About the Author

Kristen Strong, author of Back Roads to Belonging and Girl Meets Change, writes as a friend offering meaningful encouragement for each season of life so you can see it with hope instead of worry. She and her US Air Force veteran husband, David, have three children and live in Colorado...

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Reader Interactions


  1. Haha!
    This is me at the moment.
    I have just moved to the other side of the world – Canada (from Australia) & have desperately been seeking out activities to make friends…I can’t wait for ‘Lantern Painting’ next Wednesday.
    It’s an interesting season which has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone! But it’s kind of fun at the same time.

  2. Totally know this feeling. After being a church with a lot of nice women – but none in my stage of life. To another where I found a few people to talk to – but most already had their established relationships. To yet another, were I FORCED myself to go outside of comfort, go do all the girl-time stuff, that I really don;t like. Things still aren’t where I’d like them to be, but definitely have some real friends now!

    • Good on ya, Sara, for pressing on! We’ve experienced the same thing at churches before, but you clearly have a handle on how to beat it: keep trying. Honored to share this space with you!

  3. I found out toward the beginning of this school year that I probably have social anxiety…while that explains why it has been SO HARD for me to find any friends and manage to keep them, it hasn’t really helped me find any…I’m finding that although isolating myself makes me feel safe it also leads to loneliness, and as I’ve worked through some of my anxiety I’ve found that friendship takes time…even though I am capable now of having a conversation in which I personally must speak more than 2 or 3 words total, it doesn’t mean I instantly have close friends…God hasn’t brought me this far to abandon me though, so if he wants me to have friends he will continue to work in my life and bring the right people into my life…I’m not giving up!

    • “God hasn’t brought me this far to abandon me.” ~ oh, what words of hope and truth! I love your spirit ~ keep taking it one day at a time. Thank *you* for sharing here. You BLESS.

  4. Have social anxiety as well. It can be so hard to know there is NOTHING with picking up the phone and calling someone (someone who tries very hard to be my friend) but feeling like you will lterally die if you do. I have a couple people in my life who are trying hard to be my friends so right now I am working on saying yes to invitations. Maybe someday I will be able to initiate…

    • Corena darling, it seems you are doing the best you can in these difficult circumstances. Give yourself some grace ~ there’s no set timeline or deadline in this process. I’m cheering you on, girl! Thank you *so* much for being here. You are loved!

  5. This brought me to tears. The last couple years have been tough friendship-wise and I’m lonely. I’ve tried – really tried – this past year to make friends in this new area we’re living in. It’s been slow. Really, really slow. And after yet another seemingly failed attempt this week at creating some new opportunities for friendships I was feeling ready to quit. Because the rejection hurts, even though I know most people have not intended to reject us or abandon us, but that’s what’s happened. You’ve inspired me to keep trying.

    The one thing I’ve focused on as I’ve waited for new friendships is a phrase that my mom repeated constantly throughout my teenage years (which of course I HATED then!) – “To make a friend you’ve got to be a friend”. I look for needs and opportunities to be a friend to those around me. Showing love to those around me (even those who have rejected me) is what God has commanded me to do, and I believe that he will bless me for it. And I figure eventually some friendships will come out of it. Even if it takes waaay longer than I want it to.

    Thanks for writing this. I needed to hear it today more than ever.

    • Ann, this comment is me putting my arm around you saying, “I. So. Get. It.” I’m praying right now the Lord places people in your path who get it, too, and that friendships form. You are a treasure, oh yes you are.

  6. I could have written Ann’s reply. I feel as if I’m in the desert. I moved 5+ years ago from a home I had lived in since for 20+ years. Never even imagined myself living half way across the country. I’m trying. I’ve decided to be content with what I have and wait on God to bring me through this. It is lonely. Desperatly lonely.

