How to make friends

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About Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

I jumped into life here when we moved to Oregon two months ago. No stranger to moving, I knew the drill of setting up a new home: bring toilet paper and trash bags, because you won’t find them when you’ve got nothing but packed boxes. Let the kids draw on said boxes as a way to pass time until their toys reveal themselves. Go easy on the menu plan for the first month, because you won’t yet know the right grocery store or the best place to store your spices.

And also, jump into community as quickly as possible.

That last one is true for me, anyway. As an extroverted introvert, I need people almost as much as I need alone time. People are what make a place feel real to me, more like home. When I reminisce over my former residences, it’s the people that first delight my consciousness, not the restaurants. So I know it’s true for any of my new locales as well: I need to find my peeps.

There’s something beautiful and reassuring and restful about friends who know you well. They’ve been there for years, or they just get a side of you more than the usual crowd. Perhaps you have a shared history, or maybe you relish in the same passion.

I’m finding new friends in Bend, and I’ve delighted in the friendly atmosphere found in small-town culture. I sip that coffee as I eagerly hear the heart of a new friend across the table. But all the more, new environments pull me into inward thankfulness for those tried-and-true relationships.

I’m not saying it’s the easiest thing in the world for me to make friends. But it’s worth it for me to trudge through my insecurities, fears, and awkwardness to do it.

This past weekend I was in Hilton Head with fellow (in)courage writers. Normally scattered from Seattle to Florida, we gathered in a beach house to dream, pray, walk, and laugh. Mostly laugh. And tweet each other from two feet away.

I already knew most of these girls. These are women with whom I’ve journeyed across the world, who’ve sat in a bar next to me and made fun of my tiny purse, and in whose lap I sat as we careened down a mountain.

They’ve also share their stories—deeply personal stories—over late-night Skype chats, and they’ve sent exactly the right email at exactly the right time. They get my business side, they get my writerly side, and they get the weirdness of what it is I do.

In short… these women are my tribe. And I’m so blessed to have them.

Created for fellowship

We are made for relationships, of all sorts I believe. We need people similar to us, different than us, from different cultures and life stages and ages. We crave just one person to get us, the real us, and who’ll take our late-night calls.

And yet many of us settle for the convenient or the absent. We may look for awhile, but we give up when it’s not easy. We chalk it up to a challenging stage in life (little ones in the house), an environment that’s not exactly what we’d prefer (this church isn’t as perfect as I’d like), or simply a difference in personality (I don’t really jive with anyone I know).

Our lives are fuller and sweeter when there are kindred spirits to walk alongside. We find meaning and purpose when we have people to serve. God speaks to us in many ways, but in my life, He often likes to use people—we miss out on a unique perspective from Him if we don’t let others in our life.

This looks different for all of us, of course. Some of us would be overwhelmed with more than one comrade in our life, while others may need a veritable entourage. But I’d hate for any of us to miss out on true companionship because we didn’t look for it.

Here are ways I’ve found my life’s dearest friends:

1. Be a friend.

Know that corny phrase, “The best way to find a friend is to be a friend”? It’s actually kinda true. Practice the lovely art of listening, serving, and caring—not to get something back, but just because. These acts alone will fill your cup.

2. Open up.

Take a chance and share your heart. As you know someone longer, share with them deeper. Don’t hold on to needless fear when it would mean missing out on soul care from a friend.

3. Be open to new things.

Drive yourself to that book club, as difficult it might be. Call a new neighbor over for coffee, even though you’d wish someone would invite you for a change. Register for that conference and see what happens. Create that playgroup so that you can find the adult conversation you crave.

I’ve made the most surprising friends in the most unexpected places, all because I dared to do something new.

4. Take care of yourself.

Don’t expect your friends to solve your problems, never fail you, or be God. Practice the fine art of taking care of yourself, so that you are able to be a thriving, functioning adult. Let your friends care for you when it’s needed, but don’t ask more from a fellow human when they’re just not made to give it.

I’d love to hear from you: Where have you found a friend in an unexpected place? How do you like to meet new people? Or what do you do to combat loneliness?

Join the Conversation

Comments

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I really needed to hear this. For my husband’s job, my family and I just moved to a state that feels very foreign to me and I have no friends here. I stay home with our two little one and most days it is so much easier to literally stay home. My loneliness is overwhelming sometimes and this post has given me courage to get out there and make some new friends!

    • I’m right there with you, Adrienne. My family and I moved overseas to Ireland for my husband’s job. I know no one here, and I am transitioning to being a SAHM. I struggle with how much to push myself early on (we have only been here a few weeks), or should I just wait it out a bit, and then try to meet people. Best of luck in your quest to make new friends!

      • Hey Rheagan,
        I’m literally just across the water from you. We moved from Vancouver, Canada to the Isle of Man 4 months ago. It was hard and exciting and we’re still adjusting. But we love it. We’ve actually been across to Ireland a few times already (Dublin).
        Just wanted to wish you well and let you know the Irish (there are many over here in the Isle of Man) are some of the loveliest people I have ever met. I’m an introvert and forced myself to get out to playgroups the first few weeks. It was hard but worth it. I’ve met some fantastic people and we have quickly developed a circle of friends with small children.
        Good luck!

