About the Author

I'm the mother of two little girls, the wife of an amazing husband who'd rather play the guitar than anything else and I love to write. I spend my weekends watching my daughters ride horses and play soccer. I blog daily and my greatest wish is to see women healed...

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  1. Do you find adult friendships difficult?

    – I do because I spend so much of my time around kids, I feel so awkward around adults. I’ve never been very good at talking to people older than me or my own age anyway, and it still is something I struggle with. Most of my adult friends are all mom’s from the online group I’m part of. That makes it relatively easy for me to open up, but that has it’s downsides too because it’s hard to determine the tone behind the words. For me, adult friendships are kind of like the friendships I had in high school because a lot of the people I know from my generation still have the attitude they had in high school, or they’re not married, or they don’t have kids, so I find it hard to relate.

    What do YOU do when you perceive someone is too busy for you?

    – I give them their space. If it’s someone I’m close to I might ask them about it. But I mostly just let it go ‘cos it’s something I’m used to. Which is terrible to say, but looking back, that’s how it worked in a lot of my friendships.

  2. I have felt the same way especially in the past year or two. It seems like it got so much more complicated to keep friendships going, especially when they’re long distance, and it has caused my heart much turmoil. There have been some friendships where we just have changed, hurt each other in our disagreements, and now are wary of each other although we still communicate. Then there’s others who are just too busy for much friendship, and I long to have a deeper friendship with one in particular and have a hard time accepting the situation as it is. Then there’s other friendships that just aren’t doing well for other reasons, and it has made me feel jr. high-type insecurities all over again and like I’m worthless as a friend. If friends don’t want to make the effort to be my friend, then I am now of a mind to kind of let them go and withdraw. I’ve tried reaching out or at least maintaining, only to be ignored, and it has hurt me. I want to have grace and be long suffering although I don’t always do that very well! Anyways, I realized recently that I was getting much of my self worth from friendships, so I had a shift in my heart towards a more Biblical sense of self. It has been hurtful yet good for me also. I have also learned to value new friendships in my life that are replacing the old ones that are going by the wayside for whatever reason.

    • K, I love your comment. Especially your statement “I realized recently that I was getting much of my self worth from friendships, so I had a shift in my heart towards a more Biblical sense of self.” That’s exactly what God has been teaching me. Thank you for putting it so succinctly!

    • You’re welcome! It’s been freeing to me to realize anew that my worth is in Christ. It has made it so much easier on me in my new friendships to where I can just relax and enjoy them and enjoy being myself. The myself I am today is not the same myself I was with my old friends, and that’s ok!

  3. oh yeah! I still very much feel like a middle school girl all over again. But, perspective is something and that is grace – to see that we’re all busy raising children and that maybe that person I’m struggling with feels insecure with her worth. Empathy floods my heart and I realize it’s not all about me (though hard, yes). “Loving anyway” is so important.

    Rich blessings in your friendships, Sarah…

  4. Yes! I think making and keeping adult friendships are terribly hard to do! I am 41 and can say that now I have more friends than I have since high school. But these have only developed in the last 3 years! I had learned not to trust people growing up and in high school that peaked. I had friends in college and some knew the real me, others just saw the party girl who loved to have ‘fun’! They didn’t know me and honestly neither did I. I kept it that way the last 20 years. I tried so hard to forget my past that I forgot me as well. In doing this I also stopped making friends. I had friends/acquaintances but maybe only 1 or 2 people knew me, the real me. Now that God has been helping me sort of the evils of my past and regroup, he has brought real, genuine, Christ centered friends into my life. He is awesome that way! BUT my insecurities still get in the way and when one in particular pulls away briefly I panic! She works fulltime plus some at our church, she is a wonderful wife, a great mother of 4 teens, a surrogate mom to an international exchange student and serves whole heartedly at all times to others. Including me. She is busy and sometimes she needs a break, but I panic. I tell her my feelings and she reassures me and then I understand. Now she tells me if she remembers, that she will be busy, gone, unavailable etc. so that I don’t panic. Not because she feels she has to do it, but she cares about me. She is teaching me about showing others love, prayer and grace!

    Lisa

  5. Sarah, for me, adult friendships have been difficult mainly because of my expectations. All my life I have wanted a “best friend,” but when one has seemingly come into my life, I have literally sucked the life out of the friendship with my clinginess. God is teaching me, through some painful times (most recently a “best friend” moving to the other side of the country), two primary things: 1) No friendship on earth can surpass or replace my relationship with Him, and 2) my part in a friendship needs to center more on what I can give to the other person rather than what I can get.

    But it’s still hard. When I perceive that someone is too busy for me, I tend to draw back and rebuild the walls around me. For me, it’s a reaction to perceived rejection.

    Thank you, Sarah. I love your writing!

    • Barbie, I totally agree and have very similar tendencies! You fully described my heart and behavior when I haven’t been able to identify. And, you identified what God wants most – for me to seek Him, and for me to give of myself instead of receiving.

  6. Recently an old friend of mine passed away…we used to be thick as theives! Then life happened and does what life does…it moved us in different directions!

    Well, the last time we corresponded I did make sure to tell her I love her…it’s in writing somewhere among her things…she didn’t take the letter with her, I can only hope she took my heart with her…because I haven’t seen her in better than a year! …she lives only a town away…

    but life…it just happens…

    Now, I make sure that if a friend, close or far, enters my heart and thoughts that I reach out…even with just a text telling them that I love them. My friend’s recent passing reminded me of something I was already acutely aware of…

    Tell Them YOU love them! It’s important, especially in those relationships where life and time has inserted a road block.

    That’s what I do.
    Blessings,
    Andrea

  7. This really struck home for me. I haven’t had close friends in years. After high school everyone moved their own way. Then I was always the youngest in my work environment so cultivating friends from work outside of work was hard. I went to college at night which left very little time for my husband let alone socializing. Now I’m a stay-at-home mom with two kids, one of which has special needs. All the moms I’ve met since my son was born work and I no longer do. They also have older children with lots of activities. We used to have a play group but everyone became too busy. Our church is 30 miles away and when my son is in school the commute doesn’t give me time to get there, participate and get back in time. We have a church closer to our home but they don’t offer much outside activities and aren’t really willing to include my son because of his special needs. I’m hoping that when my youngest child can go to a preschool, I’ll be able to do more things outside the house and make friends.

