Friendships of Women, Part 1- Beginning a Friendship

I have encountered several women lately who feel lonely and friendless and were not taught how to "do" friendship with other women... they don't know what a good, deep friendship feels like, don't know what it looks like, and aren't sure it's worth the risk of being hurt or rejected to take the time and energy to be transparent with a woman friend.

So, I'm starting a series today about the friendships of women. It's something I've been reading about over the last several months, and something I myself have learned how to do incrementally. I hope it will be a blessing to you.

Today, we'll address the question:
how do I start a friendship with another woman? As time goes on, we'll address how to select women friends, what genuine friendship looks like, how to maintain friendships, the seasons of friendship and various kinds of friendships that happen among women. I'd LOVE to have your input, stories, and insights on these things, so please join me as we discuss the friendships of women.


PART ONE: HOW DO I START A FRIENDSHIP?
If you are a woman who is like the one I described above, perhaps feeling lonely or like the last girl picked for the kickball team, I want to encourage you. You CAN have close women friends, if you want them. Perhaps you just need a faithful friend, one who will stick by you through thick and thin, like Ruth was for Naomi. Or maybe you need a friend who will rejoice with you when everyone else is judging or pessimistic, just like Elizabeth was for Mary. Could be that you've been burned by friends in the past and aren't sure whether anyone else is worth the effort. Whatever the case, I'd like to encourage you to step out and befriend another woman. In all likelihood, that other woman is probably hurting and unsure and needs encouragement, in the same way you do. Here's where I'd start:

FIND ONE ADMIRABLE WOMAN
Look around you at church, at homeschool groups, in your community, in your neighborhood and see if there's one woman who's ahead of you on the road you're on, even if she's only ahead of you in one area, and see if you could begin spending regular time with her.

For example, if you are a quilter, find someone who is an excellent quilter and is an empty nester. Ask her if she'd be willing to come over during the kids' quiet afternoon reading times/naptimes for littles and teach you a few things, or if you guys could just quilt alongside each other. If you like to think through new theories and learn about new things, look around your church and find a woman who thinks deeply... a woman who reads challenging books... and then ask her to come over one morning while the kids play in the backyard, so she can share with you what she's learning in her most recent book.

If you're a homeschooler, find someone in your area who has done that well, and invite her to come and mentor you about better ways of getting things done. Or perhaps there's a woman who has a really strong marriage, or has endured much tragedy in her life. Invite her over for lunch and to stay for conversation while the kids take a nap.

TAKE THE FIRST STEP

Sometimes you have to "put it all on the line" so to speak, and just ASK. People may not know you need a friend, and they're busy going through their lives at the same time you are. They may assume you have friends in your neighborhood, or friends through your husband's work, or friends from high school/college, or friends in your homeschooling circle, or friends through ________, and not even realize that you need a friend too (even if they're lonely and needing a friend as well)!!!

This is the way that I have made most of my best friends... by putting my fears and insecurities on the line and just making time to get to know another woman. Basically, it's Titus 2-ing but I don't expect to learn EVERYTHING Titus 2 talks about from one woman (although there IS one particularly good friend in my life that has taught me many major things in life)... but if I can learn about personality theories from one friend, about creativity with children from another friend, and learn grace and kindness from another friend, and hospitality from another one, and cross-cultural things from another one, well then pretty soon, I've not only learned a bunch of new things (from people who are good at those things), but I've also made a bunch of great friends.

DON'T LIMIT YOURSELF TO ONE, BUT START WITH ONE

For me, it all started out with one. I now have many friends with whom I share what I would call a deep friendship, with whom I can talk openly and transparently, feel at ease to "be myself" and not feel judged, and can share just about anything. But it all started with one friend like I'm describing... taking time to get to know each other. Intentionally opening up, bit by bit... and it didn't happen overnight.

But if you start with one, then soon you'll be better at being a friend and making a friend. Once you have a friend who shows you how to quilt, then you may realize that you'd like to have a friend who can help you to have a better marriage, or how to be more patient or creative with your children. The sky's the limit on what you can learn from other women! But you've gotta take the first step and start with one!

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It has been such a blessing in my life to have women to learn from, grow with, be taught by, and teach. I love the women that I have shared my heart with, and know that I am loved in return.

It would be my prayer for you that you will have deep, loving friendships with other women in your life as well. That God will give you at least one other woman with whom you can tear down your walls and just be yourself. That He will bless you with a Sister who will come alongside you and share your burdens on the road of life. I hope this encourages you to think through the friendships and the depth of the friendships that you have; I'd love to hear any thoughts or stories on this topic!



9 comments:

Anna S said...

Isn't friendship one of the greatest gifts? I enjoy the fellowship of many wonderful women of all ages and different backgrounds. But you know, all of my friends I found without having any such intention. It just happened naturally. Not that friendships take no effort, sure! Only it sort of happened without even thinking about it.

Catherine said...

What truth you have written! I have found a number of women who needed a helping hand when going through crisis. I thought that they surely had friends, but it turned out that they really didn't have anyone with whom to share their struggles. Out of that realization grew a wonderful women's group that sustained several of us for several years.

It is hard, though, as a Christian woman to find a mentor. Where are all the mature women? But, I must admit that I have not put enough effort into developing such friendships. Friendship is hard - but so worth it.

Blessings,

Catherine

Christina said...

I'm looking forward to this series. We've just changed church's and homeschool groups. And I went through a rough period with some close friends and got really hurt a couple of years ago. This is the first time in my life since 7th grade that I've felt like I had to start all over again with friends. It is hard, especially after betrayal of trust, but God is good.

I'm starting a Mother/Daughter sewing night at our house this summer and inviting some of the families in our church with older girls. I'm hoping that my daughter and I will both be able to make some new friends through that.

Allena said...

Friendships are wonderful. I have been looking at those same verses and in fact i shared the same part about teaching each other at a women's prayer brunch last month and i also used ECC 4:9-10 I think that's the addresses. b/c i've found it hard at first to make friends in this new place that i'm living with b/c so many of the people in the church have been going there their whole life. so they just assume you have friends and know everyone. but i'm always up-front about things so i don't find it a problem to tell people i don't know anyone and need to get to know people.
Even if you're the friend who's teaching you're going to be blessed by this frienship. so i'm always telling women to look at what they're talented with or what people admire that they've made or done or what they're good at and then to develop that skill/talent and share it with other women.
sorry i can go on and on.

Andrea said...

Jess,
what a wonderful series. I think it's so important to have those close friends and *seek* those friends. I look forward to what you have to say.

EmmyJMommy said...

Jess, I love you so much, sister! It is a great subject you are writing about...and so true about how difficult it is to find true friendships...especially for women who move around a lot. I live in a community that has two Air Force Bases and we have families in and out of our congregation. I am thankful for them and the other women in our congregation are very aware of the difficulties military wives to meet other women and bond when they are only around for a year or so...we have a very focused effort to bring these women within our midst with a purpose of ministering to them and bonding with them for a lifetime.

Thank you, sister, for your continued focus on issues important to all women!

~~emmyj

EmmyJMommy said...

You've been tagged for an ABC meme!

~~emmyj

toni said...

I love this topic. Please address what we are to do if having others into our humble homes makes us anxious. This has always been a stumbling block for me.
Blessings,
~Toni~

Gavi said...

I've just discovered your blog and I love it! You've got great articles and I've already learned some things and been convicted in some areas. Thank you so much!