No Friends for 6 Years. Here’s What I’ve learned.
Geesh I hate click bait headlines, but please bear with me. Yes, I do have friends – sort of anyway.
I grew up in the great state of Texas. My mom and dad are there along with every single friend I’ve ever had in my entire life. However, in 2013 my husband and I had this bright idea to move 1,200 miles away to a place where we didn’t know a single soul. No family. No friends. Just us, our two kids and the GPS.
About a month after we had settled in, I found out that I was pregnant with our third child. So when you do the math, I was miserably pregnant for close to a year - sick, big, bigger, biggest, tired, tireder and tiredest. Then, I had the awesome task of spending all my free time with my sweet newborn who chose to never sleep, followed closely by years of a crazy toddler. Going out to networking events, finding niche social circles and just hanging out to find friends wasn’t even a possibility for me for a couple of years.
Now as for the next four years, I have no excuse other than the fact that I’ve just been lazy and a bit protective of my space. When I get off work and even on the weekend, my couch be looking real always-ish. We know each other well.
Over the last 6 years, I’ve learned a few things. No, I'm not going to tell you to drop all your friends, or that this has been easy for me in any way shape or form. It's been frustrating, and a bit lonely, but I've become a much better person and here's why. I'VE LEARNED THAT…
…friends are like puzzle pieces. Not everyone will fit.
I tried to form relationships here and there, but things just didn't feel right. I figured out that friends are like puzzle pieces. There's big puzzles, and there are small puzzles. Huge groups and small cliques. However, everyone's not going to fit because well... they’re not supposed to.
We all go through it in life, particularly during our childhood – doing almost whatever it took to just fit in – especially with regard to people we deemed as popular or important. But God didn't design us to contort to everyone's likes and dislikes, choices, preferences and ways of life. It distorts the true us. Trying to fit a place not designed for your soul hurts.
Me do that now? Naaah I’m good son. There are over 3,000 varieties of tea in the world, so it's natural that you will not be everyone’s cup of tea. And here’s the best part of all, - that’s ok. You’re still worthy.
…I’m much more apt to take risks.
With no one in my ear giving me daily advice. No one taking up my time going to the mall doing fun stuff. No one helping me stay put in my comfort zone. With no one to consult and make hard decisions with, I ended up taking risks I would have never considered before.
I went shopping alone. I ate alone. I spent time with me, myself and I, alone. I conjured up hard goals for myself with no one cheering me on or telling me no. And you know what happened?
Over these 6 years without having close friends nearby, I've started 3 businesses, lost weight, grew my faith, and bettered myself in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
I also realized that no one else can motivate me better than I can, and I’m now much more accountable and even more courageous than ever.
…family matters most.
Period. That’s it. No one else.
Since I’ve moved, no one other than my family has come to visit me. Not a single soul. Not a single friend in my life over the last 6 years has said - you know what, I miss that fly chick, so I’m going to purchase an expensive plane ticket, take vacation time off of my job, and go visit my "friend" who's now over 1,200 miles away. No one - except family.
No, that was not a woe is me statement, nor was it meant to be a dig at my friends back home. Everyone has lives and visiting an old friend doesn’t always make it onto the priority list. Truth of the matter is, most people don't have the time and resources for that.
Although I love my friends back home, I've realized who really matters - my family. I'm on their priority list, and they're on mine. Because of our distance away from one another, I cherish them even more.
This realization also caused me to check myself. Before our departure 6 year ago, when close friends would move away, did I go visit them? No. It's because of this, I've become a better friend. If in my soul, I need friends to text or call to check on me every once and a while, I know that I need to commit to that as well. If it's my expectation that they contact me when major changes happen in their lives, I need to make sure that I do same. You get what you give. It's science I think. Ha.
….forcing friendships, kills the spirit.
I've also learned that it's really important that you don’t try too hard to make someone your friend if there is no real connection there.
Chasing people and trying to force friendship upon them is never going to work.
Yes, I always try to give people a good amount of time to see if there is potential for a deeper connection, but I know in my heart when to call it quits.
It’s been sort of like dating; if it doesn’t feel like a serious relationship (in this case a friendship) is a real possibility, then I don’t feel guilty when it's time to part ways.
I also know what it’s like to simply be tolerated and not celebrated - and the detriment it's done to my spirit. I've learned to carefully choose everything and everyone around me, - and I offer no apologies for it. We all get this one life, and wasting time on people, places and things that aren't designed for you, will inevitably rob you of the time you were meant to spend with people, places and things that were designed just for you.
....social media connection doesn't equal friendship.
Friendship takes work, and if you're not careful, social media can create the illusion of a friendship that doesn't really exist. I thought Facebook could be a life-line to those I left behind, as well as the blossoming of new friendships, but I was wrong.
True story. There's this super nice chick I only really met like twice, but we've been Facebook "friends" for years. She tells me happy birthday every year. She comments on my posts. She hearts my pictures. She puts laughing emojis on my jokes, even when I wasn't trying to be that funny. Yo, yo... I thought we were tight. While on vacation in her city, I reached out thinking she'd jump at the chance to hang out.
She doesn't really know me, and I don't really know her. I actually felt a little stupid for thinking we were anything more. I wish it wasn't called Facebook "friends". It should be more like Facebook "acquaintances" so that there's never any confusion.
Real friends enrich our lives and makes us better people. Because of this, I've learned how to appropriately compartmentalize my social media connections which is something I will be teaching my kids. True connection with people takes work, and Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, etc. ain't it. This is a good lesson for Christians as well. To really be in fellowship; to really be light and salt - it means people need to be able to see and taste you. The internet allows for none of that.
....less time with friends, meant valuable time with my husband.
Since I didn't have any friends around (and neither did he) all we had was each other. We were already friends, but now we're best bessssst friends. If I have a secret, he's my confidant. If I'm having trouble, he's my counselor. When I'm feeling down, he's my biggest cheerleader. If I need some company, he's my plus one. Now, when we're mad at each other, we make up much quicker - because well, we're all we got.
I trust in God's design for marriage. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” To hold fast isn't something that ever ends. It's continuous and it take work.
"Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered." 1 Peter 3:7
We've grown so much closer over these last 6 years. We're best friends, heirs together, whose prayers aren't hindered. You can't beat that.
...honey, you won’t die.
Yes, it gets a little lonely sometimes; but in the end, lack of friends didn't kill me - and it won't kill you either.
As mere human beings, God made us for relationships, community and fellowship. Some people were created for smaller, more intimate communities of close-knit friends, while others are meant for far-reaching circles - and this can certainly differ during different times of our lives. But the beauty is that we were all made different, and some people "get" more than another. It's something I've learned to celebrate!
Now that I understand this, I genuinely feel happy when I see photos of groups of friends getting together - even when I'm not invited. God made them for each other and for that I choose to be thankful. What God has for me, is for me, and clearly - that ain't it.
In my adult life, I've spent far too much time mourning the loss of friendships I thought were deeper than they really were. Instead, I choose to cultivate and nurture the ones I already hold dear, while still keeping the door open for new ones - and I can't wait to see who God called to walk through that door!
As I’ve hinted to in previous blog posts, we’re in the process of relocating - again. I’ll update y’all on the friends front one day soon, but for now, I'm accepting applications; and if no one applies, please know that I'll be fine - heck, maybe even better.
Boots: Public Desire (old) / Similar located here.
Sneakers: ASOS located here.