      • avatar
        Paula Sinclair says:

        I just read your entry, are you still in Ireland? what part? i have a good friend that moved there a few years ago, not sure what area and it would be amazing if you all lived in the same area!!! i know how you feel about making friends, it’s SO HARD and i’m doing it all over again for the millionth time, it never gets easier…but reading this post was very encouraging to keep on keeping on!
        paula

      • avatar
        Charlotte says:

        Thank you for this post. I have just moved to Scotland and am trying to forge those friendships for myself and all the family too. With 4 children and a husband it can be over whelming!

        Rhegan – I have just left Malahide, Ireland just on the coast north of Dublin after 5 years. If you are in that direction there is a fantastic social network of women who have been around the world and back with their families and in all different circumstances. They could be a great resource for children and people for yourself. They are all about helping newbies like yourself find those friends and answer those awkward questions fast. PLease get in touch if you would like more information. Charlotte

    • Thank you Tsh for writing this, and thanks to all have responded, like Adrienne, who make me realize I’m not alone. We also just moved, from Dallas to Seattle, where it seems literally everything is different. (Even the trash system stresses me out! :) My husband has jumped right into a new job he loves, and I am at home, also with two kids, and seem to be immobilized by the unknown. I am extroverted, but completely shy, so I crave relationship, but am terrible at starting them. I know I am allowing my unhappiness from all the changes to affect me as a wife and mother. I never moved as a child, so getting out there and making new friends isn’t something I’ve had much experience with. Plus it’s also hard that all our friends and family back home are two time zones away, so by the time the kids are in bed in the evening, they are all headed to bed and I don’t want to bother them, to connect with those who already truly know me and love me.

      I am praying for all the women who have commented or read this post, and are looking for those special relationships. Hopefully I will make some too, and soon!

      • I live in Seattle! Would it be weird for me to give you my email address? Is that bad blog etiquette? I know this city can be harsh and unfriendly, and when you’re stuck inside 9 days out of 10 because of rain it gets harder. I’d love to know you (if that’s not weird). I don’t have kids at this time, but many of my friends do, and they’re all nice people, too :)

        • Sounds great!

        • Anna – I used to fly to Seattle from the east coast a couple of times a year when my daughter lived across the water in Port Orchard. You remind me of one of the reasons I loved it so much and why I miss it every time I see something on the net about the whole area. The people were fantastic and every twist and turn in the road of even running a simple errand led to another stunning view of mountains or water. I even miss the rain!

  2. I am an Idaho girl now living in a North Carolina world – (and love it) but appreciate your understanding of what a trial it is to move (and move, and move). It does take courage to put yourself out there, but it is so worth it. Praying that you will be surrounded by loving friends in Oregon (we sure loved our visits to that beautiful state) and that you will bless those around you with the gift of you.
    xoxo michele

  3. This is a wonderful post, and one I need to take to heart. Two of my closest friends have moved away, and I have not done my part to fill that void.

  4. Tsh—I know some great peeps to introduce you to in Bend! And, if you are ever in Eugene (or I’m visiting my peeps in Bend) we should hook up for coffee! :) Welcome to the NW!

  5. Thanks for this Tsh! It can be so difficult to make real solid friendships in the mommy-season of life. One reason for this, I think, is that we don’t get the frequency needed foster intamacy.

    Location is another necessary element to fostering friends. If you don’t live close enough – it’s just hard to get together.

    Love the article! Thanks!

  6. What great pics of you lovely ladies! Looks like a fabulous time!

    I’m at a new stage in my life now. Previously I was a career mom working outside of the home, so I would associate a lot with co-workers or my husband’s co-workers’ and their wives, etc.

    I need to find more friends that have similar interests to my current season in life.

    I think that’s what really drawn me towards certain blogs….I find other mom’s that still pursue their own ambitions and unique identity (crafting, cooking, photography, etc. – whatever drives them) while still being a mother and wife. (as I’m not the “stereotypical” cookin’ & cleanin’ kinda of momma.)

  7. Okay, that’s it. I’m coming over for coffee! :)

    I’ve lived in the same community for almost 50 years. I personally don’t feel lonely but I see it in the eyes of other women. “Busyness” is the culprit, in my mind. Most of the time is steals from what could be something very beautiful.

    Great, great post!

  8. Wow I struggle with this all the time – I love overseas and after 8 years in 1 city and finally having those solid friendships, we moved interstate. Now 4 1/2 years later I still don’t feel 100% secure with friendships. i always feel a little on the outside.

    #3 is a big one for me as I am not a risk taker. I have been asked to join a retreat with 30 women and I will only know 1 woman there. I was excited, but am now afraid to go and take that chance – I feel 9 instead of 39 as I worry if anyone will talk to me, invite me to the non-catered meals etc. I sometimes wish I was back home where friendships have history and I had something solid to rely on. It is definitely harder to make friends when you are older!

    • Hi Deb,

      I’m so there with you. Sometimes, there’s so much more to it than just actually making friends. I think some of us are more sensitive (or at least in my case) and making the leap takes much much more of us. I don’t know if this is your case or not but I just wanted to encourage you and know you are not alone in feeling that. In wanting to back out of the retreat you signed up for. I’ve signed up for so many things that I ended up backing out on, and you know what? Sometimes, it was the right thing to do. Other times, I should have really stayed with the discomfort.

