I wonder if you feel like me sometimes? This strange, unique and somewhat spiritual feeling like roads are converging, like someone has been reading your mail, like everyone else is focusing on an idea or thought, and IF you are crazy enough to miss it, you just might miss something truly awesome?
Recently, I was listening to our Pastor’s wife speak on friendships. Now you might think that because I was in church it was all “preachy”, but that is so not the case! She used the visual of a solitary chair and a couch, the chair representing loneliness—no one to confide in and no safety net, while the comfy couch meant a sense of belonging, strong connections and close friends to confide in. I was intrigued. How do we get and keep friends on the couch with us? 1) Consistency, TIME spent WITH someone, 2) Vulnerability, Let yourself be SEEN and choosing to share the good and the bad, and 3) Chemistry, having life in common and FUN.
I’m talking about connections and community with women in our lives. I’m talking about friendships, old and new. I’m talking about showing up, in the good times and the bad times. Taking the time in our incredibly busy lives to pick up the phone even when you don’t feel like talking, returning the text, or making the time to grab a coffee, even when you are so tired you can’t keep your eyes open. Hey, maybe the caffeine will help? My point is, if you want to have and keep good friends in your life, you have to consistently be a good friend. This doesn’t mean that we don’t go through seasons in our lives when we aren’t crazy busy in school, or as new moms, or dealing with family issues. It doesn’t mean that friendships are always 50/50, it simply means that we keep showing up, as our true authentic selves, even when things are not going the way we would like them to.
A few days ago, a wise friend of mine, not really knowing all the twists and turns my mind has been taking lately, shared an email story with me, once again supporting this idea of community and connection. The main premise was “who picks you up from the airport?” What??? When you take off your MASK and are exposed and vulnerable, this is a big part of building community. A real community gets layers deeper when we ADMIT we need one another,( a ride to the airport when we can’t offer anything in return but a thank you!) when we ask each other to show up for the hard stuff, when we open the door to let other people in.
For me, these thoughts on friendships and connections started several months ago when a dear “intuitive” long- time friend of mine asked me and four other close and amazing friends to be part of a Circle of Trust. First of all, I was honored and then a little fearful because it “sounded” like I might need to be open and VULNERABLE to these girlfriends, even more than I thought I already was. And yes, that is/was the case! But surprise! I have learned so much about myself in these past weeks and about how being vulnerable is intrinsic to personal growth and believing in myself. Vulnerability is going deeper, inviting someone in to our mess, not trying to hide it, but even asking to be helped when there is nothing you can give as a reward, is part of the process—to let go of some fear and some pride that may be the cause of us not belonging.
How many groups/clubs with other women and girls are you a part of? Do you have book clubs or dinner groups? Do you meet weekly or monthly for cards or to work together on a non-profit? We all have friends that we spend hours a day with at work or school, maybe even a friend we literally have chemistry class with. Some of us are lucky enough to have those lifelong childhood friends that have been with us through everything. You know, the one you used to build forts with, have weekend-long sleepovers, or helped you get through a really bad breakup. There are certain people in your life that just “get” you. You could be on an epic vacation with these people or just sitting around on a Friday night catching up on Netflix and you are always having fun together. These friends are sacred and are always worth the effort it takes to maintain them.
FILL YOUR COUCH
I am guessing that you want to have a couch full of women in your life, not just an empty chair sitting in your metaphorical living room. We all want to feel like we belong. We all want people in our lives that will always “pick us up from the airport.” While friendships change and evolve throughout our lives and the season that we are currently living, what doesn’t change is your ability to be a good friend. To show up even when it’s hard, to remain authentic and vulnerable, and continue to surround yourself with friendships that spark joy in your life. Here’s to having a full couch and filling the couches of those you love. Shine on, shine girl!