  7. I’m right there with you, ladies. It’s hard when your comfort zone is so comfy. I love the three ways you made friends- I’m going to give it a go! 🙂

  8. That’s pretty much me:). I’m a military spouse too and it can be especially daunting during short stays (we are on a one year tour of Fort Leavenworth KS) because of the inevitable leaving. I don’t have the front yard sign, just a badge I keep in my purse:)

    But God is good and knows I need the soul food, and by being intentional and opening up, I have been blessed with relationships that will last a lifetime with people so different from me, with people who have made me a better lover of Jesus and a better lover of them. So, my point being …. she’s right, and God answers our prayers, often times better than we could ever imagine.

    • I could have written this. Seriously. I have had female friends during one stage of my life. The rest of the time I’ve been virtually friendless because I’ve always been shunned at even church “sororities”. My saving grace right now is virtual friends via FB. Like (<3 u ) Molly who are friends from times past.

      Hopefully with this next move I'll find true friendships. I will be implementing your tips for sure!!

      • Wow Mrs B… I’m with you… at one time I had friends… and now for the last 8 yers I have been friendless. I love chatting and encouraging others. Eight years ago I moved because I knew God told me to…since then… friendless. I just told someone today… someone that does not really care. I feel like such a terrible person, to be this age – over 50 – and not one friend to just sit with, have coffee and talk to. The only thing I can say today is it is really terrible that I have found others feeling the same way… makes me sad.

        • JR B ~ I don’t think friendship difficulties discriminate, so you can give yourself some grace here. One of my favorite things about this glorious community is our freedom to share the hard stuff…our hearts *are* at home here. And obviously, many of them are lonely. Perhaps it’s comforting to know we aren’t the only ones? And just a thought here…have you checked out the (in)RL buzz to see if there is a meet-up in your area? —> http://www.meetup.com/incouragemeetups/

          Thank you for sharing here. We so appreciate you and your words!

          • It’s interesting and sad to note how many of us are lonely even though we are active in church. It seems to me that that’s the one place where one could make real friendship. I think the problem is that there is security in long time relationships. People don’t even see those of us that are on the outside looking in. We’re good at smiling and making small talk with everyone so perhaps no one notices that we really don’t “belong” to anyone. I’ve noticed that many women’s groups are calling themselves “girlfriends”, “girls night out”, etc. Those titles just make one feel more alone. What’s a person to do…especially after having tried all?

          • Kristen, To be honest… I can not take one more rejection… so I do not contact anyone anymore. Thank you for the suggestion… and for your site.

      • Mrs. B, I know it’ll happen all in good time. Still, I’m praying for you right now, that doors to nearby friendships open soon, soon, soon. {Whispering here…in the meantime, you know ’bout this, right? http://www.inrl.us/index.php } Infinite thanks to you for coming here today ~ you bless this community!

    • Molly! {A wild wave from my Colorado mountain home to your Kansas prairie one!} Thank you for blessing us with your words here today. And I *might* just have a similar badge I keep around, ya know, just in case. 😉

  9. I am experiencing the same problems with finding friends. It is just so hard to keep a willing spirit when I have had so many bad experiences with women. I can say that I “know” alot of people, through my kids school, sports, etc., but I certainly don’t feel close to anyone, even enough to call them a “friend’. How do you put yourself out there and be tough skinned enough to not let it hurt your feelings when others don’t “show up’?

    • I don’t really know, Wendy, except to keep on keeping on while believing this truth: You are God\’s treasured possession and your identity is safe in Him. I hope that doesn\’t sound cliche ~ I just know for me, drawing close to Christ is the only thing that filled {fills} the lonely places and soothes the hurt feelings. Hugs to you, friend. I am *so* thankful for your presence here today…

  10. What a great post!

    Many of us are looking for spiritual friends, where we can be authentic, where “iron sharpens iron.” And it looks like you and I just might not be the only ones … this is a huge challenge for us … whether we’re moms at home, or older women in ministry! Deep friendships are something we all crave … and they are often hard to find.

    We yearn to get past the casual chat after church or on the playground. I talked about TAKING FRIENDSHIP TO THE NEXT LEVEL about 9 months ago …

  11. I am one of those who struggles with friendships. Over the years I have been burned and therefore protective of my heart. And now, when I really want friendships, I am having a VERY difficult time finding them outside of my online community. I have a good friend but I rarely get to talk to her anymore and only see her at church on Sundays now before she runs out the door. I miss friendships and desire a close group of female friends but can’t seem to find them. I am still holding out hope, but struggling.

    • And it doesn’t help that I am single mom with one child and most of the women I know are married with multiple children, so timing is a huge issue.

      • April, I’m so sorry about the hurt and challenges you face in your desire for friends. You are so brave to share them with us today! Know we are sitting with you, holding onto that hope with you. It’s not for nothing, sweet friend. He knows your desires and loves you. And so do we ~ so much!

  12. Being a pastor’s wife is usually a pretty lonely position to hold, especially when you have no family around and move to a new place where you’re the outsider. During those times, you learn to draw closer to your hubby (as your best friend) and rely on God the most. People are usually reluctant to get close to the pastor’s wife b/c they think she’s so much different…but we’re just the same as everyone else. I needed this today. Thank you 🙂

    • I, too, am a pastor’s wife and there is just something about that ‘title’ that many people can’t get past. And at the same time, it is very hard to be able to be completely open with the women in your church as there are sensitive issues that we are aware of that they shouldn’t be aware of. I find it essential to have a friend or two (Christ-following friends) outside of the church my husband is pastoring. Having said that, it would be nice to have deeper friendships with other women within my own church. Because like you said, Erin, We’re just the same as everyone else. 😀

      • My husband and I were campus pastors for awhile and I experienced some of this same thing for awhile, and also felt like I couldn’t connect with the other campus pastor’s wives as we only saw them once a week as we were stationed at a more remote campus. I eventually made connection both at our church and with the other wives but it took time and with some it never truly got REAL.

  13. This post is exactly where I am at right now in my life..in the past I have had many close friendships. So many that at times I would withdraw to have more alone time. And, like April, I was deeply hurt and betrayed by my best friend who was a Christian about 3 years ago..it took me years to recover. Now..I long for a deep connection. Although I have “friends”..my loneliness grows because it seems as if those I reach out to befriend…only want superficial friendships. My friendships in the past have been very open, honest and deeply caring relationships. And now..when I need it the most..just like April..I miss friendships with a close group of female friends where you can reveal your true self and do not have to pretend that life is perfect. I have been in the desert these past 3 years and know that God is right beside me..I know he is teaching me perseverance and I trust in his will to lead me. Yesterday when I found this blog…I cried because as I read and watched the video for the upcoming conference..I knew God had answered my prayers and I had finally found other women “like me”. Thank you for your story..thank you for this blog..thank you.

    • Well Cindy, you up and made me cry with this comment. {Smile} You know, before the friendship dry spell I wrote about, I also enjoyed a close knit group of spill-your-heart-out gal pals. So I get what going from one extreme to the other is like. Whether you are able to attend an (in)RL meet-up or not, I pray you find yourself that close-knit group again. We are *thrilled* to have you here ~ welcome to the family!

  14. This is me, through and through. And this exact subject has been on my heart recently. I long for the kind of friendships I had in college. Though I am still friends with them, we all live three or more hours away from each other. It is so difficult to make friends as an adult. Most people, it seems, already have their group of friends and are not much interested in welcoming “outsiders” into their group. The friends I do have, well, we don’t make enough time to spend together, so the friendships remain rather superficial. I want a true, deep friendship with another woman. I have this with my husband, which is wonderful. But women need women, right? I just love knowing that I am not the only one who feels this way.

  15. I’ve been RIGHT THERE!

    It can be so challenging to fit in when friendships are long and established. For me, it was ministry moves that put me in the “new” girl situation.
    Sometimes people were warm and welcoming other’s not so much.

    Your tips are right on. It may take a little time but God will reveal WHO it is that needs you & who you need too! 😉

  16. Oh, this could so be me sometimes! I’m in northern Virginia, which can be very transient, and people tend to maintain their ties to the “outside” because they know they’ll be leaving in a few years. So, if you’re new and you’re going to be here for the indefinite future, it can be a little daunting to find a circle of friends. I’ve been making a few friends, but it’s still kind of a lonely process at times.

  17. Thank you for this post. I too have moved to another country.culture.family. I thank God daily for my husband.but the other day even he said to me ( not in a critical way.but in a “you need a woman you can tell this stuff too” kind of way) I have friends. But not “heart” friends like I want/need. I find it so hard to open up …I am scared what they will think.feel.or say if they get to know the real me…. Thank you for encouraging us to Not give up:)

  18. A friend of mine had this very prayer request last night! She just wants a wider circle of friends. I shared your post with her in hopes that she can meet some new gal pals too.

  19. ComPLETELY me! I have grown a best-friendship, only to have that friend move away, about 10 times over the past 25 years. I have hosted a table at a ladies’ luncheon, only to have not one person sit there. BUT, you’ve encouraged me to keep trying. Thank you!

  20. I too have had the struggle of making close friendships. I am in a deep valley right now as I have quit trying. It just hurts too much to put myself out there only to receive nothing. I just thought maybe if I stop trying God will bring someone to me and then I won’t hurt so much.
    Maybe this way is wrong and I should keep trying but I am so scared. I have thought maybe there is something wrong with me do I stink? am I saying the wrong thing?…. I don’t know. I really need God’s help, I am drowning.

  21. Valuable lessons in the waiting. sigh. Beautifully said Kristen! Most of my friends have children now and we don’t… so our friendships have definitely changed. That change can be difficult. Finding comfort in your words today. Thanks for sharing!

    • Just had to comment because I can sooo relate to this! Most of our friends now have children, too, and we’re the ones who don’t. I still love my friends, but it definitely changes the rhythm and dynamic of the friendship. It’s been a learning experience.

  22. Yeah…this is me. We moved a little over two years ago…from a fantastic church and fantastic friends to a new place. And I’m alone. And lonely. I know people here, and have a few friends, but they’re not anything like the kind of friendships I left behind. I still haven’t found that vibrant community like the one I crave.

  23. Depending on season, this has been me several times in my life. Just recently, I engaged a women’s group to find that friendships were already established and not too many are willing to venture out there with a newcomer. But I continue to say, there are so many women out here, one is bound to get me! In the meantime, I stay close to my far away friendships and pray to build new ones. I pray for women in my season, I pray for friendships that are true, and not superficial. I pray to be patient while it takes time. If there’s one thing I do- I pray.

  24. I’ve struggled with this my whole life. I cried myself to sleep the other night asking God why He’s allowed me to be alone for all these years. I’ve had a close friend here and there throughout the different stages of my life but each of those friendships have died for one reason or another. My parents moved right before I started high school and not knowing anyone I spent the next 4 years in painful isolation. I tried, asked God for help constantly, but nothing changed. That experience knocked me off my feet and unfortunately followed me to college – 4 more years of torture. I got so use to being isolated that I’ve allowed that to define me all these years later. In so many ways my life is full – I have a wonderful husband and 4 amazing little kids – a thriving music ministry. I just don’t have any girlfriends in my life – and I admit I’m desperate for some. I put myself out there, I do. A lot of people like me and tell me I bless them with my music but that’s as far as it goes. Just longing for real relationships with real people because I’m a real person, but feel less and less like one.

    • Hi ,
      Just had to open my heart because you echo mine. Bless you sister! I pray you know His courage and strength even when the loneliness overwhelms.

