Holley, Lainie, and I took the challenge from Amber at the run-a-muck to host a Sister Party. How difficult could it be to gather skin friends for a fun evening after all?
We decided to plan three weeks in advance, bribe them with a chocolate fountain, and even offer a little early Christmas shopping from (in)courage as well as incredibly creative women like Mandy and Lindsey (go check them out!). Who could resist. . . much less say “no”?!
Almost all of my friends, that’s who.
After the first party last Friday I had another one–the pity kind.
Bubbling up from time to time, usually after my birthday or a weekend when my husband is chasing bambi in the woods, I ask, ‘Why don’t I have any friends? Why don’t women like me?”
(I know it’s drastic. . . and I don’t truly believe women hate me or that I don’t have a friend on the planet, but it ‘feels’ that way more often as I get older.)
Confused, the list making begins. Is it because…
I’m too busy? They’re too busy? They think I’m too busy? I don’t have kids yet? I work too much? I’m not fun enough? I’m confident? I’m scary? They think I don’t need a friend (I admit I’m not usually not the ‘needy’ one in a group of women, but still.)? Or is it really just that darn swine flu?
Why is making friends, real friends, so difficult?
Despite the challenges, I’m committed to figuring out friendships. I know what it’s like to laugh so hard you cry over a good chai, to share ups and downs, to connect in the God-way with a girlfriend. And I’m not willing to give that up.
So let’s talk about this, sisters…do you ever experience this? What’s the secret to your friendships?Leave a Comment
Dori Cook says
I find myself feeling like this very often — almost daily, I will admit. And it isn’t just me. I’ve worked in Women’s Ministry long enough that there are really alot of women who look like they have it all together, have tons of friends, etc., that sit in our churches every Sunday morning and feel as alone as can be!
I’m not an introvert. I’m not snobby. I’m not disloyal or one you can’t trust. And yet, I wake up many mornings saying, “I just wish I had a friend.”
And do you know what made this feeling worse? Being on facebook! (I’m not anymore.) Because I would log in feeling alone and desperately wanting friendship only to see that THE social network said I had 318 FRIENDS! And yet very few I could actually say were FRIENDS! I had FRIENDS on my list who wouldn’t speak to me if they saw me at Target. What is up with that?!?
I’ll be tuning in to this discussion. It’s perplexing to say the least!
Thank you for writing this blog.
Yep, I’ve felt like that and at the present time constently feel like that. I do remember back to different places I’ve lived and the real friends I have had. The kind that I could count on, could do things with, laugh and cry together. The ones that weren’t too busy to hang out, go shopping with or talk on the phone for more than 10 minutes.
What happened was I moved (several times) and years and time took their toll. I ache for those days again. For where I am now it’s a slow building of friendships, and I have what I would call aquaintances. If I find just one real friend here, 3,000 miles from where I last lived, I will feel blessed.
Dori, I’m praying for you and the blessings of a friend.
I see two other people feel the same way. I think I could say that I have lots of “acquaintances,” but not many friends. I’m in a MOPS group with around 80 other women. I know most of them, I can smile and say hi and greet them if I’m out and about. But I seem to be the last one who’s invited to do things like go shopping, grab coffee, hang out, etc. I know we’re all busy with children and life, but it does hurt to know that I’m the odd one out. I have to agree with Dori about Facebook. Logging on there is just a visual reminder that I get left out. I log on and see status updates from various “friends” about fun stuff they’ve been out doing together. I’d be happy with just one or two close friends that I could really share things with, as opposed to 80 superficial, surface relationships….
Oh I get this. I cycle in and out of these insecurities often. There are days it is really hard for me to feel loved by anyone because jealousy and fear have filled my heart and wrapped me up in their terrible embrace. Even last night I behaved in a jealous manner towards my hsuband, and there was no reason. Sometimes I think I am just too demanding, and I fear what the hormones will do to me once I begin menopause. *ack* Even the friends I do have may stay clear then!!
