The Beauty of Friendships and Finding Your People: 5 Women Share What Friendship Means to Them

 

By: Jalysa Delyn

“If you have two friends in your lifetime, you're lucky. If you have one good friend, you're more than lucky.” - S.E. Hinton 

Making friends isn’t something we are taught to do, but it tends to happen organically. We start to make friends as little kids and throughout the years we meet some of the best people. Some friendships last for years and some only for a season, but the lessons learned can be invaluable. One thing that is true is that friendships mean different things to different people. The way we view friendships, how we make friends, and how we maintain them can vary based on where we are in life.

I asked five women what friendship means to them and how they find their people. Their answers are vulnerable, inspiring, and full of great advice. I hope this helps you as much as it helped me!

 

Amber

Friendship is a place where two or more people can be vulnerable about the things they're struggling with or scared of without fear of judgment, rejection, or abandonment. It's a place where they feel seen, heard and valued for who they are and pushed to be the best versions of themselves.”

Good friends make space for one another to be truly themselves. Good friends are people who sit with you when life is hard and celebrate with you when life is good. Good friends champion one another, build one another up and serve one another. Good friends make you feel at ease. You laugh and have fun together, but can also talk about your dreams, fears, struggles, etc. They sharpen one another, lovingly speak truth over one another, making us into the best versions of ourselves. Good friends prioritize one another. This may look different in every season, but it's always true of a good friend. Good friends always point you back to Jesus.

What factors may result in the breakdown of a friendship?

Lack of communication and conflict resolution. Lack of quality time spent together. Being on your phone constantly while we hang out is the quickest way to make me feel devalued and unimportant to you. Belittling, even subtly. Unforgiveness, even for small things. It builds over time and causes bitterness and anger to take root, driving a wedge in your relationship. 

How do you make friends as an adult? 

Through common interests, places you go often. For me, that has looked like meeting people through church, work, and the gym.

What advice would you give to younger girls and women about friendship?

Don't expect people to be your source of security, identity, or comfort because, despite their best efforts, they'll let you down every time. Only God can be those things for us.  

Tracy

I heard something that stuck with me:  make sure your “friendships” or relationships are not bulldozers.  Bulldozers destroy.” -Steve Harvey

 

At this age and stage in my life, I feel that the word friend is overused (just like the words I Love You)!  It sounds good but do we really put the actions behind what the words really mean?  I have a few people I call “friends” or have called “friends” but sometimes it takes more effort or heartache to maintain those friendships that I have had to either remove myself totally or take breaks away from them.  At almost 53 the so-called friendships we thought we needed, we don’t.  Sometimes people grow apart from each other and it can be for many reasons.  

What factors may result in the breakdown of a friendship?

A few factors I can think of right now in the breakdown of friendship are:  Not respecting boundaries especially if both or one of the friends is married, betraying a friend’s trust if a friend is going through something not being supportive, jealously, using the person for your own personal gain for something. 

After reading Tyler Perry’s book Higher Is Waiting, he talked about using a tree to divide people as to where they fit in your life.  First Leaf people:  people who are only in your life for a season.  Second Branch people:  they are stronger the leaf people but they need care.  They may stick around from one season to the next but if a storm rolls through its possible they’ll break apart and you’ll lose them.  Third Root people:  root people are hard to find because they’re not trying to be seen.  They do their work underground. They provide support and nourishment without fanfare.  They are happy when you thrive!  I made a list and after giving much thought to my list I was surprised as to what part of the three people were in my life. As for me after having many storms I have found my best friends to be first God and then my husband!  

 

Jennifer

“I see friendship as a gift. Friendship is a strong connection to someone because of a shared commonality. This commonality can be anything- belief, family, hobby, passion, experience, and many others.  Friendship needs a strong foundation of respect, trust, and love.”

Good Friend

We all have many friends…some come and some go because of where life takes us.  Few are good friends or BFFs.My best friendships are the ones where those factors I mentioned above (respect, trust, and love) are the strongest.  With my “Best Friends” I can be me (the awesome, the good, the not so good and the ugly) and  I know that I will not be judged. On the contrary, this person supports me no matter what and will like to see me succeed no matter what.  They are there in the good times and in the not so good times. They know when I just need to vent and when I need their help or advice.  The relationship is mutual- 2:way. For this to work we need to be honest with each other at all times knowing that it comes from a good place (they know you so well that they can see where you may have a blind spot).  I know we are best friends because it doesn’t matter if I don’t see them for a very long time when we catch up it's like we just saw each other. The memories that you make with your best friends are long-lasting.

 

What factors may results in the breakdown of a friendship?

Many times miscommunications can end great friendships.  Many of these breakdowns can be avoided by having the tough conversation, understanding the situation and working through it. Many people do not like conflict (well who does like conflict?) and go the “easy route” of perhaps ignoring or blaming. This breaks the foundation (respect, trust, love) and breaks or weakens the bond.  Also if any person on the friendship is the person giving, giving, giving, but not receiving- this can drain the person and again break the foundation.