    • i’m so sorry tammy. I understand that feeling of isolation. my prayer for you is that you find some real and amazing women to connect with very soon.

  8. Sarah,

    It’s funny because several (in) posts lately have been about friendship, the hard side; and I was **this close** to writing one of my own, but honestly, it’s too painful. But I read your words and I know it’s not just me and I’m comforted because someone in the Body knows my hurt; though I know Jesus knows and cares, it’s different when he gives me someone on earth, flesh and blood…who can encourage me with words like this.

    Love you :).

  9. Your article and reading through the comments here has convinced me I’m not the only person who finds maintaining friendships to be incredibly difficult. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Great devotional thought Sarah!

    thanks for sharing!

    I understand your problem with your friend. I have a friend who does the same thing– she never calls unless something’s in it for her like attending an event with friends and she’s not there when I need her to be. I can’t rely on her at all. I want to talk to her about these issues but cannot because again, she never answers her phone or replies even when I leave a voice message.

    So when you said in your devotional how you love your friend and pray for her anyway, that’s great but it’s not easy. I don’t understand how this friend of mine can claim to be a friend but never is there.

    But I’m happy you found a solution to your situation!

    • thanks alexis. i think the main thing is giving someone the amount of grace (even time and time again) that has been extended to me. I call it grace-lending. (it was given to me to “borrow” and I lend it out freely.)

      it is hard though. VERY hard.

  11. Thanks for this post. I also posted recently on friendships, only skimmed the surface, and STILL worried about looking like a “loser.” It’s really hard to open up about this because we think that everyone else has it figured out. Thanks for the honesty here.

    I definitely have a hard time with friendships. I grew up thinking it was wrong to be “girly” so I missed out on a lot during the developmental years. Now, with three kids and a growing writing platform, things are even harder. However, we go to a church that seeks to be “incarnational.” I REALLY wrestle with how to do that when I have a hard time with friendships.

    I think, mostly, I try to remember grace, and even when it’s hard, I keep trying to reach out to other women. I’m beginning to learn that it’s hard for everyone, not just me.

    • yeah. it’s hard for so many of us. i wonder why sometimes.

      maybe we wouldn’t feel so alone if we knew others struggled too. thank you Monica.

  12. Thanks for your post. It was great for me too to read this and realize that I’m not the only person who sometimes feels this way. It’s amazing to me that even as adult women we are still have the same hurts, jealousies and clinginess as we did when we were in Jr. High.! At least that is my “me centered, looking-for-self-worth-in-friendships” nature.

    When I feel lonely, or passed over by friends, I sing to myself that worship song, “Jesus, Friend forever,” and I think of Jesus as my Dearest, Most Faithful Friend. One of my mantras is “Freely you have received. Freely give.” If I feel I’m not “receiving” from a friend, I try to continue giving to her. Or else I focus on giving to others. This helps me take my eyes off of myself, so that it’s not all about me.

    I do have a very lovely best friend. We are like sisters, but we are different. She is a social butterfly with a thousand friends. I tend to focus on a few closer relationships. I try to let go and accept our differences. Sometimes I do let her know if I’m feeling a bit slighted, and she responds graciously. I recognize that she is not always perceptive to my needs, and she actually appreciates it if I let her know. Other times I let go of my expectations on her. I don’t want to be unfair by placing unrealistic expectations on her that only Jesus can meet.

  13. This is a more complex thing than meets the eye. I can echo most of the comments above. When I feel a friendship drifting away, I try not to make it a personal/intentional thing and give people the benefit of the doubt that they’re just busy and overwhelmed with life. It’s just the season we’re in. There will be future days when the kids need us less and the fog of activity has lifted and we’ll be able to (re-)cultivate those gal pal bonds again. The first time I tasted this rift of abandonment was when my best girlfriends started dating and being into boys when I was not yet at that place. Then comes marriage – another tug apart. Then children – it’s off the charts. Most moms end up placing themselves last on the take-care list, including personal time with other adults. There may not be enough strength to take that shower or no clean clothes right now to wear to that outing with a friend! If you are a driven, attractive gal who works out and is pretty, but your friend has been gaining weight or just been feeling ‘ugly’ – she may not be all that into hanging out with you. I know I have often felt the elephant of comparison in the room; insecurities do that, And everyone has them, whether we admit to it or not or want to have them or not. I just read “Who Calls Me Beautiful” by Regina Franklin and I believe many of us Christian women/moms say with our lips that what matters is not on the outside but then we belie that with our statements about ourselves, or with how low we rank ourselves on the list of things that are worthy of time and mention. Sitting with God and saturating in His unconditional acceptance is the only remedy I can think of…

    • anon – this an AMAZING comment. thank you so much for sharing and taking the time to unleash your thoughts for all of us to read.

      i relate. sometimes life can seem like a series of pullings-apart from our closest people.

      thank you again.

  14. This is a more complex thing than meets the eye. I can echo most of the comments above. When I feel a friendship drifting away, I try not to make it a personal/intentional thing and give people the benefit of the doubt that they’re just busy and overwhelmed with life. It’s just the season we’re in. There will be future days when the kids need us less and the fog of activity has lifted and we’ll be able to (re-)cultivate those gal pal bonds again. The first time I tasted this rift of abandonment was when my best girlfriends started dating and being into boys when I was not yet at that place. Then comes marriage – another tug apart. Then children – it’s off the charts. Most moms end up placing themselves last on the take-care list, including personal time with other adults. There may not be enough strength to take that shower or no clean clothes right now to wear to that outing with a friend! If you are a driven, attractive gal who works out and is pretty, but your friend has been gaining weight or just been feeling ‘ugly’ – she may not be all that into hanging out with you. I know I have often felt the elephant of comparison in the room; insecurities do that, And everyone has them, whether we admit to it or not or want to have them or not. I just read “Who Calls Me Beautiful” by Regina Franklin and I believe many of us Christian women/moms say with our lips that what matters is not on the outside but then we belie that with our statements about ourselves, or with how low we rank ourselves on the list of things that are worthy of time and mention. Sitting with God and saturating in His unconditional acceptance is the only remedy I can think of…

  15. Mostly I do a lot of praying for myself and my friends all in the grip of busyness. Many of my best friends live far away. We spend time on the phone and online chatting and that is the best we can do. My best friend here in town is moving out of the country in a few months so that will become a long distance friendship as well. I’m good at that, or at least I guess I am because those are the friendships that mean the most to me and seem to be the easiest to maintain. Long distance travel is expensive, but we do manage it from time to time. Keep trying and keep praying; that’s the best that you can do!

