Today I read an article titled, “7 Friends Every Woman Needs” and I thought of you. I thought of how this might make you feel sad and lonelier than you already are. About the sacrifice you made to follow your heart/dreams/job to live somewhere far from home, away from the family and girlfriends who have been your support system.
I thought of the conflicting emotions you’re feeling — joy and peace from going where you feel called to be and the aching loneliness that can accompany that transition.
I know how it feels to want to run to Target with a friend who has known you for more than 2 months. Someone who “gets” your weird sense of style and understands why you need to walk through the nail polish aisle twice.
I understand because there was a time when I was you.
10 years ago I moved four hours away from my home town to a new city to marry my husband. I’ve never regretted this decision to relocate, but a few years in, it became increasingly difficult to ignore the fact I didn’t have any close girlfriends my age nearby.
I had many girlfriends, several of whom I considered very close. The problem was not one was located within 45 minutes of my new home, and most were 4+ hours away. This made it next to impossible for impromptu shopping trips, meeting for a quick cup of coffee, going for a run, etc. With considerable distance, everything had to be planned days, if not weeks in advance. This is fine for catching up, but didn’t exactly set the scene for the regular contact I was missing.
Once I realized there was this female friendship void in my life, I took a mental inventory of the places I went and people I interacted with and realized I really didn’t have many opportunities to meet women my age. I worked at a technology startup that was made up of 95% men. It seemed like most people in our church were either of retirement age or had a ton of kids and were always busy. No one talked during spin classes at the gym because we were all too busy trying to catch our breaths between bursts of riding.
To make matters more complicated, as I grew in my faith I not only longed for female friendship, but for female fellowship – girlfriends who shared my Catholic or at least Christian faith and could be an encouragement to me on that journey and vice versa.
For a while I toughed it out, thinking when we had kids I’d bond with the other moms in church or at preschool. But the babies didn’t come and as time passed I felt more and more isolated. I didn’t fit in with the mom groups and I didn’t fit in with the singles crowd that was still going out every night.
I shared my struggle during a call with my sister and she encouraged me to force myself to be more intentional about meeting new people.
So I took her advice and attended more events, made small talk with strangers (which I detest), and put myself out there in a way that felt a lot like dating minus the ability to use my feminine charms. 😉
Before meeting up with a new acquaintance for dinner one night I remember reapplying my lipstick in the car while on the phone with my husband. I asked him to pray we would “click” as friends and we both laughed a little about how nervous I was. But I powered through it and eventually found some local ladies who get me. I’m much more open to new friendships than I was in the past and I think this experience taught me that.
So to you, woman without any female friends nearby, I’d say don’t give up. Keep throwing the line out even when no one picks it up, awkwardly introducing yourself to the stranger in line at the library. You can find your tribe. <3