Kathy Howard
About the Author

A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher Kathy now lives an unshakeable faith for life and encourages other women to also embrace real, authentic faith. Kathy is author of 8 books, including “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents” (May 2018). Get free discipleship helps on her website.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Oh, Kathy! I felt something inside me shrivel up and perish at the thought of all those closed doors–and the security cameras! Thank you for persevering in your commitment to going first. I’m encouraged by your example!

  2. I hope you will share your muffin recipe. Beautiful way to reach out to others. May you find many other open doors. God bless you!

    • Hi Carol, I’ll try to share the recipe on my own site next week! The story about my first time to eat banana chocolate chip muffins is also a story of friendship. Our biggest move over the years took us to Alberta, Canada. A couple of days after we moved into our new home there, the neighbor from directly across the street came over with these warm muffins. She has a daughter the same age as one of our daughters and a son the same grade as our son. The two boys especially became inseparable and Joanne and I became good friends. That was 20 years ago, but their family came from Alberta to Louisiana for our son’s wedding two years ago. And it all started with banana chocolate chip muffins!

  3. Kathy,
    I’ve experienced rejection, too, when I was the new kid in town and rejection stings. It makes you want to hole up and simply not try. I’ve always lived away from family and so I soon learned that it was going to take some “no thank-you’s”, and some people that just aren’t quite the right fit, until I would get to someone I could truly call a friend. The following verse kind of became my slogan each time I moved to a new town. I had to trust that God had gone ahead of me and would not leave me stranded all alone: Exodus:23: 20…”Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.” Great reminder this am.
    Bev xx

  4. We’ve moved seven times in our 25 year marriage, but the first five were all within a five mile radius of where we’d both grown up! In late 2016, however, my husband received a promotion which required us to move about 300 miles. With the exception of a woman I met at work (who lives quite a distance away from me), I have not made any friends. We worked for the first several months to find a church, and finally found a great one…but then we made the difficult decision to move again to be closer to work. We hadn’t realized that the traffic in our new city would require two hours each way to commute the 40 mile distance!! So now we’ve spent another several months trying to find another church. All of this has taught me the difficulty in being the new person in town. Since I’ve always been in the established group, I had no idea. I too am naturally shy in social situations and this has been a huge challenge for me. I know in my heart that I need to make the first moves…it just does not come naturally to me. Thank you for your wisdom.

    • Ellen, may God direct your paths to new friends in your new home! Like you, our moving has made me more sensitive to other people who are new. I have made some great friends among the “recently moved!”

      • Ellen, I won’t talk about all the moves I have made in my lifetime, other than to say we moved 27 times while I was in public school. Thus began my nomadic life. God has given me awesome friends that I still have. He will bring people to you.

    • Ellen,

      I pray God shows you the right church. Never thought I’d say this, but sometimes a small country church might be ideal. I started going to my hubby’s small church in 2004. Right away one lady came over & said hello. I’ve been there 14 years now & I just love them like family. I will pray that God guides you in right direction. Prayers also for friends to do life with.


      • Thank you Beth. You’re very kind. I was raised in a small church and knew those folks as family. We are soldiering on as we look for the right fit.

  5. I am a shy person my nature and find it very difficult to make friend and to be honest I no friends what so ever. It would be nice to have a friend or two.

    • Hi suzanna.
      I feel your pain and loneliness. My family moved to a small town about 13 years ago. I too am very shy. But determined to make friends for myself and my girls I signed them up for local sports and groups. It was a long consentrated effort to get into circles of friends. We finally did make some friends, but as my kids got older and faced mental illness and other behavioral issues our circle got smaller and smaller. Its sad how we are judged when life isnt normal or easy.
      I too long for a friend to reach out to. For a laugh or a cry, i am here.

      • Bonnie, I am sorry to hear about your struggles. But know that God will not waste any difficulty He allows into your life. He is working in it and through it to shape you to be more and more like Jesus! Cling to His friendship, but pray and keep your eyes open for new friends He has for you.

    • Suzanna, I pray God will connect you with friends He has chosen just for you! I pray He will give you courage and boldness to take the initiative to make the first overtures of friendship.