  16. What a beautifully transparent post. I too have found adult female relationships very difficult to a)understand and b)negotiate. I have many people who are friends but only a few that I am able to invest fully in … and when the “investment” is not offered inkind it is very painful. I find it ironic that as I watch women pursue friendships – they are often drawn to a friendship in which the level of loyalty or devotion is not returned with the same intensity. What is the allure of the one who ‘isn’t as interested’ instead of receiving from those who so willingly offer their acceptance and time? I find myself in both these places often!!!!!
    While it is true that we are a busy fast paced society … I think it is vital that we treat others with gentleness … especially those whom the Lord has placed in our intimate circles. I have written several things about how important this is myself lately … how our words and proclamations ought be reflected in our actions … thank you for your insight!

    • mmm. what a beautiful reminder: treating others with gentleness. i think that is a very much needed reminder for me for today. thank you so much.

  17. Yes, adult friendships are difficult sometimes.
    Some friendships survive the removal times. They survive the change of house, neighbourhood, school, work, exercise class, book group…(even that). They survive through letters, emails, Christmas cards, maybe even the occasional brief phone call, snatched meetings – maybe even once every ten years.
    These friends – heart friends, beneath the skin friends, joined at the hip friends – are ever lasting, happily ever after, for all eternity friends.
    Often, usually, predominantly, friends of the faith. Fellow Christians. For these are friends who are closer than a brother (or sister).
    So what is hard, doubly hard at the moment, is when friendships that I thought were solid, true, close, supportive, caring, loving, almost perfect…when these friendships do not survive a change of church.
    The change was not for any wrong reasons. No, it was not because we had become dissatisfied with the worship (it’s not for us anyway), nor the preaching (my responsibility is to HEAR properly, not criticize those who speak the words God gives them), nor even bad relationships. It was simply a response to God’s call, so, reluctantly, we moved. Perhaps for a season – we might be back. We don’t know.
    It’s a hard move.
    So it’s been a shock when I return to visit – which I do regularly – and become invisible. Those brothers and sisters seem to have forgotten that I am part of the family. Their lives have moved on, without me.
    That’s a shock, but it’s inevitable. I can cope with that. I realise that not everyone uses the same industrial strength friendship glue as I do. Their loyalties lie in other directions.
    No, what hurts is the friend I’d thought was a ‘keeping friend’. The friend I drank coffee with, walked with, laughed with, cried with, prayed with, the friend I thought loved me.
    The friend who, busy with her life, almost acts as if I am ignoring her because I do not meet her at church any more.
    Yet I long for her support, her acceptance of my move, her love.
    We’re still friends, but it’s not the same, There is a new tension. She says things which make me feel unwelcome around her. She is irritated with some of my new friends. She doesn’t text or call.
    So what now?
    I have always believed that god standard – better than gold standard – friendships reach a level of intensity that is make or break. The godly response is to make. It takes two.
    So, yes. I love her anyway. I pray for her anyway. I GRACE her anyway.

  18. Sorry, I didn’t mean to be anonymous. Please my previous (identical) comment.

    Yes, adult friendships are difficult sometimes.
    Some friendships survive the removal times. They survive the change of house, neighbourhood, school, work, exercise class, book group…(even that). They survive through letters, emails, Christmas cards, maybe even the occasional brief phone call, snatched meetings – maybe even once every ten years.
    These friends – heart friends, beneath the skin friends, joined at the hip friends – are ever lasting, happily ever after, for all eternity friends.
    Often, usually, predominantly, friends of the faith. Fellow Christians. For these are friends who are closer than a brother (or sister).
    So what is hard, doubly hard at the moment, is when friendships that I thought were solid, true, close, supportive, caring, loving, almost perfect…when these friendships do not survive a change of church.
    The change was not for any wrong reasons. No, it was not because we had become dissatisfied with the worship (it’s not for us anyway), nor the preaching (my responsibility is to HEAR properly, not criticize those who speak the words God gives them), nor even bad relationships. It was simply a response to God’s call, so, reluctantly, we moved. Perhaps for a season – we might be back. We don’t know.
    It’s a hard move.
    So it’s been a shock when I return to visit – which I do regularly – and become invisible. Those brothers and sisters seem to have forgotten that I am part of the family. Their lives have moved on, without me.
    That’s a shock, but it’s inevitable. I can cope with that. I realise that not everyone uses the same industrial strength friendship glue as I do. Their loyalties lie in other directions.
    No, what hurts is the friend I’d thought was a ‘keeping friend’. The friend I drank coffee with, walked with, laughed with, cried with, prayed with, the friend I thought loved me.
    The friend who, busy with her life, almost acts as if I am ignoring her because I do not meet her at church any more.
    Yet I long for her support, her acceptance of my move, her love.
    We’re still friends, but it’s not the same, There is a new tension. She says things which make me feel unwelcome around her. She is irritated with some of my new friends. She doesn’t text or call.
    So what now?
    I have always believed that god standard – better than gold standard – friendships reach a level of intensity that is make or break. The godly response is to make. It takes two.
    So, yes. I love her anyway. I pray for her anyway. I GRACE her anyway.

