Friendships. They were easy to create as kids, don’t you think? You go to recess and find someone on the swings and start talking. Viola, you have a friend. Fast-forward to adulthood and swing sets are replaced by desks and fluorescent lights and conversions aren’t as easy.
It was His original idea. All because He recognized that it’s not good for us to be alone and He saw the importance of relationships (Genesis 2:28).
We’re wired to help each other, encourage each other and forgive each other. And we’re also wired to receive help, encouragement, and forgiveness. It’s all over Scripture (If you have time, consider spending a little more time reading these verses Colossians 3:13, Ecclesiastes 4:10, Romans 12:10, and Proverbs 27:17).
If it’s part of God’s original plan for us, why is it so difficult to do?
Well, it all boils down to time. A recent study done at The University of Kansas says “...it takes roughly 50 hours of time together to move from mere acquaintance to casual friend, 90 hours to go from that stage to simple ‘friend’ status and more than 200 hours before you can consider someone your close friend.”
Who has time to make friends when we’re going to work, making dinner, ensuring bills are paid, kids are bathed and clothes are washed? Phew. I’m exhausted just reading that list of “to-dos” but let’s take a lesson from our swing set days and start putting simple things into practice that can help us make friends as adults.
Like recess, you’d go up to someone and just start talking. You didn’t overthink it. Be the first one to reach out to someone. Even if it’s a simple text, DM, or Slack. Saying something like “Welcome to the team” OR “Want to grab coffee?” is a great way to take the first step.
If you liked the swings and noticed someone else swinging, you’d instantly see you have something in common. You can find common ground as adults simply by asking the other person questions. Through conversation, there’s bound to be something you both have in common. It could be you love the color pink or something a bit deeper like you both moved around a lot as kids.
While it may not be feasible to meet back up the very next day like it was at recess, there is something to be said about being consistent. Put a weekly get-together on the calendar. Go get coffee on Friday mornings or meet up at the local Y and do a class together. Something that gives consistency and builds on the friendship you’re establishing is a great way to create a life-long friend.
There’s something sweet on the other side of initiating and reaching out. And who knows, maybe by taking one step we could be unlocking a lifelong friend and I have a feeling our elementary-school, swing-set-loving selves would be proud!
Kendra LeGrand is an Ohio girl turned southern. She loves Jesus, people, and kettle-cooked chips. When she's not working at Proverbs 31 Ministries, you can find her hosting the FriendCHIP with Kendra podcast, figuring out her new role as a wife, or spending time with friends at a local coffee shop (matcha is her go-to order).
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Kaley Rivera Thompson is an author, copywriter, public speaker, and musician. She serves as the Director of Communications and Donor Relations for the student sports-centric nonprofit she and her husband, Gage, run called Twelve. When she's not championing other women, cheering on the rising generation, writing or playing her guitar, Kaley loves to sip strong coffee, go on hikes, or take a day trip to the mountains with her family. She takes the most pride in being a mom to two little girls, Lina and Lili. You can follow her on instagram at @kriverathompson or find out more on her website at kriverathompson.com.