I was the boyfriend girl so I missed out on friendship (AKA don't give up on friendship just because you're older) - Sarah Mae
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I was the boyfriend girl so I missed out on friendship (AKA don’t give up on friendship just because you’re older)

(There’s a giveaway at the end of this post, so make sure to read to the end!)

I was the boyfriend girl.

Meaning, I was always wrapped up in a guy and never made time for deep friendships with girls. Which is a major bummer because I missed out on the friendships you always hear about, the great high school and college friends who “always will be.”

Sure, I had a couple friends, but we all went separate ways for the most part, and then I got married, and then I had kids, and then…who has time for friendship when you’re exhausted and barely making it. I probably needed friendship the most in my desperate years, but it was those years I just couldn’t seem to find the energy to find or make new friends. First it was the boyfriends, then kids, then just plain exhaustion. So, I decided I was a loner. I wasn’t any good at friendships and maybe I just didn’t really need them. I was fine. Really.

But I wasn’t. I had no idea how important and wonderful and good life-giving friendships were.

Until my mid-30’s. In my mid-30’s I met my dearest friends.

And not only do I now have these beautiful, life-giving friendships, I am learning how to be a good friend. The fact is, I’ve not always been one. I’m not a natural at friendship, which is weird, I know, but true.

Maybe you struggle with finding friends or being a friend, or maybe you think you don’t need friends. Maybe you’re just worn out and can’t even muster the strength to work at friendship. I hear you. But let me offer this: If you don’t make the effort for friendship, here are some things you might miss out on:

You might miss the encouragement your soul needs to keep on. My friends know me so well, they know when to call or text or vox and send Scripture or encouraging words or drop off a coffee or take my kids. My friends fill a place in my soul that I never even knew I needed. I would be missing a great gift if I stayed in my “loner” thinking.

You might miss really fun girl nights out. One of my favorite things to do with my friends is head out once every couple of months to a restaurant and eat lots of bread and salad and drink wine and laugh and cry and have wonderful conversations with my friends. These nights refresh my heart and help me to keep on in the dailyness of life.

You might miss knowing you’re not alone. Knowing that my friends go through similar struggles as I do is comforting; we can comfort each other and share how God has helped and what He’s doing and what works and “here’s some chocolate, it’s been that kind of week.” I also know when I’m feeling in the depths, I can call on my friends and they will rally and lift me up, as I will do for them. My husband is my best friend and my greatest supporter, but my girlfriends are a lifeline that is so sacred and special to me.

You might miss knowing you’re loved even at your worst. Real friends love you anyway…they love you, tell you the truth, walk with your through the dark times, and never condemn you. They listen. They are honest but kind. Their arms are wide open. This is the grace of kindred friendship: that you are loved even at your worst.

You might miss out on growing in faith and loving God more. My dearest friends teach me so much. Their love for God is inspiring, and I come away from them wanting to know and love God more. They sharpen me, teach me, and through their struggles and faithful obedience to God, I am encouraged to keep on.

Now maybe you know this, maybe you are desperate for friendship and want to make friends but aren’t sure how or where or what to do. Here are some thoughts for you:

First of all, friendship is like dating…you don’t give up just because the first (or second or third) doesn’t work out (tweet that). You’re not going to have chemistry with everyone, and that’s okay. Stay open.

Second, ask God. Ask God for good, true friendships. Back to the dating analogy for a moment, in the book Little Women, Amy says to her sister, “You don’t need scores of suitors. You need only one… if he’s the right one.” I feel like this about friendship. You don’t need scores of friends, one good friend is worth gold (think of Anne and Diana). If you get to have two or three dear friends, well that’s just extra grace. Ask God for a kindred friend.

Make the effort. Yes, friendship takes effort to develop, but soon it becomes natural and sweet. My dearest friends are those I can let down with, be myself, and not have to worry about pretense. My friend Amy always says, “No eggshells!” You don’t have to feel like you’re walking on egg shells with good friends, and I love that. But even after the work and you’ve settled into a friendship, you’ve still got to work to love well, because it’s easy to let friendship just be. It’s important to keep caring, to do the work of writing down birthdays and dropping off a coffee now and then, writing a note telling your friends what they mean to you, or saying, “Let me take your kiddos so you can get a break.” Friendship, like marriage, like life, takes work and care. But it’s so worth the effort. So make the effort to invite that woman from church over for coffee. Make the effort to get together with that other mom from your child’s dance class. Make the effort to go to the dinner you were invited to even though you’re born weary. Every time I feel too tired to go see a friend, I’m always refreshed after; I never regret it. Make the effort.

 

I didn’t always have these beautiful friendships. Maybe you’re in that place right now, praying and hoping for kindred friendship. Don’t give up.

