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How do you find good friends?

How do you find good friends?

Hi, I always read about your friendships and having authentic relationships. I’d love to read more about this. How you determine relationships to pursue versus those to not kindle? I always seem to end up with friends who take advantage of me and would love to have another person’s opinion -Lael

If you’ve read my book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, you know that I struggled with friendships for the first 28 or so years of my life. A lot of this had to do with my insecure, people-pleasing personality.

I had been hurt deeply by people close to me in the past, so I had spent years of my life too scared to open up or be authentic for fear of getting hurt again.

But finally, I was so tired of living life feeling so lonely, that I knew something needed to change. And that something was me.

How do you find good friends?

I had to stop trying to please people, stop staying closed up and closed off so as to avoid getting hurt, and start reaching out, being authentic, and being 100% me.

As a result of this shift in my thinking and change in my heart, I’ve developed some incredibly deep and authentic relationships… which have been such an immense blessing to me! And I’ve also learned a lot about what great friendships are made up of.

How do you find good friends?

Here are 4 components I believe are key to any strong relationship:

1. Honesty

If you want authentic relationships, you first have to be willing to be authentic yourself. You have to stop hiding behind a fake, people-pleasing persona and start being genuinely you.

Put down the plastic smiles, don’t keep people at arm’s length, and start letting people see you for exactly who you are — messes, struggles, and all. True friends don’t want you to be perfect and all put-together.

Tip: If someone doesn’t love you for who you are but instead wants you to be who they want you to be, that’s a good sign that they aren’t a true friend.

How do you find good friends?

2. Commitment

True friendship requires commitment. It means that you will believe the best, you will speak the truth when it’s needed, and you won’t gossip or slander.

It means you are FOR the other person. You want them to succeed. You celebrate them. You appreciate them. You build them up when you speak to them face-to-face and when you talk about them to others.

Tip: If someone just wants to be your friend for what you can do for them — not because they love you for who you are — they aren’t a true friend.

How do you find good friends?

3. Effort

A good friendship requires effort. It doesn’t just happen. It means that both parties make sacrifices for each other.

Want to have great friends? Start by being the friend to others that you wish you had yourself. It means picking up the phone, taking time to text or email, and making time to get together for coffee.

Deep relationships take time and investment. They rarely happen overnight. Instead, they are the result of much cultivation, time, and effort.

Tip: If you have reached out to someone multiple times and they are always too busy to spend time with you, that’s probably a good indication that it’s time to move on to investing in another relationship.

How do you find good friends?

4. Forgiveness

Close friendships will result in misunderstandings and hurts, at times. No one is always going to do everything right all the time. And the closer you are to someone, the more possibility there is for there to be misunderstandings and hurts.

Some days, your friend might say something that frustrates or offends. Some days, your friend might not respond how you wished she would have. Some days, she’s just plain going to bother or upset you.

On those days, you have two choices: you can either choose to forgive or you can choose to be hurt and bitter.

How do you find good friends?

Friendships that stand the test of time are ones where both parties choose to forgive when offenses and hurts come. It’s not easy and it means having hard conversations and sometimes saying things that are difficult to say. But good communication, working through issues, and having a heart of forgiveness will only deepen a friendship.

Tip: If someone is easily offended and constantly being hurt or upset by you, there’s a good chance they aren’t a good friend.

How do you find good friends?

How to Be a Good Friend

  • Take initiative — Don’t wait for others to make the first move. Ask your friend to meet for coffee, invite your friend over to hang out, text her to tell her you’re thinking of her. Reach out. Focus on blessing others and you’ll often be richly blessed in return. If you are thinking of someone, let them know you’re thinking of them. Oftentimes, just taking the time to text or email someone to let them know they are on your heart that day can mean the world to someone.
  • Have a listening ear — People feel valued when you look them in the eyes and genuinely listen to what they have to share. Give them your undivided attention. Don’t think about what you’re going to say next. Just listen wholeheartedly.
  • Ask good questions — Be interested in others’ lives. Learn about what they are excited about. Find out what their passions are. Ask about their goals and long-term dreams. Find out what they are struggling with. Ask how you can pray for them… and then actually follow through with praying for them! A question I sometimes will ask is just: “How can I be a better friend to you?” The answers to that one might truly surprise you.
  • Find the good and praise it — Constantly be looking for ways you can celebrate someone else. Take time to express appreciation. Don’t just think it in your head; stop and verbalize it.
  • Learn their love language — How does your friend feel most loved? Is it by words of affirmation, a letter, gifts, acts of service? Knowing this can help you know how to love her best.

How do you find good friends?

Questions to ask yourself:

What are you looking for in friendships?

Make a list of qualities you are looking for in friendship and then think of who in your circle has some of those qualities. Start initiating things with them and see where it leads.

Who can I begin investing in?

Look around you — in your small group, church, play group, etc. — and think of a few people you already know who might be interested in a friendship. Begin investing in them. Sometimes, taking even a few tiny steps can lead to a beautiful relationship.

How can I be a better friend?

I ask myself this question often. Occasionally, I’ll even ask it to my close friends. Pour into others. Care deeply about them. Show them that they are a priority. Go out of your way to let people know how much they mean to you. Instead of spending time lamenting the fact that you don’t have better friends, focus your energy on doing all you can to be a better friend to others.

Tip: I highly recommend reading Safe People. It’s a great starting point for determining how to develop genuine friendships and how to be a genuine friend to others.

What advice, tips, and suggestions would the rest of you add to answer Lael’s question? I’d love to hear!

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132 Comments

  • Missus says:

    I think “busyness” gets in the way of women, especially moms, from nurturing friendships. It can be difficult to be available for those outside of the family.

    I was interested to see your reference to “love languages”. I just posted on the 5 love languages (using cute kangaroo and other animal pictures) and I wasn’t sure anyone else would know what I was talking about.

    A helpful post as always, Crystal, thank you.

  • Tam Hodge says:

    Love. Love. Love.

    #3 is where I have been burned. I pursue. I initiate. Almost to a fault. You and I were just talking about this. There are ‘friends’ I reach out to all the time that don’t reciprocate. (maybe they’re busy. maybe it’s me. I don’t know) I need to bless and release. It feels like a loss but I suspect that it’s only a loss if there was substance to begin with.

