Friendships that last
By: Jo Bender
Are you struggling to find lasting friendships? In a world where we can “unfriend” each other with the swipe of a finger, how do we find friendships that we can trust to last?
According to Lisa-Jo Baker, if we’re constantly wondering why we don’t have long-lasting friendships, we may need to be the person to step in and make the first move.
“As much as I wish friends would fall from the sky into my lap, rarely does that happen. Friendship, by definition, requires us to be willing to do something. We need to be willing to put ourselves in some kind of awkward situation.”
“There’s no way to get around that first awkwardness of initiating a new friendship except just going there; taking the step and doing it.”
Lisa-Jo believes that the shortest distance between strangers and friends is a shared awkward moment. She shares from her personal experience,
“On the first day of my son’s kindergarten, I walked up to another parent whom my son always talked about her daughter. I awkwardly introduced myself, and then awkwardly volunteered for the art program that she ran. Seven years later, she’s one of my closest friends.”
“I wish there was a way to say that you are never going to feel awkward, but I really think friendship requires a degree of vulnerability; making yourself open and stepping into a situation, a circumstance, a new group, or sometimes an old group and trying to initiate conversation. It’s the only way to get started; we just actually have to take a step.”
While we have to take some kind of step to initiate friendships, Lisa-Jo reminds us that it’s going to look different for all of us. She helps us understand our own unique friendship DNA.
“We’re all built differently, we come from different backgrounds and families, and we interact with people differently. It’s important to understand where are the places where I feel most comfortable in friendships? Where are the places where I have some baggage?”
By asking ourselves these questions, it will help us to initiate new conversations and make connections with potential friends; a connection that could turn into a lasting friendship.
As parents, we also need to be able to teach our children how to understand their unique friendship DNA in order to build lasting friendships. Lisa-Jo expands,
“I think it’s helpful for our kids to see that from us. One kid might like to connect through playing sports with somebody, and one kid might like to be talking books with a friend.”
“There are many ways to initiate that will look different for all of us, depending a lot on what our DNA is when it comes to friendship and where it’s the most natural for us.”
In a world of the unfriending phenomenon, it is possible to find and keep lasting friendships. We just need to be willing to take the first step.
Lisa-Jo Baker has been the community manager for (in)courage, an online home for women all over the world, for nearly a decade. She is the author of several books including Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom and Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding & Keeping Lasting Friendships.