    • Angie, I can so relate to the church issue and how that changes dynamics of friends. My family switched churches several years ago (clearly what God had “next” for us) and many times I said, “I’d have rather moved across country than stay in the same town”…I think I would have stayed in touch more with some people that way. I will say that prayer and perseverance on your part goes a long way and letting God do the work in our heart that he wants to do. I once saw a wall plaque that says “The best antiques are old friends”…and so I let the current friendships be weathered through lifes changes and hope for a future treasure!

    • oh wow. you have no idea how close to home your comment was for me. we switched churches last summer.

      that’s all i can say in public, but I understand you more than you know. i’m so sorry it’s been hard for you. I really do understand. =(

  19. Oh my, yes!
    I was just grieving over one friend who always responds to my email, but if I don’t write she won’t initiate (write twice to me). I get to wondering what’s up with her and as I look back in my overstuffed inbox I see it was my turn to write…shamed I send her an email…until she closed that account and I don’t have a new one for her.
    I lost a best friend at 15 to cancer.
    It has impacted all my friendships, who I am as a friend.
    I pondered classmate friendships: the kind where you’re just friendly while thrown together for a season, although some of these turn into longer lifetime friends. I think it has to be a mutual need-love or recognition of dear friendship.
    A friend who blessed me when we were living in CT told me when her best friend moves away she picks up the phone once a week for life to check in.
    She also has a small group to which she writes updates. I begged her to add me to that group, and then I imitated her (after my mother died and I had to tell someone those happy things I would have told mom) but my list grew long!
    I am always willing to cultivate deep friendship. But the people that have only task oriented friendships have no clue, so I try to recognize them and accept that from them, enjoying even that time together as a gift from God, without expecting depth.
    My hope? It’s heaven, where we all will be magically deep, for we shall be like him when we see him as he is (1 John 3:2).
    Love, Prayer, Grace, amen.

    • Oh, I just love the truth you wrote here: “…so I try to recognize them and accept that from them, enjoying even that time together as a gift from God, without expecting depth.” This is what I am learning too. I am grieving the loss of a friendship that I so wanted DEPTH out of, but I tried so hard to please at all costs, to make her happy thinking it would make me happy, and hiding my own hurts and pain until anger exploded. I wish I had understood this truth – to recognize and accept her for who she is and not try to make the friendship more than it was, to just enjoy it as it was without expecting depth. Thank you for your words.

  20. Oh my, grown-up relationships can be so hard. I have someone very dear to me that lives about 13 hours away. We had our first wee-bit of a falling out several years ago and it’s been hard to bounce back. When she has called I’ve been busy. When I call she’s busy. And I miss her.
    When we get stuck in leaving numerous voicemails and text messages, I revert to something we have both loved ~ letter writing. I send her snail mail. And she sends me snail mail in return. And it’s like the most incredible way of making time for one another, because we’re not squeezing in a text or a quick phone call. We are purposely sitting and thinking and writing out life to one another. I actually think it’s a bit more fun this way.
    I think we will be okay, even as life takes us down different paths. We have a connection and memories that, in the end, will mean more than our fast-paced lives.
    Love and prayer and grace…just like you said.

  21. Oh yes…I thought I was reading my own thoughts as I read your words. “All signs point to her not having time for me.” How often I have thought that…and still do. I am grieving the loss of a friendship I thought was more than it was, but now I’m seeing it for what it really was…and it grieves my heart. I put SO much into and expected so much out of it, that I am left disappointed and heartbroken. Ugh… I am just so thankful for His grace and love that covers all that pain and that one day He really will wash away all those tears. And, even more, I am thankful for the one friendship I have that will never disappoint me and never leave me heartbroken, because the Lord will never leave or forsake me.

  22. Hi Sarah,

    What a heart filled and relative question you pose. It’s important that others can see they are not alone in this experience with friendships. Kudos! I used to be one of those people standing there shell shocked, wondering what have I done to be treated this way. Dismissed.

    Really though, it’s usually not about you when someone diss’s you. The way you described your friends actions she seems to have a Choleric temperament. Knowing the different temperament types and behaviors can offer insight into why people do the things they do. It’s because we are made that way. Not because of what you do or who you are.
    Choleric personalities don’t need friends. People are a means to an end to them. That’s not a bad thing, God made them that way, but w/o a good up bringing they must learn, from others boundaries, how to relate lovingly to people. It doesn’t come naturally to them.

    It sounds like you have unmet needs and look to your friend to meet them. Grace posses no expectations. You can draw healthy boundaries for your self, and should. There are many others who need your friendship and attention, love them. That’s what Jesus did.

    I have answered/posted many times to your questions, and noticed you respond to some postings, but not mine. Should I be hurt? We are friends in this on line community. You have even asked for financial support for your cause. That spells friends to me (maybe I have it wrong). But I don’t put expectations on you to respond. If I did, I would be disappointed. That wouldn’t be looking to Jesus to meet my need for love and approval it would be looking to you.

    much love,
    many blessings,
    Dawn

    • I don’t know what “personality type” you are, but your comment here comes across very know-it-all and obnoxious. If this is how you normally comment then that is probably the reason you don’t get responses. Just a tip. 😉

      • If you are going to call someone on something, especially in such a harsh way, at least have the decency and courage to put your name on your opinion. If it is posted anonymously it has no credibility and therefore can and should be disregarded.

          • Yes, this is how I normally comment. It isn’t for everyone. But as Jesus says, you who judge do the same thing. Translations; it takes one to know one. I don’t expect replies, my point was, Sarah shouldn’t put expectations on her friend, (needless pain, giving Satan an opportunity) nor bare the responsibility for her friends insensitivity; because that’s the nature of certain individuals.
            Some will get me/what I mean, with a open heart, some won’t. It’s okay. God knows my intent is to help and love. God uses people differently. God sent a man to curse at King David once. Davids friends said, that’s a mean guy, he shouldn’t say mean things to the King! Then David said, wait…shall I listen to the Lord only when it sounds good, maybe this man is sent by the Lord.
            Maybe God will make me more palatable for you, anonymous or Lucy. I pray He does. I apologize that you were offended.

    • Wow Dawn. I’m so sorry I’m just now getting to this. I usually don’t get posted on Incourage on a Sunday so I normally have time scheduled into my day to respond.