I get this too. Stephanie, I think you likely hit a nerve. Perhaps all women feel this way sometimes. I know I do. I know my friends do. What is it??? Is the girl-stuff left over from junior high? Is it the busyness (I think that is big). Is it the way we seek connection in cyberspace that lessens the felt need for real in-person friends? I have had the back-door type friends before. The kind you get together with to share leftovers for dinner. The kind the house is messy for. The kind who you can say–come shopping with me, I need your opinion. Those are much harder to find these days…hmmm.
I’ve also had the birthdays when even if I had a party–I wouldn’t know who to invite. 🙁
I’m learning these things:
1) don’t give up! It’s worth the effort.
2) BE a friend. Eyes off myself and be a friend, invest in others, don’t tally who initiates what, etc. (such a girly thing). Invite someone to coffee, write a note, give a compliment or hug. Offer to listen. Son’t do it to get friendship out of it–do it to love others. Not all of those efforts result in friendship…so don’t get discouraged. Know you’ve blessed someone else.
3) Don’t make to quick a judgement on who to be friends with–they don’t have to be in same stage of life, or dress like you, or whatever else you rule people out on.
4) Make time in your life. Find a way to add margin. That way, when someone needs you or invites you to something last minute…you have a chance of actually saying yes.
5) Not everyone is going to click with everyone! It’s OK. I
Sorry for the sermon–should have done my own blog post on this. 🙂
Great to *see* you! and yes, you hit the nail on the head with this article. And, it happens all-around, even with the married, moms, and singles. I have not only felt this, but, like you, wondered: “what gives? We need one another, right?”
After reflection on my close friends, I realized that my closest relationships have been built over time, through like interests, with women that for some reason or another: work, church, mommy class, etc, we were put together for an extended period of time. Once those variables change (we move away, class ends, new job), sometimes those relationships change. I have always been the initiator of friendships, and because of that, unless I initiate building the friendship, I realize that it may rarely happen. There are few women in the world this who wake up and say, “You know what, I’m gonna build a great friendship with [insert your name here] today.” Because we need the in-depth talks, the cries over chai tea, both people or all friends in the friendship have gotta take the time to build it. And sadly, some of us women always meet the needs of family (husbands, kids) and boyfriends over those relationships, so we don’t make the time.
My cure: I propel myself into relationship-building groups (like MOPS), classes (like yoga), and clubs (like poetry or book clubs). If I have a friendship that I wanna build, I ask my girlfriend to take the class with me or go with me. I take care to understand that my girlfriend relationships are not built over night, but over years, and my hope is to have the patience to build the true friendships that will last.
You have hit a mark with all women, and you are so right, as we get older it seems it only seems to get harder to stay connected and feel like we have friendships. I know for me, when I had a job where I traveled and was gone so much I thought that was the reason I had trouble connecting, but since I have left that job and remained in town, it doesn’t seem to change. I get frustrated and wonder the same, Why don’t people like me? Then I realize that I have to put forth effort and make the connections on my own, and finding common ground with others is a start. Thank you for your authentic heart with this subject!
Oh yes! I feel the same way. I have always been a loyal and steadfast friend to others and an exhorter. I had a dear friend for almost 25 years who moved away and just did not want to keep our friendship going. I worked hard to stay in touch but finally gave up.
It truly does seem to get harder as we get older. I really don’t know how to go about making new friends other than getting involved in groups with similar interests. I think it just takes time and the confidence to know that there is nothing wrong with me.
Often, I have heard that in order to make a friend, one has to be a friend. Well, I have done that many times, to no avail. I have given up and decided that having acquaintances and not having close friends is all that matters. I have prayed about this many times and just figured that the Lord has His reasons for setting up a solitary life for me.
However, I have done one thing about it. Instead of sitting around feeling miserable, I have decided to stand up, get going, and not treat others the way that I have been treated. I worked hard, learned to set up a website, and am continuing to encourage others. Hopefully, good will come to pass.
What if it feels like its always you making the effort, always you who needs friends when others already have them?