      It’s not the simplest thing, isn’t it? But we’re plugging away and putting our best foot forward.

      PS I lived overseas for awhile too, and actually moved to Seattle from the Philippines when I was 16 so I am no stranger to the constant moving.

  9. This post is hard for me. I just moved from Oregon (in January) to eastern Washington. Besides the 4 years I spent in college I was born and lived my life there, my husband and I’s 1st home was 1 mile from the small farm where I spent the first 21 years of my life. I sanctified myself to my husband there…my 3 children were born in the same hospital (one in the same room) where I was born…I lost one baby…my whole life and being was defined there……….then he got laid off…

    I love my new home. The house/land we bought was everything we ever saved, prayed and hoped for. We are so happy here…I am so lonely…my husband grew up in a household were everything was perfect and unhappy. His parent’s home should be featured in Traditional Home, etc. He is SO good but he doesn’t want to entertain until I can achieve the level of perfection his parent’s have. It will take me years to get there…we are working on it….

    I have gone from a community where EVERYONE knows who I am to one were no one could care less. I want to have people over…I want to have fellowship………something…………..

    • Mary, I hear you. I pray that you will find a good friend where you are, and that you and your husband can find compromise about “appearances.” Life is so hard, and too short to waste on living without relationships. I, too, am often very lonely, and it’s such a challenge for me not to feel envious of the close friendships others have.

      Please sit down with your husband and talk over why he feels the need for things to be perfect before having people over.

    • MaryZ,
      Don’t wait on that husband of yours to come around. Find something for you now – maybe a book club that meets at the library or ask another Mom to meet up with the kids at the park. It’s wonderful that you respect your husband’s current desire not to have people in your home, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go out and find some friendships.
      Best of luck to you!

  10. Such a great post! Thanks for sharing!

    Just a quick question~ how did you get your twitter widget?

  11. When I moved to St Louis to pursue my MSW degree I did not know a soul. Not one person. I moved in immediately w/ my (then) stranger roommate. The day I moved in was the day I met her for the first time. I was not expecting more than a casual friendship but God blew my expectations out of the water. She began inviting me to go on walks, attend her small group Bible study, etc and I started accepting the offers. Over time we became great friends and cried the day she moved back home to Atlanta. We still keep in touch today and have made trips w/ our husbands to visit each other. God was so good to give me an amazing friend from such an unexpected place.

  12. I have to second Sandy’s comment above. I am living in the town that I grew up in, and sometimes find that I fall into such a common routine that I don’t try and get out as much as I should. Good reminder to try and put myself out there more.

  13. Tsh, thank you so much for this post. I will print it out and keep it!

  14. I found one here- in your comments section :) She saw I was moving to Kampala with two small boys. And she was moving to Kampala with two small boys. Both of us missionaries. Both of us new. And it’s one of those, she already gets me, because, well, we’re kinda the same person. so THANK YOU Tsh for this space!

  15. Love that you are an extroverted-introvert. That is exactly what I am and I often feel slightly crazy for the way I need/avoid people (= Love the post, love the blog, love the necklace in the top photo.

  16. You are a joy, Tsh — a friend I give thanks for.
    Your life moves me deep.

  17. Yes, yes, yes. I need constant encouragement to keep my friendships a priority during a busy season at home. Thanks for this.

    It looks like you ladies sure had a good time together!

  18. “Don’t expect your friends to solve your problems, never fail you, or be God.” So true. I’ve learned over time that friends most likely will let you down at some point, if you know them for long enough.

    Most women seem to go through periods where they don’t have many, or any, friends. It’s good to keep being open to friendships while keeping it in perspective and not thinking it’s you- it just happens!

    True, kind-hearted friends that ‘get’ you are hard to find, and they are such a treasure.

  19. This is a great post! Last year we moved to a new location “just for the heck of it.” My husband works from home and travels a lot and I stay at home so meeting people is difficult. Plus we moved from the city to a very rural area where the lifestyle is very different. I make so many excuses why I can not make friends. And I am not good at calling people. But once I am in a social situation I Love IT! This is a good reminder of how good it is to get out there.

  20. After spending most of our lives in Salt Lake City, my husband and I moved to New York in 2001. Though I certainly made acquaintances along the way, I didn’t really have a community of friends until about three years later. What changed? I took a risk. I got on Craigslist and found a group of women who were forming a book club. That first step outside my comfort zone gave me the confidence to make other connections and before long I had a complex web of people to call “my own.”

  21. As we are planning to move a couple hours away from where we are now in less than 2 yrs, this is good reading for me. My main challenge is getting out to where people are. Now, once I’m there, I can open up and make friends, but it’s actually getting me to move in that direction that I struggle with.

  22. Tsh: You are a wonderful friend. Maybe because you’ve had so much practice? Ever since we met, I’ve admired your ability to be warm, genuine and kind, both on and off the screen, with me and with so many others. I’m so glad we met that day in Barnes & Noble, and while our time of physical proximity was too short, I’m so thankful that the Internet (and text messages) keep us in touch. Love you!