    At 43 you would think that friendships would be easier to understand and navigate, right?

    • Monica says:

      Tam, this is exactly how I feel. I am relocating soon and sadly some relationships will stay here. I no longer plan on keeping in touch with a lot of so called friends. I feel like I’ve gone out my way to try to try to get to know them and they are just to ‘busy’ to give our relationship a chance it seems like. Some relationships are not meant to go pass ‘hello and goodbye’ apparently. It’s been hard watching all these clicks in church and get excluded.

      The good thing is, a new neighborhood will bring new friends (I hope) neighbors that truly want to get to know you and not just know your husband or kids names. But know where you are from and what your hobbies etc… A new church will give my family and I, a new opportunity to meet great people and start all over again. Have a blessed day.

      • Mrs. C says:

        I notice your reply was written in 2014 … so hope you have been able to find new friends after your move … We moved to a new state many years ago and still have never found those deep close knit friends … at church … or in the community … we moved to a place where the population is large and we are small town people and still have our small town ways I guess … moved from a close knit town and a close knit church and had many friends … the church we are in has 1500 people in worship on a Sunday morning. (no small churches in this community in the South) … And yes, there are a lot of cliques … mostly among those who are in a different financial bracket than we are … we have “surface” friendships but not the forever friends we long for … I moved here when I was 36 … made a few friends in the beginning but there is constant transition here … so never longer than a few years with them … I am now 63. and yes, I have prayed continually for a close community and people we fit in with … my husband has developed Mild Cognitive Impairment from Parkinson’s and I need relationships more than ever … I keep trying … the thing I don’t understand is that I have never had problems having a group of friends ever until I moved here … my prayers are changing … I now ask God to change me (us) so that we will fit in with others … asking him to make me normal … because after all this time of being on the outside looking in I have begun to wonder what is wrong with me … once I was loved but now I am not …

    • So very, very grateful for you, Tam! You’ve made our move here so much easier… and you’ve been such an incredible gift to me. So very humbled by how God worked out so many details for our paths to cross.

      Thank you for being a true friend to me. We LOVE each of the Hodges so much!

      So grateful to have you all as our neighbors and friends!!

      {And thank for spur-of-the-moment coffee this morning!}

  • For me, I have always had issues with friendships with other women. I have never been one to be content being like others, and so I have never found that I have just haven’t reached out to make friends. While a lot of women in circles around me, in their late teens were just happy to go to college, get married, and have kids, I was pursuing an art degree, traveling in Europe, started a non-profit, and then went back to school for a legal degree; which I am now finishing part time.

    Now that my priorities changed, and am more family focused, I feel like a fish out of water around a lot of fellow women. I have also felt that many women, in my area, are so focused on being homeschooling, church-driven mothers, that they do not welcome women different from themselves. I have also felt that a lot of mommy bloggers, and online women-centric forums are the same, as well. You would think that being a college graduate, well-traveled, current student, and a business owner would leave me with a lot to offer others, but many women seem very closed to those who are not housewives like themselves.

    I am now just turning 31, and the prospect of making friends is not a lot easier for me today! I feel with the reader, in the idea of knowing how to reach out, how to kindle friendships, and how to be willing to put yourself out there.

    • Christie says:

      Maybe other women interpret how you come across as looking down at them??? Start looking for things you have in common instead of focusing on all the differences between you and other women.

      And something to think about regarding this thought: “You would think that being a college graduate, well-traveled, current student, and a business owner would leave me with a lot to offer others, but many women seem very closed to those who are not housewives like themselves.”
      Most of the women I have known are just looking for companionship and sweet words of encouragement — a friend who’s a good listener, not knowledge or advice.

      • Leah says:

        I disagree, and I agree with Misty here. (I don’t know about her attitude, but what she says about moms is absolutely true.) I’m married, and a housewife (I work part-time from home), but we haven’t been able to have children because of infertility issues, and I’ve found that women with children are very, very, very rarely interested in becoming friends with someone who isn’t. I do get it-I know it makes sense, moms want to meet people who have children who can be their children’s friends too (and it’s an immediately apparent thing in common that they have-much easier to strike up and maintain a conversation.).

        But is SO discouraging when all the women you are meeting have children, and as soon as they learn you don’t, they move on. And they do-trust me, they do.

        I don’t look down on moms (I would love to be one!), and I would love to just hang out with mom friends and their kids, but it really is true that moms in general just aren’t interested in friendships with women who don’t have kids.

        • I’m so sorry that has been your experience, and I know that must be frustrating and saddening to you. Just to let you know though, as the mom of 2 toddlers, I personally PREFER friends without kids 🙂 I spend SO much time around my kids and other peoples’ kids that it is so nice for me to have a friend that isn’t in “mommy mode” all the time, that doesn’t have to schedule around nap time, and who isn’t constantly thinking about toddler things! Just a different perspective for you 🙂

        • Jess says:

          Leah, I’m sorry that you’ve had poor experiences in the past. I truly hope you don’t give up on looking for quality women to be your friends! I’m a SAHM and it’s true that I mostly prefer to hang out with other moms for the sole reason that I keep my tot with me at all times and I assume other women who aren’t moms would prefer my tot NOT be with me. Since that’s not the season of life I’m in, I find it easier to just be friends with people who understand my tot needs to be with me.

          Since you’re open to hanging out with moms and their kids, I would mention that in conversations with moms. They may have just assumed you would prefer to hang with them sans kids and moved on because of that.

          Thank you for sharing your experience! It gave me something new to think about today.

          • Sarah says:

            I just wanted to say “thanks” for the post and also encourage others to open to friendships with all kinds of people, whether they initially seem to have “much in common” with you. One of my most faithful friends is a lady 20 years my senior, that I worked with over 20 years ago. In contrast, another most faithful friend is eight years younger, and is my niece. I do not have children because illness made it impossible, however, I LOVE to be around Moms with kids. I don’t believe God ever meant for the body of Christ to be segregated according to “time of life” though of course I understand we all want people to relate to, that can understand what we are going through. Kindred spirits come in all ages, shapes, sizes and colors!