      1st issue – comment responding.
      Sometimes I respond to EVERY comment. Sometimes I respond to some comments. And sometimes I respond to NO comments. I read each one. It really depends on the day, my personal life and the actual post to determine how I respond. Today (because I am in the process of responding to ALL comments) I would have responded to you even if you weren’t challenging in your comment.

      2nd issue – It seems as if you are “diagnosing” my friend “problem” using a post with about 500 words. With all respect to you, that hardly seems fair. Perhaps I do have unmet needs. But perhaps I do not. For you to assume that is merely an assumption.

      3rd issue – This story did happen. It is in all respects true, but i simply used it as an illustration to support a point about love and grace. The situation was far more complicated than i was able to share or should share in a post like this.

      i appreciate your comment. i appreciate that you feel comfortable to share your perspective in an eloquent way. however, I’ll ask in a respectful way to be careful about the assumptions you make in regard to my personality or responsiveness.

      • Dawn, I get it. It’s funny, the part where you mentioned unmet needs had me bristling at first, thinking, wow, that seems kinda harsh. But… then I thought, “why” am I sort of offended by that? Well, probably because there’s truth to it, for me anyway. When you said “it’s usually not about you when someone diss’s you”… so true. We, as humans, and especially women, can tend to get our feelings hurt or become very self focused and automatically think… it’s something *I* did wrong, I’m not good enough, etc. But as Sarah writes, it’s very often about someone else’s being too busy, or no emotionally available, or not interested, or whatever.

        I am one who sufferes lonliness because all my past relationships, that were ones of depth, have faded away. (So yeah, BIG unmet need.) Life took us to different place, different universities, countries, careers, beliefs… and in order to maintain relationships of depth, or at all, BOTH parties have to be intentional about pursueing it. And as a stay at home mom, which is SO incredibly isolating, I can’t make friends, or at least not ones who have time to cultivate friendship. It’s very easy for me to sort of “have a pity party” and wonder why everyone abandoned me, why no one loves me enough to still be friends, to call, write, why no one has time for me. Aren’t I worth it? Did I do something wrong? Wasnt’ I good enough? But then, as one friend so bluntly put it, she “just doesn’t know what to talk about with me anymore,” because life took us in different directions, and we don’t have much common ground. Yes, that hurt my feelings. But it also says, it’s not about me. Ironically, the ONE friend from H.S. that I still maintain something of a relationship with, lives a life so on the opposite end of the spectrum from me, yet we both make an effort to still be friends. We feel that loyalty in our hearts that clings to what we have, even if it’s more of what used to be. But “I love her anyway. I pray for her anyway. And I grace her anyway.” And I think she loves me all the more for it.

        Sarah – I see you have your feathers ruffled, and I think that’s natural. To be expected, even. I don’t think Dawn was trying to diagnose or make assumptions, but, as you stated, challenge you in your way of thinking. Maybe (and I’m not trying to be challenging, because I had to take pause also) you should think about *why* you are feeling offended. What tender spot has this comment touched in you? I’ve found that’s usually an opening for God to come in and do some good work. We all have need of friendship. That’s how God created us – for fellowship, relationship, koinonia.

  23. What an awesome post!

    I’m kind of the friend that doesn’t call back.

    I have had a few friendships (including those with my own mom and sister) where I just get TIRED of the relationship. Not bored, but totally exhausted. When the phone rings, I’m thinking, “Oooooo sheesh. I really don’t think I have all the encouragement and love and attention that this caller is wanting,” — So I let it go to voicemail.
    Honestly, I dread calling people back some days, wishing in my heart that for ONCE I could have a friendship where my friend on the other end doesn’t just pour out all their heartache and hurt, but *really* asks me about my own heart, about my life. Someone for once that will offer Godly wisdom, perspective. Someone who totally *gets* me, and points me to Christ.
    Most of my relationships by far turn into people needing me for a ray of sunshine. Sometimes I just am all shined out, and I want out after a while.
    So I don’t answer the phone.
    I know that for me it’s because I have a hard time telling the truth, saying what I really need. I don’t honestly believe that most of my friends would even be able to give me the kind of encouragement and support that I really long for.
    SOOO I must remember that Christ is my all-in-all. I absolutely MUST draw my worth, my comfort, my peace, my encouragement from Him first. Then maybe I wouldn’t find most of my relationships to be sooo draining.
    Hope this perspective from the other side is helpful. Even though I totally know it’s not a healthy, whole place to come from, it maybe be how those friends are feeling when you stop hearing from them…
    With love…

    • thank you so much for your comment.

      no, i’ve been on that side too. i understand the friendships that absolutely drain the energy from you. i totally get that.

      thank you so much for your encouragement that all of our worth, peace comes from Christ. =)

    • wow this too is me…hearing that I have new messages just paralyzes me. My to do list is soooo long and there are days I can’t get to my calls and then i don’t feel like going through all the exuses..soo i just ignore. I have lost many friends b/c of this BUT as I am further into my thirties I find that my true friends who reallly really love me know I struggle w/ this and are there when time allows and they know that if it was a emergency I would be there in a instant…So my real friends list has shrunk BUT i knda like it that way:)

  24. I moved to a new state last year and have come to believe that making friends is akin to dating. There’s this hesitancy to reveal oneself, a fear that you’ll come on too strong when you first connect, the hope that the other person likes you as much as you like them. I’ve been blessed by a great community here and I’m glad it’s continuing to grow. Yes, grown-up friendships can be more complicated but it’s worth it.

  25. I can relate. It makes me sad sometimes that the friendship has changed…but grace and love are gifts I can always give.

  26. Everything in this world breaks, including relationships. Many times life slowly rips friendships apart and in doing so it causes tension in the relationship. What I have come to realize is that if I have done everything in my power to hold on to or save a friendship and it keeps pulling apart, I believe there is a greater hand at work. I believe God puts people in your life for seasons and you love them and enjoy them for as long as you have them. Then when life puts distance between you, you don’t let there be tension. You keep loving them even if it be from afar. God may have someone else He wants you to invest your life into. He may be shifting your anchors a bit as He has did with me. http://www.simplelifejourney.com/2011/05/anchors.html

    • thanks Janna! i did read your anchors post.

      love you. thanks for leaving a comment. you rock. =)

      ps – i’ve enjoyed watching your life unfold the last couple years and what God has done with you and through you. you are amazing.