  23. I have found it easy to make friends online, but it takes work to nurture those! I do have some online friends IN my area and we see each other once a month or so, which is nice.
    I am not shy, but have introverted tendencies so I have to make myself step out of my shell sometimes. Just recently did this again by joining a brand new small group at church where we knew no one except the leaders. Had our first meeting last night and it looks as if it will be awesome!
    The incourage bunch looks like such a great group of ladies! Can’t wait til next April!
    Bernice

  24. Thanks, Tsh, for this posting. I, too, will be relocating soon (to Kansas City) and will need to quickly immerse myself into church and the community to make friends quickly. Great tips!

  25. I’ve just recently moved to Portland, OR and really don’t have any friends. I have some friendly people I work with, as well as my husband has some people at work, but so far we havent really found people to hang out with. I think alot of this is due to my husband wanting pretty much all of my time, which I love, but I feel like I do really need other social interaction but don’t have the people or the time to spend it with! I’m definetly a little shy when it comes to new people, but as soon as I meet you I open up! So I’m kind of stumped on how to find friends who want to do the same things I do…

  26. I love your thoughts. I’m just wondering how to do this when I’ve lived here all my life. Somehow it seems harder, riskier in a weird way, when you’re with the familiar.

  27. Your point about inviting someone, “even if you wish someone would invite you for a change” is what I needed to hear. I was complaining to my husband that I’m pretty sure we’d never actually hang out with anyone if we stopped being the ‘inviters’. (We have one set of friends that we used to hang out monthly, but we always initiated. We haven’t invited them since our daughter was born, and so now it’s been more than a year since we had a game night, proving my point.)

    But really, in the grand scheme, it’s better to have fun times with friends than worry about the fact that I’m always the one doing the inviting! Thanks for that reminder!

  28. Great post; having friends to spend time with, talk and laugh with, is so important. I especially liked the part about just being a friend: “Practice the lovely art of listening, serving, and caring—not to get something back, but just because. These acts alone will fill your cup.” I’ve found that to be so true. It’s so easy to get busy, and feel like we have “more important” things to do – but when we take the time, it’s so worth it!

  29. avatar
    Janey Backer says:

    The link for the articles/people you listed are just for the general blogs and not specific stories…..I was hoping for the background story!

    • I’m not sure everyone is writing about our weekend, but if they are, it’s probably near the top. It was just a few days ago.

  30. Some of the best advice I’ve ever received about making friends is, “Just pretend the people you meet are already your friends.”

    We so often wait for a friendship to “develop” before we begin those friend actions (inviting for dinner or coffee, lending an item, helping with a project, etc). But really, those are the actions that make a friendship in the first place!

  31. This message came at the perfect time (I love when that happens). I’m an extremely introverted person. I have a great group of friends but admittedly am rarely the person to initiate these relationship. Partially based in insecurity (they probably enough friends, why would they want to hang out with me?) and fear of saying the wrong thing (a trait I may have inherited from my mother). Excuses aside, I need to step out of my comfort zone and build the relationships I crave. This morning I woke up missing my neighbor who recently moved to another state. She was my only SAHM friend. I credit my ability to stay sane through the desolate winter months to her. I realized I am really going to miss her this winter and can’t wait until the cold weather arrives to fill that void. So, I signed up to attend a Mommy group at my church (starting this week). I have done things like this in the past, but usually maintain wallflower status…not really putting myself out there. This time I am MAKING myself attend the nights-out, playgroups, and and accepting any invitation that comes my way. I know the friendships are out there to be made…it’s time to get past the insecurities that have always held me back.

    • haha, my name’s Heather too, and you described me perfectly. I crave the company of others but hate to initiate (what if they’re just pretending to like me, they probably already have enough friends, what if I sound awkward on the phone – which I do, what are we going to talk about, I’m not good at initiating conversation, they have a house, why would they want to hang out in my apartment, etc). le sigh. We live close to all of our family but I need some non-family friends!!

      • Ugh, the phone. I always get distracted by something going on in the house…usually my toddler. I’m the queen of long pauses. Usually don’t realize that I paused too long until the other person picks up the conversation awkwardly. Then I spend the rest of time time mentally reprimanding myself and wondering what they’re thinking. Sigh. The art of conversation does not come easily to everyone. But, we have other strengths and gifts, right? :)

  32. Thanks for sharing your posts. I’ve always found it is hard to make a new friendship in my world, since i moved in Canada, plus english is my second language. And also, i am not comfortable being around with people. After reading your post, i will be trying to do it.

  33. The words ‘thank you’ seem so trite but I can’t find any others. This message was profound and timely and I really appreciate you writing it. Thank you.

  34. Tsh, You don’t know how much I needed this! My husband and I moved to a different city for several years and are now (about 2 years ago) back in our hometown. While I appreciate being home, it sometimes feels strange because the people I grew up with and went to high school with are still my friends but they’re not close friends like they used to be. I feel like I’ve grown apart from most of them and while I feel like I have lots of friends, I feel like I don’t have enough close friends. I’m working on trying to get that back by inviting people over more and trying to find time to go out more and connect with more people. I’m trying… and I hope it works :)
    Thank you for sharing that other women have the same struggles!