        • Laurie says:

          I agree with Lauren…sometimes I get so annoyed that when I go out with friends who are moms we can’t talk about anything besides nap schedules and breastfeeding. I cherish my friend who doesn’t have kids because it gives me a chance to talk about politics and relationships and other non-kid-related topics….to just be a grown up. It’s just hard for me to get away from family responsibilities to spend time together! Don’t give up 🙂

        • Jennifer says:

          I am a stay-at-home mom of two and I struggle to make connections, too. I agree that most moms just want to make friends with other moms who have kids the same age as theirs. However, even though I am a mom with little ones, I get left out of this, too, because both of my children are developmentally delayed. My kids don’t fit in with others’ kids and aren’t any other child’s first choice to be a playmate. Therefore, their moms (while kind to me) don’t pursue any kind of deeper relationship with me, and their kids don’t reach out to my kids. It has been sad. That said, though, three of my closest friends are NOT moms–one is a single career woman, and two have grown kids and are empty nesters. With them I get to be someone other than a mommy–I can talk about current events, politics, music, movies, travel, etc. They are a tremendous blessing in my life. Those who don’t reach out to make friends with people who are in different seasons of life are missing out!

      • No, I have actually had several stay-at-home mothers flat out tell me they prefer to have friends with those who are also stay-at-home moms only; they also mentioned that they prefer to have friends with those from their church, pta, or the like. I have also had others who have actually asked why I continue to pursue a college degree, when my husband already had a degree.

        I think you are right about encouraging others, but sometimes cliques and groups, are hard to break into, from my experience anyway. I find it harder to make friends with those with established families, churches, and groups of friends, in my opinion.

        Thank you for your thoughts, though!

        • Christie says:

          As a busy housewife/SAHM I would earnestly ask you ladies not to take it personally. For myself, I feel like I have so much going on and so much left to do that it’s just easier to “multi-task” my friendships–you have same age children/are on the same PTA committee/on the same sports team/etc–pls be my friend! It’s easier to be a friend with someone you know you’ll be spending time with, y/k? It’s a reflection on me, not anyone else.

          I think this is a result of our generations’ hyper-parenting, and I’m not judging, I’m a hyper-parent too. My mother didn’t do half the things I do with/for my children (and forget about my dad!). She was more focused on herself and as a result she had more and deeper friendships that have lasted decades.

          I really think the main reason moms don’t initiate outside their groups is simply a perceived lack of time and has nothing to do with the other person. Or at least that’s what I tell myself when I get rejected lol.

        • Christie says:

          So sorry to hear that’s been your experience, and that people would say such unthoughtful things. 🙁

          As a church-going, homeschooling, stay-at-home mom, who LOVES getting to know all different kinds of women (I actually prefer to have friends who aren’t just like me), I know there’s a woman out there who would love to be your friend.

          Praying God will send you a true friend who’s heart you can connect with. Don’t give up looking for her!

        • Rachael says:

          Have you tried reaching out at work for friendships? This can be a ruisk sometimes, but my work friends have turned into often some of my best friends. We have a lot in common because we share the stresses of working and raising kids, which also means struggles such as finding good daycare and navigating Costco on Saturdays!

          • That’s a great suggestion, except I work from home for a larger legal firm, with several offices, clerking. The women who work in the office tend to do things together, go to conventions, and the like, and generally do not correspond with others, except for work related correspondence and meetings. I could see if one worked in a brick-and-mortar office, that commonality would be very helpful in that situation though, Rachel.

        • BJ Marley says:

          Misty,

          I wish you lived near me. You should like just the kind of person I would love to have as a friend.

        • Dana says:

          A thought: Look around your area (maybe through Meetup or similar) for women who share interests with you that have nothing to do with parenting. I have a feeling you’ll find that some of them are mothers too, and you can just move on from there. If you start from the beginning point of other mothers having parenting as their central interest, you might not get very far.

    • Susan says:

      Misty, I can totally understand what you are saying. I’m a single mother of a 13-yo, but I’m also a career-oriented, professional woman with two college degrees. I’ve met plenty of women who communicate loudly and clearly — be it by words or actions — that they are not interested in developing friendships with women who are not SAHM moms.

      Christy, I did not interpret Misty’s comments as condescending at all. I interpreted “I have a lot to offer” as “I have a lot to give as a friend.”

    • Jen says:

      I understand what you are talking about. I, too, took a path less traveled. I decided to be childfree since as long as I can remember, which many women seem to find somehow threatening or very odd. I don’t even like to be around children as a general rule. I like my life quiet, calm, clean, orderly, and predictable, and children are none of those things! 🙂 They’re fine for other people, just not me. I’m also recently divorced, and several of my “friends” seemingly disappeared, as though divorce is a catchy disease. I’ve always gotten along better with men; they don’t have hidden agendas, they’re not emotional beings, and they’re easy to talk to (the topics of sports and beer can forge a bond with pretty much any guy, whereas you never know what women want to talk about besides their children).

      I’m moving next week to a place where people are rumored to be more friendly; I find people in my current area to be rude, generally speaking. They drive into their garage, shut the door, and never make eye contact. I’ve tried to wave and/or talk to neighbors and they look at me like I’m nuts. I’m one of those neighbors that will bring over brownies when someone moves in!

      • I think this discussion has been so good — for all parties.

        Personally, I LOVE having friends in many different places/seasons of life — some who are quite a bit older than me, some who younger than me. Some who work, some who stay at home. Some who homeschool, some who don’t. Some who have children, some who don’t or whose children are grown. Some who are married, some who are single moms or not married.

        We can learn something from everyone we meet and I’ve found that asking questions of people can open such interesting discussions and depth. And even if it might look on the surface that there’s not much that I have in common with someone, sometimes our differences can actually be what forges a deep bond between us.

        So all that to say: I encourage everyone to reach out — especially to those folks who might be in a different season or place in life than you. There is much we can learn from everyone and I would miss out on some rich friendships if I were to only try to befriend those who were in a similar stage and place in life as me.