  27. I’ve been feeling friendships slipping away in the past year, too. It does really feel like everyone is running at such a frantic pace (especially here in Orange County). But I know that I’ve also been the friend on the other end – the one whose life is so harried that calls go unanswered. I love that you are praying for your friend. It’s a good reminder to me – to both pray for a few friends, and to return a few phone calls.

    • i hear you kristen. i think there are a few phone calls i need to make too.

      yep – it does seem frantic and hurried here. yikes. sometimes i just want to hide. =(

  28. Your post was very meaningful! I have had a difficult journey the last few years.
    Within that learning curve my faith has grown so much!!!! My trust has grown in a God who loves me just the way I am that was a marvelous, freeing revelation. But because of that journey it is hard to make friendships, ones that are lasting and endearing. I take each step, each minute, and each day to grow in grace.

  29. Oh, adult friendships are tough, but for me I need them. If I don’t have a few girls to count on and love and hold me accountable, I’m a mess. They are worth the work regardless of how busy life gets.

  30. This really hit home with me…especially as I read others comments. I have battled chronic fatigue syndrome for the past 16 years which has left me quite isolated. God has brought a measure of healing to me, but I can’t keep up with the frantic pace of today’s living.
    I have noticed that whenever I call, friends are glad to do lunch. We have a great chat, but then nothing. I know they care but I guess life gets in the way of relationships these days. I hate to admit that I have indulged in self pity at times wondering what’s wrong with me. It’s amazing to me to read so many healthy women experience the same frustrations with “friends” as I do.
    It has really bothered me that lately the church has begun to refer to ladies’ gatherings as “girls’ gatherings. “Bring your girlfriends” is the way the advertising goes! I’ve seen this a number of places so know it’s not just my fellowship. Nothing makes me feel more friendless than reading such an invite. I know lots of people but it would be nice to have a special friend to go with. I guess it’s time to reach out and invite someone else who’s alone. Seems like there’s a bunch of us out there!
    Now if I can just find the energy….

    • i’m so sorry susan. i’m sorry that others have hurt you. you are not alone in this. my prayer for you is that you find some women who will gather you up and care for you in the way that you need. thank you so much for your honest comment.

  31. Oh to just slow down and breathe once and a while! Thanks for the reminder to keep picking up the phone (or keyboard), even when it’s hard. I would not be who I am today without the friends God has blessed me with.

  32. It’s tough and sadly, I am notorious for not returning calls but I always return texts. I don’t like to talk on the phone, most women don’t understand that. And if I am feeling depressed, I won’t answer or call back. I also have a bad habit of listening to a voice mail and then forgetting to call back :-/ It’s embarrassing. I have great friends. I love them all dearly, sometimes I’m just not a good friend.

    Blessings,
    Mel
    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

    • Mel, I relate to you. Nothing robs me of joy or focus faster than a long winded phone conversation. Some of us are just wired that way. It’s not about our friends or anything they do. We can’t be all things to all people, no one can. Jesus wants it that way, so we don’t worship each other over Him. imho 🙂

  33. i do find adult relationships tough to maintain and continue. people move on as we all do with different jobs, kids, familes, and sometimes they physically move. i know im a flake sometimes, i have a family to care for and full time work and school. but i make sure my friends know that i miss and love them very much and we continue trying to make time for friendship. their effort means so much to me.

  34. Hi Sarah. How is it you happen to know exactly what I’m going through all the time?
    My adult life is still very young, and a lot of my friends are getting married. I’m not married (yet! but soon!!) so I’ve been sort of kicked out of the group. One friend especially doesn’t have time for me at all, just her husband and her married friends. It has definitely hurt my feelings over the past few months to be constantly ignored due to my marital status, but the last part of what you said encouraged me.
    Thanks, Sarah. I’ll keep praying for her, stay encouraged, hold on to the friends that do want me around, and pray for new ones!

  35. Same boat. I’m 36, married with two little one and I feel lonely at times. Whenever I meet someone I “click” with, I automatically assume she is too busy for a new friendship. I also stress if I have to be the initiator (place a call to set up lunch or whatever), like I’m intruding. Overall I’m a pretty happy/healthy person, and it’s SO reassuring to know that there are at least 50-plus women feeling the same types of things. I am reminded to lean on Him, and to ease up on the self-consciousness 🙂 This was a much-needed post, and many thanks to the commenters as well.

    • yes. i think that a good thing i’ve learned from yesterday and today is that there are so many of us who are feeling the same way. thanks julia!

  36. I agree, adult friendships ARE hard. I thought they would get easier when we “grew up”. I met a person recently and had about a year and a half of a good friendship – growing, learning and then she did something I never expected and I ended up truly hurt and bewildered. She moved on to other friends and I was left alone. Finding it very difficult to trust again. Really enjoyed your article. Thank you.

  37. I think women need to view friendships like a guy. That’s a huge generalization, but I’ve been thinking about this for a while and it rings true for me. My husband has two best friends that he talks to sporadically, yet they don’t get mad at each other and there is no tension when they do talk. He says women assume too much and think the worst where guys just don’t care. When it comes those friends that I don’t talk to regularly, or the ones that seem to have time for everyone but me, I just enjoy my time with them when I have it. I try not to read too much into the silence between the calls. I mostly try to remember that every relationship has a season and a reason. I just chalk it up to a quiet season, and I hope for it to change somewhere down the road.

