The Big Secret to Making Authentic Friendships
by Amanda Anderson
Long before I had friends whom I texted in bathrooms, I had to learn the importance of spending time getting to know my friends—and letting them get to know me. In the process, I endured many seasons of loneliness, pain, and confusion, and I lost friendships I’d thought would last for the long haul. In that difficult season, I remember thinking, Why doesn’t someone come to our mother’s group and teach us how to make friends?
Five years later, I was surprised when God called me to do it. I’d been developing a speaking platform to young mothers’ groups, and a topic on my booking website attracted a good bit of attention. Dozens of churches had hired me to deliver my talk, “All My Friends Have Issues,” to their women’s groups. Another five years later, I was on the schedule at the MOPS International Leadership Convention (otherwise known as MomCon) for the same topic. Over one thousand women came to my workshops, and at the end of each session, I asked anyone who was feeling lonely or in need of discernment about a tough friendship to raise her hand so I could pray for her. At least one quarter of the room put their hands up.
Whenever I speak on this topic, I hear variations of this simple, heartbreakingly vulnerable inquiry: “How do I make friends?” or “How do I even start to get to know people?”
If you’ve found that friendships with other women are really hard, then you’re not alone. In her book The Secrets Women Keep, Dr. Jill Hubbard lists the top fifteen secrets women keep based on her research and experience on the national talk show New Life Live! with Stephen Arterburn. In the top fifteen is this: friendship isn’t easy. She writes:
The secrets women are carrying about friendship tend to fall into two general categories. The first is the lack of fulfilling female friendships, and the biggest reason for this is our lack of time to nurture and invest in relationships with other women. . . . The second type of secret women keep about friendship is how intense female relationships can be and the depth of the pain we feel when they go wrong. Betrayal, competition, and backbiting among women can cause rifts as devastating as the breakup of a long-standing love relationship, including marriage.
In my workshops, I try to answer “How do I make friends?” in forty-five minutes. I’m going to give you the answer in much more detail throughout this book, but it all hinges on three scary, risky, and time-consuming steps:
1. Make making friends a priority. We’re all busy, but don’t let that be an excuse.
2. Leave your house. You can’t form a close friendship without spending some face-to-face time with each other.
3. Invite people into your house. Letting people see how you actually live and where you live will foster authenticity and comfort like nothing else can.
Taken from All My Friends Have Issues by Amanda Anderson. Copyright © 2019 by Amanda Anderson. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson.
We’d like to hear from you. Please share your comments below or like us on your Facebook page. Be sure to check back each month for more articles and products available at your local Christian bookstore.