Is it wanting the impossible to want the kind of close friendships I had with people at uni? Now I feel like all I can make is acquantainces.
What a blessing to log-on this morning and read your post. I have been struggling with this topic lately, and what a blessing God placed this on your heart to write about and is giving others the courage to post their thoughts as well to encourage us all.
Being 31 and single, my friends mean the world to me. Yet, I don’t feel that I relate to them because they are married with kids and are apart of mom groups that meet and single women aren’t included. I tried a few weeks ago to get a group of us together, but it failed because of soccer, football, cheer schedules or other family related events. I am not downing marriage and family, but where do us single gals fit in with friends? I am the card-sender, late night phone call, drive to your home in case of emergency, keep the kids in a pinch, always there girl… yet I miss my friends.
I am so encouraged to be apart of this discussion and am eager to log back on later tonight and read through the responses. I am committing myself to pray for each person who responds tonight. May God bless you and your transparency in sharing your heart!
Wow, this is exactly where I am in my life right now. I have had a very “complicated” life, so to speak.. abuse and other things have caused me to not trust anyone enough to really have true friends. Lately, however, I’ve been dealing with my past issues and learning how to be a friend. And I’ve realized that it is exactly that.. a learning process.
Beverly @ The Buzz says
This is another of those times when I felt like I was the only one–only to see how many other women struggle with loneliness. It helps just knowing others feel the same way I do. It’ll be interesting to see the responses and ideas about how to alleviate it. I guess t-shirts would be a bit too obvious, huh?
T shirts sounds a great idea to me
Paula Jean says
Stephanie, thank you for touching on a topic that so many of us can relate to. I feel so connected to this topic.
I have often felt the loneliness of being new, unnoticed or different. Sometimes, finding myself there unintentionally by neglecting my relationships with my girlfriends as I busily run about my life – working, focusing on MY things, worrying MY worries, wondering where everyone else went. Other times, the friends in my circle have had changes in their lives that morphed our relationships.
I wish there was an easy, quick answer to solve this for us. The truth is that nurturing, full relationships take time to build. I think we need to start small. I like to think of building friendships like gardening. Sowing seeds of friendship whenever & where ever we can knowing that not all will take hold and not all will grow in the ways we expect.
I know that paying attention and focusing on my new friendships is required to have them flourish. These relationships also require time to go along with the effort.
I have come to realize that I can look to multiple friends to serve different needs in my life. As much as I would love 1 or 2 people who can be all things in friendship for me, I am learning to value my new and budding friendships for what they offer me and the person I’m spending time with.
This is a great topic and I appreciate the dialog it has sparked. I have lots to consider this afternoon.
Missy K says
I hear you! I often feel like everyone else knows some secret I don’t to making friends, being the one people choose to gather with, not having to be the one who always initiates. Glad to know I am not alone.
Hillary @ The Other Mama says
I get this, to, Steph and I think we all feel this way at one time or another. I am sure that everyone had some sort of small conflict, but know that I would have been there, baby!!! Wish I was closer and I would even come over to eat leftover chocolate today.
I struggle with this as well. I used to be the planner, party hostess, etc. I was the one who called up friends to go have coffee or dinner. Everyone came to our house when it was holiday or special event. The invitations were gladly accepted but they were never returned. All of my adult life I have felt left out, lonely, and friendless. My husband is wonderful, but a girlfriend to laugh with, share ideas with would be nice. I’ve lived in this town for 11 years, and have acquaintances but no real friends. I am a stay at home mom, too, so I am not “too busy.” I don’t know what I am doing wrong.
Having just moved to a new area (well, 6 months now), I did step out and go to a Women’s Bible Study at the church we are ‘mostly’ committed to. It’s hard to find a new church in a new area, especially when you compare your church of 40 years to every one you step into. The one we are going to now is very good and the music, preaching and ministries are very enticing. As for friendships? I sure do miss my best friend and other friends in our old place, but we are only 3 hours away, so we can get together once in awhile. My best friend and I have made a point to email, text, call and figure out creative ways to get together and that has kept us together.But as for here, I’ve made some friends, but no one has popped up as one to hang out with or even really call once in awhile. I have been feeling a little lonely in that way. I don’t have a job, but I’m really starting to think about maybe doing some volunteering at the church–not too much because I’m easily burned out if I try to do everything. But I’m trying to figure out, with God’s guidance, where to volunteer, and perhaps, there will be someone on the team I can connect with. It could be a start.