  35. Hi Tsh,

    A wonderful and very important post. I so agree that friends are a major key to happiness.

    I have made some good friends by getting involved in smaller groups like PTAs and babysitting co-ops. I think it’s also important, if you have a hobby or vocation, to seek out women who have the same passion. And if you can’t find a book club, knitting circle, or writing group, create one! You won’t regret it.

    Take care,
    Amy

  36. Every time we’ve moved I’ve immediately joined the local MOMS Club. I have been so grateful for a pre-built group where I don’t have to feel like I have to do the asking. It’s a blessing to have a place to go with little kids and just jump right in. Many of the members are new to the area as well, so that really helps to solidify new friendships.

  37. I have lived in OH for almost 7 years now. My husband and I grew up near here but when we married we moved to Virginia for the first 7 years of our marriage, and loved it! We moved home to be close to our family and to our dissapointment it has been the most difficult time of our lives. Our friends have always been found in our great neighbors and at our church, sadly we have not found that to be the case here in the midwest. I feel we have been living in a desert land. We haven’t really found anyone that would even be interested in taking the time to really get to know us, we use to joke that we couldn’t pay someone to be our friends here, pretty pathetic I know! Oh as for the show yourself friendly piece, I totally agree, (maybe I’m to friendly, LOL) Thank you for the post, makes me feel like I’m not crazy for wanting that companionship that I miss so much. We are very blessed to have dear friends in others states, just wish there were a few near by!

  38. Thank you for this article, it’s very timely, and the nudge I need. We just moved for my husbands job to a new state. I have never moved more than a few miles before, so all my friends and family are “back there” and I’ve been scared silly to “put myself out there” and make new friends. Thank you again for the reminder!

  39. This is what I needed to read today. I am recently relocated, and I am struggling to make friends for myself and children. It’s so easy to get homesick and overwhelmed. Loved reading your perspective. Thank you!

  40. I love this post! I am naturally more reserved but have found that going outside my comfort zone has helped me find the most awesome friends. I am so much more balanced and happy this way.

  41. I can relate to this! I had to put myself out there when we moved to Oregon five years ago. I tried a morning Bible Study, a MOPS group, Story Time at the library and inviting random people over for playdates. I kept up with some. Still involved with MOPS. Some friendships flourished while others stayed at the “peer level” and some people I have not heard from since. I can tell you I am not lonely and I gained more than I lost.

    I like what you say about friends being “God.” I know exactly what you mean and I have been there. I grew up as a middle the child in the shadow of my older and younger sibling who seemed to be better at everything (in my own mind…not totally true). My friends became “my family” in certain times of my life. I put them on the same level and sometimes above my family. The problem is people move on and losing friends was like losing a piece of myself. I have since worked through some of those self esteem issues and I’m in a much healthier place in my friendships.

  42. Thanks for making me stop and think about friendships; I am also an extroverted introvert. I have been feeling very lonely since we relocated to Germany recently. It is very challenging to make friends when you don’t speak the same language, and it is difficult to keep in touch with old friends due to the time difference and life with young kids. This post is a reminder to push myself and just make the effort.

  43. hmmm, the way I remember it, it was you making fun of my HUGE purse!

    Loved hanging out with you, as usual.

  44. This touched my heart… thanks so much for the inspiration!!

  45. Tsh! We should meet up for coffee sometime!

  46. I appreciate the “introverted extrovert” description you used because you helped me understand that’s what I am too. I need and enjoy people, but I also need quite a bit of alone time to recharge. Sometimes I’m afraid of cultivating new relationships because I fear all the new (along with the old) social commitments will take over my free time and I’ll be left with no time to get my “house tasks” done or to recharge.

  47. You really do have to put yourself out there. Four years ago, my husband and I moved 400+ miles from family and knew no one. We went to churches. Didn’t ever find friends until after we had our son. I was constantly going to meetups and playgroups and things trying to make a connection.

    We recently moved back to our home state and I had a few dozen acquaintances by the time we left, and three friends whom I miss very much. Now, I’m starting all over! I have gobs of family here but no girlfriends yet, and no friends for my kids.

    I’m much more optimistic this time because I understand how it works. I am going to invite church people and neighbors into my home and we’ll see what happens. Could take a year or two, but I think I’m a good friend to have, and by golly I’m going to have some friends here! :)

  48. My soul is still drenched with your friendship and your encouragement, Tsh. I am more whole having been with you. Your journey and your passion moves me.

  49. I feel like I just landed on a pot of GOLD! I don’t think my fingers could write about the excitement in my heart to learn for you and the friends you have made. I hope that I can channel the enthusiasm into something beautiful for HIM! I just know how much each new click lately has fed my soul and helped me find my purpose. I used to set limits on what I could do and what HE can do. Those have been shattered. Thank you for being faithful and obedient. Many Many Blessings to you and everyone you meet. xo

  50. p.s. One more thing….
    The enemies BIGGEST is being revealed and He’s scrambling. We are NEVER Alone.