  38. thank you for this 🙂 i have so many good aquaintances but yearn for that sister in Christ that i can walk through life with, share hearts with and with whom i can lift up to He who Loves us best of all. i have been singing that old hymn “what a friend we have in Jesus” every time i feel my lonilness creep up on me. i have found adult friendship very hard to understand, and in fact just this morning was told that i didn’t know “how this world and culture really works,” by someone i thought was a good and kind friend. it stung at first and then that Still Small Voice reminded me, “i am not of this world. that i am okay the way i am because i am His child, created by Him and for Him.” one day, i will find a sister in Christ and i will be able to say to her, “i have been praying for you since before we met.” and if that never happens, i will always have my Jesus, “can i find a friend so faithful? who will all my sorrows shars?” 🙂

  39. Adult friendships are SO hard!! But I think its because its all a balancing act the older you get. When we were kids, our friends were our lives. When our parents suddenly became un-cool, the people we were with the most, were kids our age, at school, at church, in sports teams. It was so easy to be a friend/have a friend as a kid. Its when we become adults and gain more responsibilities that friendships really take a toll on us.
    Personally for me, I find it difficult to make my friends a top priority. I would much rather be spending time at home with my husband and children. But then I see my friends out having fun without me and I feel left out. So its a double-edged sword.

  40. Oh thank you for this Sarah. I have been feeling like this for quite some time now. I feel like my so called friends only call me when they want me to do something for them. Never just a ‘hi how are you?’ call. Having only one child while most of my friends have 3 gives me a lot more free time. It’s hard though. Sometimes I feel like I am left out on purpose.The loneliness is difficult at times. Yes, adult friendships are so very hard.

  41. I really appreciated this topic. Mainly because I am dealing with this issue and have been for about a year.
    I have often told my husband that I am tired of this season of life and so hurt by my own expectations on people. I beat myself up for about 6 months, assuming that I was expecting too much from people and I needed to “lower my standards” (for lack of a better phrase) in regards to friendship.
    I have come to realize that having expectations and standards in friendship is not a bad thing. It’s not stifling and in fact, it’s necessary.
    We have expectations of school teachers, our husbands, our pastor…even our mailman.
    If those standards, the ones that are important and healthy aren’t met…there is a conversation and change needs to happen.
    Why is it so wrong and taboo to set expectations with friends?
    I suppose, for too long, I believed the lie that I need to be o.k with whatever time people had for me. While I, like everyone else in the world, have a lot going on…I still make time for my friends. I call them. I text. I write. I invite them over.
    And I expect that in return. I finally accepted that there is nothing wrong with wanting that, needing that and expecting that.
    I suppose for the past few years, I did all the chasing with people. I would call, I would write, I would pursue and It made me so tired and so hurt. I felt like almost no one wanted to be my friend, unless I was doing contacting them.
    I don’t believe that we should allow the hurried nature of society to dictate and serve as an excuse for not maintaining our relationships. We use the phrase “I’m so busy” as an excuse to not do so many basic, important things. I believe that the “busy life” has robbed us of relationships, quite honestly.

    I suppose this could come across as rather harsh and final, but I do also try to exercise much grace and mercy in friendships because there have been times that I have needed space and distance as well. I have had seasons where I was not the best friend. We all go through this.
    In no way do I force my friends to live up to ridiculous “standards” and check off a “friend chart”, but I AM open and honest with them that I need a little more than a text every two weeks.
    Honesty has changed everything.

    I would also echo the comment above from the person that left their home church and felt isolated.
    While I don’t want to get into the specifics of the situation, I completely understand where she is coming from. We recently left our home church {after attending for 9 years} and felt it was under the best terms possible-God was calling us to move on.
    We have been SO hurt with the response, sadly. A total lack of grace, support and love was shown.

    All that to say, it has been a year of realizations, conclusions and growth.
    Friendships are made to build us up in Christ, encourage us and keep us accountable. We simply can’t do that if we aren’t making time for one another. Yes it’s hard, but it’s necessary and important.

    Thanks for such a timely and important post, Sarah.

  42. I’m trying to learn that I have a tendency to expect to receive a lot more grace from friends than I am often willing to dole out. My desire and need for interaction with friends is a good deal greater than the gals that I am close with. I am the extrovert in the midst of quite a few introverts….so 1 phone call a month and a couple of outings and emails is sufficient for them while I would love more. So I am having to remember that my needs and expectations are different from them therefore silence does not usually truly mean rejection. I am trying to learn how to love as a friend with an open hand…free from binding expectations and lavishing grace on my friends…the way I want to be loved:) It’s hard!

  43. Oh my gosh adult friendships are so hard for me. I am one of those who don’t necessarily need tons of time together and yet I surround myself with women who love me and need to hang out weekly or so (or talk on the phone) in order to feel loved by their friend. So I have had to really work hard on not looking at friendships from my point of view. Because let me just be honest, sometimes I really despise talking on the phone. I am not normal I know. . But I try to do it for my friends so that they know that I care about our friendship as much as they do.

    It takes a lot of work. Sometimes I do wish it was easy like in middle school and even high school. You saw your friends EVERY DAY!

    Great post Sarah.

  44. Here’s what I think, and this may have been repeated since I didn’t read through the comments. But I think as kids, we don’t expect things from eachother. Our friendships are all about joy in the moment and nothing more. As a high schooler and then as an adult, people start putting expectations on each other–they have to call often or they don’t like me, they don’t think I’m a priority, are they mad? etc etc. I’m all for the joy in the moment friendships and so over the you have to call me x amount of times in order to keep the status quo. Plus, I just don’t call people, not even my best friends or my mom who I adore. I hate talking on the phone, but i love being with those I love. The friends I am close to understand that.

  45. This was such a true and timely post for me. I was just feeling very discouraged about my lack of adult friendships. I feel like I do a lot of inviting, or planning to never have it reciprocated. I am gettting kinda “done” with asking certian people. Obviously me and my family are not a priority on their friend list and boy does it hurt. It seems like the best thing to do now is to stop having any expectation of a relationship with them and move on. Ug…. not really the best feeling. I try and be understanding that we are all busy but isn’t cultivating relationships more important than most of the stuff that keeps us “busy”?
    That being said I do have 2 wonderful friends that are the “pick it up where you left off” kind, where there is never any jealousy or hurt feeling from not being called back but we live a state apart so we don’t see eachother much. I feel blessed to have them even for a quick chat every few weeks. Glad to hear that other women struggle with this as well.

