My life has been a roller coaster around friendships. I learned early on about rejection. Family friends were the way to go when I was little, but then during elementary school, it was all about BFFs. I had a close friend for three years, and then she actually dumped me in middle school. It was rough. I spent the rest of those middle school years virtually friendless. I lived right next door to my school, so I got a laminated pass to go home for lunch where I would spend the hour snacking and watching the A-Team.
Things changed again when I got into high school. Kids who knew my older siblings took me under their wing, and I became a band geek (only not totally geeky since I played the drums), and my confidence grew. Through my junior and senior years, I had friends in all sorts of groups, mostly because I hated cliques and I refused to join one. I remained somewhat charismatic beyond high school.
When I got home from serving a mission for my church, I had few reservations. My true charisma shined, and a friend even described me as having an “electric personality.” I could be friends with anyone, and I made it my goal to make anyone I met feel welcome and accepted. I was enthusiastic about life, and loved meeting people. This was probably the happiest season of my life to date.
When Michael and I got married, we thrust ourselves into a crazy transition. We were newly married for one whole week when we moved across the country to go to school. It took us a good six months to recover from that. But, we were given assignments at church that brought us out of our shell, and we loved feeling valued and connected.
Then, ten years ago we hit our crisis mode. We’d moved into a new area and struggled to make deep connections. Noelle talks about this in the episode, that the hardest times to make friends is during a transition. We were in severe transition when shortly after we moved, we started having children. For the eight years we lived in that area, we made few deep friendships. I had a falling out with my very closest friend in the world, and it was an incredibly lonely time. Michael and I grew very close as a couple, but we have always struggled with this missing element in our lives.
Having friends is crucial. I discuss the important of friendship in my 30-Day Coping Challenge how important friendships are to our ability to be resilient. Friends help us cope with our insecurities, they help us resolve our conflicts, and lend a compassionate ear. They help us feel acceptance, and grace. They are there to make us laugh, or to vent, or to coach us through a rough time.
When we value friending in our family culture, we teach our children what it means to be a friend, how to make friends, we model friending for them, and we are consistently making our friends a priority in our lives. Don’t underestimate the importance of our friendships!
[1:30] Why I’m vulnerable about friending
[3:37] About Noelle
[5:01] Noelle’s inspiration for starting her podcast
[6:58] Grown-up friendship is no joke
[9:40] Why is friendship so important?
[13:03] Why is it so hard to make friends?
[14:43] The antidote to shame is connection
[15:35] Busyness is belief that we are important. We need to give that up to make room for our friendships.
[16:43] Be invested in your people
[16:55] How to make friends when you don’t want to
[18:15] Have the courage to be disliked – to take the chance on people to like you, or not.
[19:32] What demographic has a harder time making friends?
[22:16] Look for our similarities rather than focus on our differences
[24:00] Noelle’s advice for people who have anxiety or depression, or are introverts, for making friends.
[30:03] Friending and family culture
[32:42] Be practical when teaching kids how to make friends. Be specific about exact behaviors that make friends.
[35:28] Dealing with your kids’ friendship struggles
[39:41] The biggest gift you can give yourself if you struggle to make friends!!
[40:52] Most friendships are seasonal
[43:56] Don’t count on social media for authentic friendships.
[46:21] Noelle’s book recommendation
[47:12] Noelle’s Info
Noelle is a Jersey girl who believes in the power of bagels but more importantly…the power of friendship! She is a speaker, writer, and podcast host of Friending. When she is not talking about loneliness, friendship and community, she is hanging with her people…and probably eating bagels.
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