Friendships

Pink is the color of breast cancer awareness month.

As a child I believed the friends I made in grade school would be forever friends in which I would share a lifetime of experiences and memories with.

We would go to college, get married, share stories of our careers and raise babies together. Sadly, I was mistaken. Through these 30 years I have been blessed to call many people 'friends,' whether it be for a specific reason, season in life or a lifetime. 

Navigating friendships can be tricky. The bottom line is we are humans with likes, dislikes, different schedules and priorities. As if friendships aren’t hard enough, they become even more complicated after marriage because there is a risk your spouse might not get along with them, and vice versa. 

I do know that being a good friend and having friends is essential for life. However, as an adult, it can be intimidating because, let’s face it, we don’t have a sandbox where we can ask a person if they want to play with us, then run to the swings together and become instant friends.

These are a few ways I've found to work for making meaningful friendships as an adult. 

In order to have solid friendships it is essential to remember to be a good friend yourself.

This seems like a given, but it isn’t for some. Be honest with yourself, are you a selfish friend who only takes and doesn’t give? Can you have genuine conversations about how you are feeling and are willing to ask for help? Do you get jealous when your friend scores a win in life, and try to minimize the win instead of being a cheerleader? Are you willing to have difficult conversations that are uncomfortable? Ask yourself these questions in your existing friendships and potential new friendships. See how much they will grow.

I highly encourage you to have friends in three groups. Friends who are significantly younger than you, friends who are your age and friends who are significantly older than you.

Back in grade school it was the norm to only have friends in your own age or grade. But as you get older you have interactions with others from every age, race, religion and creed. Having friends who are younger than you can challenge you become a mentor and pour into others while remembering to have fun. Friends who are your age helps with relating to current life experiences. Friends who are older than you are able to mentor you by passing down wisdom and sharing wonderful belly-filled laughs.

Lastly, the one question that will lead to great conversation when meeting a potential friend was taught to me by one of my older friends, Bob Meadows, which is, “What is your story?”

The question might seem odd at first, but you will be surprised how people interpret the question and the different avenues the conversation will take. This is where you will learn who people are, their interests, adventures and so much more. If the conversation goes well ask for that second friend date. Ask them for coffee and see where the friendship goes.