  46. Wow…It is so comforting to know that other adult women struggle with the friendship “game”. In highschool I usually had guy friends….there was just so much less drama… But I never stopped longing for deep friendships with women…I married young and had some friendships with other young married couples. At age 27 I really thought I had found a lifelong friend…like a sister…two years into the friendship it came out that she was having an emotional and at least partially physical affair with my husband. I cannot explain the depth of my despair in experiencing that double betrayal. My marriage
    ended…the friendship ended…Suffice it to say that even with counseling it took a long time to open my heart to new women friendships. But God is so gracious. Nine year later He continues to heal my heart…and only through Christ’s power and love can I forgive my ex husband and former friend…and wish them both well. I realize that no one is above reproach…and that we all are only one or two selfish choices away from devastating people we love. To obey Jesus is to love others, and if I am to obey I must step out beyond my fear & risk real interactions. That is where te “fruit” is.

  47. i felt a lot of those feelings within my family growing up. My parents going to my siblings events, but by the time they got to me they were busy with their own lives and never showed up. It was a different way of being raised for me, being the youngest, because my parents had gotten more of their own lives rather than their “parent” lives by the time my turn rolled around.

    I put so much of my low value in that, and i carried that for a lot of years. Now, I try to not let my value be in others as much, although hard. My way of being, right or wrong, is to take and appreciate when the time is there, and when those same friends are busy and missing, I try to pray for them and give them space until they show up again. I think this is different for me, probably, because my life is so stand still it would be easy to feel forgotten by others. So I try hard to look at it from their life perspective instead of from mine. But distance from friends is always hard… it’s the loving them anyway {and ourselves anyway} that we have to work on, i think…

  48. Thanks for your post. It is comforting to know I am not alone! Friendships haven’t been my strong suit. Several years ago I had a friend who seemed to never answer my phone calls and avoided me. I finally asked her nicely what was up and she said she wasn’t interested in being friends. That she didn’t feel like we had much in common. Boy, did it hurt. 🙁 Now, I have another friend that seems to not get back to me, etc. It stinks because I thought we were really “clicking.” I have tried to be graceful and keep giving up my hurt and fellings of insecurity to God but it is hard. I periodically reach out to her and she will answer me, but never seems to initiate or get together. I wonder if she doesn’t want to be friends like the other person didn’t. It is hard. I appreciate one of the earlier comments about finding our worth in God. Very true! I am definitely finding that adult friendships take work. I am trying to be the friend to others that I would like to have and am hoping and praying God will bring me a good buddy. It feels like I have been waiting a very long time. I am also trying to remember that even a super good friend will not fulfill me, though. That role belongs to God!

  49. Wow, this post and these comments are like a gift from God to me. I thought I was the only one who struggled with adult friendships, and of course, I felt it was because something was wrong with me. I haven’t been able to make and keep close friendships, even in our church, since college. I have a couple of close Christian friends that changed to another church that I try to keep in contact with. When I go to ladies retreats with our church and feel so left out, everyone else seems to have their clique…….and no one else is invited in. I am somewhat shy at first and just don’t seem to fit in. I have had to basically give up on having any close Christian friends and remember the Lord is my dearest friend and He will never leave me or forsake me. Even when I am alone, He is with me. I always have prayed for close Christian friends, but in my heart I have no real expectations.

    I had great friends in college, but we drifted apart due to moving away, children, and just the business of life. It was very surprising and exciting to connect on facebook with my college friends after 25 years. Several of us met for dinner a couple times recently and actually picked up right where we left off…….even though all of lives had changed in so many ways! Some of us are Grandmas and we all have grown kids. We all talked about how much younger it made us feel, just to get together and have fun with the “girls” now that we have time for each other. There are only a couple strong Christians in the group. However, we all discovered much to our surprise and delight, that despite all the changes that 25 years had brought and regardless of our religion; we were the same close knit group of friends and we just had more to laugh and talk about!

    I gave up on having close friends………the Lord had a surprise for me and brought “old” friends back into my life. Not friendships in our church that I have always prayed for; but real friends…..for life…….in His perfect timing.

  50. Since graduating college a few years ago, my best girlfriends and I have scattered around the Southeast . We have to work hard to keep in touch and make time to spend time together. Usually it’s understood that we are all working hard full-time to pay off debt, several of us are newlywed, and the everyday life can leave us with little energy to spare. We pride ourselves on being understanding of each other and usually don’t get upset if weeks go by without a phone call.

    Once in a while, I get overwhelmed with the (usually wonderful) burden of a long-distance heart-to-heart friendship when life gets busy and keeping up with my girls is easy to put off. None of us girls are good at keeping up with a phone (my husband often jokingly asks me why we bother paying for a line for me) and we end up making someone feel forgotten or ignored.

    Confession: instead of apologizing and being a better friend, I tell myself that she’s being too demanding and doesn’t understand how busy I am since we moved away. I turn from the angry best friend and focus on relationships with others who don’t demand as much. These are usually other couples who are more laid-back about our friendship, or guys with whom we can enjoy pizza and a ball game with but don’t call for deep conversations.

    Fortunately, our little group has forgive-and-forget down to an art. Even though it takes time & effort, we repair the hurt caused by misunderstanding and lack of communication. We know how blessed we are to have each other, and at the end of the day that is what always brings us back together when we start to drift apart.

  51. This is my life right now. Trying to figure out friendships and navigate which way to go in each one. I’m not sure why I’m just now reading this post, but it couldn’t be more on time. I have one friend in particular whom I had gotten very close to, and one of the few people in my life, other than my sister, that i’ve given the title of best friend. Now, as we still do life together, she walks by me as if I don’t exist playing into my fear of being invisible, and I just stand there not having a clue what went wrong. What did I do to warrant being ignored? But I’m learning to move on, to become okay with it and love and pray for her anyway. It’s not about being her best friend any more. It’s about loving her anyway, because like it or not she’s still my sister in Christ, and that’s really all I can do. Adult friendships are hard, so hard. But when you find a good one, it’s well worth fighting for. And when I have to let go, even if I don’t want to, all the memories shared and lessons learned from each other while it lasted, make it well worth my time. And I grow a little with each one.