About the Author

Kristen Strong, author of Back Roads to Belonging and Girl Meets Change, writes as a friend offering meaningful encouragement for each season of life so you can see it with hope instead of worry. She and her US Air Force veteran husband, David, have three children and live in Colorado...

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  1. Kristen,
    Having gone through several major cross country moves in my lifetime, I know that lonely place of being without friends and wishing I had some. What I’ve learned, is that God wanted to use those times to “get a little alone time” with just me. I believe, at times, He needs to clear the room in order to get my undivided attention. Any time He has done that, my relationship with Him has grown and gone to a much deeper level. I have also learned that making new friends is about being a good friend. When I wanted the world to come to me and offer it’s hand of friendship, that was me putting me first. But, when I set my needs aside and said, “How can I go and be a good friend to someone else?” I had to shift my inward focus on me, to an outward focus on them. Like you said so well, God sees the big picture which we can only now see dimly. These friendless seasons will all make sense one day. He’s already given me glimpses of why I had to go through what I did. My job is to trust Love’s heart. Great post Kristen…always good to read you here!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Hi KristenI just loved this and can so relate because we’re military too( if I knew you lived near me, we’d definitely get together! Some moves have been easier than others when it comes to making friends, but God has always provided at least one. The most significant thing in those lonely times is spending more time with God….deepening my friendship with Him, and He truly is always our closest friend. This was so encouraging to read, so thank you!

      • A high 5 and a hug to a fellow military wife! ((Leslie)) I’ve found the same: While it often takes much longer than I’d like, God does provide at least one. Thank you for being here!

    • Thank you both for precious thoughts. They are “apples of gold” to this follower of Christ. I lost my best friend of 43 years two years ago this week and our couple friends vanished like smoke. Living on a ranch near a small rural community has not lent itself to many opportunities but God is so precious and faithful. Though he has not yet provided me with a close friend, he is making me sensitive to how many people around me are equally lonely. I have taken up his challenge to touch as many lonely people as possible with the love and understanding that I crave. It is thrilling to watch their shock and pleasure at experiencing God love and grace first hand. I get such joy from seeing their smiles as I glance over my shoulder as I walk away.

      • Sharon, you are a wonder! Bravo to you for going first to be a real friend to others. I’m praying right now that God crosses your path with a friend that will be for you what you are to others. So much love.

      • Sharon,

        I understand your loneliness. I had to quit my job last June (2015) and stay home to care for my aging dad. Some days are harder than others. Like you when I focus on others and showing them Christ’s love then I feel good and not so lonely. May God bring a good Christian friend your way. Praying for you sweet friend!!

        Blessings 🙂

    • “I believe, at times, He needs to clear the room in order to get my undivided attention.” –oh wow Bev, I just love the powerful imagery this strikes up. And really, I love everything about your comment here. So thankful for your friendship in this community!

  2. Yes, I too know the pain of long seasons without close friends. Thank you for being so open about what I’m sure is a common issue among women everywhere. You have given me the courage to pray for my own friendships to develop and I can’t wait to see who God brings into my life!

  3. I’ve so been there! Thank you for articulating the way this can hurt and how tender God can be in the waiting. I think part of our soul ache during dry friendship seasons serves to make us hungry for heaven. Looking forward to a time when no one will ever have to wait for deep friendships!

  4. Kristen, this is a beautiful post. I am currently in an in-between season of friendship right now and in a transition season away from our home church. My college friends are all having children or soon to be married, and my work colleagues are all much older than I am. But I have found this time to contain rich fellowship with the Lord that far outweighs my longings for close friends.

    • Kristen, I love your perspective here. As you continue to fellowship with the Lord, I’m praying now that a close friend or two in in your near future. Much love.

  5. Wow! This really spoke to my heart. While I have lived in the same community for quite some time, my own call from God to accept a position on church staff with a new congregation after 19 years coupled with changing needs of my children and an especially dear friend’s acceptance of a new job has left me feeling lonely and sad. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve begged God for someone to talk to in this season, well, I’d have a lot of nickels. So important to remember that simply because God isn’t operating on my timeline doesn’t mean He’s not actively moving or has forgotten about me. Far from it. Thank you for this precious word!

    • The wait is so hard, isn’t it? (And by the way, I’d have a lot of nickels too!) May you keep trusting Him to work out what is the very best for you. So thankful for your words here, Laura.