      • Debbie says:

        I can relate. I’m mid 40s and my hubs is my BFF. I have like 3 local friends that I do things with a few times a year. I am also childfree. I moved out of state to a less friendly/more reserved part of the country when I was in my late 20’s. I left some great, close friendships behind, though am still in touch with most of them, it’s not like we can get together and it’s been years since I visited my home state. I have found it very difficult to forge friendships in my new state – no children, single at the time, and telecommuted so not a whole lot of exposure to people. I eventually got a job in a large company and made a few close friendships. Unfortunately, I’m an open book, wear my heart on my sleeve kinda person and was taken advantage of by a toxic person who really did some damage, and I’ll be honest, I am suspicious of people in a way I never was before. Interestingly, I’ve also gotten along better with men over the years; can’t say I’ve ever been stabbed in the back by any of them! I’ve been out of work for a few years now so no new work friends, no kids so no mom friends, and when I do click with new people, plans seem to fall through on their end. Lots of flakes in this area of the country it seems. After 15 years of living here, I still feel like an outsider. Every time I visit my home state I am constantly saying, “wow! everyone’s so nice here!”

      • Dana says:

        Data point: I’ve had two kids and I still am not crazy about other people’s children. It’s a shame too because I could make a living running a daycare, but that’s something I really don’t want to do. I love my own kids, but I don’t “get” anybody else’s.

  • Kemi Quinn says:

    I think when you are content with yourself it helps you to be a real friend. Women tend to measure themselves against each other and that can make having real friends hard. If you aren’t doing that measuring and instead become that supportive friend you can knock down a lot of barriers and find some real lovely friends.

    My two best girlfriends are women I reached out to when they were newbies in a new situation. I welcomed them when everyone else was a little standoffish. In turn when I was grieving in the hospital after losing our baby they were some of the first to come comfort us. We’ve been through weddings, births, and deaths together. They are real friendsand we don’t measure against each other.

    That makes it wonderful. (my other best girlies are family and we grew up not competing so all is good there too).

    • Jen says:

      So true! I think comparison is so deadly in relationships…..but I think every woman struggles with it! Unless you pursue honesty and openness, like Crystal says, you’ll just be battling trying to be “good enough” (or better than!) That’s miserable! But it has to be two ways!

    • “I think when you are content with yourself it helps you to be a real friend.”

      SO very true. Thanks for sharing!

  • This is a wonderful article – thank you so much for sharing!

  • I love some of these people!

    What a great post. Thanks for sharing your heart and insights. Friendships definitely take time but they are priceless for sure. I think one of the hardest things is trying to keep friendships thriving while raising children but I’ve noticed how much I need them so I make the extra effort.

    Have a wonderful day Crystal!

  • Just know that #1 can be hard. I’m a pretty “what you see is what you get” person but just found out in the past year, a number of people I considered friends (not close friends, just friends), can’t stand me. They tolerate me because they like my husband. Not gonna lie. That really hurts. But that doesn’t change who I am. So to be honest with who you are, you have to be willing to be hurt sometimes. It’s okay, you just need to know it might happen.

    • Sarah says:

      Julie, I have recently dealt with somethings similar. I thought I had found friends, found my ‘mama tribe’ but then some very hurtful gossip went around about me. I was an easy target (there was a lot that went into the situation) because I am so honest, open, and don’t play games. I ended up feeling very isolated and hurt. I did learn just how great a couple friend’s are, but it taught me that i need to be a lot less ‘me’ when in groups. It was such a burn that I rarely feel completely comfortable going out and about in fear or running into these people. It’s amazing that I am 31 years old and was the victim of cyber bullying, and malicious gossip. Thankfully I’m a lot more confident than I used to be, or else it would have completely sent me into a really, really bad place.

  • Leslie says:

    Love. Thank you for this!

  • My biggest question for you Crystal is how you find time to cultivate friendships (especially more than one or two!) when you have a very busy job and young children. Even though my kids are getting a little older, between finding time to enjoy my family, keep up with blogging, menu plan, cook, and clean there’s not much time left to maintain more than a very few relationships.

    I would love to know just how to find more time because I’d love a few more real friendships, but feel too busy to just enjoy the few that I have!

    • I’m there with you. I only have a certain amount of time to invest in my home, my husband, my kids, and so on. Friendships just seem to end up at the bottom of my list without time to put into them.

      • Jen says:

        I am right there with you. I am now a SAHM (I quit my CFO career when I was pregnant with #2). I feel like I have very few friends. My best friends from college all have kids (most of them a bit older than mine) and they live about 30-45 minutes away. I am now trying my best to cultivate female friends via the moms of my daughter’s friends. I have only been somewhat successful. I have initiated a Mom’s Night Out (MNO) – dinner and a drink once a month. I cannot believe how hard it has been to get people to commit to a three hour time commitment once a month. One month I was the only one to show up. I was so upset I didn’t have another MNO for two months. I needed the time to cool off and get over the fact that my time and effort didn’t seem to mean anything to the other women.

        That said, I continue my efforts because I think it is really important that we women (moms or not) make ourselves a priority. It’s VERY hard to do but I think in the end we are better wives, moms and women when we make time for ourselves, be it through friendships, reading time at a cafe, etc.

        • We just moved (so I think I’m struggling with this one a little more than I did), but one thing that I know helped SO much was to run with a friend. I have to exercise anyways, so we met at least 3-4 days a week (at 5 AM because of our daytime schedules – eek!) and developed such a fun friendship because of that.

          Hoping I can find a running buddy in our new community because I know that was so important to me. It was such a good way to make a friendship (and exercise!) a priority, and it definitely made me a better wife and mom.

      • Heather says:

        I’m so sad when the people I want to be friends with don’t put priority on friendships because their lives are so full at home. I am a SAHM with two littles and if I want to spend time with someone, I make it happen. I call long distance friends. I make us get out of the house and get to playdates. It is a bummer to me when my mom friends don’t make the effort and never get around to calling or hanging out.

        • Jackie says:

          Yeah, and it doesn’t get any easier (I’m nearly 60), now everyone is busy with Grandkids! Thought things would change as I got older. I really miss have close friends.

    • erin says:

      This is what I was thinking too! I would love to have more time to spend with friends, but the days are so full that I’m lucky to get one or two nights a month that I could spend hanging out with friends.

  • Lisa says:

    This was a powerful post for me. I had a long friendship that I finally saw as toxic when I realized I always felt bad after talking to this person. It was very hard to walk away from this person and I felt very alone. But, I am taking all of your suggestions to heart and looking at myself in my current friendships. Thank you for all of the suggestions!

    • {Hugs!} I’m hoping you find some great friendships soon!