  51. I really enjoyed this post, and I think it is such an encouraging approach to a topic many of us dread. It is so much easier to sit at home and wait for friendships to appear out of thin air. It’s hard work to get out there and meet people! The last time I moved was to Oklahoma, and it honestly took a good 2-3 years before I felt like I had a group of close friends. It was worth the wait though.

    This summer my husband, 6 month old daughter, and I moved cross-country to northern Indiana. I immediately looked for other moms and found two groups: La Leche League and Holistic Moms Network. Both are national organizations and great for moms. Even if you’re not into the whole crunchy “green living” movement, there is still a wide-spectrum of women who attend these meetings.

    Well wishes to all who are adjusting to a new place and trying to make friends….we’re all in this together!

  52. I moved to a new town when my husband and I got married 3 years ago. I have lots of acquaintances from our church, but no real close friends. There are a few girls who are SAHM like me, that have initiated getting together, and we have gotten together a few times, but I just don’t feel a close connection to any of them. I think part of my problem is that my husband is a super private person, so I feel like I can’t be real with these new friends without disrespecting him. Last week my toddler and I were walking into a store when a girl outside asked how old my daughter was. She has a daughter just a bit younger than mine. We chatted for a while and then as we started to leave, she said, “It was nice chatting with you.” I had enjoyed our conversation too, but I haven’t ever made a friend in a situation like this. I know my husband would not feel comfortable if I invited a complete stranger to our house. Should I have asked if she wanted to meet up at the park sometime? I don’t know how to strike up a friendship like this.

  53. YES! I think about friends all the time, because most of mine live everywhere but where I am living. I moved to Reading, PA almost 3 years ago when I married my husband. I met some people through work, who I do consider friends, which was helpful. But I had a baby in January and he has given me excuses to talk to people, confidence to talk to people, and a reason to meet up with others. I have more female friends than I ever have before. Not all of them are best friends, but they don’t have to be. It is nice to have someone to call to meet at the park or go to a new consignment store with!

    Also, when I first moved out on my own after college, and I didn’t have school as a way to meet new people, I made a policy for myself to say YES to every invite. I would up in some weird places, doing things I wouldn’t have done on my own, but I met lots of people, learned how to get around town, and felt more like that new city was my own.

  54. I’m so happy that I read this post! My husband and I just relocated to Miami last week and while I’m really excited for the new adventure, it’s sinking in that I no longer have my friends. Not only is it a new place but it’s also a culture shock! This isn’t my first time moving to another state, but this is my first time moving when I don’t have a job and he works from home. It can be very isolating! I’ve never been one to initiate conversations yet I am such a chatty person and love the comfort of friends. Reading this post and everyone’s comments have helped me and I am hoping will give me the courage to go out there and meet new people!
    Good luck and thanks!

  55. I needed to hear this too! I have always had trouble making friends. We are moving to a new town soon and I am anxious about trying to find new friends. I am going to keep your tips in mind. :)

  56. I know what you are saying in that article and I truly agree with you but I am a horrible friend. I have ten kids and I feel odd and out of place wherever I go. I like people but I just am not good at making friends. How do you start? What do you say?
    I have a couple of friends but none who live in my town.

  57. I’m with Alicen. I moved back home 4 years ago and found all of my ‘old’ friends so changed that we will never have the same friendship again. Things just felt rusty. I have a few work friends, however they are all young professionals and I am an over 30 married mom. I LOVE my sisters, but we are different people. I have tried church and other things with no luck. I just recently reconnected with a friend from long ago and told her today how glad I am to have her back in my life. Although I love my husband and my son, it’s great to have another woman to talk with.

  58. I’ve just found your website and came across this blog post of yours and am going to bookmark it again for the future. I’m a first time mom and most of my friends are still childless which leaves me wondering, where are all of the other moms in my area – time to make some new friends, and this post illustrates how simple it really is. Thank you for this thoughtful post.

  59. avatar
    Jessica Gardo says:

    Tsh, I am an introverted extrovert too… thanks for helping define…
    Thanks for reminding us how to make friends… to be a good friend…

    I try to take time to listen, to smile, to look poeople in th eye… in the little ways and big ways …not always easy, but I keep trying..

    My father told me the most important thing for me to do at work is to love the people around me … that applies to being a good friend…

    Thanks for being (in)RL… Blessings,
    Jessica
    HHI

  60. avatar
    how to meet people says:

    It is very important to associate with every one..
    you have to develop new relationships & easy to friendly with every one..

    It also gives you anything to do that you are interested in as effectively as plenty of time to develop relationship and to know anyone.

  61. Hi there.
    Thanks for sharing this. I always had some trouble in making friends. Now at least, I have known better tips for that.

  62. As an MK who moved every 2-3 years, I inadvertently developed some not-so-normal ideas about friendship. One thing I’m enormously grateful for is the opportunity I’ve had to meet so many interesting and wonderful friends around the world. On the flip side though, “lifelong” friendship is a bit foreign to me.

    I’m just now learning (at the ripe old age of 36) the wonder of friendship that spans many years and not just a few. In fact, I can now claim that I’ve known and kept in constant contact with one friend for a whole decade! Woohoo! :)

    What a sweet time it looks like you guys had!! I’m with you—there’s nothing like being with others who truly feel like your tribe. Just another sneak peek of heaven. :) What a gift.

