Making Friends As a Grown Woman from Cousin-In-Law Jill
I need friends.
The older I get, the more I realize I need them. There was a brief period in my life when I didn’t think I needed them as much as I do. I met an amazing guy and wanted to spend every second with him. It didn’t take long for him to replace my girlfriends. He was all I wanted and needed at that time in my life. We dated, smooched a lot, got married, and started a life together in a new place. And that’s when I first realized: “Crap . . . I have no friends.”
I started working and that filled the void for a while. I worked in an office with several other single and/or newly married girls. We spent all day together and we were goofy! I got to return home to a loving husband every night, too, which was the best of both worlds.
The time arrived when my husband and I were ready to start our family. I worked through my entire pregnancy and called in sick the day I went into labor, rightfully so! We welcomed a beautiful little girl into our lives and couldn’t have been more ready to conquer the world. My daughter and I quickly settled into a routine at home while my husband continued his schooling. This was my new life: a mother! It was all I had ever wanted to be. It was also the second time I realized: “Crap . . . I have no friends.”
It has been five years since my daughter was born and we have lived in four different places. Most of what I have to say about making friends refers to these recent years.
Here are some simple lessons I’ve learned in no particular order:
- Be proactive. At this stage in life, who really has time for friends? We all want them and need them but we all have busy lives! I am a pregnant mother to three tiny kids. I never seem to be on top of the housework, laundry, dinner, etc. I also barely have enough energy to lift the spoon of Nutella to my mouth. But I do it, because I care about the baby that much. It is important to realize that I am not the only one who has a busy life! If I sit around and wait for fantastic invites to “Girls Nights Out” or play dates or Bunco – they may never show up. I have to be the one to organize these things sometimes. At least get the ball rolling and say, “We should plan a Girl’s Night this week.” Plus, inviting a group of friends over to your house is excellent motivation to get it clean once and for all! Make the effort and you will be surprised at how many people are sitting around waiting for the fantastic invites. Be fantastic!
- Participate. When you are invited to events . . . GO! It is not always easy to get away but do it anyway. You will be glad you did! You will have a great time, make new friends, and show that you are one to invite next time because you will show up. With treats. Always ask to bring treats!
- Invite New Girls. There are plenty of people who are wallflowers. I am married to a wallflower. He is funny and friendly but he is shy! He is the quiet observer and not someone who is too good to hang out with the group (some would think this). It’s just not his style to be obnoxious and the center of attention like some people. Ahem. I have a little sister like that too. These people need friends just as much as you do. And maybe the new girl isn’t even shy! Maybe she is just so overwhelmed with her loneliness that she doesn’t know where to start. I can relate to that. I have been there. You have no idea how much you can change a girl’s life by simply including her one time. Be that person.
- Don’t Judge. I can’t stress the important of not judging enough! No one is exempt from trials. We all have them. Be careful not to assume too much about your friends. Some may be hurting very deeply which could lead them to act in ways that seem bizarre. Reach out to these people and seek for ways to help them. Don’t participate in tearing down these individuals.
- Don’t Compare. As women, it seems we do this a lot more than we should. We can also be so caddy! These are not appealing characteristics in a friend. If you have a friend who succeeds at something, don’t take it as a personal attack against you. Another’s success does not equal your failure. Praise your friends for their accomplishments and do it sincerely.
- Forgive. I think forgiveness can go along with “not being easily offended.” Don’t let a wedge come between you and a friend. On the same token, be sensitive to the things you say. Yes, you are probably really funny like I am, but not everyone appreciates your humor.
- Give generously. Just as much as you need help from your friends in time of need, so do your friends! It is important to give generously. Things that are easy to give are: time, meals, childcare, etc. When I say “easy” I really mean “possible.” Some of the friends I hold dearest to my heart are the ones I know would do anything for me. I was so sick at the beginning of this pregnancy that I had to have people take care of my family and me. One friend talked my little girl into opening the door to let her in and began cleaning my house. Another friend went into my bedroom and stripped my sheets to wash them. Dry cereal went flying across the room (I’d been eating in my bed for weeks) but she did not judge. We laughed about that together. Even when I’m not sick, I’ve had friends show up at my house with Dairy Queen Blizzards just because they were thinking of me. These are the friends I want to keep around forever! In order to do so, I have to show them that I would return that favor any time.
- Be reliable. No one likes a flake. It is exhausting to be friends with someone like that. When you commit to something, DO IT! Be someone that others can count on. I heard once that not having time and forgetting are two signs of not caring. Show your friends you care by remembering and following through!
- Be nice. Doesn’t this seem self-explanatory? It’s not apparently. I hear women say mean things about other women all the time. Can you believe we still do this as adults? I have some friends, however, that I could never imagine saying something mean about someone else. They always defend the one who is being talked down. I trust these friends the most. If they aren’t talking bad about others, they aren’t talking bad about me.
- Be yourself. I have found that I have the most fun when I’m able to be myself. There is no need to pretend to be something you’re not. Because you are wonderful. You want friends who will like you for YOU.
That sums up what I’ve learned (for now)! Remember that there are probably dozens of women with whom you associate that are feeling similar to you. Maybe they’re lonely, maybe they’re wishing you would befriend them, maybe they are dying to see the new Twilight movie, and maybe they would love to be met at their door with a surprise Dairy Queen Blizzard for no reason at all.
This is my cousin in law Jill…she is a private blog you WISH you could read. Really. Look at me rubbing it in your face.