This post came at just the right time. I’m feeling the same way this weekend – a little lost and lonely. For me, an almost 30 single gal, it is difficult being in the in-between stage…not yet married or with children and not in the younger, live-it-up lifestyle. I’ve spent much of the day in tears feeling like I just don’t fit in but it strengthens my heart a little knowing I’m not alone in not feeling like I’m really connected with anyone at the moment.
There is nothing like girlfriends.
And I too have often wondered things like, “Am I not fun?”, “Do I get on people’s nerves?”, “Does anyone care?” I think we have all felt that at times. I’ve moved around a lot….and I’ve learned to seek out friendships…but sometimes it is nice to have friendships seek out you, isn’t it?
To keep my friendships alive….I never underestimate the power of the written word. I send cards through snail mail a lot…the old fashioned way. I even send them to my friends who live near by. Who doesn’t enjoy getting something in the mail besides bills!?! Sometimes..the gesture is never returned. And that is okay….it makes me feel like I’ve reached out just to let my friends know I’m thinking of them. I also like to invite friends over for dinner and stuff….it is something I enjoy. However, just like someone else commented…few people return the offer. I’ve learned that some people just aren’t comfortable or just don’t have the time to have people over for meals and stuff. And that is okay, too 🙂
When I was little…it seemed like friendships just happened….It’s true that they take work now…..and it’s true that people are harder to stay close to these days. Weird how that happens.
Another thing that makes me stay close to my buddies???…Facebook 🙂
Great post 🙂
Susan Keich says
I’m amazed at how many of us feel this way. I’m 62 and still feel alone…except for my beloved husband. I get lots of hugs at church and no one turns down an invitation to lunch. However, no one calls me!! The women’s ministry always stresses “bringing your girl friends” along to meetings. It really just makes me feel left out as I don’t have someone to bring! I have heard that God is restoring relationships among women, but so far it hasn’t happened to me. I raised 5 kids and they and their spouses like me. I used to have lots of friends. I’m not sure what happened or when life changed that we are now so isolated. Any suggestions?
It’s so encouraging (in a funny sort of way) that so many of us feel like this. It seems the only person I can really be comfortable with and hang out with is my husband and as much as I love that there is something really special about having a great bond with a woman. Even someone to call on in an emergency to babysit would be such a blessing (we do have a great family but again when it comes to forging friendships that sometimes doesn’t seem quite the same). I don’t know why these connections seem so elusive and why it seems like everyone else has a bff and we just tag along dying to be invited (or even just not have our own invitation rejected). However I wonder how authentic I actually am in this area. Am I someone who seems to have the whole friendship thing together to the outside world? Probably. How many of us are there in hiding!?!?!
I tell my husband the same thing all the time..”Why Don’t I have any friends?”…
I spent alot of time thinking about this as well. I miss the companionship of a good girlfriend. But as I looked around older ladies I know, they have the same problem. Work, kids, husband, and distance has caused this. It’s hard to find time for everything. So as time went on I or they became distant and it ended the relationship.
I now have a hard time finding someone my age to have the girl time with. Our church is small and the person closest to me in age is 10 years older so we cannot connect to much age difference. At work is the same way.
I tried a local mommy club but they only did stuff during the day for stay at home moms and since I work I had a hard time getting to the playdates.
