When it comes to making new friends, what holds you back? Follow along as Jessica Fick goes first by sharing her friendship fears.
Friendship What Ifs
By Jessica Leep Fick
I recently moved to a new city and I am plagued by doubts in building new relationships:
What if I reach out and she doesn't respond?
What if I share something vulnerable and I'm judged?
What if we hang out and it's really awkward?
What if I show up to an event and feel out of place?
Building relationships takes initiative, time and energy. Do you know many women who have an excess of those commodities? Yeah, me neither. But I'm finding that even if I'm willing to put in a little effort just to show up, God blesses my effort in unexpected ways. The Holy Spirit begins to break down my fear of rejection and judgment and he reminds me that Jesus has good things for me in this place, especially relationships.
Recently I went to a stadium workout attended by some other moms from my son's school. I had been invited before but I had never taken the time to show up to run stairs, do sprints and burpees. In part, I hesitated because of time, energy, and let's be honest - fear. But on a gorgeous windy but sunny day I drove to the track and searched for Kim, the organizer of the stadium workout. I had never met her before, I only "knew" her from her Facebook profile pic. The woman who had invited me wasn't there yet and I felt a little silly milling around a bunch of clearly athletic people who spent a lot more time in stadiums than I do.
Cue the fears. Should I just go home? Will everyone else be in better shape than me? Will these women be nice? What if I didn't bring enough water? What if I can't find the right group of women here at the stadium? These were all serious questions that played through my mind.
Sometimes all it takes to conquer our fears is just to show up. Do the best we can, and keep showing up. I had a great afternoon with that group of women I'm beginning to get to know. I was grateful for their encouragement to keep pushing, their willingness to share about their lives and include me in the conversation as we worked up a sweat together. All such seemingly small things, but huge in silencing the fears of looking dumb or not belonging in meeting new people.
What are the "what ifs" that play through your mind in developing friendships?
Who is God inviting you to reach out to? How can you begin to take initiative to form new friendships or go deeper in the ones you already have?
One of the best ways to connect is to simply ask questions. Here are a few to get you started:
Do you have any hobbies or things you like to do in the area? Ask if you could join them for an activity if it's something you're interested in!
What books are you reading or TV shows are you into these days?
How was your week? What is something you enjoyed that happened this past week?
If we never overcome our fear and step out, then we will struggle to make and deepen relationships. We may not realize our lack, until we really need a friend. Let's push aside fear and take that step!
Jessica Leep Fick lives in Kansas City with her husband and two sons. She serves as the National Director of Evangelism Resources for Stonecroft ministries and is the author of Beautiful Feet: Unleashing Women to Everyday Witness with InterVarsity Press.