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Finding New Rhythms of Friendship

Ever feel stuck when your seasons of life affect your go-to friendships? Bailey Hurley invites us close as she shares.


Finding New Rhythms of Friendship

By Bailey T. Hurley

When I first became a mom, my friend who was nervous about a baby getting between us had legitimate feelings. I was just as nervous about this new schedule being a friend repellant. When the baby came, it was a new season for me to navigate meeting the needs of a baby, a husband, and my other relationships.

There were times when I thought she was pulling back, investing in other friends more than in me (after all, who wants to go to happy hour with a crying newborn?). But just as the height of insecurities would rise, something would shift—her work schedule was more flexible, we had a girls’ night, or she called me about something she wanted to process—and we’d find ourselves spending time together again. Perhaps things were not the same as before, but our friendship was still fruitful and life-giving.

The more I communicated that I wanted to spend time with her, the more she felt like I was opening the doors to let her back in to the chaos of everyday life. We reached a healthier understanding of what we expected from the relationship—we wanted to remain close, so we created rituals for our relationship that worked for us. Every Thursday night, she’d come over and we’d watch a favorite show together and catch up. We’d still meet at a coffee shop or go on a walk on other occasions, but for the eight weeks of our television program, we set apart time to connect amid our busy lives.

You don’t have to be a new mom to feel this way about your friends. Sometimes women just pull away as things change in their faith, dating life, or priorities. As seasons change, we don’t need to abandon a friendship—we learn to make new rhythms.

Let’s put it this way: The things you used to do to connect with your friends in high school probably didn’t work for creating community in college, right? And the habits you had for friend building in college may not work as you embark on a career or move to a new city. Change, big or little, will require some creativity and understanding in our friendships.

To cultivate your friendships in new seasons, you may need to sacrifice a comfort. If you started a new job that keeps you working later than you expected, you may need to get up early some mornings to connect with friends. If you are a mom of multiple kids, you may need to ask your spouse or hire a sitter to help you set aside time with friends. Or if you’re in a season where you’re feeling extra tired, sometimes all you need is to turn off Netflix and grab your car keys to go meet a friend.

A recent study at the University of Texas found that frequent ten-minute phone calls decreased people’s loneliness by 20 percent. This is huge! Our mental health is dependent on offering small windows to connect with friends throughout the week. So don’t be alarmed when trying something new feels intimidating; big, over-the-top gestures aren’t always necessary to maintain your friendships. Instead, regularly tending to your friends helps you find healthier rhythm for all of you.

Don’t expect your friends to always know how your life season has affected your friendship. I had been a mom for years when a good friend asked, “Do you ever feel like we don’t invite you to do friend stuff with us because you are a mom?”

“Of course,” I said. “It would be hard not to feel that way when you all know I can’t go to a weeknight concert or do another girls’ day because I promised my husband to work on house stuff that day. I understand why you don’t invite me because usually I can’t go, but . . . I still wish you’d extend the invite. If you give me enough advance notice, I can often make things work.”

She nodded. “I am really sorry I have left you out. I just assume you aren’t available, so I don’t think to ask you. I just had the thought pop into my mind today. I am sorry. I am going to be better about inviting you to things.”

Our honest conversation allowed me to express that I wanted my friends to include me in activities. And I was freed to communicate my limits without her assuming I was too busy to connect in my current life phase.

Open and honest communication amid changing seasons is vital. We need to have faith that our friends will carry our reality well—and that requires sharing our needs. And they need to trust that we’ll hear their concerns as they adapt to new seasons or navigate ours alongside us.

Talk about your limits in your new season. Be clear—the sooner the better. Silence is a friendship killer! Don’t allow the tension of changing seasons push you apart when open conversation could quickly help you reach mutual ground.

Taken from Together Is a Beautiful Place: Finding, Keeping, and Loving Our Friends by Bailey T. Hurley. Copyright ©2022. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries.

Bailey T. Hurley is everyone’s favorite community cheerleader. She encourages women to pursue a faithful relationship with God so they can build fruitful friendships in their corner of the world. She has written on the topic of friendship and faith for publications like She Reads Truth, Salvation Army’s Peer Magazine and Grit and Virtue. She also loves podcasts! You can find her chatting all about friendship on Sally Clarkson’s podcast Life with Sally, Kristin Schell’s podcast At the Turquoise Table, and a dozen more.


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