Over the weekend, I spent quality time with a group of friends for belated birthday celebrations.
Due to our busy schedules and the pandemic, we haven’t been able to get together as often as we’d like. Also, we live about ninety minutes apart. Between those face-to-face times, we stay connected through texting, video chats, and social media.
Getting together in person, though, takes time and planning. None of us are in a position where we can “get up and go” at the spur of the moment. Between families, work, and pets, we have other responsibilities that prevent spontaneous get-togethers. So planning is essential.
On Saturday, we gathered on the back patio of our friends’ house and soaked in the conversation, laughter, and sounds of nature as balmy breezes whisked our faces while we ate our lunch. As we enjoyed the tranquility of the afternoon, I admired my friend’s green thumb and the way she had transformed their backyard into a serene oasis. Green plants, vibrant pops of colorful flowers, hanging bird feeders, and peaceful wind chimes offered soothing refreshment for our spirits.
After lunch, we stopped for ice cream, then headed to the beach. We walked along the surf, dug our toes in the sand, and allowed the midafternoon sun to kiss our faces. We concluded a perfect afternoon by taking our signature group selfie, passing out hugs, and promising to get together sooner rather than later.
In the midst of my current busyness, it would have been so easy to cancel the plans and focus on my growing to-do list. However, I needed to step away from my busy schedule in order to return more refreshed and productive. I try to live my life based on my values of faith, family, and friendships. Since friendships are one of my core values, I needed to set aside work to enjoy essential rest with my friends.
Created for relationships
God created us for relationships—first with Him, then with others. As we move through different seasons in our lives, our friendships may change as well. My friends relate to me and feed other parts of my soul that my husband and sons can’t. That’s not a slam against my guys in any way. I value their significance in my life. There’s a bond between friends that is different than a marital bond or one between a parent and a child. And while my husband and boys may appreciate my creative endeavors, my female friends share those same hobbies and understand their value—in the creative pursuit and spending time together.God created us for relationships—first with Him, then with others. #tellhisstory #relationships Click To Tweet
Chatting with a friend over coffee feeds my inner needs of being heard, being seen, and being together because, hopefully, I’m continually cultivating those relationships as well.
I have one friend I see once a month. We meet for breakfast or lunch, and before we part, we look at our calendars and schedule our next date. I have friends I see once a year because we live all around the country. Knowing I’ll be seeing them allows for anticipation to build, and our reunions are so sweet.
Cultivating friendships takes time and discipline. What do you want in a friend? What are you willing to sacrifice and offer? Any relationship requires an element of compromise and investment.Cultivating friendships takes time and discipline. What do you want in a friend? What are you willing to sacrifice and offer? #tellhisstory #friendships Click To Tweet
If you’re struggling to cultivate your friendships, think about how much time you’re willing and able to invest. Invite a friend to become a walking buddy or maybe meet for a cup of coffee at your favorite shop.
If you can’t get together, send a card to express your appreciation. Words go a long way toward cultivating friendships.
I love this quote by Dale Carnegie, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Take time to cultivate the kinds of friendships you’d like to have. First by being that kind of friend, then invest that time in others. Over time, those friendships will bloom and grow, rewarding you with relationships that last a lifetime.
Your Turn: How are you doing at cultivating your friendships?How are you doing at cultivating your friendships? #tellhisstory #friendships Click To Tweet
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It seems like friendships were easier to maintain in school days when we were constantly with our friends. It’s harder now with other obligations–but still necessary. And even though sometimes it seems like we really don’t have the time, it’s worth it in the long run.
Barbara, you’re right. We may not always have the time, but taking the time to invest in those relationships is so vital.
Amen, Lisa! It’s so good to be back again in the company of others, face to face, heart to heart.
Linda, there’s nothing like those in-person hugs, conversations, and laughing together.
I heard the Dale Carnegie quote years ago and it is something that has stuck with me. This was a lovely reminder to invest in friendships as they truly do feed our souls in ways we need. It has been the cards I receive, phone conversations, and text messages which have come to have deep meaning in these days when getting together has become more challenging.
Joanne, I love that quote. And I try to apply it to my relationships. God knows what we need and when we need it. Often, it comes in the form of a phone call, text, card, or even an impromptu cup of coffee.
I love that Dale Carnegie quote, Lisa. I have several friends I meet with regularly over coffee or for a long walk. I’ve been meaning to set up a new round of get-togethers once school was back in session, and this post reminds me how important it is that I actually do it! Thanks for the gentle nudge … 🙂
What a sweet story, honoring our relational God by meeting with friends! I need to do better!
Michele, I know each person’s situation is different, and I have times when I feel like I should do better. However, there are days when I just have to know I’m doing the best I can and need to let go of the rest.
Yes, girlfriend time is sooo important & refreshing!
Great post Lisa!
Thank you, Jennifer. Blessings back to you.
Sadly, I’m not very good at investing in close friendships. As an introvert, it’s hard to make the effort. I have started attending/sometimes hosting our church tea and fellowship meetings—and those are nice. I love the Dale Carnegie quote!
Anita, I hear you–I’m an introvert as well. I do better with close circles of friends than participating with a bunch of strangers. Your tea sounds like a wonderful opportunity to cultivate those friendships.
Lisa, your description of your time together with friends was so life-giving. Such a lovely picture of what God intended for us! Your thoughts on honoring our relational God by cultivating these friendships was a reminder I needed, because like Anita, I’m a hopeless introvert who becomes exhausted relating to others, though I’ve been told I’m good at it and make it look easy! The Dale Carnegie quote reminded me of Proverbs 18:24, “A man that has friends must show himself friendly”. Yes, when we invest in others the return on investment is much more than we realize!
Donna, I know what you mean about being exhausted after spending time with others. Even with my close friends, I still need that downtime to recharge. When you’re sharing your time with others, you may be giving someone else courage to do the same…especially when they think you make it look so easy. That says a lot about you. 🙂
This is an area I need to work on. I, too, am an introvert!
Jerralea, it’s tough for introverts to put ourselves out there. But when we focus on those core friendships, it makes it easier…at least to me.
I’m no good at relationship,
and suck at keeping friends.
Maybe I am just too hip,
or cannot make amends
for seeing all life as a joke,
and laughing at the worst of things,
and giving, then, a gentle poke
and saying sobtiety’s just bling.
This hardly can endear me
to those that I might pursue;
they tend, in fact, to turn and flee,
and tell me that they’re through
with he who uses every breath
to laugh at life, to laugh at death.
Andrew, you have online friends who appreciate your way with words…and your outlook on life.
One must be a friend to have a friend – something I always said to my kids and grandkids!
Susan, that’s a great thing to remember and remind others.
Love this, “I needed to step away from my busy schedule in order to return more refreshed and productive.” It has taken me awhile to learn this lesson, but when I do get together with friends I always return refreshed and more productive. It is just one of the perks of getting together with friends. You get together sounded lovely. I just spend a weekend with my daughter. So refreshing. I don’t think we stopped talking, except when we were sleeping.
Theresa, sounds like you have a wonderful relationship with your daughter. I’m so glad you two could have that quality time together.