    • Cheryl says:

      About a year ago I let go of a 30+ year friendship for that same reason. I never felt good after conversations with her and also found her to be very condescending. It wasn’t until I went through a major life crisis that I realized how one-sided our relationship was and how absent she was in my time of need. Since then, I learned that as long as I look to God and within myself for happiness things just seem to work out. After ending that friendship I signed up for a small women’s group at church and have been fortunate to meet a lovely group of women who are interested in lifting me up, not putting me down. Strong friendships have formed. It took me a couple of tries to find a group that felt like the right fit so I encourage everyone to keep trying. Worst case scenario is that you meet a lot of people along the way.

  • Amy Lauren says:

    I love this post- thanks. It’s just what I needed today as I’ve recently had a few… issues… with some “friends”. It’s really amazing how grown women can act sometimes- basically acting like teenagers rather than adults and not going to each other with issues but instead, going to other people or backstabbing, etc. It’s sad when someone just throws away a friendship that had lasted for years. I know not everyone’s like that, though.

    Another issues I’ve faced is growing apart from friends who they have kids. At 28, it seems like almost all my friends have now had kids. I’ve stayed close with a few, and while I don’t have kids… I love these people and their kids, but do wish I could still be close to them (still not really wanting kids though). I’ve also had others pressure me, wondering why we’re not trying when so many of our friends are having kids :(.

  • guest says:

    This is a great post about the qualities of a good friendship. I would love to know HOW and WHERE you found friends. We moved several years ago and the finding is the part I’ve struggled with. I have small children and I work full time so I’m not able to connect with other women at parks or SAHM oriented activities. I would love to hear from other working mothers how they find friends in new places. Or maybe I just accept this is my season in life? 🙁

    • I commented down below, but I have had a lot of success with meetup.com. We used to move around a bit too, and they have groups for all sorts of interests. I’m sure there’s a working moms group in your area, and if not, it’s super easy to start one (there is an upfront fee, but you can defray the cost by charging dues to the members).
      It’s worth a shot!

  • Christie says:

    LOVE the photo of you and your husband!!

  • Tara G. says:

    We are a military family and find ourselves in the situation of making new friends every couple of years. One thing I try to remember is that, as a believer, God said the two most important things in life revolve around relationship – with Him and with others. If I am too busy to make His priorities mine, then I am too busy (and have other issues to tackle as well). You’ve given some great thoughts and practical tips!

  • Deanna says:

    Great post and reminders I need! Those I consider my best friends are my sisters (all in other states) and friends that also no longer live here. I have friends in my current local circle and we talk and hang out but they are those friends that you connect with only because of one or two similarities not those where you feel connected to and on the same page with. Both kinds-of friends are good though and I need to remember to make an effort to be a good friend to those in my life!

  • Sarah Mae says:

    This is so wonderful, fantastic advice! And the picture of us…wish we could hang out again! Soon, Lord willing!

  • JP says:

    I had a surprise baby at 43, so that makes me older than most new moms. He was dx with autism. He’s 8 now. He doesn’t really have any friends (he considers every kid he meets a “friend”). I take him to group playdates & the park, jump zone, etc but have not met any other mothers I have clicked with. My Dh travels also, so it’s not easy for me to get away for a mom’s night out or to pursue a hobby out of the house. I am close to my sisters but we live out of state. I have older kids but I don’t even attend DS 1’s baseball games because the little one is always running away & can’t sit still. It’s difficult.

    • Jessica C says:

      Hi there! Both of my kiddos are on the spectrum, 7 and 4. I also live out of state away from family, good friends. Try a support group of parents w/ autistic children. That’s a great place to start, get involved with other parents going through your struggle!

  • Carrie says:

    One comment I would add is to look for friends outside of your own age group. Some of my best friends are 15+ years older than me. I also am very close to my former grandmother in law and she is 40+ years older than me. Age does not matter and we can all learn from having friends in different life stages.

    • I agree with you, Carrie! Many of my friends throughout my life have been much older than I am. I am currently cultivating a new friendship with a woman who is twice my age. She and I have a lot in common, and even though her children are grown (and old enough to be my parents), and we’re at different stages in life, we like many of the same things.

    • Rachael says:

      Often people who are older (say their kids are grown, they are retired), have more time for relationships, as well.

  • On the practical note of how to find friends if you’re moving to a new area or are looking for those of similar interests or simply to meet some fresh faces, I have had a lot of success with meetup.com. I’ve been in several groups in different areas as we used to move around a bit, including moms groups and bookclubs and have even been an organizer.

    Some of the women I met through those groups have remained amazing friends, even one the groups were no longer around.

    Some groups do charge fees or dues because meetup charges a free to host the group there, but there are groups for every interest under the sun. I highly recommend it.

    • Heather says:

      I just don’t really want to spend $$ to join a group if I dont’ know that I’m going to find those kind of friendships there, you know?

      • I totally understand that. To be clear: there isn’t any fee to join meetup or search for groups in your area and the dues vary from group to group and are usually pretty minimal. Our moms group charged $10 annually and the bookclub I was a part of was simply donation only. IME, most groups will also give you a trial period to check things out and meet people before you pay a dime.

        I hope that helps!

    • Claire says:

      This was a really good post, Crystal. I think this is a topic that doesn’t get enough attention in general (not just talking about MSM).

      I wholeheartedly second the opinion about Meetup.com. I have found a monthly book club and just recently a monthly sewing/crafting club through that website. All of the people I have met through meetup have been incredibly nice and friendly. I haven’t attended either group enough to make friends yet, but I’m hopeful. If nothing else, I’m reading new things and finally getting on that sewing project I’ve been meaning to do! If any “membership fees” are requested, they usually aren’t mandatory and are only to help the group leaders cover the cost of using the meetup website.

      For anyone here, I completely recommend the book “MWF seeks BFF”. It’s about one woman’s year-long search for new friends. I checked it out from the library and it was so packed with information about finding new friends and suggestions on how (and how not to) that I bought the book.

      My BFF has recently moved out-of-state, so I’m in the same boat as many of you. I have people I would call friends (I feel like I could depend on them if I needed to), but I don’t feel like we are all especially close. So, my friendship radar is up! 🙂

  • Kristin says:

    This was a great topic, thank you.