Today, to encourage you, I want to tell you about Craving Connection, a book that is not only a lovely offering about friendship, but has challenges to help you make and become a better friend.

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Craving Connection is a book that will take you on a journey and offer you real-life stories, practical Scripture application, and connection challenges that will encourage you to:

  • Embrace the desire God has given each of us for connection
  • Invest in meaningful relationships, right where God has you
  • Become the friend you wish you had

The book is by the (in)courage community writers, and they invite you to grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair to the table, and commit to creatively and prayerfully fulfilling your cravings for connection.

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20
 
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17
 

Giveaway and FUN

Now for some fun. First of all, if you want to learn more and/or buy the book, check out cravingconnectionsbook.com.

Second, head to your local bookstore where you might find a Starbucks gift card tucked into the book so you and a friend can have coffee together, thanks to (in)courage.

Lancaster, PA people, I’VE GOT YOU COVERED. Head to your local B & N or Lifeway and you’ll find a little somethin’. 😉

Win a copy of Craving Connection – One Day Giveaway!

To win 1 of 3 copies I’m giving away, just fill out the form below! Contest open to U.S. residents. I will pick the winner TOMORROW at 9pm EST! GOOD “LUCK”!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW OVER! The winners are…

Rachel Bucaro

Stacey Painter

Allison Powell

CONTRATS!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastics 4:9-10

Here’s to the gift of friendship!

Love, Sarah Mae

Thank you so much B & H for sponsoring this post. Such a gift to be able to offer this book to those who are hungry for kindred friendship.

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  • Laura

    Thank you so much for this. I am almost thirty and still struggle with friendships. But it is so much better than going at it alone.

  • Tia

    This post is so timely. I am an introvert who grew up with boy friends. I had a few girlfriends but over the years the friendships have waned for another of reasons. Sometimes, we talk on occasion but we don’t see each other even though we live in the same city. I sometimes desire a close female friend and prayer partner. I will continue to pray and ask God to send me that special friend.

    • Lb

      Same here, Tia. I have a couple of friends that I go to lunch with for our birthdays, but not that close special friend that I call when I’m having a bad day.

  • Darcy

    I have got to get my hands on this book! My top love language is time. I crave connection with others. But at the same point it takes me awhile to know your safe before I open up. Over the last couple of years I have made some meaningful friendships. What I love about each friendship is that each lady brings something different to the table. They are al blessings to me!

  • Heather

    I feel the same way. It wasn’t boyfriends as much for me as we moved a lot as I grew up, so I didn’t make deep friendships and pretty much lost touch with every one of my friends after high school. It’s difficult to make friends when you’re busy working and raising a family and being pulled in so many different directions. My family just moved to a new town, so I’m praying that I can make some friends here.

  • Kimberly

    Thanks Sarah Mae for this book coming out. Definitely crave connection.

    Love,

    Kimberly

  • FredaD1

    I’ve never been good with friendships….I’ve lost more than I’ve saved…I was just given flowers from a friend and it’s so hard to respond….God’s grace keeps me!

  • Staci Sexton

    looks like a very useful book for the women of the church. Would love to have one.

  • D.

    I was always shy and frightened people would not like me if they knew the “real” me. Therefore I did not have close friendships nor kept in touch with anyone in my past. Now in my 60’s I don’t care what others think, but do not have the skills to know how to be a friend or maintain a friendship. Sooo needy for that interaction, but almost clueless. Could use some help!

  • Krista Crank

    Hmm, this sounds like a book I should read. My dearest friend is definitely one of those kindred spirits; she has stuck with me through my worst days, encouraged me, and given me so much laughter! Life has now taken us to different parts of the country, so though I still consider her my best friend, I don’t have any meaningful local friendships. I am helplessly shy and awkward so I do feel I’d rather just keep to myself and my family than make any effort to make new friends.

  • popolary

    I have been battling a chronic illness for some time. There have been some pretty rough spots the last couple of years while trying to raise our family, homeschool, etc. One of the moms in our group would ask how I was doing and even offer to ride w/me to medical appointments hours away. This really touched me that she would be so kind. I feel like a deeper friendship, on my part at least, has developed as a result of her care/concern. It is nice to know someone cares and would go out of their way to offer help. She has good friends though already, and I don’t want to interfere with those relationships. But yes, I, too, long for that connection.

