Monday, May 22, 2017

What to Do When You Have Trouble Making Friends

"I am having trouble meeting and keeping new friends, I try to reach out to others, even having them over or texting them but it doesn't seem to work, my efforts seem to be in vain--even with ladies in my church!  I see everyone around me having friends and having fun. I am feeling lonely and depressed and don't know what to do anymore."

I know this is a huge struggle for many women--so much more than we think.

There was recently a big discussion in our Titus 2 group on this topic and the response was overwhelming!

So today I wanted to tackle this topic from a biblical perspective and hope that you find it helpful.

Here are some practical tips that were shared that might help you during this season:

Pray and ask God for a friend - Every time I have prayed and asked God for a good friend, He has always brought a wonderful godly woman into my life. I am so grateful for them because they have made a huge impact in my life in so many ways.

Embrace this season with just you and God - When you are waiting for God to bring friends into your life you might realize that God might be using this time to draw you closer to Him. Remember, that He is your best friend and loves you very much. Talk with Him, spend time in His Word, and lean close to Him because only He will fill the void that friendships cannot. Friendships are limited but God's love is not. Only He can love us the way we truly need to be loved!

Pour into those relationships around you - Many times we put such an emphasis on having friends we forget to pour into those very important relationships already around us. Spend time with cultivating those relationships, even with extended family members and pour into their lives.

Be understanding towards others - Many women are going through different seasons in their lives. Some are super busy with family and little children while others might be going through hardships. Know that everyone is going through something different and not just purposefully trying to ignore you.

Understand your season - You might not have a ton of friends like you did in high school but you do have little children now to raise who need you 24/7. Or maybe you have been ill or taking care of an elderly family member. Your season can affect your friendships so be aware and take necessary steps as needed. Give yourself grace while you try to reach out to new friends.

Be forgiving - Sometimes you have really given your all to connect with women and you will still feel rejected. Sadly, this can even happen in church! The best thing you can do in this situation is not to become bitter or resentful towards anyone, just be forgiving, move on, and be sure not to take it personally.

Be content -  It is hard to find good friends and you will probably only have a few close friends your entire life. Don't become discontent by thinking everyone else has friends (you'd be surprised, so many women are gong through the same thing you are!). Don't let social media get you discontent either, keep your focus on God and what He wants you to do. Take a break from social media if you find it a source of discontentment.

Be patient - God's timing is best, use your time wisely while you wait! And remember not to need people more than you need Him.

Use hospitality - Invite people into your home. This is one of the best ways to connect with others. Learn how to do it in a way that keeps it easy and blesses those who come. Have pizza and play games, Have toys in baskets to bless little ones visiting and for easy cleanup.  Don't get upset if it is not reciprocated, just keep moving forward! It takes time to build good relationships, they don't happen over night. I wrote a whole chapter on Christian hospitality in this book here with some friends if you'd like to read more!

Look twice - Sometimes we are looking for friends in wrong places--sometimes a really good friend may be right under our noses trying to get our attention or the quiet gal in the corner. You never know when or where you will find a gem of a friend who is loyal and true. Sometimes joining a Bible study or helping in a ministry can lead you to meet godly women. Don't forget that people in your neighborhood who don't know the Lord need friends too!

Love the friends you do have - If you do have friends, remember to remain a good friend to them by continuing connecting with them somehow. You can text them, invite them over, bless them with a small gift, go out for coffee, or even snail mail them a card! Just show them some love so they know that you haven't forgotten them!

Be grateful for what you do have - Remember that you don't need a whole pack of friends to be richly blessed. Sometimes it is best to just have a few good close friends who are godly and encourage you. And don't take those who are already around you for granted--they are a gift from God and you are richly blessed for having them!

What would you add to the list?

Please share them in the comments below!

Do you need some godly friends or a safe place to ask questions? If so, please join our Wise Woman Builds Titus 2 Facebook Group!

If you need more encouragement on this topic you might be blessed by this book:

We all long for meaningful relationships, the Colossians 3:14 kind that fulfill our desire for unity and connection with God, our friends, and our community. But where do we start? Craving Connection is a journey with (in)courage writers sharing real-life stories, practical Scripture application, and connection challenges that will encourage you to:

Embrace the desire God has given each of us for connection.
Invest in meaningful relationships, right where God has you.
Become the friend you wish you had. 