  • Suzanne says:

    Great article, Crystal! Love the pic of you and Jesse. ☺

  • Sheila says:

    That was a wonderful post! I am 52 years old and am blessed to still be in contact with my two very best friends from high school on a regular basis and two other wonderful friends I made as a new mom over 20 years ago. I have many other sweet casual friends but they are my inner circle. I have a 60 before 60 list and one of those items is to make a new close friend. It occurred to me that I have not added any one to that circle in 20 years! This post will help me in choosing a casual friend that I might try to pursue a deeper friendship with. If as you said they are too busy to add a new friend at this time, no harm no foul, just try again with another person! glad to hear you and your family are happy in nashville. I live about 2 hours south of there and love to visit Nashville! Take your family to the old spaghetti factory downtown. It is a really cool place:)

  • Susan in St. Louis says:

    A couple of years ago there was a lady who lived nearby with whom I would have lovely conversations with every couple of months. I always came away thinking, “I’d LOVE to be friends with her, but she doesn’t need me.” She is a pastor’s wife, homeschooling mom of many, etc, etc. After some time my husband and I invited this lady’s entire family over for dinner. I knew she didn’t like to be away from her family too much, so I figured this was a way to get to know her better. Long story short, we are now dear friends. We found we have much in common and enjoy living close enough that we can walk together or pick things up for one another at the grocery store. Turns out she did “need” me after all, and I’m so thankful that I got creative in initiating.

    • Lana says:

      My daughter is a pastor’s wife and it can be very lonely. These ladies need someone outside of their church to be friends with so good for you for following through!

      • I agree! I’ve found that pastor’s wives can often be some of the most lonely women out there. They are constantly giving and giving and giving and desperately long for people to just pour into them and care deeply about them.

    • Michele says:

      Speaking as a pastor’s wife, I can say that we do need friends. I have some friendships in the church, but only one that I get together with socially. Even then , there is always knowledge that I can’t share everything I might want to because my husband is a pastor. We live in a small town, so I tend to be careful what I share outside of church also.

  • I used to have lots of “casual” contact with friends/acquaintances through facebook, but I also found it to be a crazy time-suck in my life. I only use facebook now for my blog’s facebook page. I am still transitioning on how to keep in touch with people and cultivate friendships. Many of the women I run across like to do late-night girls night time outings, and I’m one to be asleep by 10. I’m a work in progress at developing quality friendships, but I’m trying to do this where God has planted me.

  • Jessica C says:

    I just wanted to let you know how much your posts and sharing your life has inspired and helped me! I really, really struggle with this topic because I too get closed off and don’t want to get hurt….really enjoy what you write, Thank You!

  • Kala M. says:

    Great post. I had a friend from college who I just had to let go. We were great friends in college. But over time I noticed how much drama she brought to her friendships and had in her life. We started drifting apart when she was engaged to a guy I did not like at all but then reconnected when they split. I set her up with a co-worker who ended up being a perfect match for her. However, they seem to build the drama together even more and me, my husband and another friend don’t enjoy spending time with them anymore. We started drifting again, which I didn’t mind I felt this would be my way out of our friendship without a confrontation (I hate drama). She then contacted me a couple a months ago and I tried to let her down as nicely as possible (I don’t like people being mad at me). I explained that I felt we were in different places in our lives and that we have each changed and that that isn’t a bad thing. But felt that our friendship wasn’t mutually beneficial anymore. She didn’t like the answer and thought that was stupid and people just don’t walk away from friendships. But I feel if it just isn’t enjoyable then why force it.

  • Marie says:

    What about when you are the new person? I live in a new place where I really dont know many people and since everyone has been here for EVER they already have friends and groups. Where do you start?

    • Heather says:

      same here! I moved to a new city about the time Crystal did, and it’s hard to not be jealous of all the wonderful friendships she already has in a new city. We’re still church shopping, and I don’t know how to tell which church I’ll have those kind of friendships in until I’ve been there for 6 months, and then if I figure out that they aren’t good friendships, do we start church shopping all over again?! It’s so hard to start all over again in a new city! Thank you Jesus that I’m not in the military!

      • {Hugs!} Just remember that we had some really deep and beautiful friendships here with people before we moved (which was one of the reason we chose this area to move to)… and we’ve not only deepened those relationships since moving, but those friends have introduced us to some of their good friends who are fast our close friends, too. So don’t compare your situation to ours because I think our situation is pretty rare.

        • Heather says:

          Thanks for taking the time to respond! I do want you to know that I am really happy for you and I know that God is doing different things in your life than in mine and this is the road he’s chosen for me right now and the lessons he’s trying to teach me; I just wish i had those friendships without having to wait months or years for them to develop 😉

    • I encourage you to start by reaching out — to your neighbors, at church, at your children’s school, join a book club, attend events at the library… look around for every opportunity to plug in and just start plugging in and keep plugging in. It takes time and effort and multiple tries to find close friendship, but if you keep showing up, reaching out, opening out, caring about people, and investing in people it will usually result in at least a few close friendships.

  • Clare says:

    Just wanted to tell you I think this is a great post! We recently moved, too, and even though we are so thankful to finally be close to family, I am also know the Lord has other friends for us, too. This makes me excited to find new friends and be a better friend.:) By the way, I am *loving* the new direction of MSM-the posts feel so honest and real, it’s easy to connect to. Thanks!

  • P.L. says:

    I just want to know where some of you lovely people are located because I see true friend potential all over this thread! And I want you to be MY friends! I find most “friends” don’t want to take time to have an actual friendship. They prefer texting/email to one on one time, they can’t even seem to even make time for phone calls! Friendship is something I hold in the highest regard but I can’t seem to find anyone that reciprocates that feeling. I reach out to people that I like, that I feel there is that potential connection, but it’s to no avail.

    An excellent post Crystal, one that hits home and weighs heavily on my mind.

    • I know! I wish we all lived on the same block!

      I’m so sorry that you’ve had hard experiences with friendships. 🙁 Please keep trying and reaching out… I know there are people out there who would love to have the kind of relationships you are longing for!

    • KF says:

      My thoughts exactly as I read all these comments. I find that many of my “friends” don’t want to put the time and energy into our friendship that I do. I feel as though I’m always the one initiating. It’s very frustrating and you would think it would be easier as you get older.