  6. Oh my goodness, can I just insert my name and city I just (4 years ago) moved to in there? *Sigh* I was asking the Lord about this this past weekend. Now, of course, I’m crying because He is so faithful and precious. He has given me online friends here at (in)courage; speaking words of love and grace to me. I usually want to comment just to get into the conversation, but I dont – for whatever reason. I love reading how some of you know each other! So I’m going to start jumping in and loving and sharing with my sisters here. Thank you Lord, thank you friends.
    ;o) Sandy

  7. Seasons of changing friendships also happen when you don’t move away. I am in a season of life where God is calling friendships out of my life. He’s asking me to trust Him as He begins a new chapter . My friendships are being altered by God so that I will be more appreciative when they return and hold them as sacred. In the meantime He has my undivided attention and He is the Best Friend of all.

  8. I’m there right now–semi-retired, separated from husband, pretty friendless. When there are no children to bind mothers, no workplace to bond with someone, is lonely. I get so tired of doing things by myself. But I’m trying to remember this is precious time with Jesus. I’m undistracted by social engagements. I can focus on Him, my one true friend!!

    • I could easily insert my name in the article. I can relate to the ups and downs of moving and starting over; as well as finally living in the same city and friends moving away or being occupied with family or work obligations.
      These seasons have brought me closer to God. Yes, I must admit the times were tough and lonely, but I pressed through them. Eventually, a door opened for another friendship. I have concluded that friends as well as family members may move away or become busy doing other things. Over time, you focus a little less on the friendships and just decide to be more open to whomever God sends in your life and step out and seek opportunities to do things and enjoy everyday beauty and life.

      God already knows our needs and desires. We just have to allow God to lead us in the direction He wants us to follow.

      May God bless each one who wrote a comment as well as those who didn’t but share the same feelings. We can’t give up hope, for God is our very best friend who never moves away nor is He ever too busy for us.

  9. That prayer: “Lord, please just work it out.”
    So much faith in this, and it’s really the way I need to pray about many things.
    Thank you, Kristen, for this insight today.

  10. It is amazing to me how many people are struggling in this area. We look around and think that everyone is surrounded by friends and feeling loved. During this past year of struggling with no close friendships God is teaching me how to be a friend. He is showing me that he is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. He is always there for me. I am learning to live loved. To enter a room and really see people. I am learning that we all have insecurities and we need to seek to build each other up. I believe that God is going to use this time to help me minister and encourage others. Plus he is growing me in the process. Such a wonderful message! Thank you.

  11. M husband is a retired Air Force Chaplain. I think moving to a smaller town in a settled area made it harder to make friends. A lot of people have lived here their whole life and have lifelong friends. It got to be pretty lonely and add our kids growing up and leaving and life was rough. I have made some closer friends now, but most of them have busy lives. The close friends I do have come from our mission church. I love them and enjoy our times together but they don’t have the finances or even transportation to meet somewhere for coffee or lunch. I have gotten closer to God and have been working on learning to be happy in the solitude, but it is hard.

  12. I find it amazing how these post come up just in time. I live far from family and friends and now with my moms passing I wish I had a friend or friends to do more things with. Maybe I need to step back and rethink this. Maybe God wants me to spend more time with him. But it sure wouldn’t hurt if a friend or two would show up and say hey lets go do this. I did join an online bible study. In time I suppose all this will be weaved into Gods plan. I appreciate the in courage me post! Thanks!
    Sandy.

  13. Hi Kristen! Thanks so much for this lovely post. I, too, am in an in-between phase of friendship, a lonely place. A long distance friendship has mellowed dramatically as my dear friend has found a new gal to spend most of her time with. While their friendship blossoms, ours has dwindled…not to nothing, but to much less. I know this is the natural ebb and flow of things. She is there; I am not. But it has left me longing for what I had and they have and I now do not have. But I know that God is doing for both of us what He knows to be best for each of us. He has given her a friend she needed to do life with me, and He has drawn me aside for extended times of just-me-and-Thee. My friendship with God has deepened to such a sweet place, and I am grateful. So I appreciate your honest heart and tender thoughts. I appreciate the opportunity to whisper, “Me, too,” as I read your words, and to know that while I feel alone…I am not alone in my feelings. 🙂

  14. The 56 years of my life have given me years full of friends and plenty of empty spaces in between. I have mostly learned to use the empty spaces for the things requiring alone time. I make calls to old friends far away to help smooth out the long, lonely stretches. I sometimes respond to a blogger. Reading sometimes helps us know we are not alone. Best of all, when no one else is making demands of my time, I have more time for God. I hear your heart, though. It isn’t any fun without a girlfriend — a friend who gets you and does life alongside you. We both know this time will pass, but the waiting can sometimes seem unbearable. Hang in there and know many of us reading your post are right there with you.