You can get this book HERE. 

Note: This post contains affiliate links---thanks for your support!


Anonymous said...

The most consistent reason I see for people not having friends is that they don't focus on giving, they focus on getting. They say, "No one said 'Hi' to me at Church today!" when in fact, THEY never said 'Hi' to anyone else!

When we're always focused on consuming friendship, we'll find we can never get enough. When we focus on GIVING friendship - then we find we can never GIVE enough - and we'll be much happier!

Getting the focus off ourselves and onto God & others will lead to great improvement in this area.

Anonymous said...

Stories like this one are becoming all too common. And, it is not about the individual not giving but looking to receive, it is the exact opposite. Sadly, our churches have patterned themselves after the climbing, etc. I have seen it, experienced it and it is growing stronger. Our churches, the body of Christ is there to minister, but more oft than not, they lose focus on the ministry of hospitality, love, acceptance and simply walking in the Spirit. This individual has an opportunity to fill those gaps and to show fruits of the Spirit to newcomers, the ignored and to be an example to those around them who lack discernment.

June Fuentes @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home said...

Dear Anonymous #1,

"Getting the focus off ourselves and onto God & others will lead to great improvement in this area."

Yes, so true!

Thanks for sharing!

June Fuentes @ A Wise Woman Builds Her Home said...

Dear Anonymous #2,

"This individual has an opportunity to fill those gaps and to show fruits of the Spirit to newcomers."

Yes, yes, and yes! I hope that all women would be the example that were not shown to them and be a blessing to those who need them.

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Most women don't want friends who are more intelligent, faithful, Godly, obedient or more beautiful than they are, because it intimidates them and can make them feel less than. Only very healthy confident women will be ok with that. I would say focus on exuding the fruits of the spirit and learn to be content with what you have. I had to learn to overcome loneliness too and to not take it personally. God will bring the increase if and when he sees fit. I agree that you are blessed if you only have only one or two good friends. Also, the Lord cherishes His alone time with us. And, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus!"

Anonymous said...

This us something I have been struggling with lately. In the past few years the Lord has removed some people from my life that I considered to be my best friends and since then I haven't been given a replacement. There are days when I see on facebook other women having girls night and spending special days together and it makes me so sad I have to shut it off. I am also frequently reminded though that these past few years God has worked on me as an individual and as a mother and wife in ways that He never had before so I'm praying that is why he hasn't sent me a good friend yet. Maybe he needs me to lean on Him just a little more before that person can come into my life. I would be lying though if I said there weren't days where I feel like maybe something is wrong with me. I'll keep praying and trusting that my creator knows my needs and desires better than I. Thanks for this article.

Anonymous said...

Compassion is the first step here. Compassion covers most of the issues here. It is difficult to open up to someone new when a person's past, even in the immediate past might've been filled pain and hard times. Ripping off that bandaid to lay someone's soul bare, hoping that they'll get equal support and friendship in return, it doesn't always turn out that way either. From experience I can tell you it is one of the most lonely feelings in the world when even in the church there is no rest for the weary. As a child and young adult there were plenty of adults, adults who were friends to your parents, just not to you. TV became my best friend when there was none. I'm not trying to be bitter about my past, but the church is supposed to be the one place where a person can go to find support. If it's not then there are bigger problems at play and either which way every member has a responsibility to make it better. A cord of three strands is not easily broken. Maybe it's time to be one of those strands even when that strand rubs you raw. Everybody needs somebody, might as well be you.

Anonymous said...