I would love to know how to get out there more or find friends local.
oh I am so glad to know I am not the only one who feels this way. I am in mid forties, work, and live in the country where finding a friend close by is hard at best and yet I think how come I never get asked to do things with those at work or church. It makes me sad but I also just keep trying by making the effort and I have a blog online and try to encourage others. I love my hubby dearly and spending some time for me but there are times when I so long for that girlfriend I could just hang out with and share everything with over a cup of tea. This has been most interesting to read and I will sure be praying for us all
Just a few weeks ago I looked at my husband and said “I have no friends. What’s wrong with me?” And he said he has no friends either, but he doesn’t care as much.
Truthfully, we have lots of friends. Lots and lots. But we get lonely. And they live their lives and we live ours and then it feels…friendless.
Then I spent time with some old college girlfriends at a wedding last weekend and *poof* I remembered my friends from days past. The ones I lived with. The ones who knew me when. And we laughed. And we cried, too…because it was good to be together. But mostly, because we are never together anymore.
Mary @ Passionate Perseverance says
A “true” girlfriend is a rare gem indeed. I am blessed with one who if I called at 3am she would be there for me. True friendship requires flexibility, forgiveness and trust. It is not something I take for granted…ever.
Wow! It is nice to log onto here and see that there are so many who feel the same way I do. For so long I have felt this way and always felt like there was something wrong with me. What I don’t understand is that I can meet women and they will talk that day and even suggest we get together for coffee or lunch….but if they see me the next day or a couple of days later they seem to avoid me. So forget the coffee or lunch. It seemed like we “hit” it off and had things in common…what happened? And church…yes, I am one of the ones sitting in a crowd of people feeling completely along. I must admit that it seems like when I was living “in the world” it was not hard to make friends, but once I gave my life to the Lord the friends are far and few between.
Torie B. says
i feel this way too! i am a 22 year minister’s wife, moved 800 miles away from home to do ministry, and am as lonely as can be. i haven’t had close friendships since my freshmen year of college. it is very sad! i always wonder, what’s wrong with me? i am coming out of this funk, though. realizing that some of those thoughts are from Satan and also, that i have to make an effort to be a friend. i just have to stop those self-doubting thoughts and move on. i long for companionship and friendship. but i heard it said when you are in a period in your life where you don’t have close friendships, take that time and savor your friendship with the Lord. i actually bought a book on this that was really helpful and encouraging! Growing Friendships by Tracy Klehn. check it out. it is very good!
I have been struggling with this subject for almost 3 years now. I had 2 very good friends for many years, but somehow they became closer and I got left out. I try to reconnect, but thet are always “Too busy” or “Sure I’ll call you.” That never happens. It makes me sad, but I have drawn closer to my friend who sticks closer than a brother. Or should I say sister. I’m glad I’m not the only one who wonders why I don’t have friends and if anyone likes me. Thanks for being real ;o)
Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam says
Oh Steph – I know you are an amazing friend. I guess that’s why I didn’t want to leave your sofa bed. :)I would have been there in a heartbeat (and obviously, so would many of these other women). I can relate with so many of the comments and yet I look at what my last two months have been like and I haven’t had time to be the friend I need to be either. I think we all go through phases like that. People look at me and think, “she has a ton of friends/she’s so busy” and therefore nothing’s initiated – they wait for me. Well, everyone waits then and nothing is initiated. I love the Sister Party Project…we’ll just keep being intentional. 🙂
I’m sooo feeling this with you! Just this morning I was praying about this very thing. So, what’s the solution? How do we connect? Obviously I’m not the only lonely soul out there. How do we touch hearts? Is it because we are afraid? Afraid of rejection? Of being hurt? Of being transparent?
Hmmm…. Time for thought and reflection.
Kandice Penny says
I feel this way alot as well. The enemy has one primary goal. To convince us we are alone in the world. This is because he knows we are relational to the core and if we are convinced we are alone he steals the power we have to do God’s work. It is a lie. You are not alone. You do have friends and it’s harder for women to maintain them b/c that is where we find more power and more love from the Lord. You are SO RIGHT about not giving up that God time with yoru girlfriends. FIGHT FOR IT. IT IS A HOLY GIFT…. AND IT IS YOURS FROM THE FATHER! If you ever wanna giggle over the phone call me!! :)))
Lisa B @ simply His says
It takes time to develop friendships and we tend to develop them around what we spend our time doing. I had a couple of close friends when I went to x church, but since I left, it’s not as easy to see each other because we aren’t doing something together already.
