We have moved multiple times since we have been married. In fact, in just over five years of marriage, we have lived in four states. Obviously, I have had experience in finding new friends.
I have made many mistakes in the friend department. I have learned much. And thankfully friends have been extremely gracious.
Having long distance friends is wonderful and I am blessed to have those friends. I have learned, however, that real life friends are essential. I have become more and more aware of how important these friends are. One of the reasons a local church is so vitally important is because of this. We cannot, and should not, function on our own. We need each other.
When you move to a new city, community, or church, it can be intimidating. You feel like the outsider peering in at other closely knit relationships. Sometimes you stand back and watch hoping you can detect from a distance which group you will be able to fit in with. It is lonely. It is scary sometimes.
1. Don’t wait for someone else to initiate.
It is true that the person who has lived in the neighborhood a long time should come welcome you first. The long time member of the church should be the first to reach out to the newcomer. It doesn’t always happen like that and you cannot wait for that. It is right to initiate friendships even if you are new.
Be the first to invite another mom over for coffee. Be the first to invite a family over for a meal. Remember that they don’t have the same sense of urgency that you do. I know I am guilty of having a passing thought of needing to invite a new person, but then I just forget. I am not lonely right now, so I don’t sense the urgency. If you are new and need the relationships take the first step.
2. Keep trying.
Maybe, because of schedule conflicts, you have received several no’s. Maybe you did not connect like you thought you would initially. Keep inviting. Keep trying. It is so hard. It is especially difficult when you are the new one in town. But friendships are that important. Those relationships are vital and you have to start somewhere. So keep trying!
Photo Vince Alongi
Remind yourself of the importance of friendships. It will give you the motivation to keep working at it.
For those of us that have been in a town or church for a while, remember what it was like when you were new. Going up and saying “hi” is important. Very important. But going further is what will really make a difference. Invite them into your circle of friends. I know it is hard. I know your time is already scattered in a million different directions. But this world is a lonely place when we don’t have others standing beside us in the walk of life. And God did not intend for us to walk through life alone. Remember what it was like to be in a new city or church without knowing a soul. Reach out.
Whether you are new or have been in the same place for a while. Remember that building friendships is an essential part of life. Take the first step. Keep trying. Remember.
What ways have you found to make new friends or reach out to those that are new around you? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear!