Have you ever had the awkward adult conversation of admitting you need friends? I have … a few times. And it’s been … awkward. Oh dear. It can either be well-received with a returned open heart, or the other gal takes a sip of coffee, adjusts in her seat and avoids eye contact until the subject can politely be changed. Making friends as an adult is hard; it’s a necessity we don’t often take time to invest in. It requires pushing past the polite boundaries and stepping into the real. It requires vulnerability and sometimes comes with disappointment. But it’s worth it.
The first step, I’ve found, in forming friendships as an adult is admitting you need friends. In our busy, isolated, digital and I-got-this world, we can go years without the acknowledgement that we are longing for deeper connection. It can be a difficult admission, but holding the mirror up to ourselves and getting honest normally allows us to grow.
The next step is identifying possible friends. Look at the people you’re surrounded with and ask yourself who you can make a connection with. Don’t look for a carbon copy of yourself; rather, look for those who value similar things who you sense would be an encouragement. Oftentimes, praying that these ladies would be highlighted in your life is a big help.
The first time I admitted to a potential friend that I needed deeper friendships, she told me, “I’m a year into a new relationship, and I’m not sure I have the time to go deep with anyone else.” While I appreciated her honesty, it was hard to hear those words. But the truth is better than dishonesty, which would only lead to hurt feelings.
You have to be prepared for rejection but not allow it to deter you from trying again. More often than not, my taking the initiative with a potential friend is met with a “yes, I would love to be friends.” Of course, there have also been uncomfortable moments when I was met with awkward silence.
As you form your Band of Mamas, those who are in the trenches with you, some will be for a season and some will be lifers. Lifers are the mamas who celebrate with you when you hit it outta the park with a Pinterest-perfect birthday party. They are the same mamas singing just as loud and proud when you throw a candle on a leftover piece of pie and call it a day. These are the treasures to look for. Our lives are richer and more real when we get to the point of truth with a group of friends.
This Band of Mamas doesn’t need to fill a table at a restaurant or be so numerous that all you can manage is a surface level relationship. What we need are the intimate few. Those who cry and celebrate with us. Those who call out our crap in loving ways. Those who pray for, think of and surprise us with kindness. Those who care about our emotional, physical and spiritual health. These are the lights in life to hold on to. My Band of Mamas has been an intentional pursuit for a few years, and they are a gift that keeps giving, women I truly admire.
May we all find our Band of Mamas, hold them tight, shine our light and reflect theirs.
Jeslin is a wife of 14 years and a stay-at-home mama to two toddler boys. She spent 10 years in church ministry as a children’s director in California and then youth director in Arvada, Colorado, writing weekly messages and small group material. Now she writes in all her “free time” unless she’s napping when her kids do.