  63. Nice reminder that I should be trying harder. I recently came to the conclusion that I am an extroverted introvert as well. I need alone time to be in touch with myself, but if I can’t have deep conversations with someone who really gets me on a regular basis, I get so disconnected and disoriented. Yes, my husband gets me, but I need more!

    We moved when I was pregnant–it’s been two years and I keep wondering, where is my tribe now? But, last month I started an artist collective with a couple other moms to talk about our projects and goals. So I’m working on it. . .

  64. This post was so, so good! And from the comments, it seems like it resonates with so many, especially all of us relocators! Thanks, Tsh!

    I’m a raging extrovert, but when we moved back to my hometown this year, I really felt like I wanted to take time to settle in before we plugged into a community or I began to pursue other friendships. It was like a little sabbatical from my extroversion, and weirdly refreshing. I’ve leaned on tried & true friends scattered across the country for support & community this year, but I’m getting the itch to build those relationships here now too. Just this week I invited half a dozen women to join me for a 4 week (low commitment!) book club.

    One other thought that one of those tried & true friends reminded me of during a conversation about making new friends: not everyone is looking for kindred-spirit-soul-sharing depths. We need friends that we can go deep with, and but most acquaintanceships will not evolve into that kind of intimacy, and that’s okay. “Light” friendships are worthwhile too, and perhaps its sweeter to be surprised by the depths in a jewel of a friend than critiquing every acquaintance as potential bff material. Does that make sense? It was a really liberating revelation for me.

  65. Great topic Tsh…last week a (new) friend called me “The Crazy Cat Lady of New People” because I seem to meet anyone new to our town, befriend them and connect them with the other mamas! I suggest anyone looking to connect in anyway to folks new to town or otherwise check out http://www.meetup.com. I found a great national group of moms that also serves them as WOMEN, http:///www.mothersandmore.org . Thanks for helping us all to connect more, maybe I will get more ideas to help my new friends! I will be reposting this several places!

  66. I wasn’t expecting to sit here, read this and be on the verge of tears. I need to go back and read every single comment and let this soak in. We moved 3 years ago. Only 20 miles from our last house, but it’s a very different community where I don’t know anyone. Our last house was smack dab in the middle of where I had spent my whole entire life.

    I truly believe that God has a few messages and instructions for me today in your post and in the comments. Thanks.

  67. A good friend is a TRUE blessing…I met one of my closest friend shortly after my husband and I moved from Boston to a small town 45 miles west of the city…even though the move wasn’t that far, it was far enough to feel quite alone…Eventually I met a friend who I would consider a “soul mate” in terms of friendship….we have so much in common that we sometimes joke about how we must be related in some long distance way- I thank/praise and credit God for it all the way–

  68. Hi Tsh!

    I moved to Oregon on a leap last year. I lived in California all my life and suddenly, nothing was familiar anymore. I live in Salem where I moved in July after getting married to the most wonderful man of my dreams. Suddenly, though, I was back to craving friendships. Everything is new…new job, new neighborhood, new church and I still get lost going to the store…but I trust that God will bring some wonderful friends my way. Thank you for the encouragement. Too bad Bend is so far away!

  69. Wow, this post really hit home for so many of us! This is my firs time to your site and I am so glad I found it.
    Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one going through feelings of isolation. I admit sometimes they are self-inflicted because it’s a scary thing to reach out and be vulnerable. Rejection is never easy no matter how old you get.

    I am so encouraged to know I’m not alone but also challenged to “be a friend” to others and take the steps I need to build up new friendships.

    It’s been about 3 years since we’ve moved here and I really miss having close friendships.

  70. Tsh,

    Thanks for the article. Sometimes when you’re feeling lonely, it’s easy to imagine that everyone is different than you and you’re the only one who feels this way. Reading your article and the comments make me realize how alike we all are.

  71. You know, I’m a guy, a dad, but I was a homemaker. We moved to California from New York about three years ago. My wife left six months ago and it’s just my daughter and myself now. I lived the same lifestyle as a housewife, and now I live the same lifestyle as a single-mom. There are a lot of housewives and single-moms in my city, but it’a not as easy for a guy to jump into their clique.

    You know what I’m talking about, I’m sure. You might be adults, but that childish girls club/boys club still exists. It’s unfortunate.

    Also, I’m 30 years old, my daughter is six; having a kid makes it difficult for me to do things with people my age, and I’m significantly younger than most other parents. I am in a strange limbo right now. I hope to run into some open-minded people, or get lucky and meet another 30 year old parent.

  72. Thank you for this. This was a great read. Ever since moving to Houston I’ve had trouble making new friends. I think this will help and I have new hope for making it alone in such a big city. This really does mean alot to me and thank you for taking the time to post such a sincere article. Thank you.

  73. This is the first time I have been on something like this. I read some of your posts and some of them make me cry because it describes the kind of loneliness I feel. I have been with the same man for 12 years and married for 8. We are getting ready to separate and once settled, divorce. I am not sure I have ever really had really close friends. Now have two little ones who seem to swallow up all of my time. I made my kids and my husband my life and knwing that is crumbling forces me to see I have no one to talk to except family. As from everyone’s post though we as humans seek more. I am very shy and feel uncomfortable trying to make friends. I am afraid I won’t know what to say or have any conversation to add. I will try some of your tips. Thanks for making feel like I am not the only lonely person out there!

