Step into my brain for a bit: I was lonely, unsure how to be un-lonely. Then, I restructured my way of viewing friendships. Now, I had to figure out what to do about it! Here were some of my observations when evaluating my own circles of connectedness:
- I felt like I had many “friends.” On the outside, one would think that I was pretty well connected: I attended and was involved in my local church. I live with 13 other people in a large house (yes, you read that correctly). And I stayed in Boston, where I went to undergrad. It didn’t make sense that there was still something missing, right?
- I noticed I had many Common (Level 2) friends, but my Commitment (Level 5) friends were lacking. Yet, my Confirmed (Level 3) friends were plentiful. These included friends from high school and college, but now that we had all graduated, many of them moved and slowly, my committed friends moved to the left to become confirmed friends.
- Aha! I was looking for my BFF! I knew that I couldn’t magically pray and have my best friend (I called her Mystery Woman X) appear on my front door. As much as I wished I could put up a Craigslist ad for a best friend, I knew that I would either have to meet someone new or look in my Level 1/Contact circle. Or I could examine my Level 2/4 circles of friends to see if there was anyone I could talk to weekly to eventually feel like a Commitment friend.
Being able to identify that a) I was lonely and b) I was lonely for committed friendships, I decided to, other than pray about it, be intentional with the friendships in my level 2 category. These were friends that I had spent occasional time together in the silo or context. Specifically, I thought about the friends I knew at church, who I had spent some time with through some church events, and chose to be more intentional about meeting outside of church.
It all came down to being more intentional:
- Reaching out to people I wanted to become closer friends with for coffee, dinner, lunch, ice cream, etc.
- Being more vulnerable (a post for another day) about hardships, junk, and my sin
- Specifically praying for deeper friendships
This was about six months ago. Though I would say I am still on a journey, I can confidently say that I feel more connected. I think a combination of weekly lunches, coffee dates, tears, and prayer, I am finding the fruits of my (sometimes exhausting) labor in my friendships. I have better expectations of my friends that they can actually achieve, rather than the unreasonable ones that they be “there” for me 24/7. I rely on Jesus as my truest best friend, one who never lets me down. It is only through His love from above that I am able to experience and extend that same Love to others.
I hope that you, too, are able to find true friendship in Jesus Christ, our Savior. I hope that, you, too, are then able to create a meaningful circle of friends that can walk through this messy, beautiful thing we call life.
PS: Here’s a bonus article by Shasta herself on how to move towards more energy in relationships.