  25. Yes! We just moved this summer. I found myself out of my comfort zone. Knowing no one. It was actually a formative and wonderful experience for me. Normally, being socially assertive was hard for me. But I HAD to get over it. I had to try. I had to initiate. And I found that it wasn’t as scary as I thought. That for every invite that didn’t work out, there was another that did.

    Before this move, I had been praying for years that I would have closer friends. Now, after only 7 months here, I have some of the closest friends I’ve had in a long time.

    God answered my prayer by giving me the courage to step out in faith, and by bringing people into my circles that are a joy and a blessing.

  26. This is actually very lovely and inspiring. I need more female friendships in my life. In the early part of my marriage, we spent time moving around with the military. It became harder and harder to make friends. I just decided that besides a loving Heavenly Father, my best friend was my husband and children. But sometimes, we just need that girl time.

  27. Really good post for me to read now as we are about to move AGAIN. Just the process of getting ready to move AGAIN has thrown me several times into short depression with also short bouts of very mild excitement over our future. I usually don’t find it hard to make friends but age combined with a little wisdom gather over the years has taught me to wait on someone God brings my way. Have had my share of not so good friendships that were more hurtful then helpful. Age (I am 65) does not dimished the need for a good Godly women friend. I think I read in one of the comments that a husband suggest the wife get a girlfriend to talk to, that is a wise hearted man. Few men can take a full load of emotions that come incased in these female hearts.

    I have went seasons without a close woman friend or group of women friends and I must say I am richer for it just as I have been when having a close friend. But since I am an exhortvert I am hoping this move does not contain one of those seasons, hoping for true soul sister.

    Thanks for bearing your soul with us Kristen. Blessings.

  28. Thanks to all of you for sharing your hearts. I keep reminding myself that the enemy of our soul works to keep us isolated. You know the old war stradegy, “Divide, separate, isolate and defeat.” I am so amazed that so many others feel the way I do. Lonely for girl fellowship. Several years ago, immediately after retiring, church problems left me without friends at work or church. Having led a women’s ministry and taught a women’s Sunday School class for a number of years, this has been a very long hard drought. God is so gracious! He loves us so much more than our weaknesses and mistakes. He has brought us into a wonderful church and is bringing friendships back into my life. I have learned to lean on Him so much more than I ever would have, though, had I not experienced this time. He is a friend that ‘sticketh closer than a brother.”

  29. How did you know? Two of the women I talked to the most moved far away (across the country & across the world). I’m definitely in a friendship dry spell. In fact, my dry spell feels ready to go up in flames at times. Thanks for this encouragement.

  30. It’s not just me…..looking for friendships and finding it hard to connect. Since moving away from our church of 19 years, we have been in four new churches. Lots of women were friendly but it seemed like none of them had room for me in their lives. Its takes a long time to find real friends. Since moving back to Ohio, my sister became my best friend…my closest relationship on earth. She just went home to see Jesus on January 4th. I agree with the encouragements…hang in there, seek out other women to talk with, have people into our homes, and keep praying. It made me feel better to see that I am not alone. The friendships we made the first 19 years of our marriage are still our closest relationships even though we live 400 miles away. It’s been 18 years since then and we still are looking for friends to hang out with, talk about God with and share our lives with.

  31. This topic has been on my mind so much lately. I am so heartened to read your post, and to read the thoughts of the other brave souls here who have posted their thoughts on seeking friends. Many thanks for the encouragement and thoughtful conversations here. What a blessing this place is! Praying for you all, my Sisters in Christ!

  32. Sweet, sweet girl! Thank you for your vulnerability! There have been lonely seasons in my life…I recently went through a big “break-up” and I am still sorting it all out. But God is so, so faithful!!!

  33. Yay! Someone else who totally gets it! Thank you for sharing your struggles. I find many women just want to say hi, but will not take the effort to truly connect. I have also found that when I do find a friend, I am usually tossed to the wayside when a better one shows up.

    I will keep trying!