 

How do you make friends as an adult?

Funny how I think kids make friends easily- I take my kids to any place and see them say “Hi I’m Izzie I’m 9 years old” then the other girl or boy exchange their name and age and boom they are best friends. Very cute! But we can also make friends that easy where we work, go to church, go work out, hobbies, small groups, kid's activities, etc.  You usually connect on some subject (commonality!- for my kids is age lol) and can have a good feeling about the connection with the person. However, the connection will take time and an additional follow up to get it stronger. For example, if it is a work friend maybe the next step will be to have dinner, or couples date with the significant other, a concert, or kid's play date, etc.  Once you get to know people on a more personal manner then you can could deepen the “respect, trust and love”.

 What advice would you give to younger girls and women about friendship?

GREAT FRIENDSHIPS are like a plant…it takes frequent water and nurture to grow it and keep it blooming. It takes effort from both sides… but the effort should not feel like work – it should replenish and charge you.  By watering the plant I mean a call, a text, a small kind gesture, a dinner, coffee, a concert, a trip.  The other thing is that there will be GREAT FRIENDSHIPS that will last for a part of your life and maybe things change (e.g. that common interest evolved or changed, you moved to another city, you are in different chapters of your life, etc) and new ones will emerge.  For example, I had a best friend back home in Puerto Rico through my middle and high school! A best friend during College. A best friend during Grad School. A best friend through my Cheerleading years. A best friend during my first several years at work. And two best friends now that share the same passion for dance and Zumba- one in my city another one in Sweden! (thank goodness for WhatsApp). Do I still stay in touch with my previous best friends? Yes, maybe not at the same frequency but a great friendship is a great friendship and you will know because the moment you catch up is like time never passed.  Life is beautiful and is always surprising you.  Meet new people and cherish those amazing friends that make life rewarding, fun and exciting!

 

Kristina

What does friendship mean to you?
I have gone through life with a handful of friends. In high school, I couldn't figure out why I tended to have 1 or 2 people I could call friends while it seemed like everyone else around me had plenty.
Friendship, to me, means that I can trust you, count on you and that you'll just...be there. And it's reciprocal.
How do you define a good friend?
Once, I was treated with little regard by a man and I told my best friend about it. She showed up at my door 30 minutes later and told me to get in her car. We drove to said man's house and wrote with lipstick
on his windows, "what goes around comes around." It made me laugh and feel better. That's a good friend.


What factors may result in the breakdown of a friendship?
When gay marriage passed in Indiana I worked for the court system and people were celebrating and cheering in the lobby on the first floor of the City County Building. A friend of mine at the time also worked in the building and sent me a text talking about how disgusted she was that people were cheering for such a "sinful" thing. That was the last time we communicated.
How do you make friends as an adult?
There is an unspoken energy I often feel when I've made friends in my adulthood. I know what I enjoy and what I don't and I hit a point in my life where I became less interested in the number of friends and
really valued the quality of my friendships. For example, if I tell you I'm going to yoga and then brunch and you say, "that's something white people do" I will know that we probably won't resonate. There
are many reasons a comment such as that (I've heard it many times) does not jive well with me. I would elaborate but I think you know :-)

What advice would you give to younger girls and women about friendship?
Know what you care about...because there are other people out there that care about those things too. Find those people and build with them. You know those Instagram photos where you see like 12 women
standing on a beach somewhere exotic wearing themed bathing suites and effortlessly posing to look impossibly chic? That's friendship. BUT friendship is also crying on your girl's floor because you feel safe
and seeing doing so. It's getting tipsy and going shopping and spending too much money. It's trust, kindness, and solidarity. If you're a friend of mine who is white, it's me being able to tell you
what you just did was racist and you not clutching your pearls in shock that I would call you racist...but instead asking me how you can do better. Find YOUR person/group/squad. They need you and you need
them.

Tina 

What does friendship mean to you?

It’s a relationship with another person that you can count on and have fun with.

How do you define a good friend?

Good friends are honest and forthcoming, reliable, kind, thoughtful, and forgiving.

What factors may result in the breakdown of a friendship?

Lying, Dishonesty, selfishness, being unkind 

How do you make friends as an adult? 

Ugh....I’m soooo bad at making friends as an adult.  I know that everyone is busy, but I just feel like there isn’t a free moment for a working mom with a bunch of kids.  Every moment of my days are filled (with things and people) that I love, and it’s hard to make time for friends.  If I have free time, I want to spend it with my kids and hubby.  Friendships seem to come from work or family activities.

What advice would you give to younger girls and women about friendship?

Have fun!  Be silly.  Be loyal.  Be a good friend.

Follow Jalysa Delyn on IG @jalysa_delyn

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