When I graduated from college and entered into the land of adulthood, I found myself outside the Disneyland of community. I moved to a new city, attended a new church, lived with new roommates, started my masters at a completely new school, and just entered into new singleness. There was nothing comfortable or familiar about the season.
I craved relationships and looked for ways to fill the void. I went to the local park every day and read a book just to feel a little less alone. This wasn’t the first time I had moved to a new city without any prior friendships. I knew what needed to be done, but I wanted it to be easy.
Creating new friendships is described as anything but easy. It takes effort and time. Most importantly, it takes an open-mind and willingness to say yes to things that cause you to sacrifice your comfortability.
When women from church invited me to coffee, I took them up on their offer. Instead of passively agreeing to “hang out sometime,” I made space in my schedule to say yes to every offer that came my way.
When a girl from my class asked me to join an intentional small group she was organizing, I agreed to participate. I remember walking into the apartment without knowing anyone and quickly making my way to the snacks so it looked like I was busy…organizing the napkins. I could have come with all these expectations that my best friends would be made that night, but instead I just made the single step to show up and be myself.
What did I have to lose in these situations? Nothing. I only had the potential to gain community by putting myself out there.
Some of those coffee dates (which later became milk shake dates because I was on coffee overload) produced real friendships. Sure, I was exhausted from answering the same “get-to-know-you” questions. But, that phase of friendship was necessary for the next.
Some of those friendship dates only happened once. The conversation was good, but our schedules clashed or we weren’t a great fit. That was ok, too. Meeting a variety of women allowed me to eventually find a solid group of friends.
Attending events alone takes courage. Inviting someone to dinner with the fear of stalled conversation takes trust. Letting people know the real you takes heart. Nevertheless, your commitment to community-building won’t be in vain. In time, the Lord will place women in your life that will make you feel like you’ve known them your entire life.
Who has the Lord been placing on your mind to call up and ask on a first friend date? In what areas has the Lord convicted you about your community-building efforts? Sister, you are a value to those around you and other women can’t wait to call you friend. Keep at it!