This article touched me . As it is realy a genuine issue within social groups and church's. I belong to a Lutheran women's group, but dont have a trusted friend in amonst them. I formed some strong acquaintances but no real friends. they all fake. They attend the group and it seams genuine at the surface but at a deeper more intimate level of friendship I found were not to be trusted. a example is that when a person doesn't attend they gossip about the person instead of visiting them or ringing them etc. Even with social outings like big birthday events, often do not include everyone , then talk about the event @ the group, Its all superficial. , as sad as it may sound I had to choose after many years to withdraw from such a toxic environment and not let it bother me. not let it make me bitter or hurt me to much. believe i am worthy of respect and love and wont let negative toxic power hungry people get me down I refuse to be controlled by other peoples emotional games. Yes i reach out to others and am always willing to help or listen. Once when counciled about not having a freind in this group i was told im too christian and it convicts them, now thats just hilarious . woman can be real cruel Ive learned to stay out of peoples business and be happy and content with myself. So Just to let you know your not alone . this happens to many people. Ps I still remember the day when i had said i couldn't make it that day and sent my apologies and then a change of situation occurred and i manged to go just BIT LATER. WHEN STANDING at the door of the womens group i herd them gossiping falsely about me. It realy shocked me at first. I was stunned and numb for weeks after, as I herd it for myself, I still entered and said nothing about hearing them, and guess what? yes they all acted naive and innocent , not a word spoken about their gossip only minutes b4 and to this day not one has apologized they do this often. how fake and false can women be?? some times having no friend can be a blessing. at least you know you can trust god and that what you pray isnt going to be scoffed at and lied about and turned into something hurtful ..cheers. stay strong

Anonymous said...

The comments here are so true!! Thank you to the anonymous women that shared their observation and wisdom!

Anonymous said...

I can relate to your comments here. I have found myself so seeing if it's just me--that I'm difficult to be around, maybe I have a blind spot about myself.
My children are grown now. So my season of life has changed. The transition has been super hard. I'm kind of young to be an empty nester so many women my age are still busy with small children. I'm finding that many stay at home moms hang out with just each other to the point of exclusion. Their commonality of the season of life is a stronger bond then our bond in Christ.
I would love to join them at the park or other outings but I remain uninvited. I've actually expressed this to some of these ladies, but there hasn't been any invitations. When I overheard that they were having an outing I invited myself ::-)

Unknown said...

I think as women we need to recognize that we are mean. Not just not nice but downright mean to other women. Oh we try to pretend we are helping them, but really, we're just getting the dirt on them to share/gossip with others. Also, lots of times, we find a friend and refuse to let others share her. We creatr cliques, we rely on our people in our lives that have been there since we were 9 amd make no room for newbies. Church ladies/friendships can be very narrow almost inbred in fact. Think about it. There are groups that A has been with B since high school, C is A's sister in law, D is the mother of B, and D and A have taught the lady Bible study tg since 1990 something. See, no room for newbie E. So, if you've been at your church for more than 6 months, start looking for the next newbie. If you've been there 5,10,30 years, reach beyond your circle. Also, friendship requires things of one another. There is a tit for tat, a quid pro quo. Be ok with accepting help from a new friend. She can babysit your dog while you watch her kids. Have them over for lunch, she can grab a gallon of milk for you. True friends are indebted to each other yet no one is keeping score of who owes whom. I do for you. You do for me. Always look for newbies. Always try to be indebted to someone, not that they owe you, rather you owe them. Build relationships where you can ask to dry clothes at their house bc your dryer just died, be open to letting someone use your dryer. No one is perfect, stop thinking you must be perfect before anyone comes over. Stop trying to win. When we try to win, we have to tear the other down so they lose. Stop being mean.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it IS other people, not you. Sometimes you're just the freak of the town, too poor, too ugly, too awkward, too individual. Sometimes you've tried everything possible, including prayer, giving so much of yourself there's nothing left, and it's still not enough to make people want to be seen speaking to you. When it's been over a decade of true honest effort and there's still no one who wants to talk to you or hang out or even study the Bible with the freak, what do you do then? Jesus is a great friend but he's not exactly going to grab a cup of coffee or talk to you when you've been pushed outside of the group to the corner. We are humans and NEED earthly friends too. What do you do then? :/

Anonymous said...

I think the more Godly and obedient and faithful you are, the less most people can relate to you; no matter how humble you are. Be content. God is your constant friend and greatest companion. Learn to appreciate being alone with Him. Be a leader. Expect less from people. When a real friend and kindred spirit comes along, it is a true blessing and a gift. Even if it is only one, it will be enough.

Karen said...

Thank you for this! I'm an empty nest mom, struggling with friendships as well. We just moved from our home area, and have just recently found a new church home. I have many friends miles away, but still working on friendships here. Staying close to the Lord is the best, He is the best friend a woman could ever have!


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