Making New Friends

Would you believe me if I told you that on Memorial Day weekend this year, Kelvin and I packed the kids up in the cars and moved across the country?

It was the five day road trip finale of a long season of figuring out where God wants us to call home, and we were blessed to have been sent well by our family, our friends who we consider family, and our Resurrection Covenant Boise church community.

In today's Find Grace Thursday post, you're going to learn how I am finding grace in making new friends.

Hey there, sunshines! If you’re new around here, welcome to Find Grace Thursday! If you’ve been following along, thanks for motivating me to continue doing this work of digging deep to find grace for ourselves and those around us!

We do this Find Grace Thursday thing because we know that our allyship journeys are marathons of mistakes and we need to be reminded regularly that there is plenty of  grace to sustain us along the way as we make baby steps forward in becoming equipped, reliable, action-oriented allies.

So, if  you missed it at the top of the post, I made a bit of an announcement—for the last year and half or so Kelvin and I have been working on moving our family from my hometown of Boise back to Ohio, where we met as college freshmen in 2003.

While we had so much support packing up and getting in cars to drive, getting to our new home and not having our support network a quick drive away was rough. We have been so blessed to have our people, even though they are now 2,000 miles away, in our corner praying for us and loving us from afar. And, there is just no way to replicate that kind or quality of community without a significant amount of time and emotional energy, both of which were feeling incredibly scarce by the time we finally turned the key into our new home.

I am grateful for those who put their hands on us and prayed for friendships and community on our last Sunday at our church, even though at the beginning of the summer my attitude towards making new friends was pretty childish, selfish, and negative.

Praise God, I have found grace amid my emotional exhaustion, hesitancy to invest in new friendships, and overall bad attitude.

I am learning that friendship with fellow humans is risky.

  1. Because we are all a bunch of selfish, imperfect people that are going to make mistakes.
  2. Because friendship is a treausre and therefore has potential to be lost.

 

I am learning that friendship, the healthiest kind, at least, involves not just loving your people well, but letting them love you. If my pastor or church leadership team is listening to this, they are probably nodding their heads and thanking God that I’m figuring this out. It’s been really hard to let people love us through this painful and necessary move, and that leads us to the third thing I’m learning.

I am learning that friendship, however imperfect or challenging it might be, is worth it. It’s so worth it, you guys.

I have spent the summer putting all sorts of energy into helping my girls make new friends, since we ripped them away from the only friends and support network they have ever known and plopped them in a new place when school wasn’t even in session.

I am grateful what we’ve taught them about making friends has stuck, more about that in a second. And, I’ve been inspired to try to make my own friends.

Watching them make friends this summer reminded me that I’m going to need to let go of my grown-up baggage of mistrust, bitterness, divisiveness, annoyance, frustration, and disappointment that has slowly invaded the way I see the world over the last few years. 

So, I’m here today to share this all with you, in case I’m not the only one looking around me and realizing there is some work to be done in order to make meaningful friendships happen in your life.

Or, if you are in a “I don’t want any friends in my life right now” phase…solidarity.

Take your time.

God’s got grace for that, friends.

In addition to moving across the country and trying to re-establish a sense of normalcy for our family, and making friends (obviously)  I officially became a public speaker. And it was so much fun!

I gave a couple of presentations and one of them was about community building. I briefly mentioned our family’s friendship formula—the simple steps we have taught our girls since they were toddlers for making new friends.

I was surprised that so many college aged students wanted me to stop the presentation and repeat them, since I hadn’t included them in the slides. Oops!

I want to share them with you today, just in case it’s been a while since you’ve made a new friend and you need a refresher. If you don’t have a crayon around to write them down, don’t worry—I’m booting up my Reading, Writing, and Raising Allies newsletter later this month and I am going to spill even more details there!

If you haven’t already subscribed, hustle on over and join the huddle of grown-ups who practice like they play and are building a family culture of allyship, one baby step at a time!

Here is the friendship-making formula:

Step 1 – Introduce yourself. Say, “Hi my name is Jamie. What’s your name?”

Step 2 – Be polite. Say, “It’s nice to meet you, Jamie.” and then choose to either give them an authentic compliment or ask them a question, don’t forget to smile and listen.

Step 3 – Invite them to play.

We teach our girls these three steps as early as toddlerhood. Now that they are a little bit older, there are a couple more steps we will teach them, but I’m going to save those for the newsletter!

Before we wrap up this Find Grace Thursday post, I want to say thank you for supporting our family and my writing. Your encouragement and engagement has been everything to me, and I am excited for the girls to be back in school so I can return to my desk, ready to support you on your allyship journey!

If you are planning on joining me today in digging deep to find grace for ourselves and others, please let me know by commenting below, or come visit me on Instagram to say so, and share it with anyone you know who could use a little extra grace today.

Now you know how I’m finding grace in making new friends, but do you want to hear a bit more about how you can help the young people in your life grow their allyship skills by becoming friend-making pros? I’ve got a Reading, Writing, & Raising Allies newsletter coming out in a few weeks about just that!

I'm Jamie and you are welcome here, friend!

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