Female friendship can be tricky, but so worth it.
I was reading a blog post …
about moving and missing old friends. I can relate to that! Been there, done that, moved 8 times. I started laughing to myself, thinking about a comment that was forming in my wrinkly gray matter. As I scrolled down to leave my thoughts, one comment caught my attention – wiped the grin from my face.
A female reader told how a close friendship had abruptly and painfully ended 20 years ago. She had been so hurt that she had never attempted to make another friend. She ended by saying, maybe it was time to reach out again.
Twenty years? Approximately1/4 of her life spent avoiding friendships.
Shock and grief engulfed me …
I tried to imagine the pain that had shut her off. Wanted to hug her and cry with her and tell her that yes, enough time had passed. I wanted to encourage her to surrender her pain to God and take a that scary leap of faith and reach out and from a friendship. Maybe two or three. I wanted to tell her that yes, friendships with others are messy and can hurt, but they can also be so wonderful, nurturing, and exhilarating. They fill a void in our soul that craves face-to-face connection with another human.
I left a comment. She needed more, but how does one reach across the internet and hug another or really connect to a soul so that one-on-one bonding and healing takes place?
Her comment haunted me. In the wee hours of darkness. During routine tasks that make up so much of life. After tea with a friend. While preparing a talk about women and friendships. Multiple times her comment ran through my mind and I wondered about the gaps and silences in her brief words. I thought about the joy and love she had missed, both in giving to another and receiving from another. The comradery she had forgone.
I couldn’t solve her problem. Fix her past. Heal her heart. But I could learn from her.
I committed to spending more time
nurturing and pursuing my friendships …
Life passes quickly and I did not want to one day regret that I had chosen aloneness, the easier, the less emotional, the no-hurts, the comfortable, and myself over relationships with others. I did not want to choose finishing my to-do list, chasing a clean house, or focusing on work or play to the exclusion of participating in community with other women. I did not want to lie dying in bed wishing someone would come and hold my hand for my last few hours, but have no kindred spirits to call.
I recommitted to the importance of girlfriends.
“Friendship begins in that moment when one person says to another.
What! You too? I thought I was the only One.”
– C.S. Lewis –
I don’t know where you are in life with your friendships. But I know a good friend is a treasure. A deep friendship takes time, and more time. Vulnerability is good for friendships. Humility is a necessary ingredient. I know that sometimes the person you think will be your new BF sizzles into nothing, and the woman who you think you have nothing in common with can become your new best friend.
We can come up with a lot of excuses related to friendships. Lack of time. Don’t need one. Don’t want to commit. Women can be mean. Lack of self-esteem. Past hurts. But excuses are just excuses. They never move us closer to a goal; they never solve a problem or fill a need.
So, no more excuses!
“You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come
to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”
– A.A. Milne –
God designed us to live in community with others, even if it is loud, messy, and full of surprises.
One thing I know for certain. I want to live in a community of other women. Laugh with sisters of Christ. Love messy women like myself. Because friendships grow and change each of us for the better.
Need ideas for your girlfriend dates? See When Was Your Last Playdate?
This post first appeared on Life Letter Café as a guest post.
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