I don’t have any deep friends either, but then I think about the friends I have had — they are seasonal friends. Friends I needed in my life for a certain period of time and then we move on to other seasons. Ups and downs. Friends come and go. Right now it sounds like a lot of us are in the season of not having any friends and realizing we need to spend time to cultivate those off-line relationships — which is hard when we sometimes feel much more connected to online friends.
Instead of trying to get a bunch of friends together, pray for and pick one friend. Do something with *that* friend. Make the time. Develop that relationship. Then work from there. It really takes time for friendships to develop to the point where both people feel comfortable sharing the yucky insides with each other. Well worth it when you do it.
This was a great post. And one I can relate to in so many ways. And reading through some of the other comments I see that there are many who feel the same way! I don’t really have any close friends for several different reasons at the moment and it is so hard not to just get frustrated and totally give up on ever being close to anyone! But my heart longs for friendships(besides the one with my husband of course!) and I hope to one day soon find someone whose willing to work through the struggles of it together so that we can enjoy the benefits of it as well. And realize that although some I reach out to may not be interested that God probably has someone else out there whose needing me as much as I am her. Thanks for writing! 🙂
Based on all of the comments, it’s clear your post is hitting home with so many women in all kinds of seasons of life. I too resonate with your words.
I’m three years out of college and it has been really hard to go from a community based around power walks, coffee dates, and afternoons spent watching Oprah and TLC with my closest friends to balancing jobs, new babies, new marriages, and new cities.
One thing I have found to be helpful is to make spending time with other women a priority. It’s hard to balance so many schedules, but in order to build relationships, we have to work at them. Being married for just a year, I am learning the importance of taking time to invest in women. Building new relationships can be a challenge, but I guess you have to start somewhere and trust that as you water and invest in them, they will begin to grow…
I SO relate to your post. Moving across the country (3times) has done away with the precious few true friendships I had. How I often ask for a few Christian friends in my life. Its hard not having a Christian girlfriend who can support you and laugh with you and vice versa. I’m in Kansas, any takers?
Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says
Stephanie!! I wish I were in Arkansas, so I could give you a hug. I know EXACTLY how you feel – I have had more of those pity parties than I’d like to admit. I ask those same questions and have those same sad, little girl fears. “Why don’t they like me?”
I know the God answers, the church answers, the right answers. But I just want to tell you that yes, I experience this, too.
We women can be our own worst enemies in this regard. I have so been there done that. It’s hard and it hurts and the worst part is that often we bring it on ourselves. My antidote is always to recite 1 Corn 13:7 Love “always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” And then I can breathe again and give my friends the benefit of the doubt.
C.S. Lewis said “Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'” Thank you all for being true friends to me and others.
Girl, I understand more than I’d like to. You see, I live in a quaint little village in Eastern Europe where I’m lucky to have indoor plumbing and slow internet. No joke.
So finding a truly kindred spirit has been difficult. Impossible, even.
It’s funny, most Preachers’ wives books I’ve read say that we need to foster relationships outside the church. Well, how does that work for missionaries? It’s not like I can up and go to MOPS. I am here in the middle of nowhere with all my kiddos, wishing there was a Diana Berry for me.
Boy can I relate. Others here have said it as well or better than I could so again, boy can I relate.
Yes, I have the same issues. I think the issue is just lack of consistency on getting together. To stay in touch and stay connected it must be planned regularly. Life flies by too quickly not to share it with great friends. 🙂 It’s worth the time and the effort.
I think another issue is I am unwilling to step out of my comfort zone. For example, instead of always waiting to be invited somewhere, perhaps I could do the hosting. Invite friends to me and bless them instead, you know?
I didn’t read all the replies (oh, I wish I had the time to). But maybe some others have said the same thing?