“We are becoming the sisters and mothers and friends that some of us never had.” — “Becoming Us”
Every generation would agree that having a circle of friends is essential. It’s also a gift that is becoming rare. For the first time in history, most friendship circles are being created online. We have become skilled at friending and unfriending, liking and posting and pinning. We can gather information on any topic in seconds and tap out our advice with nimble thumbs.
But in the blossoming of all this accessibility, are we losing the art of experiencing true community? How many real, face-to-face, heart-to-heart, flaws-and-all friendships do you have?
According to a study from Duke University, there’s a 35 [percent] drop in the number of women who invite friends to come over and a 58 [percent] drop in those who join clubs. The most sobering result of the 20-year study revealed that 50 [percent] said they were just one friend away from social isolation.
How can any of us realistically experience those appealing phrases in all the clever memes—“Doing Life Together,” “Building Authentic Community” and “Gathering Your Tribe”.
Here are five ways you can begin creating friendships with other women so that you can become the sisters, mothers, and friends that you never had.
Go ahead. Be brave. Invite a few women to your home and simply talk. Don’t use it as a chance to pitch anything you’re selling. Let it be messy. The goal is to communicate to other women, “I see you. I want to include you. I’m willing to see how our face-to-face personalities mingle and meld.”
The characters in my new book, “Becoming Us,” did this when one character hosted a “Favorite Things Party.” Each of the five women brought one of her favorite things, such as a box of tea. When they shared it with the other women, they explained why it was a favorite. Everyone went home with one of each of the favorite things along with insight into the others at the gathering.
Get Out More
Are you feeling isolated with young children? Make a jaunt to the park or mall play area a priority and keep your phone in your purse. Greet the other moms and ask for recommendations. Everyone loves to give their opinion on places to eat, kid-friendly movies, events or classes in the area.
Is there a MOPS group where you live? Does your library host a children’s story hour? What about free art classes for kids? Go! Say hello to another mom. What if she’s a new best friend waiting to be found?
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘You too? I thought I was the only one.’” C.S. Lewis
Convenience has replaced our need to ask neighbors for daily assistance. Go old school, like your grandma used to have to do. Walk over to a neighbor’s house, knock on her door and ask to borrow a couple [ofeggs from the woman you’ve waved at but never met. Imagine the neighborly goodness that could blossom when you go back later with a plate of cookies made with the borrowed eggs.
You were invited to a party where something is being sold and you are sure you’re not going to buy anything. Go anyway. Learn something new. Chat with the other women. Enjoy the samples. You can keep your wallet in your purse. It’s okay. I did this three years ago and connected with a woman from church that I’d been wanting to get to know for some time. I liked the sample so much I ended up hosting a party six months later and purchased the starter kit.
We pray about things that really matter to us. So why not pray about finding true friends? Better yet, why not meet with a few friends and pray together? When our children were young, I bravely approached a woman at church whom I admired. I asked if she could pray with me because I was going through some rough stuff. We met on a Tuesday morning at 9 and another woman I barely knew joined us. The three of us felt immediately connected and decided to meet again the next Tuesday, and the next. We met for 15 years. We prayed for ourselves, our husbands and our children and we saw God answer so many prayers. Best of all, we became friends who are knit together in love.
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” I John 4:11
Be sure to check out Robin’s new book, “Becoming Us,” available May 7!