  15. Oh, Kristen, yes!
    I finally realized (through counseling) this summer that I have to mourn these changes. It’s OK. Change comes. Girl meets change! But it’s hard for me that people come and go. I’m in FT ministry. People come and go all the time for great reasons. I often feel left behind and it’s hard. I have to choose to mourn.

  16. I’ve been in your place, Kristen. When Uncle Sam moved us to Colorado Springs the first time, He didn’t allow me to make any friendship connections for the first year we were here. I chafed, I begged, and I finally relented. He wanted me to find my identity, my security of worth, in Him first. As I grew closer to Him, He ministered to places in my heart I’d been ignoring . . . because they hurt too much. He did bring friendships, eventually.

    We moved away (again, compliments of Uncle Sam) and He did more work in that place. When we moved back to Colorado a number of years ago, God had added two boys to our family, and this changed the dynamic of friendship for me. It’s taken time, but God has brought some special friendships into my life. I still have to remember to seek Him for my identity and my worth though. Friends enhance what God’s already working in us, right?

    Beautiful post. I’m saying a prayer for you today.

  17. I can totally relate to being in a friendless time of my life. Sorry, I can’t remember your name, but I liked what you had to say about the need to BE A FRIEND! Waiting for friends to come to you isn’t necessarily a good way to go about it. I feel so lonely, since my last friend
    phoned me up at 6 am on Christmas morning & said “You are dead to me!” I’m embarrassed to admit this, because it’s not someone moving away physically, but rejecting me as a person. I’ve been waiting for a number of years being friendless, partly due to my homelife situation, & partly due to fear of rejection. Please pray for me that I will, with God’s strength,be able to break through that wall of rejection, & be the outgoing person I used to be. Thank you for bringing up this subject. I feel encouraged & hopeful.

    • Debi, I am so sorry for what you have been through. Difficult homelife and fear of rejection can eat away at your soul. Praying for you, Sister, that God will meet you where you are today and bring you through the storm.

  18. We moved 4 hours away from our prior home. I had 3 great, Christian solid friends there, they were such an important part of my life. But we were definitely meant to move here. Their absence is felt every day, and for 2 years the Lord has not brought another friend into my life. This is getting me seriously annoyed. 😉 It is a lonely time friendship-wise. Women need women. All I know to do is trust Him and keep stepping out when opportunities arise. Thanks for this, much needed. Blessings.♥

  19. This is a very lonely season for me. My young husband passed away two years ago, we didn’t have any children and I don’t have any family, I had to put my sweet dog to sleep last month, and last week I lost my work at home job. I’ve thought about online dating but people have warned me it’s too dangerous for me considering I also deal with an anxiety disorder that affects my judgement. Please pray for me that God will heal me of this horrible loneliness and that he will bring the right man for me into my life. I try to get out as much as I can but it’s difficult for me because of the anxiety.

    • Have you tried volunteering? That is a safer way to establish friendships, both male and female, and build up your own self confidence and well being at the same time. It has been such a blessing in my life although I am not a widow and haven’t walked where you are walking. I will keep you in my prayers! Love, Diane, Hicksville, OH

  20. Don’t we all have an idea of the perfect friendhip? Lately, I fall into Lot’s wife’s trap of looking back. I think about why things worked out the way they did. I was concerned that because I was so interested in Jesus, I drove people away. But I don’t think that is true, if anything He moved them on if they hindered me, because He is the truest friend, a masterpiece in His eyes and He in mine. Loneliness is sometimes His call to us. We all need people and we get plenty, usually to help. I’m sure He will guide us to the right friends and when we lift Him up, He draws people. God values your life so much, He gave it a higher priority than that of His own Son. That is truly an apple of gold.

  21. Last year, I may have skimmed this post over, secure in my friendships and knowing that with a simple call or text, I would be surrounded. But an illness hit my family in January and since then, I have been needed 24/7 at my home. Moreover, it’s a mental illness, not the kind where people can just drop by. So I have been challenged with wondering if my friends are around…if they care…if they will still be there once this is all over, and I am let out of the darkness back into the world. I am learning that I need to be patient. To forgive. To know that the Lord has me blanketed in His care and will give me everything I need as I need it. It has been a season of “waiting in the loneliness.” Thank you for this post today, Kristen. Some days it’s enough to know I am not the only one. Praying for you and your changing world as well.

  22. Did you write this just for me?? HAHA. It’s totally perfect for where I’m at. I’m trudging through life waiting for everything to fall into place, the loneliness made even more intense by a husband entrenched in homework. It’s definitely a big adjustment for us right now.

