Choosing intentional friendship

I recently took a blissful, child-free, overnight break with three of my oldest girl friends… and it was so fun and life-affirming!

… Which kind of got me thinking more widely about how important it is to intentionally invest in my deepest, most important friendships.

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Discerning different types of friendships

Have you ever noticed how some friends pass through your life during a particular phase or season, whilst other friendships become life-long?

In my current life stage, I am finding that lots of my friendships tend to be more the product of circumstance, rather than any real intentionality…. friends like work colleagues, neighbours, mums I see at swimming classes or playgroups, and people I bump into at church.

And actually, I think that for the most part this is okay, because life is really busy for most of us, most of the time …

But every now and then, you can also come across people that you click with almost instantly and seem to ‘get you’ deeply. And I think these type of friendships are really worth investing into because these are the friends who you will want to carry with you, throughout every season of life.

‘The righteous choose their friends carefully’

Proverbs 12:26

How my deep friendships look right now

My ‘go to gang’

For me, I know that I always have my immediate, ‘go to’ gang’ who each live quite near by; church friends and mum friends who are in a similar life stage, friends who I can be completely honest with; friends who I know have my back, just like I have theirs, friends who I can call or text for help and advice or to pray at any time of the night or day…

What a blessing these kind of friendships are to me; don’t we all need some people like this in our lives?

And if you’re reading this and thinking but I’m not sure who my go to gang is right now, can I make a small suggestion? Just start being that friend that you want to have, to others, and you’ll be amazed how quickly they emerge…

‘Far away’ friends

There’s also those other, far away friends who used to be in my ‘go to’ gang, but who have since relocated to other parts of the country, for relationships or family or career.

And this group actually includes some of my most favourite people in the world; friends who I have lived with, been to University with, laughed with, partied with, holidayed with, cried with, been bridesmaids for, and them for me …

It’s just that our present circumstances mean that they no longer coincide with my life every day, which means that we no longer are as available to each other in the same way.

Which brings me back to my girls weekend…

We all met each other in our early 20’s, when we young, single and still figuring out life, and had lots more time on our hands. And whilst life has moved us on in different directions and locations, somehow all this shared history and experience is the glue that keeps drawing us back together, regardless of distance and time.

And here we were, reconnecting for just one weekend after a scarily long lapse of time. But as we talked, ate, drank, laughed, reminisced over old stories and shared the new, the surroundings practically melted into insignificance.

It absolutely never ceases to amaze me that no matter how long it’s been since we last talked, how easily and comfortably things just slot straight back into place, from wherever we last left off.

And I am only left wondering why I don’t do these thing more often? They are just so good for my soul!

Never get too busy for friends

Part of the problem I think is that in these busy lives we all live, it can be so easy to let your everyday routine swallow you up whole…

And then suddenly months and months have passed by and you realise that you haven’t called, met up, or been in touch with any of these dear but far away friends for quite some time.

And if you’re anything like me, one day you will probably look around and wonder where all your closest friends went…

The truth is that I am not actually very good at keeping in touch, at calling regularly, or planning future meet ups ahead. Often I find I am already too overloaded in my here and now to even think about it, particularly since having my son.

So can I give you some simple, but hard-earned advice?

Don’t neglect your friendships out of busyness; be intentional about investing time into all of the relationships that matter to you most. Because you need close friendship so much; and I would say even more so, not less, when your life gets really busy.

The fact is that some long-distance relationships are simply too important to be relegated to the Christmas card list just yet, and it just requires a bit more intentionality and effort to stay connected.

And this weekend spent with these three dear friends of mine, was a great reminder of exactly why. Their lives and their stories are so deeply intertwined with my own; so losing hold of those friendships, would actually be like losing a bit of myself.

Besides, is there really anything better for the human soul than being somewhere where you know, and are also fully known?

No one ever died saying that they regretted investing their time with the people who they loved and mattered to them most…

And do you know what? Whenever I actually do make the effort to, I am reminded that it’s always, always worth it – whatever the practical obstacles, effort or cost.

So my advice today is simply this; free up your schedule, save up some money, and make that weekend trip you’ve been talking about for ages.

Because investing a little more quality time into those deep, soul-nourishing friendships is never, ever a decision that you’ll regret.

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