February is certainly a time when we focus on love, and while I am thinking about my husband and our marriage a lot, I’ve also been thinking about friendships a lot lately too. A few days ago I read two blog posts that really brought friendship to the forethought in my mind. First, I read Fight for Your Friendships by Erin Smalley over on the MOPs blog. Erin’s post challenges us to fight for friendships, even when it is difficult due to challenges in the relationship, changes in our lives or other circumstances. In reading this I article I felt convicted of the fact that sometimes we let friendships slip away because it’s just easier that way. I know this to be true for myself. Every time that I have changed seasons in my life I have struggled to hold on to old friendships and even to make new ones. I’m not the most outgoing of people and sometimes I worry that the friendship may not have meant as much to the other person and that if I reach out to them, then it will be awkward and they will only respond out of a sense of obligation. I fear rejection so much that I wait for others to pursue me and I end up letting old friendships slip away and stifle new ones from growing. By hiding behind my fears I am missing out on the blessings of having deep, wonderful, long lasting friendships.
The second blog post that I read was Julie’s Raising a Kind Child. Julie’s focus on teaching her son the beauty of friendships through modeling reminds me of my role in teaching my two boys about friendship. If I want to teach them how to make and keep friendships, then I have to model in my own life for them to see. I don’t want them to miss out on anything because of the difficulties that I have had with friendships. And so I am challenging myself this year:
1. To rekindle old friendships:
I will call, email, and get together with at least 5 old friends.
I will follow up with them periodically to see how they are doing.
2. To develop greater intimacy with current friends:
I will organize at least 1 play date a month with another mom and her kids.
I will organize at least 2 moms nights out with other moms I know (No kids, no husbands).
3. To reach out to new acquaintances:
I will strike up conversations with other moms at the park.
I will perform at least 2 random acts of kindness.
I know these goals are nothing revolutionary, and many of you are probably thinking that I’m totally socially inept, but that’s ok. These simple goals will require me to be more bold than I am normally and to put myself out there to potentially feel rejection. But I’m ok with that, because the benefits far outweigh the risks. I’ll try to keep you all updated on my progress as the year goes on.
Do any of you all struggle with holding on to old friendships? Developing new ones? Anyone else have any goals for this year of putting yourself out there? If you would like, you can join along with me in participating in the challenge this year and be sure to let me know how you are doing!