Girlfriending: Making and Keeping Friends

When it comes down to it, there are only a handful of topics that I feel confident giving advice on. Frankly, I think there are only a few topics that God wants me to give input into! I can’t foresee writing how-to topics on parenting for many many many years. How-to organize your home? Nope. Super funny stories of my life? Rarely. But there is one topic that lives in my heart consistently and I want to start developing some internal thoughts into external concepts. Please help me with your feedback in this process!

Girlfriending. Some of us have them. Some of us don’t. Some of us have them for a few years…and then something simply happens and it’s gone. Some of us have them but we don’t know how, lol! May I share a brief story with you, kind reader? It will be short but it will give you a point of reference for a bit of my history with girlfriends.

My history with girlfriending started when I was six years old. I was shy and quiet (can you believe it?!) and they were a strong group of four girls – friends since infancy. Classic clique from even that young age. Now don’t get me wrong – they weren’t directly rude to me – but from the age of six until the age of eighteen they were a constant in my life. It wasn’t so much that I was bullied (I wasn’t) – but I simply was not a part of the gang. Wouldn’t you love more juicy details??? Ahhhhh that’s another post my dear. But, I know this, even with the little I have said, SO MANY of you can relate. Whether you have dealt with gangs of girls at a young age, a middle age or an old age, each one of you knows exactly what I am talking about.

Well, to keep it short, the bottom line is that the enemy has plans for our lives but the Lord has plans for our lives too. And at the age of fourteen, His plans started to emerge and the shy girl started to find her voice, personality and convictions. He started to show me that I was NOT alone in my hurt feelings, that the gang ‘o four hurt each other as much as they hurt anyone else, and that it was time for me to open my little eyes and see the other jewels around me that had also been affected – each an island unto themselves for the most part. There were other people to appreciate and give attention to beside the gang! Novel. By the time I turned eighteen, God had really done a pretty amazing thing in my heart. In the matter of four years, His confidence had emerged and the power of a group of girls to include me or exclude me had been greatly diminished as I realized my value and worth simply had nothing to do with their opinion of me.

Now – insecurity is a nasty devil to be sure. It’s frankly something that I have to keep a sharp eye on within my heart to this day. It would love nothing more than to raise its quiet and deceptive head, I am certain, until the day I die. But it’s a battle worth fighting my friend and the biggest reward I’ve received in allowing Him to help me overcome insecurity is in my friendships. The more I received His help – the sweeter my friendships became. The more numerous they became. The more sought after I became. And the perspective He allowed me to develop from my experience with the gang continues to slap the enemy in the face to this day. I can see people that others don’t see. I can see how my actions affect others. I can breed love and acceptance into a group that may have a tendency towards cliqueiness (pretty sure I made that word up). I can have a meaningful conversation with a new acquaintance over the span of five minutes. All while dealing with a the girl inside that still would rather lean towards shyness.

A few of the treasures God has given me in life:

And so, I have no formulas for gaining and keeping girlfriends. But I have been there, done that, with most stories regarding girlfriending. And because of it, I truly care about this topic. I have learned a lot about it. I’m not perfect at it and I still have failures and hurts, but there is an overriding health in my girlfriend relationships that can only be because of the path He allowed me to walk and the heart He allowed to develop because of it.

This is going to develop into a series of posts because who has thirty minutes to read one post??? Nadda. Over the course of the series, we’ll delve into signs of a healthy friendship, what to do if you’re lacking in healthy girlfriend relationships, and practical actions/decisions that yield rich fruit in a friendship.

But for today, I want to share a few big picture thoughts to get the fire stoked.

Three thoughts to ponder:

1. Every healthy girlfriend relationship is marked by a certain level of mutuality. You’re both giving and you’re both taking. If you find yourself always giving, something’s off. If you find yourself always taking, something’s off. Every friendship can go through specific seasons of one friend playing more of one role than another….embrace the season. Watch for it to eventually come back to the middle. Of course, we all have friendships that don’t strike this balance and that’s okay. But of your truest friends – this is a sign of health. If you’re uncomfortable being in a taking/receiving position within the friendship – pray about it because receiving should be a big part of it….which means allowing yourself to be weak/transparent/whacked out in front of someone else. The same is true in reverse. You may not thinking of yourself as being the more dominant receiver. But look at your friendships. What are you giving? I promise promise promise you, you have something to give her.

2. Good girlfriending is NOT about perfection. You are going to make a mess of things at some point and so am I. Sometimes they are little messes and sometimes they are big messes. But the answer driven by love is always to be willing to make it right. Don’t let stuff accumulate under the proverbial rug. The more that is avoided, the weaker the friendship.

3. Girlfriends are a healthy part of life! Wives – your husbands were never intended to be your everything. Girls who have a best friend – that one girlfriend was never intended to be your all in all. One human being simply will not ever suffice fully. And truly, there is so much in this life that only God, Himself, can touch. But I’m a firm believer that He moves through the variety of girlfriends in our lives. Don’t have just one type. Be open to seeing who God wants to bring along your path! His surprises are always delightful. Being an open person is a mark of relational maturity.

Ahhhhh my friends I think we’re just getting started and I’m so thankful for you! So many of you are dear friends in my life and I count myself rich. As always, your feedback is genuinely appreciated. If you have an idea for an aspect of girlfriending that would be great to hit on – please let me know!

Happy weekending y’all!
Abi

1 Comment

  1. Abi~ I just read part 4 this morning & had to read this one too! I really appreciate your friendship series and look forward to reading part 2&3.

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