For me, making friends has never been too difficult. I grew up with the same group of kids, and we stayed together throughout our school years and beyond. Looking back on that part of my life, there was always someone around to talk to and do things with. But I had my children when I was in my thirties. All my childhood friends had pretty much “been there, done that.” So at that point, I had to get out of my comfort zone and seek out friendships with new moms. Of course, most of the new moms were younger than me, so that was a little unnerving! It was new territory for me to have to seek out friendships with women who were in the same place I was. Faithful Provisions reader Jordan recently sent me a letter expressing her thoughts about finding new friends when she moved to a new city. I think most of us can relate to her feelings.
We recently moved from Spring Hill, Tennessee, to Huntsville, Alabama. I was struggling to find a new group of friends and support system in our new city. In January, I found the MOPS group at First Baptist of Huntsville. I was a little hesitant to come to a first meeting. I had fears running through my head about them having formed their “group” and that I would be left out. It was the exact opposite! I was welcomed in, people introduced themselves, and there were a couple other new moms there as well. Within the first meeting or two, I was very comfortable and joined in and struck up some good conversations with some of the other moms.
I’ve even become comfortable enough that when they needed a new co-coordinator for next year, I volunteered! I’m looking forward to getting to know the other moms better through the steering team. This also gives me a nice way to get involved in my new community of Huntsville! I can definitely say that MOPS has blessed me and if we ever move to a new city again, I’ll look up a MOPS group right away!
Here are three things I’ve learned about friendship:
Go where like-minded moms are. At each stage of life, whether you are a new mom, a mom who has recently moved, a mom of a special needs child, or a mom who has decided to work from home–you need friends. I’ve realized that most recently with our decision to begin homeschooling. Sometimes I can get so busy and caught up in everything on my to-do list that I actually leave people and relationships out of the picture. But I just can’t do that. I need the support of people who are on the same journey as me. I need the fellowship. (I talked about this same idea in my post, The Gift of Fellowship.” It took a trip overseas to remind me that I need people, and I need the fellowship of other believers.)
Get involved. When your church needs help, volunteer! That’s one of the best ways I have grown friendships and gotten to know people. My church is a pretty large church, and volunteering to help with women’s events has helped me get to know some other women really well. Another example of how getting involved can make a big difference happened just recently with the families of my daughter’s soccer team. I wanted an opportunity to get to know the other parents, so we arranged for a get-together. We made it as easy as possible for other parents to come, keeping the food simple and the location at a nearby park. The parents talked, the kids played, and everyone made new connections.
Take the initiative. To get to know some of the homeschooling moms I wanted to connect with, I just planned a play date. I had wanted to do this at the beginning of the school year, but I kept putting it off because I felt like I was too busy. I can’t believe I waited so long. It was super simple, and the other moms were excited about it. We were all in the same shoes–just moms starting something new who needed friends for the journey. It’s been amazing. We have really bonded over the past few weeks that we’ve been getting together. We have laughed over the fact that if we had only done this at the first of the school year, we could have been friends all year!
Do you ever look at somebody and judge them just by the expression on their face? I do it all the time. In my mind, someone may look disinterested or aloof, and in reality, it is actually just someone who is uncomfortable. They feel out of place. So don’t assume someone’s social barometer by how they appear. I have found that if I express genuine interest in someone, they are always very open and receptive to the offer of friendship.
Developing friendships means getting outside of your comfort zone. You’d be amazed at how many women are longing for someone to reach out to them. I wonder, is God calling you to be that person, to be that catalyst in some other woman’s life by simply stepping up instead of making excuses (and believe me, I do that all the time) that you are too busy?
Here’s one opportunity: If you feel God calling you to step up in leadership, maybe you would be interested in starting a MOPS group. It’s a perfect way to make new friends!
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Want to learn more about MOPS and connect with moms like you? Check out MOPS on Facebook and MOPS on Twitter. Already part of MOPS? Leave a comment below telling other Faithful Provisions readers about the special friendships you’ve found within your group.
Faithful Provisions Disclosure: This post is sponsored by MOPS International. All opinions stated are mine own. For more information see my disclosure policy.