  23. Sweet words Kristen! I get this. I think all of us do or will at some point. Thanks for the hard truth making the daily lives of the rest of us feel not so crazy. I’m on a literal road trip all over the west coast trying to land our next ministry job. It is fun some days. It is weary others…but you know what? You are right on by reminding us that the sun most def will shine brightly on the other side. That is my hope for you in this season as well. Hold on and eyes up sister!
    ~Jenny

  24. Hmm, yeah. I’m in an odd and unexpected season. I’m married to a former engineer who used to preach and do ministry on the side. He went into full time ministry a year ago, and while I applaud and approve of his career change, I have had to grieve a little. Church changes, friendships change, everything is different when your husband is in full time ministry. Some good, some not so good. And it has left me feeling somewhat lost, lonely, and maybe even a bit disillusioned. But gosh, God has been faithful. And you are so right, He totally shows up. It’s been a treat to see Him working in our lives during this past year.

    Before I push publish on this comment, I’ll pause to say a quick prayer for you – that He proves Himself present in this season, and sends you some kind reminder that He is at work.

    Kind Blessings,
    Kate 🙂

  25. I’ve had a painfully sad and extremely lonely 3 years and 3 months. It started when I cut my leg (a varicose vein) while shaving and it quickly turned life-threatening (without me knowing that it had) when it resulted in a blood clot they found in the ER. I was there to treat an infection on the wound. I came home shell-shocked. I thought that was it, but, boy, was I wrong. You don’t have enough space to tell you my Job-like experience for these past 3 years. A lot of crying and a lot of loneliness. I’ve always had a crappy “family.” I use that term loosely and with much reservation. My dad’s side disowned me and my mom a week after my dad died. My mom’s side in useless and selfish. Watching my life fall apart was brutal, but made worse by the fact that no one cared. I notified what people I assumed cared about me that I was facing such dire straits even possible vascular surgery, but I was wrong. No one cared. Everyone turned a blind eye and walked away. My friends included. I have gone through anger and lots of questions. “Why don’t I mean anything to anyone, Lord?” It’s great, but it is also painfully sad that God is all that you have. The enemy loves to call you “loser.” I learned that He is all that I need. He allowed me to see my life empty out to give me the promise of a FABULOUS life and future with people who do love me. The people in my life now…………..well, it’s because I don’t belong here. Like Abraham, I have been called to another land with other people. He has promised to turn their rejection and disregard into fame and honor. For now, I still struggle with loneliness, but He always reminds me that He is there and that everything is alright.

  26. Your prayer, Kristen, tagged with my spirit: ““Whomever I’m meant to be friends with, Lord, please just work it out.” I, too, am in a season with no close friends in my age group, in our locale. (We’ve lived here for two years.) Instead, God has placed my husband and me with younger couples. Though I miss commiserating over the adjustments of early retirement and the delight of grandchildren with women my age, these friendships with younger women offer the opportunity for mentoring and encouraging. I’d say “hope-filled contentment” describes perfectly my desire: hope-filled that these relationships will grow us all closer to God, and contentment in the purpose he has established for me.

  27. Thanks so much for writing this, Kristen. Since having a baby 6 months ago I have felt very isolated and without friends. My family and old friends are on the other side of the country, and my friends here don’t have kids and are in a different season of life than I am. I have no fellow mama friends near me. Thank you for the reminder that this is just a season, and that I need to seek and trust in God that there will be new friendships in store for me.

  28. Change is hard and I’m definitely in the season. I’m a people watcher, I’ve never had many friends, just a few close ones are all we really need. But in the season of change as we’re looking out into the world, you see life in a different light, my perspective has changed quite a bit and I’m learning that my friend platr is not full because I need my energy focused elsewhere and that’s fast on faith, God, Jesus, and prayer. I believe that once I solidify myself, my heart will be full. Thank you for sharing this beautiful article.

  29. Kristen, thank you so much for another beautifully written piece. This speaks to my heart so much. We just moved to yet another new country. We’ve been here 6 weeks, and making new friends is hard. I pray for myself and my teenaged girls long before we actually move. I want us all to have friends, but the “right” friends. Women and girls who encourage us, love is, and make us better. I pray that we won’t make poor choices based on loneliness and fear. Thank you for the reminder that we aren’t alone and that our God is big. He knows our hearts and needs so much more than we do.

  30. It’s amazing how God works. Going through a struggle now. Not even realizing what the real problem is. God keeps showing me the word “lonely”.
    I Keep relying on my husband for empathy, understanding but just get lectures. And then get super mad. How could he understand? He’s not a middle aged woman.

