Like many women, I have stumbled my way through countless friendships over the years. I turned 30 this month and I have been friends with a lot of women (and I mean friends, not just casual acquaintances). I had one toxic blow up that ended a friendship, but most have dissolved over time with change in location, change in life circumstance, or change in priorities. It is a rare thing indeed to find women who can successfully navigate all seasons of life with you. But one thing is for certain, all friendships go through ebbs and flows, but some ebb out to never flow back again.

My 20s were full of experiences with my friends, much more than with the guy I was dating. My girlfriends were the ones who sat with me when I was most vulnerable, cried with me, and drank many bottles of Pinot Noir. They were the ones who saw me as the ugliest version of myself and several of them chose to love me anyway. Those women are still my closest confidants. When I look back on my 20s, I realized that through friendships, I learned a lot about how to navigate relationships and a lot about myself as a friend. 

1) Don’t Always Let it Go

If you’re easygoing, sometimes it’s difficult to establish boundaries. If you’re sensitive, you might talk yourself out of things that rub you the wrong way and chock it up to being oversensitive. Sometimes, however, being easy going can come back with a vengeance if you ignore red flags often enough and wind up with a ‘friend’ who treats you like garbage because you have consistently allowed it.

It is so important to have small conversations that address singular issues, instead of waiting years trying to untangle a mess of hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and tension. Sometimes that tension and anger can drive a wedge so far between two people that the damage cannot be undone.

 

2) A Little Effort Goes a Long Way

Effort becomes more important as we get older. Especially as more friends move away and/or become parents, time is precious. Before you know it, months have passed and you haven’t even talked to someone you considered a good friend. Keeping in contact has never been easier with countless social media outlets, but it’s important to be more than an observer of someone’s life.

Sometimes visits and phone calls feel impossible, but texting can bridge the time between that one-on-one interaction. When I became a new mom, texting was vital during middle of the night feedings. I would often catch my other new mom friends awake and we would text. It seemed so minimal, but something as small as texting built community and friendship! You work within each other’s schedules and that effort helps to solidify friendships.

 

3) Fail to Plan… Fail to Friend

So many people live by their calendars. Use that organizational tool to your advantage! My husband and I agreed on ground rules for a schedule. We used to be so booked nearly every weekend that we found we had no time for friends. Now we are smarter about our calendars. We only plan one event every other month. We alternate holidays between my family and his. Then, we can easily add in celebrations like weddings, open houses, and showers that come up throughout the year. Finally, we try to plan things in order to spend quality time with our friends.

One thing that worked well for me was to train for a half marathon with one of my girlfriends. We never trained together because we live in different towns. But we would often text and encourage each other to run, work out, and eat healthy. Then, we met up and had a girls’ weekend for the race. Friendships rejuvenate you. Planning things well in advance ensures that you take time out of work and obligation. These weekends are good for the soul and good for the relationships.

 

4) Give and Take

Friendship should never be one-sided. There is a metaphor that is perfect for friendships: “Be a faucet. Not a drain.” If you feel that you are constantly doing for someone and they rarely or never return the favor, it’s time to reevaluate the relationship. I had a girlfriend who always asked favors of many girlfriends, but she would ignore texts that asked favors of her. She rarely showed up for baby showers, open houses, and other celebrations, despite often inviting us to her events.

Give and take isn’t just an exchange of effort. It’s an exchange of respect. Returning the consideration given to you is common decency and necessary in friendship. Sometimes things come up, but if it happens more often than not, it might be time to reevaluate the effort and time you are investing and have a conversation.

 

5) Accepting the Seasons of Friendship

Friendships serve certain purposes. Some friendships are based on proximity and shared circumstance. You might have work friends who you never socialize with outside work. Some friendships might be deep and intense, but only for certain chapters of your life. Graduate school gave me many wonderful friendships; but as those friends took jobs across the country, those friendships slowly began to fade away. Finally, there are friends that weather all seasons and all circumstance. I’m lucky to have two wonderful women that have been in my life for better and for worse since I was 15.

As I enter my 30s, I look forward to meeting new friends, strengthening existing friendships, and maybe even reconnecting with former friends that might cross my path again. I now pursue friendships in my 30s with knowledge and experience that will make me a better friend and attract those who are better friends as well.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Tiffany Reiger

Tiffany is a former teacher with a PhD who is currently raising children with her husband in the Midwest.

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking www.herviewfromhome.com

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading