If You Give a Girl a Friend


You guys are familiar with the children’s book, “if you give a mouse a cookie….”




If you give a mouse a cookie, after all, he’s bound to ask for a glass of milk, for which he’ll certainly need a straw, not to mention a napkin, and a mirror to check for a milk mustache, which will only lead him to notice he needs a hair cut. One thing leads to the next and he needs a nap with a soft pillow, his drawing hung on the fridge, and by the end of the day, everyone involved is exhausted and every single base has been covered.




And that’s kinda what it’s like to talk about friendship.




Because friendship…like women…are intricate, complex, and one thing usually leads to the next


(aaaand let’s be honest. we can be pretty exhausting at times, too).



We can’t talk about friendship without talking about personality types, the jokes you laugh at, and what your love languages are.




We can’t simply stop at what your love languages are unless we’re going to talk about what they look like in your relationships.




And we can’t talk about about how you feel about the relationships in your life without talking about how you feel about yourself.





We can’t talk about how you feel about yourself by avoiding the hard topics of insecurity, pride, and self-centeredness.



Because while we’re talking about the desire to be inward focus, we will remind each other that to have a friend, you have to be a friend.



SO if you give a girl a friend, you’ve got to talk about it all.




I don’t know where you are with the people in your life. I don’t know how many friends have hurt you and betrayed you.



I don’t know how you feel when you walk into a room full of people, whether you want to march into the center and make a new friend, or if you count the minutes until you feel noticed.



I don’t know if you have someone you can talk to, regularly, safely, and who cares for your best interests.



I don’t know if you feel surrounded and blessed by the friendships you’ve worked hard to develop over the years or if you feel exactly the opposite.



But I do know that we all desire to be cared for, known, and loved.



It’s in our core.




I believe those desires are deeply woven into the fibers of our beings. We cannot silence them or be separated from them.



And I also deeply believed that before we can receive them, we have to learn what it means to give them, to show them, to be that kind of person for someone else.




 And honestly, before we can give or receive love, we have to be at peace with ourselves. Comfortable in our own skin, knowing our limits and fears, the areas we are strong and the areas we have room to improve. Because if we don’t know about ourselves, we’re looking for others to tell us who we are…to validate us, to affirm us, and to define us. And that’s risky business.




If we make it our mission in life to seek out people to love us, know us, and care for us without learning what it means to do that for others, we’ve missed it.



And if we stay wrapped inside our comfort zone, just extending far enough out so that we can guarantee less risk to our hearts and keep ourselves safe (starting to hum the Frozen Soundtrack anyone?)…then we’ll never experience all that God intended for us to experience in deep, vulnerable, caring relationships.



Because intimacy is scary. And risky. And it doesn’t always end well.



But it’s also crucial. And life-giving. And absolutely essential to real and lasting friendships.





 I read a statistic that said 25% of all Americans feel like they have no on to talk to. No one. Not a a family member or a spouse or a friend. One in four people feel that way. To me, that’s a startling statistic. It makes me wonder why we feel…or maybe we are…so alone.


So friends, this has to stop somewhere. Because we all want someone to talk to. And we all want to feel a sense of belonging.



But here’s the catch: to feel a sense of belonging means to take a step of ownership.




Knowing that friendship takes work, and not just once we have a friend but to make a friend. It will not just fall into our laps…we’ve got to work for it.  We’ve got to put in effort to be involved and to stay included rather than sidelining ourselves and waiting for others to come to us. We’ve got to work to make friends and keep them.



Here are my top 6 tips for making {and maintaining} healthy friendships…


1. Time


In a fast paced, now now now society, it seems almost unnatural to give things time. But good friendship,  vulnerable friendship, friendship with memories and stories and life experienced together happens slowly and over time. If you want the kind of friendship that has roots to weather the storms, get ready for some waiting.





2. Intentionality


Learn to do things on purpose for a purpose. To be the kind of friend that gives as well as receives, you have to put some thought behind your words and actions. Ask good questions. Spend time doing things that may not be your first choice to do. Go to a restaurant that isn’t your favorite. Ask someone out to coffee. Be purposeful in the way you are reaching out to people.





3. Pursuit


Invite. Invest. Include. It is far easier to wait for people to come to us, but far better to take the first step, send the first txt, make the plans. It may not be every time, but it blesses others to take forward movement towards them rather than sitting and waiting for someone else to take initiative.





4. Forgiveness


Be willing to let the little things {and the big things} go. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling, and is an absolutely crucial part of healthy friendship. The hardest is extending forgiveness when you may never get an apology. But holding onto bitterness and anger and justified feelings of being right is like drinking poison and someone else will die.



(And this doesn’t go for repeat offenders. Toxic relationships need to be stopped. We can still forgive someone but that doesn’t mean we have to put ourselves back in the position to be hurt over and over again in the same, damaging ways. Forgiveness with distance is a safe and healthy choice for friends who have proven themselves unsafe for us.)




5. Low Expectations


Reasonable. Fair. Expressed. In any friendship or relationship, it is our job to do some self-evaluating on what we expect from others, because sometimes we don’t even realize what we think or expect them to do. When we weigh out what we want and see how reasonable and fair it is, it is then our job to say it out loud. Our friends aren’t mind readers. Nor do they have to meet every expectation we set for them {or every expectation they express to us}. It’s just so helpful for everyone involved when we lay our desires or wants out on the table.





6. Natural vs. Intentional


Some friends come totally natural. Day one and we laugh at the same jokes, have 12 things in common, and feel like we’ve “known each other forever”. Others…take a little more work. But it’s not either or…it’s both/and. We have to be careful not to only spend time in relationships that come easy breezy to us. Those are good, to be sure. But some relationships that take a little more effort, a little more time, a little more intentionality…those are good to. Maybe they’re in a different life stage than us. Maybe we don’t have many natural connecting points. And that’s okay. We might miss out on some really great gems if we’re not willing to put in a little more effort when it doesn’t come easily.





“When you stop expecting someone to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.”- Donald Miller



 And the same goes for yourself. When you stop expecting yourself to be perfect, to say the right things and do the right things. To keep a pinterest perfect hom and meet your friends needs before they even know they have any. Give yourself a break. When you can wrap your head and your heart around who you are and who you are not, then and only then can you be at peace with yourself. Feeling comfortable in your own skin.



Because confidence and self-awareness is so lovely.



And being at peace with yourself is where it starts.




Let’s focus less on what we want and need from other people and more on what we can give.



Let’s stop making excuses and assuming the worst about others. Let’s stop taking ourselves out of the game for fear of rejection





So let me ask you…are you caring for and meeting the needs of those around you?




Are putting in the time, effort, and intentionality it takes to make deep, lasting friendship?





How are you making others feel welcome?



How are you being the first to ask, invite, seek out?



What are you doing to be the kind of friend others would be blessed to have in their life?





For the back story that goes with the caption photo, check out this hilariously amazing video featuring two best friends and their take on some modern day “hot topics”.








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