I’ve got to say right off the bat that I’ve learned this concept from my amazing mama. Over the years she has taught me how to truly enjoy my friendships. As a young girl I always remember her laughing hysterically with her good friends whether they were in Florida only 10 minutes from us or across the globe in Finland seven hours ahead. Nonetheless, distance and busyness did not stop her nor them from being genuine. They would laugh together, cry together, trick each other, give gifts and so much more. One of my favorite things that she did was travel with her buddies. They would go all over the world or simply an hour away to get away and relax.
In my opinion, and I’m sure many of you will agree, it’s much easier for children to make and keep friends than it is when you become an adult, let alone a mother. But in spite of all of that, my mom knew the secret of just how important it was to have people in her corner. As wives, mothers and entrepreneurs it’s very easy to forget about yourself. To give all to one, whether it’s your job, your children, your spouse or something else. But sometimes we don’t even see that we don’t have anyone to talk to or to be silly with. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re married then of course your husband should be your best friend and you should feel the freedom to be silly and free in his comfort. But just like him, you need friends with the same values to encourage, to comfort, to laugh and be honest with. Here are 3 tips to help you enjoy your friendships to the fullest.
- Don’t just be friendly, be open
I struggled with this one a lot. And it saddens me to say it, but I think a lot of other women can also relate more than they care to admit. I had just gotten married and all of a sudden I didn’t want to be open anymore. Honestly I think it was subconscious. I would be friendly and kind but I wouldn’t let anyone in. I could talk all day about you, but the minute you started asking questions about me I would shy away. Somehow I had slowly started building up a wall around myself saying ‘None shall enter but all can yell across the moot.’ I look back now and think it’s no wonder I was getting so sad and overwhelmed. I even went through a period of a depression after I had my first child. But I’m convinced this is because I wasn’t letting anyone in to be a good friend to me! I think somewhere deep down I was afraid someone was going to take advantage of me and use me and then I’d end up all alone. Little did I know the minute I started building those walls that’s when I began my journey to loneliness.
Don’t just be friendly…be open. Allow others to come into your life and be genuine friends. You need them as much as they need you.
- You have to be willing to give
I don’t mean monetary things (although who doesn’t like a gift now and then? J). I mean, you have to give of your emotions. You have to give joy, encouragement, thoughtfulness… these are just a few of some of the great qualities of friendship. I am reminded of a great quote by Helen Keller, “Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” Really think about this and then imagine yourself in the darkness with one or two of your best friends. And rather than fear creeping over you it is laughter which overtakes you all. You start to trip and fall all over each other and then the rest is history.
Joy gets us through our darkness. We need friends; we need companionship. Life was never meant to be lonely but instead full of life! Get out there and give all the qualities you so desire to receive and before you know it, you’ll have more than you could have ever asked for.
- Be willing to receive
Like I shared earlier, I had trouble having friends as I became an adult. I could talk all day about you and even help you in your time of need, but again you would never be given the opportunity to be my friend in return. No matter how strong I was (or thought I was), no matter how hurt I was, you wouldn’t enter my gates and this left me as a lonely princess.
I am so glad that my eyes were opened! The Lord in His gentleness began to heal me and help me see how important it was for me to receive friendship. If I had known then what I know now, I can honestly say I would never have gone through a depressive state! I wish I would have noticed my mother’s secret to friendship. It was her closest friends that helped her get through her darkest moments. They prayed for her, sought God for her and were simply there to listen to her.
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NLT)
I hope that you were somehow touched by my story. You are not alone. There are so many amazing, kind and trustworthy people out there and all you have to do is be willing to be open, to give of yourself and of course receive. Don’t let fear hold you back from enjoying one of the coolest things created: friendship.
And keep in mind, not only are you going to benefit, but think of all the people out there who are facing lonely battles! Your story could change that! Change starts with you and even friendship can make the world a better place.