those fun “Board and Brush” classes. Just get out of your house! In a new city, it’s easy to want to stay holed up in our homes trying to make everything perfect, giving ourselves a mini checklist of why we shouldn’t get out and pursue friendship. But girl, make yourself a list of city things happening like festivals and art shows and concerts, then call anyone you know and invite them along. Just try attending something—just show up. You can make friends just by being present in your community.
Be a little vulnerable.
I recently took a new job, and my first goal was to find two women who I could invest in at my new workplace. After a year, I can say firmly and confidently that there are women everywhere in my workspace who truly love and care for me. It all developed over shared lunch hours, talking about the little things like what shows we were watching. Eventually, we all let down our guards and started sharing deeper parts of ourselves. That vulnerability led to lasting friendships.
Set goals for making new friends and step into them.
I remember specifically writing in my goal planner that I was going to make three new friends for the year. Now nearing the end of 2018, I totally have! So, set a realistic goal for yourself of how many new friendships you have space in your life to build and nurture. Even after I got married, I still wanted to cultivate friendships, so I set a goal to get lunch or dinner with at least one friend every week. It’s that simple, and it really sparks up lasting friendships.
Be there, together.
At the end of the day, there is someone who is always going to need a heart like yours to set her heart free from lies, shame, or loneliness. Be there for the people you’re invested in. When I moved to a new town after college, it was hard sometimes to build a new community. But, because my friends and I all chose to be there and stick with each other, our friendships are thriving in dynamic ways and our relationships grow deeper and deeper.
Remember: you’re never alone.
Gal, whatever loneliness you may be feeling and however you’re seeking friendship, know that we’ve all been there. Know that friendship takes all sorts of turns and twists and your relationships may look completely different when compared with someone else’s. So, stop comparing and start sharing!
I’m cheering you on this season—cheering you on as you embrace the ground in which you’re planted, and cheering you on as you grow and flourish in the friendships you find there.
Meet Kendra Schmitz
Kendra is a newlywed pastor’s wife, fourth grade teacher, and a passionate justice seeker for her community and around the globe. She loves hospitality and hosting—whether it’s a Noonday Collection Trunk Shows, dinner party, or book club. Kendra dreams of being a mom, crushing her fear of airplanes, and visiting another country with Noonday!