Don’t Be Afraid of Friends: 3 Ways to Win at Intentional Friendships

I had it all planned:

when they would all arrive
what I needed to do beforehand
how I wanted my heart to feel when they got here

Not wanting to turn into “the frazzled friend” I can become when hosting a get-together, I banned myself from Pinterest and my own desire for “perfect.”

I mapped out a timeline and recruited help from a friend. Together we would be prepared. Simple appetizers and decorations. A few pretty touches. My biggest desire? To be ready early, with time to spare and room to breathe.

I wanted to enjoy this night. I wanted to feel calm and happy when guests arrived. I wanted to greet each friend face to face, and let her know she was not only welcomed, she was wanted.

But even the simplest of plans don’t always go as planned.

A crisis at work kept my husband from helping me get the house clean. Traffic was horrible and my friend/co-host got stuck on the other side of town, unable to come early to help with setup. I was on my own, with three hungry kids piling into the kitchen asking when dad would be home to take them out for pizza.

I was not calm. I was not happy. Things were not getting done, and I was coming undone.

My kitchen was a mess. The food wasn’t ready. And just as women started arriving, my tech-savvy-son told me our computer wasn’t compatible with our television, which meant streaming the (in)RL sessions (a highly anticipated part of our evening) was looking like another fail.

Deep disappointment and a slight sense of panic came crashing in. Why do I even try?  

I so desperately wanted to enjoy this night. These friends. And then I remembered . . .

I still could. I didn’t have to let my messy “far-from-perfect” reality crash the party. My plan, NOT to become “the frazzled friend,” still had a chance to survive the crazy.

Although it wasn’t easy to switch gears, leaning into these 3 truths reset my perspective:

1. Being present trumps being perfect.

The most important part of gathering friends that night was to be “with” them. To be present. To create a place for women I knew so we could connect and share our hearts, our stories, our lives. That was still possible.

When Jesus stopped by to hang out with His friends and enjoy a dinner party with Mary, Lazarus, and Martha, He didn’t care what they were having for dinner. He wasn’t concerned about dishes in the sink or the decor of their home. He just wanted to be with them. {Luke 10:39-42” href=”” target=”_blank”>See Luke 10:39-42}

2. Letting friends see our imperfections may be the best gift we can give them.

Having everything all-together can be intimidating. As women it’s so easy to compare ourselves, our homes, even our party-hosting skills, and feel less-than.

Maybe someone needed to see how very not-all-together I am. Or perhaps someone needed to hear my heart as I shared openly about my struggle that night. Maybe letting friends see my messy imperfections was the best gift I could give them.

3. Non-frazzled friends are the ones who make plans with open hands.

Like Martha and Mary, I am learning to go to Jesus and ask Him what He wants. His perspective helps me manage my failed plans and frustrations with “imperfect,” so I can enjoy the most important parts of friendship: being together.

I guess you could say I’m learning to make plans with open hands and leave the final details in His.

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Renee Swope
Renee Swope is the best-selling author "A Confident Heart" and radio co-host of "Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee", a production of Proverbs 31 MinistriesConnect with Renee ​on her blog at ​and on ​her Facebook page.  {Copyright 201​5​, Renee Swope. This content may not be reprinted or reproduced without written permission​}.