Let’s just say, puberty hit me hard. Real hard. I’m thankful it did. I wont get into the middle school horror stories but my girlhood consisted of braces, insecurities, the mean girls, and more braces. I remember feeling very hopeful for the future but shying away from everyone or not able to live in the moment. I often wished for a sister who had “been there done that,” someone who could help me navigate the awkwardness of adolescence.
Looking back, I shouldn’t have let those insecurities take away my smile. I had so many other beautiful things about me to be confident about. I wish someone would have told me this. That’s why I created the series, “Things I Wish A Sister Taught Me.”
This is everything I wish an older sister would have told me.
Feeling Lonely & Friendships
I’ve felt a lot of loneliness in my lifetime. It’s actually one of my biggest fears, feeling lonely and left out, forever. Sounds dramatic, I know, I know…
But I keep telling myself lies like, ‘I don’t need anyone. I’m not good at making friends. I prefer to be alone. I’m an introverted extrovert.’ (Ha). And while some of these ideas may be slightly true, most of them are excuses, because at the end of the day, when I look on Facebook and see all these girls from my sorority hanging out and I’m not invited, it freaking hurts.
Before I go into what I wish a sister would have taught me about loneliness and friendships, let me preface by saying – this is something I still struggle with to this day but instead of ignoring it and acting like everything is okay – why not acknowledge this so we can work through it together? Some of the things I talk about, I want y’all to know, I am not perfect at. They are things I am trying to get better at.
5 BEST Friends are Better Than 20 GOOD Friends
Unless you’re one of those crazy extroverted people (my bff and roomie, Kelsey) it’s okay to really invest your time into less friendships that are more meaningful. What this looked like for me was turning down the exciting opportunities in college like parties, events, football games, and staying in with 1-2 of the girls, baking cookies, watching movies, talking about our dreams and aspirations. Of course, FOMO is real and I remember at first, I thought I was really missing out, till I had my first “heart to heart” convo with a new friend, Stephanie, as a freshman in college. I told Steph things I had never told anyone and the richness and depth of our friendship was like nothing (no party, event, or even football game) I had ever experienced. Make sacrifices for the people that are important in your lives. How else are we supposed to show them that their friendship is special? I can’t tell you how many times I was blown off by “friends” for a bigger and better opportunity, and let me tell ya, that freaking HURTS. I was shocked when I established friends in college that ‘won’t go to the party unless you’re going.’ That really showed me they cared and I value their friendships to this day.
Friends Are Not Perfect
It’s okay to tell people that you’re not okay or that you feel lonely. My biggest mistake in making friends was that I was trying so hard to always have it all together – so I was ‘good enough’ ‘fun enough’ ‘pretty enough’ to be around. I didn’t want anyone to see the broken sides of me. In turn, I couldn’t be totally honest with who I was. I was so insecure about them finding out the truth, that I wasn’t this peppy happy person all of the time. The moment I started being vulnerable with my friends, crying in front of them, having bad days with them, asking them for help, prayers, etc. was when a weight was lifted off my shoulders and I felt free to be my weird quirky self. Transparency, honesty, and vulnerability are KEY in establishing meaningful relationships.
Boys Are Not the Answer
It’s so easy to fill the gaps of loneliness with boys. Although a relationship with a boy can be an exciting, wonderful thing, when it’s used in a way to fill an empty hole, it could lead to codependence in really unhealthy ways. I always told my boyfriend, I want to date someone who doesn’t NEED me. He loves me and desires to do life with me but he doesn’t NEED me. I really respect that in him.
Trust me, I’ve been there. I dated my ‘unicorn.’ There was this ‘high’ in our relationship but ultimately, after the excitement wore off, I was left unsatisfied and even more distant from the friendships I desired. If there is a boy you want to get to know, try hanging out with groups, see how he fits in around your friends. Seek advice and opinions from your friends – they have your back! Even if you are dating to get married or already married, we ALL need people in our lives to hold us accountable.
Feeling Lonely? Do Something For Someone Else
When I get into this state of loneliness – the whole world revolves around me and how I’m not being satisfied. Naturally, I start to victimize myself but I’ve learned that sitting in pity wasn’t going to get me anywhere. Relationships are WORK. You have to nurture them like you’d nurture flowers. You have to provide the right amounts of water, sunlight, and soil in order for it to grow, just like you have to provide the right amount of love, care, and attention in a friendship. A friendship wont blossom out of thin air. It requires effort.
I am not the best at serving my friends but because I am not a super generous personal naturally, I have to pay special attention to how I treat people and make a conscious effort to show them I care.
Ways to serve your friends:
Listen. Everyone wants feel understood and listened to. Serve your friends simply by taking an hour to ask them about how they are doing. ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS. My friend Becca taught me this because she is always so intentional with our time together. Dani, how is your mom? What are you doing for Spring Break? What is your favorite part about working from home? Suck it up and listen to them ramble about things that may not matter that much to you. I feel so loved when people ask me questions and are genuinely interested.
It’s all about the small things. Small gestures like cleaning up the dishes when you didn’t make the mess. Replacing an empty bottle of tooth paste. Offering to drive your friend to the airport. This builds so much respect in a relationship.
Get to know your friend’s family or other important people in their life. My friend Becca studied architecture in college. She had a whole life outside of a friendship with me where she spent the majority of her days with super artsy-fartsy architecture students. One day I brought her lunch in “studio” and was able to meet the people she spends so much time working and studying with. I’ll never forget how ecstatic Becca was to introduce me to the people she had talked about for months.
Ask. Ask your friends how you can serve them. What can you be praying for?
Pester your friends. Okay, this works for me at least. I’m not the type of girl to “make the first move” when it comes to making friends or making plans. (Trying to get better at this.) I really appreciate when my friends keep texting and calling to hangout even though they knew I won’t show up. It may have been annoying at times- but at the end of the day, I feel so loved, like they won’t forget about me. The fact that they care enough to ask multiple times, makes me feel so loved.
Right now, Im realizing the impact I can have on people lives by serving them. I never thought I was important enough to make an impact on someone but once you realize that you can make an impact, blessing others becomes addicting.
Photo Credit: Angie Garcia Photo