  34. Thank you Kristin for your frank and encouraging sharing. I am a people person, I enjoy and feel energised when I am with people ( i.e. the nice sort). After returning from being away for 5 years which saw me shelf my career and roll out life as a homemaker, I felt lonely. It has been 10 y of being home. I prayed hard for friends, friends who were around, available. God answered, I had a community for a while then change came and i was lonely again. I have come to know in my heart what i knew in my head, He will provide. Sometimes, I close my eyes so hard in prayer (or muttering to God) about ME that I do not see that He has provided. Having a close group of friends or friends who have time for friendship is still a dream. But I am a dreamer 🙂 Meanwhile, I am thankful for the little moments of friendliness shared with various people. i will wait, eyes wide open. Jehovah Jireh!

  35. I feel the same as many of you. We recently moved to a very small town not close to anything but more small towns. It has only bee a couple of months, but I am not working right now, my kids are in school all day, and there is only so much I can do at home. We have yet to find a church family here, and it is so lonely! I would love to get out during the day, but like others who have commented here, I have some social anxiety, and I am not a natural “joiner” . In addition, I don’t even know where to go in the middle of winter to meet people here. Since it is a small town, every place I go, people recognize me as new, so that makes me a bit anxious as well. As much as I want to make friends here, at the same time, i want to curl up with my quilt and hide in my house. I know God led us here, and he will bring the relationships he has in store for us in his time. Blessings to all of you, I know you are all good friends.

  36. I’ve decided to be okay with my 2-3 girlfriends that I’ve had forever, but we live spread across the country. We invest over the phone and maybe 2-3 times a year in person over holidays. It’s not ideal, but they are who God gave me and I love them dearly…it means I don’t invest as deeply with other young mom’s around me, but I can’t do it all…and I’m learning to be okay with that.

  37. Kristen,
    This is such a great piece of advice for mom’s who are doing their best to be great but long so much for the connections they so desperately need. Great blog!

    Steve in Portland

  38. This is so timely, I moved from a place that I lived in for 8 years to NYC. Which has been great, but somedays I am so exhausted from trying to make friends and feel connected. I just keep reminding myself that we’re created for community and that I need to say yes to events even when I would rather hide in my bed.

  39. This hit so close to home that I thought you were writing my own story. After moving to a new city, I found myself in that exact spot. I had plugged into ladies Bible study hoping to make some true and lasting friendship, just to find that others wanted the friendship, but were not willing to put forth the effort. I, like you, became desperate…and in my desperation became depressed. Thankfully, my husband was praying for me when I had run out of prayers to pray. He even took an extra step and wrote an email (unknown to me) to the church, asking if there were any SAHM mom groups his wife could get involved with, that I was looking to make some connections. God opened the floodgates and now I have an amazing group of girlfriends. I am so thankful for them, for a husband who saw the pain of his wife and asked for help and most of all, for a God who fulfills all of our needs!
    Great & timely posts!!

  40. I know exactly what you’re talking about. I am tempted to put out an ad that reads, “Lonely Woman in Oregon Seeks Christian Women as Friends, Confidantes, Shoulder to Lean On, Prayer Warriors. Must be willing to live life authentically, cry easily, laugh heartily, eat and share and fellowship and pour your heart out whenever necessary.

    I’m at a church where after church, I may keep up friendly banter but it doesn’t seem to go any further than polite conversation.

    Thank you for your encouragement in this post. It went straight to my heart!

  41. Simone, while you’re at it, can you make one for me that says Missouri instead? 🙂 I also have clung to my long-term relationships while desperately looking for friends locally.