  • Mandy Fanok says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I really needed this reminding on how to make and maintain friendships. My heart has actually felt broken lately over the fact that it is seems so difficult to make friends and maintain a true friendship as I get older.

  • Becky says:

    Thanks so much for posting this. I’ve found it terribly hard to make friends as an adult. I’m an introvert and a bit cautious since I’m also a people pleaser and tend to attract people that are happy to accept my help, but not always willing to return it (compounded by my being bad at asking for help). I’m in my late 30s now, and have lived in the same area for 14 years. I still feel like I don’t have any close friendships here. Being single only makes it lonelier. I’m very fortunate to have two good friends I’ve kept in contact with since college, and although both are thousands of miles away and our lives have taken very different paths, we talk fairly often. I just never expected to reach this age and still feel like the “awkward kid sitting on the sidelines”. I’m successful in my career, and all my casual acquaintances describe me as “such a nice person”, so I guess there is still hope. I’ll take your article to heart and try some of your suggestions for changing my behavior and habits towards friendship. Thanks for writing this today.

  • Erika Dawson says:

    Love this, Crystal. I can easily relate to being closed off as a result of being hurt. I’ve been recognizing this more and more about myself these last few years, but as I try to look for ways to be a good friend, I’m finding it challenging simply because of babies!! Between *having* babies, nursing babies or caring for sick children (especially in the winter months), being intentional about gathering with others to develop and deepen relationships has been a struggle. I know it’s possible, and will keep working at it with the Lord’s help, but I’m learning to readjust my expectations — and get creative with how to pursue friendship in a season of littles!

  • Patty says:

    May I make a plea to married/coupled women? Please consider us singles (moms or not) as high-quality friendship material. We may not have a husband to be friends with your husband, but we are generally pretty awesome people in our own right. I’ve never been married and I’ve encountered this kind of exclusion for years and years.

    • {Hugs!} I’m SO sorry you’ve experienced this. 🙁 A few of my dearest friends are not married and I very much agree that you all are definitely high-quality friendship material!

    • Brenda says:

      I have a very good friend who has never been married. I love her to pieces, but sometimes I don’t know how to have a conversation with her because everything I can think of to say is about my husband or my kids and I’m afraid of making her feel sad because I know she’d love to be married and have a family. I guess that’s something I should talk about to her rather than awkwardly avoiding her. Thanks for bringing that up, Patty.

  • Brenda says:

    Very, very good post, Crystal. I’ve struggled with feeling hurt because all my good friends were long distance friends who could not invest in our relationship the way I wanted them to, simply because of distance. The last 6 months I’ve spent a lot of time and energy feeling out the “friend market” locally. It’s be HARD for me as an introvert, but I’m happy to say it’s paid off. I’ve learned so much so far and found a great friend in the process. The journey is far from finished, but I’m already amazed at the rewards of laying aside fear and just being me to those who need some honest realness.

  • Amy says:

    Absolutely loved this post. I really have been enjoying your more “personal” posts about your life and your family. Keep up the great work!

  • Ruth says:

    I have had many friendships that have not stood the test of time or distance, or the circumstances that brought us together changed. Sometimes I have been hurt, and I’ve probably hurt others. I have moved or they have moved. Or we were brought together because of a mutual need or interest at the time and neither of us were very discerning–just lonely. However, I have learned from each of the friendships I have had, so even if it didn’t work out long term it was still a growing experience. There are natural ebbs and flows to even life- long friendships. Thanks Crystal for addressing the need for friendships and the challenges that can make it hard to keep or make quality friendships. Love it; keep up the good work!

  • Jen says:

    Funny timing on this post as my sis and I were just discussing this the other day. I have lots of friends but don’t have that one person I feel like I could pour my soul out to and that makes me sad. If I did I know it wouldn’t stay with any one of those people but be spread around. We all know gossip is bad but for some reason it still happens 🙁 I had a really close friend a few years ago but as time has gone on it has become more distant and I know it’s bc of me. I felt disappointed in several of my friends bc of things they said or did that I pretty much just up and pulled away from all of them. Now I’m lonely. I have tried to mend these friendships but the same things that drove me crazy before keep coming up and I feel frustrated. I really feel stuck on what to do. I want to be friends with people that I look up to and admire and they aren’t that and it makes me sad. After I read this post today I actually ran into an awesome lady that I very much admire and we will be scheduling a time to get together soon. Thank to you! I doubt i would have asked her to hang out if I hadn’t read this post today 🙂

  • Laura says:

    I have a “friend” who I have known for decades (our friendship has been on-and-off throughout the years). There was an incident where things she said while under the influence of alcohol REALLY hurt me (she claims to have been “just kidding”). That was nearly 5 months ago – I have told her that we need to have a conversation to talk about what happened, and she refuses. I told her I will not discuss through email or text – only face-to-face or phone call. She refuses. I can’t express how much I mourn the loss of her friendship, but I am beginning to accept the fact that she was never my friend. A true friend is able to have those “hard conversations” because ultimately it will only strengthen the friendship. A true friend is also NEVER too busy for MONTHS to simply pick up the phone and call. I am sad for her because I am not the first (nor the last) person she has done this to. I will move on to better friendships – my prayer for her is that she will grow up and resolve conflict instead of pretending it doesn’t exist. And I will always miss her. THANK YOU for this article!!

  • Anne says:

    I thought I had a lot of friends, until my daughter passed away. They were there for me for the first few months and than disappeared. I wasn’t grieving and healing fast enough for them. So they left me alone in my time of need.
    When I had my son a year later, I was again left friendless. So I joined a local breastfeeding support group at the hospital called Bosom Buddies. I met some of the greatest women there. Two years later, our children are friends and we’re all still friends (we call ourselves the Sisterhood of 2012 Mommas and have our own Facebook group). There’s about 25 of us. I’ve become closest to a few of them, the Core Five as I like to call them.

    I guess the point of my comment is, people can surprise you and disappoint you. My so-called friends left me in my time of need and my new friends know my life story and love me all the more for it.