  6. I commend you for being willing to reach out first rather than waiting for others. It’s never easy going into new and different territory. The Bible tells us that if we want a friend we must first show ourselves to be friendly. When I was a youngster, all too many moons ago, I went to a small country elementary school. It was pretty rare when we had a new student. Due to that fact we, especially me the sibling less kid, were always excited for the new face. But in these days and times that doesn’t seem to be the case. Busy, busy it seems we all are but we should never be too busy to smile and reach out a hand of welcome to a new face. Cudos to you for a lifetime of reaching out

    • Hi Loretta! You are so right. Our busy culture does negatively impact our relationships. It takes purposeful effort to make and build new friendships. And perseverance! I have made a new friend here and we’ve gotten together a few times, but it seems like the last few times one of us has asked the other is busy. But we will not give up!

  7. Kathy, when you described no one answering the door and going home to have coffee and eat the muffins by yourself – tears sprung into my eyes! You’ve hit a cord with me in this post. I have moved abroad to live with my husband in another country and loneliness is often unshakeable for me. It doesn’t help that I am an introvert that really can’t be bothered to change out of her pajamas on her days off of work. But you’re right, I know that I need to take more initiative at church and at work to have that support and companionship one needs, especially living in a new place. Bless you!

    • Rachel, I didn’t share this in the post, but when I went home “defeated” I had a bit of a crying pity party over my muffins and coffee. But I didn’t let that stop me from going to a Bible study in our new neighborhood a couple of weeks later. I am beginning to build friendships there. I pray God will give you the encouragement you need to reach out and take the initiative to build those new relationships.

  8. When we moved to the Dallas area in 2008 after 25 years in Houston, our neighbors on our right brought chocolate chip cookies, and my neighbor on the left brought chocolate brownies. It was a wonderful way to start our life here. I returned their plates a week later with something I made for them. Now that surprised them!

    A couple years ago at Christmas I took a mini-loaf of pumpkin bread to a new neighbor that I thought was a family of four. Turned out, three more came home from college and needless to say, my mini-loaf was going to disappear quickly with a family of 7!

    Which reminds me, many years ago at Christmas I gave a mini-loaf to the lady who taught our Bible study group, and after Christmas she told me she never got one bite of it because her son who drove home from out of town, and drove through the night, came in and found it on the counter and ate the whole thing.

    You triggered my memories!

    I have found that with making new friends, and after 25 years in Houston and new to Dallas, it took a lot more work than it did when I was younger. I have had to dig in my heels and choose to not give up.

    • Kathy, thank you for sharing your story. I also feel like it’s been harder to make friends the older I have gotten. When my children were small, they gave me instant connections with other moms. So without kids at home I have to be much more intentional.

  9. I’ve moved 10 times in the last 10 years, and food is always my go-to for meeting new people! Last weekend, I woke up early and baked blueberry muffins, intending on sharing with the people who live downstairs (their door is usually open). However, I guess because it was so early, it the door was tightly shut, and I stood there with a plate of muffins in hand, wondering if I should go in or not! I was so determined, I basically broke into their kitchen and left the muffins on the counter with a note, then left the house. Afterwards, I received a text “thanks for the muffins” and entered into a conversation about checking out their church this weekend! I’m excited to get to know them better 🙂

  10. I love this article but taking the initiative as a survivor with trust issues is very hard for me and the few times I did open the door, it ended up not very well and that makes it twice as hard to be open. So at this point, I have God by my side and my family (mostly my husband as the kids are somewhat scattered around) and no close friends. And I don’t see that changing any time soon.

    • Heike, I am sorry that you’ve had some difficult relationship experiences. Once someone has abused our trust it is hard to give it again. But I hope you will reach out again. You can start by being “friendly” and take the trust part slowly!

  11. I’ve been praying for friends again to love and support me through advanced stage cancer in a newer town.

    After hearing about my cracked rib, a girlfriend drive over today with a brownie, chocolate chip cooky and the milk and cereal I requested. That’s love. And I am grateful!

    • Jill, that is a good friend! And I am sorry to hear about your struggle. I pray God will fill you with His peace, grace, and strength in the days ahead.

  12. It just makes me so sad to think of all the people hiding behind closed doors. Reminds me of a picture that used to hang in my grandparents’ old house. A picture of Jesus standing and knocking at a door. He keeps knocking. We need to do so as well. So thankful for people with generous hearts such as yours!

    • Beth, you are right. So many of us today “hide” inside our homes. Our culture has shifted away from everyone knowing their neighbors and spending time on our front porches. But our need for friendship is just as great as it’s always been!

