Thursday, 11 October 2012

Day 11: How to Make Friends

L-R: Me, Tricia, and Christy, circa 1993

I'm probably not the best person to provide tips on how to make friends.  I'm introverted, and for most of my life had a really hard time with it.  So how I made friends was having a baby and joining a moms' group.  I know that's not a blanket solution for everyone, of course, but I thought I'd share a few of the things I've learned through the blossoming of my friendship circle over the past five years.

1. Be willing to be the first to say hello.  
Introduce yourself.  If you're a mom talking to a mom, you have an instant topic of conversation!  But it also helps to have a few other icebreaker ideas stored away.  For example, just this morning, I talked to someone for the first time as we dropped off our kids at school.  After a "good morning!" I asked, "Is your name Joanna?"  Her son was on my daughter's soccer team, and I thought I'd heard people call her that the few times she was able to make it to the games.  And then we spent about five minutes chatting about kids' sports programs.  Another time I commented about the weather to someone, and our conversation circled around to us both recently getting tattoos at age 29!

2. Be willing to join in, even without an invitation.  
When I was a teenager and we moved to Edmonton, I became even more introverted than I already was.  I stayed on the fringes of our youth group at church, never feeling like I was part of the crowd.  Potential friends reached out to me, but I never reciprocated.  I was too afraid of being rejected (and I now know I wouldn't have been!) that I never made a phone call or invited someone over or suggested getting together.  I still have trouble remembering to do that

3. Be willing to try again.
Rejection sucks.  We all know that.  And it especially hurts to have your attempts at friendship rejected because it feels like the potential friend is rejecting you because of who you are as a person.  Guess what?  Most of the time, it's not really rejection!  Sometimes, you just caught them at a busy or stressful time and if you try again, you'll meet with success.

4. Be willing to bring a friend.  
If you want to go somewhere to meet potential friends, bring a crutch!  My aunt gave me that advice when I was 16 and feeling lost.  My crutch was my younger sister.  We went to youth events together, which neither of us would have had the courage to do alone.  But when we got there, we should have both been more open to getting to know others and participating instead of just sitting together at the back.  So if you bring a friend, make sure it's someone who will push you to get out of your comfort zone and talk to people.

5. Be willing to share your heart.
Small talk can only get you so far.  What develops lasting, real friendships is a heart-to-heart connection.  So be open.  Be honest.  Take a risk.  It's worth it.  I can honestly say that I've never lost a friend because I shared too much of myself. (see also 21 Keys to Flourishing Friendships, Key #7)

I'm no expert at this friendship thing.  No one can be.  In fact, as we contemplate a move across the country, I'm just a little bit terrified about starting over.  In a place that is stereotypically leery of those who are "from away."  Please share your own friendship tips and stories!  I'm going to need all the help I can get! (And if any reader is from PEI, I'd love to meet you if/when we move there).

photo by Al Opgenorth at the princess-themed WM event




3 comments:

  1. Joanna! If you guys move to PEI, we will come visit in a heart beat. I have always wanted to go visit PEI (I'm and Anne-girl at heart!) Wow- so exciting. Very sweet post about friendships!!

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  2. Are you seriously, SERIOUSLY considering it?? That would be just amazing... You've dreamed of this! :)

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  3. Joanna, love this post and this series! I love "be willing to try again." So important not to give up! Thanks for linking to us!! Blessings!

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