  • Lydia says:

    Wow!!..
    I relate to moms with and the ones without children..I am the youngest of a very close knit and loving family where my brothers and sisters friends were also mine..I was always invited to their weddings and the welcoming of their children but I was always going through “where are the friends who are my age “?
    Now that I am 41 , married to a wonderful man whose friends welcomed me into their group when we started dating in 2004..even though unfortunately we all moved on with marriage ..children or no children..
    For our new family of friends,mostly from church they are all mixed with my husband and I and our princess who is 5 and has Aspergers being the youngest,we have some families that decided not to have children but are still just as loving and welcoming..
    Hope this helps..hugs to all of ladies ..

  • Jen says:

    Let’s also remember to pray for the mom who is treated like (and feels like) a single mom sometimes because her husband doesn’t attend church. She is often left behind like the single moms.

    • Mrs. C says:

      Yes! No one should be alone at church … if only our congregations could learn how to reach out and include those who are by themselves … for whatever reason … it shouldn’t be just a couples world … I was in a church for many years that was wonderful about making you feel like family … that you could feel free to attend social functions or worship and know that someone would say … “hey come sit with us!” … but after we moved to a new state I nievely thought I would find that in the churches here … but not to be … I do reach out to others but doing so is not the norm so most “alone people” keep to themselves. Being alone at church is the loneliest feeling in the world …

  • Sue says:

    Question…What I deal with, is that I am always the one asking to get together for lunch, dinner etc. Most of the ladies that I ask are happy to get together with me. But rarely does anyone ever ask me. I get saddened by this as I think if I was important as a friend they would think of asking me too. Am I wrong on this? This is over a period of years of me asking not just a few times. 🙂

  • Traci says:

    Love this abd thought about it tonight at church! Our sermon was about david and jonathan’s friendship and how it is vital to have Christian friends around us to share the good and the bad and we should be able to take it from them! We need to be good listeners and just encourage one another through life! If jonathan could give up his right to his throne, his robe and sword to david and be a true friend despite his father’s plans, then we should be able to be there for good and bad!!!

  • Jo says:

    Good article. Since being confined to a wheelchair with several chronic diseases, it seems my friends have disappeared. After reading your article, I realize that I need to call them on my good days, because they may think I never feel like socializing. Anyway I wish I could find a wheelchair friend who also wants a friend.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I’m 31 years old. It seemed a lot easier to make friends when I was in school. But now that I’m an adult I really struggle with it. Especially since we moved from NY to KY, 6 years ago. This post was so encouraging and helpful to me. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  • Amy says:

    We moved to middle TN in 2012 and I wasn’t sure how the transition would go in regard to finding friends, but it has been fabulous. We found that in an area full of “transplants” people are open and hungry for friendship in a way we’ve never experienced before.

    The advice I would give to anyone looking for close friends is not to limit yourself to only friends who are in the exact station of life. My life is so much richer for having friends older and younger than I am.

  • Missie says:

    We moved from a bigger town where we’d lived for eleven years to a small town five hours away. Two of the people who claimed to be such good friends, one who said I was her best friend, don’t even know we’ve moved. They each lived 20 minutes away and the only time I would see them was if I initiated something. I would always hear how busy they both were, and granted – they are busy, but then I would see Facebook posts and pictures of them doing all these fun things with other friends. I don’t want to sound like a whiny baby or that I think they can only do things with me, but doggone…it was enough to give me a complex (and believe me, I had the complex). If someone is important to me, I make time for them. If they are not important to me, I don’t. I finally realized that I had been the glue in both relationships. We got together if I made the call. We communicated if I initiated it. There was not any “pursuing” (for lack of a better word) from the other side.

    After doing some soul searching on my own, I discovered that these two friendships had ALWAYS been like that, for the last decade, and I was too blind to see it. I realized that I had been letting my desire to be their friend overshadow the reality that they really had no desire to be mine. And while that was very hurtful, it was freeing in a way.

    I am not the best thing since brewed coffee, but I am a nice person. I am funny and irreverent and loud and sarcastic and loyal and well-read. I am not everyone’s cup of tea in a friend but I am someone’s. So I will focus on the ones who want me in their lives as is evidenced by their effort, and I I will wait and pray for others that God may want to bring to me. I will not let the behavior of some I thought of as friends determine how I will act with new people.

  • Christine says:

    Thank you so much for this post, I’ve really been struggling with making new friends lately and questioning a current friendship at the moment. I’ve always felt like I don’t know how to make friends…as a super shy and quiet person , I don’t know how to initiate conversation or know what to say, and. I feel like when I do, my efforts are just a wash. I’ve really been trying to throw myself into the mom activities at church because there are some sweet ladies there I would love to be friends with, but it seems their friendships are so established and no room for anyone else, but it could just all be in my head 🙂 Thank you again so much, this really encouraged me today!

    • Angie says:

      This is my exact story. I feel like I never have anything to to talk about with people. I thought having kids would make it easier, but it hasn’t. I think I may be too closed off. If only I could open myself up….

  • Daniela says:

    ….and no matter where you are in your journey of finding that fabulous circle…always look out for those who are struggling and looking for a “home”…help those who are looking for friends too and welcome them in to your life…

  • Kim says:

    This has been so hard for me. I grew up and Air Force brat and it was easy to make friends. Then I married my husband who was Army and it was still fairly easy to make friends. My husband just retired and we moved to a new location with no military base and I am LOST on how to find or make friends. I have many friends all over the US and world that I am so blessed to call friends and whom are only a text or call away; however, it is really hard to make new friends here. I have always had a small knit community church, elementary school, commissary, etc, that now I don’t know where to even find people! We’ve lived in our new location for a year and not having friends really drains my heart.

  • Florence says:

    What a great article! Being a busy stay at home mom of young babies you can often feel so disconnected with people and that’s when you realize who is the good friend and who is not.

  • Stephanie says:

    Loved this article! Edifying and convicting. A lot of the points you made had me rethink my own behavior and expectations. Especially now in a season of my life that involves endings and prunings. Friendship has been on my mind lately.

    Thank you.

  • Quinn says:

    Crystal-
    Question for you?

    Do you mind if I use some of your quotes and thoughts from your friendship articles? I am putting together a photo book for my daughter’s “best” friend to celebrate their friendship. They are 3 now.

    I thought adding thoughts on friendship would be perfect and my daughter’s friend would be able to look back on those thoughts when she is older too!

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