  • K J

    I deeply value friendships. Too bad there isn’t an easy way to find heart friends when you move far away…:)

  • MA

    I have trouble making friends and they come and go in different life stages. One recently is getting me out of my comfort zone and it has been a good thing. She has also helped build my confidence to stand up for myself in difficult situations

  • Stacey Paintner

    I met my best friend my first day of college. I was extremely shy, but felt the urge to reach out to her, & I am so glad I did. I ended up having kids years before she did & that made our friendship different for years, but we still kept in touch through letters & phone calls. Now that she is a mama, our friendship is so much deeper & I am so grateful that I can truly be myself with her & trust her with all that I am…all my failures!!

  • Debbie

    College is definitely a great place to meet great girlfriends. I have some that are lifelong friends. Its harder to keep in touch because we all live in different parts of the world, and have families, but when we get together we can pick up right where we left off.

  • Megan Trader

    Oh, girl. I had those friends. The be myself, girl’s night out friends. And then we moved and it’s been 4 lonely years and I wonder if I’ll ever have friends again. Praying and hoping.

  • Katy

    My cousin is my dearest friend. She is always there to laugh with me and support me 🙂 We dont see eachother much anymore since I live 4hrs away, but it doesn’t matter we can still pick up like no time has past.

  • Melinda

    I struggle to make friends. My best friend and I have been friends for 25 years, but we rarely see each other due to her busy job. I still know that she’s there for me whenever I need her.

  • AnnMarie Tibbitts

    Growing up I’ve had a few strong friendships- that now have gotten distant. But also in my 30’s I’m discovering how to be a real friend and have real friends. God is blessing me as I rely on Him.

  • Christine enberg

    Only in the last 6 years have I started to develop true friendships and I am 48.

  • Lesa Brackbill

    This is so true. I am just now finding the friends I dreamed of and I’m 34. Thankful that God is developing these friendships in my life.

  • Jen

    Since I moved overseas a couple years ago I have realized how very important friendships are. It is much harder to maintain them when you’re not in the same place but it is possible. I am praying that I will be able to maintain them and deepen them even across the miles.

  • Bethany Brown

    Those great friends in high school and college have (sadly) moved on for the most part, but my mom friends that I have made in the last 10 years are amazing!!! We laugh, cry, pray, dream, plan and journey together down this crazy road of motherhood and encourage one another along the way. I am so, so thankful for them!!!

  • Corena

    True words. I love my friendships even those from grade school. They are soothing to my spirit. God is good and He provides us with the joy of friends especially when you have no family like we don’t.

  • Olivia Adair

    You are so right about making the effort! I find I have to keep pushing myself to reach out if I want to battle the loneliness. I too am in my 30s and am just starting to make a couple of beautiful, solid friendships!

  • Maureen

    I am very thankful for the friendship of my accountability partner, Stacey! She has been there for me and I really appreciate it!

    Maureen
    maureen.tenney@gmail.com

  • disqus_wRNYuOUq6i

    I am so grateful for the few friends who are like a sister’s. As older single women we have been there for each other. Women were created for friendships.

  • Rikki Woodring Jones

    I feel like I could have written this, but I am not quite there yet and a decade older than the author, but I do have Jamie, my one true friend who I am so grateful for, who I can be my real self around and accepts me as I am.

  • Cindi Schaupp

    So thankful for my mom…. who is a true friend.

  • Sarah

    So I just have to hang in there for 5 more years? 😉 My best friend and I have been friends since middle school, but we’ve lived states apart since graduating college. We talk every day just about, but it’s not like we can go out for girls’ nights or anything. I made great friends while my husband was in the military, but they all live other places now. Making friends locally as a mom of 3 little ones is tough.

  • Rachel B

    I don’t make friends easily…it just never came naturally to me. I’m pretty quiet. Now that I’m married and a mom, I am starting to feel like I need to make friends to set an example for my daughter. I really don’t know how! It’s something I pray about.

  • Whitney

    Thanks so much for the encouragement to keep trying for a second or third “date” with friends.

  • Susanne

    I relate to so much of what you write, so thank you. Just, thank you. Your words are full of grace for me. This post is so much me. I was the boyfriend girl. I never had a ton of friends, but I ruined one, true friendship in high school for a boy and one, true friendship in college for a boy. And that was it. No more friends. Many lonely days and nights when the college boyfriend wasn’t around anymore. And I just didn’t know how to make friends. Fast forward to marriage, two children, and early thirties. I was desperate for friends, but my thought was that everyone already has their established friendships by now and they don’t need any new ones. Anyway, this is getting too long. I joined a women’s bible study, allowed myself to be vulnerable, and friendships were established. Now I have a few, dear friends. I am still not great at being a friend, but I’m learning. One of my friends will do something for me and I’ll realize “Oh, that’s what friends do!” God is faithful. Those of you who are still searching–keep praying. Don’t listen to the lies that tell you there’s not a friend out there for you. There is.

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