  74. avatar
    Despairing Melissa says:

    It’s an old blog post now, but still hits home. We’ve been in this town two years and I still don’t have those close mom friends. Sometimes I meet a lady that I don’t connect with. Or I like her, but our parenting is so very different, or the kids don’t really like each other. I didn’t know being a stay at home mom would be so isolating. I’ve met a lot of moms, but it seems like they all are busy with their friends and have been in the area for so long, and already know so many people. This month we’re remodeling, again, so the house isn’t fit to invite people to. I feel like I’m such a dork and say the wrong thing that no one will be my friend. Besides, everyone is already so busy.

  75. Great post! We moved to Ithaca six years ago and building a tribe and making friends is definitely something that takes some time.

    I’m curious about this extroverted/introvert thing. I tend to appear to be an extrovert (ENFP), but I do get exhausted after too much people time and really need my quiet time.

    Curious what would be the difference between the introverted extrovert and the extroverted introvert?

  76. I’ve always found that amazing (new) friends show up when you need them most. At my lowest points, almost magically, amazing new friendships have emerged in my life.

  77. I have not read the other comments from your readers today so I hope I am not repeating!

    I appreciate your post and your great pointers! I agree that one must be willing to ‘get out there’ on her own and stop waiting for friends to fall into her proverbial lap.

    I also think this post needs a sister post, “10 Things to NOT Do.” I know certain people who have a hard time ‘finding’ friends because the person is undoubtedly chasing away any possibility of real friendships. For examples: 1 – telling a person you just met EVERYTHING about you and discussing even the most intimate of topics/details 2 – using the word ‘I’ way too much 3 – talking all about oneself neglecting to ask questions or listen to the friend (this is more like a dumping of current events or a personal counseling appointment!) 4 – calling on people to meet your ‘needs’ in the name of ‘networking’ (this counts for calling a ‘friend’ from ten years ago and getting something 5 – not ASKING for help like, ‘Hey, I need you to fill-in-the-blank on Tuesday.’

    ETC.

    I am sure there are many other DON’Ts when looking for real friendships. I know that these examples may seem extreme to some but I really do know people who do this. Basic manners are often set aside when one person thinks he/she knows the other ‘so well’ or they are ‘such good friends’ …. or maybe it is just the way some people operate. However, it leaves this woman feeling used, under appreciated and accosted. That is no way to build a friendship.

  78. avatar
    Janet Kronbach says:

    Old post, but oh-so-relevant! As global nomads, it seems we are constantly in transition and, if not us, then the world around us, as our friends cycle through the international communities in which we live. We’ve just moved (8 weeks ago today) from Seattle to Chiang Mai, Thailand, and are making our way in a new community. Some days ARE lonely. It’s not my first international move – I’ve lived in Sweden, Quebec and West Africa, as well as NY, FL, CA & I’m from WA – so, I guess I’m “practiced.” However, as an introvert, it takes me awhile to warm up to a new place, new home, new community, new friendships…

    The memory of a surprise friendship almost 2 decades ago in Bamako, Mali, is an encouragement to me to discard first impressions and give EVERYONE a chance to be a friend. So grateful for the far-flung friendship network I now enjoy – the old, reliable friends, with whom we can “pick-up” after years apart and immediately resonate – and… the new, emerging friendships here in CM, where friendships seem fairly easily launched (“We better dive into friendship, as we don’t know how long we’ll be here together”).

    And, now? Looking for deeper levels of friendship, with mutual soul care and spiritual transformation at the core. This is a slow process, but… worth the wait… It requires patience (mostly with oneself) and trust that that kindred spirit will be found!

    And, so, I am patiently waiting, watching, praying – and leaning in, with love & curiosity, to new friendships. I’m also nurturing the introvert in me by giving grace for those times when I’m not over-eager to initiate nor even respond to invitations. I still need my introverted time to be the best friend I can be.

    Overall? Grateful for the opportunities for deep friendship that open up in a new location – bring it on!

  79. Good site,We did the same.
    now we are on EfamilyMatch.com
    Its the first meeting site for families…
    Great job and good luck

  80. Hi Tsh,

    Nice post, thanks.

    Many years ago I combated loneliness and depression. It was inspiration that caused me to have courage in the pursuit of good friends, close friends. So if anyone is down and out friendship-wise seek inspiration.

    Here are a few of the breakthrough tips I learned on my journey.

    - For those who have difficulty finding decent friendships dwell on this beneficial question, “How am I responsible for my friendship situation?” It can be very enlightening and beneficial if you act on it.

    - Some people just don’t realize that the scale of their friendship endeavor is just not enough to get the results they desire. They need to take it up a whole new level.

    - – We are all stewards of the social slots in our lives. When friends prove unresponsive, chronically passive, apathetic or indifferent it’s time to seriously consider giving their social slot to someone else. Sometimes we inhibit good friends from entering our life because all the slots are filled up.

    Cheers,

    Andrew Burgon
    Project Fellowship

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