    I realized it’s a lack of real friendship.
    Been there doe that and was so deeply hurt that it’s been 22 years since. We were so close like sisters for 9 years. But she turned out to be a fair weather friend. As long as my circumstances didn’t rise above hers we were gold. As soon as my life started to look up she got jealous and mean. I’ve forgiven but never forgotten.
    So almost to the empty nest-might as well be for that child’s interest and all I have is my husband. I realize how being so aloof and closed off to the possibility of friends has served me.
    But because God has revealed this to me, I know he’s on the move. If I watch, wait and trust I’m sure he will mend this problem.
    Thanks for your obedience in writing this essay. God is using your words.

    • Laura. Praying for you that you take a leap and open yourself up to a friendship. Friendships can go south and leave hurt, but they can also be wonderful and glorious. I have a friend who when I met I thought we had nothing in common except children. But I kept seeing and meeting her and began to peruse a friendship. Now after 8 years she is one of my best friends and it turns out we have a lot in common. It just took years to realize and learn how much we had in common. So keep trying and be willing to put in some time. Not all friends are a n instant kindred spirit when you meet them. Hope this encourages you.

      • Thank you Theresa, for your kind words. I remember so well precious laughs and memories we shared, my former friend and I.

        Our children (3 daughters at the time) were exactly the same age, our husbands grew up in the same neighborhood. We had so much in common.

        It was like a death when we parted ways. I cried for her every day. We were able to talk about it at the time and she apologized, and I said I never imagined a time that we wouldn’t be friends…..

        I know you are absolutely right though. And need to keep my heart open and my mind receptive too. I miss having a glorious friendship very much.

        Thank you for your prayers, And encouragement!!

        • Laura, Losing a friend is hard and can feel like such a betrayal. Hang in there and trust God with your feelings. Someone is out there needing such a fiend as you. Just think, you may be the answer to someone’s prayer for a friend.

  31. Wow, this is timely. Some days the feeling of loneliness (despite being married) really gets to me and I know it’s because I do not have any girl friends around. For the last two years we’ve lived in a small town in Southern Thailand and the closest I have to a friend is a 50 something missionary who lived here for 14 years. I’m a 30 year old first time mommy and an extrovert who thrives when I’m around people. Here I always feel like the outsider, the language barrier is real and most Thais are Buddhists, so we do not even share the same faith. God has used this season to draw me close to Him and perhaps ‘He wants my attention elsewhere’, so I try to stay positive and use the internet to reach out to others who might also feel lonely. Reading your post and the comments above it also helps to know, I am not alone in feeling alone.. and I pray that God will send the right friends to all.

  32. I am blind and am actually struggling at church right now to make friends. I am outspoken but struggle with the whole body language thing. Sometimes I just want to tell people how awesome it would be if they would not talk to my dog and just try to for once say something to me directly. You totally connected with me when you wrote that about the friends sitting next to you. I have experienced this to at certain places. Friendships are so hard and I find myself being friends with women a lot older than I because to be honest, people in there 20’s and 30’s just think I am so amazing. It is hard for me not to let that really make me crazy bitter. Jesus is such a good daddy. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jessica, I just want to sit with you for a moment and let you know I hear you, every word. And I’m not just speaking empty words when I say I’m praying God brings you good friends, friends who see you and talk TO you. Friends who welcome your vulnerability as you welcome theirs. We all need that.

      You are so loved, Jessica. Peace to you, dear one.

  33. Kristen,

    I grew up a rather shy person and didn’t have close friendships. Over the years God has been faithful and brought 1-2 really good Christian friends into my life. Now I’ve quit my job (2015) and stay home to care for my aging dad. It can be hard, especially living rurally, to make new friends. I am blessed, however, to have a few good friends (ex-co-workers). My biggest problem now is that I don’t work, & have no children. Most people my age are talking about their children or grandchildren. I use some of my down time to talk with older (70-90) people and try to bless their lives.

    Blessings 🙂

    • Beth, I KNOW you bless their lives, just as assuredly as you bless ours. It’s my prayer that a kindred spirit or two shows up to regularly bless YOU too.

      So much love to you!

  34. Thank you to Kristen and to all who wrote comments. I don’t feel so alone. It seems like God wants me to reconnect more with Him as He has prompted me to slow down and let some activities go. I was feeling too stretched and tired. Now what to do, and who to seek out again or perhaps seek new friendships is the question. I want my time to be on what He wants me to do, and not just fill time up because I am lonely. I pray that we all find the peace that God only can give, and the courage to reach out if that is His will, or just rest in Him if that is most important right now. God bless