  13. I am naturally a shy introverted person as well. Over the years and as I age, it’s getting better. I am more able to share better now with complete strangers. If most of you had read some of my previous post from other stories, I had lost my best friend of 40 years this January and she was only 47 years old. As a result of her death, I had made a new friend of hers. For that I am thankful. Adrienne had made my days brighter and provided strength during this time. So true, we need others in our lives to enrich us, encourage us and most of all to love on us when we are weak. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Maylee, I am sorry for the loss of your friend. I also lost a precious, long-time friend a couple of years ago to a rare form of leukemia. I still miss her. It’s funny how every friend fills a unique place in our lives. I still feel that void!

  14. Hi Kathy,
    Would you please share your banana chocolate chip muffin recipe? I love that combination. Also what are your tips for making friends for a thirty-something single who works retail 40 hours a week, lives in an “established” town and whose capacity for being around people dwindles after being around people all day long all during the week? The people I know or have met seem to already have their circle of friends, seem way too busy, don’t ever seem interested in hanging out with me even if I do reach out to them or live further away than I would prefer to drive.(there’s a gal I’ve met who I’d like to have fun with but it seems like she has a very full life and she lives further south while I live further north. I don’t like traffic. And her schedule never seems to mesh with mine.) Am I the only single person out there who Doesn’t have a full busy life? Is this the norm? I would’ve thought it’d be the norm for moms but not single people….guess I’m just one of the weird ones….any thoughts or tips?

    • Hi Jessica! I am working on a post on my own website to share the recipe tomorrow – Monday, April 9th! So watch for it at http://www.KathyHoward.org. I will also include some links to other posts about friendship you might find helpful. Be sure to check it out. I wish I had some solid specific answers for you. I do know that our culture glorifies busyness and many, many people buy into it. I do have a couple of suggestions. With your specific circumstances of where you live, etc. maybe you could cultivate some friends at work? That would help with the traffic/travel problem. You could easily start by asking someone to join you for your lunch break. Another thought – does your church have a singles ministry where you could connect with other single women? And one more thought – broaden your perspective. Maybe the next BFF God has for you is a young mom or a middle-aged empty nester!

    • Jessica, your comment made me tear up. I don’t have a job right now, but I’m single and a few years younger than you. I have cerebral palsy and getting out and making friends is a bit difficult right now as I need a ride and I’m introverted. And group things are way too overwhelming for me. One on one is a bit hard too, but I like the intimacy of getting to know someone better. And in all honesty, after walking away from a friendship twice (I have a problem with letting go. I hate it actually. I still want to be her friend, but we both need healing.), I struggle with letting people in. I have another friend I’ve met through Instagram who lives almost an hour from me, and like you with your friend, I’d like to hang out a lot. You know when you click with someone? Every time we’ve hung out its like I’ve known her a long time and always forget what time it is. Lol.

      All of this to say, don’t give up on the girl. God will work out for good. I’ve been in the same space lately where we’ve tried to hang out the last few weekends but it hasn’t worked out. If you need an email pen pal for now: j_sparrows00@ymail.com. ☺️ I’ll be your friend.

  15. Thank you for sharing this! My husband and I are in the middle of our third move in three years, and your story has prompted me not to hide away. Much easier but not God’s design.

  16. Kathy,

    Making friends in new places can be hard. I would start by finding a good church & getting a little involved. You would be surprised how God can take a little effort & make much. I moved out of state for 1 semester of college. First time on my own. A nice neighbor brought me dinner the first night. They continued to bring me food & do little things for me. Made me feel welcome in that small town. Just need to make the effort. When someone new moves into the area of our church we make a welcome basket & put in a bulletin. That way they feel welcome to neighborhood & into our church family.

    Blessings 🙂

  17. I moved a year and 1/2 ago. I moved to a small community and was looking forward to finding friendly people! I have been very disappointed. I have reached out to the neighbors and been very rudely snubbed. I must say, that I was shocked and hurt. I know that 2 of the families are just new also and I realize I am older than these ladies but, I did not expect to be treated so rudely. I have done nothing but be cordial and try to be neighborly, the one lady goes back inside if she sees I’m out doors? I have just started ignoring them. It makes me feel bad but, that seems what they want. They don’t visit with any of the neighbors. It seems very strange to me! Very uncomfortable! I tried sharing things from the garden, and just smiling and waving, nothing works! I just pray for them! I don’t know what else to do! The kids used to speak but they don’t anymore either? I know I didn’t do anything wrong, but it makes me feel odd! However, since none of them speak to each other, I guess it’s not just me, ! Blessings to you all!