  42. When I’m tired from trying to make friends? I stop trying. Maybe that will be the trick…to stop trying so hard. But that’s not working either. I haven’t had a good, “bestie”-type friend (not long distance from me) in nearly 8 years, when the last one -really my only best one ever – moved away. I’ve had 2 kids since then, which has helped fill that void a bit, but at other times has left me feeling more alone than ever. We have some aquaintances around us -people we’re ‘friendly’ with, but don’t have enough in common with to ‘click’ with. So it’s not like we’re (my hubby and I…he doesn’t really have any close friends either) ‘lonely’, per say. We just don’t have those people to ‘do life with’. And my heart breaks for it. I’ve tried all kinds of things to reach out, seek, wait, try to ‘fix’ myself wondering what is wrong with me, and have been just short of putting that sign in the front yard saying “friendly freak lives here: seeks friends”. That’s really what you begin to feel like…”what’s wrong with me? do I smell, and no one has the guts to tell me?” “Do I have ‘loser freak’ imprinted on my forehead?” I’ve been on my face before God and cried out (literally) to Him God many times over, and yet I often feel forsaken where this is concerned. I don’t think that’s really the case, but it’s what it often feels like at this point. So all I know to do is wait. Do what I know I can to reach out. Trying desperately at this point to just BE the person He’s called me to be, and draw myself in to Him, so I can listen to His heart, and hopefully offer more of myself to others. I’m still waiting. Still. Waiting.

  43. Sometimes the first step to acquaintances becoming real friends must come from us.. meaning WE are the ones to suss out those women who seem: kind, compassionate, sincere, kindred spirit-feeling, funny, open (well, those are just my main criterias for friends, you may have your own). THEN we can take the first step to take things further along – ask someone to go for coffee one-on-one to chat and get to know her better. Share a small confidence and see whether it will be honoured (i.e. not passed along in gossip). Share a small vulnerability or two. Laugh at something funny when it comes along and see if the other person shares the same sense of humour… etc. Perhaps that other person comes away from an ‘acquaintance-type’ chat feeling the same way you do, but no one takes the first step to get closer… hard, but worth a try.. 🙂

  44. What wonderful advice! After three international moves in the past five years, some days I don’t have the energy to keep trying to make friends. It’s hard work. I have been to many of those playgroups where ladies are polite but definitely uninterested in a new face. But not always having another woman (or even my traveling husband) around to listen has definitely made me turn more towards God and find a deeper peace in my own heart. And it has made me appreciate my lifelong friends even more because no matter where I live they will always be there for me. Still, nothing compares to that woman nearby that can drop in for a cup of coffee on a morning when I’m about to lose my mind.

  45. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve moved a lot in my life time and can be easier to not reach out than make the effort. But boy is it a joy when you find that one kindred spirit.

  46. I have been living in a smaller community for almost 7 years now. I have yet to make any “for life” friends who are “local” here (there is a large military base and most of my acquaintences come from there; however, they tend to move after awhile). I’ve spent a great deal of time wondering why I can’t seem to click with people here.

    It’s easy to blame it on the culture. Sure, most who are here permanently have grown up here and have lifelong friends and families. Many do not “need” extra people in their lives as they are already filled. And yes, it’s true that the people here are somewhat reserved and not as outgoing as other places. Finally, much of the population doesn’t speak English.

    I’ve spent a good amount of time asking God why this is happening, and what I can do about it. I haven’t received a direct answer yet, but He has put some things into my mind:

    1. During this time of few friends, I have spent a LOT more time with my husband and kids. Our relationships have all grown exponentially and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

    2. I’ve had more time for God. It’s often during times of need that we turn to Him. My relationship with Him has deepened, and I’ve found myself relying on HIM to minister to my needs rather than running around from person to person, ignoring His wisdom.

    3. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on myself and do some much-needed soul searching and work on issues I’d been ignoring for most of my adult life in the hopes they’d somehow disappear.

    4. I’m learning how to choose friends more wisely. I was so desperate at first that I RAN to every Christian group I could find and desperately tried to begin an intimate friendship with the first woman who had kids the same ages as mine. That was not wise. I made mistakes and have learned some valuable lessons. Intimate friendships take time to grow.

    God is now starting to slowly bring women into my life that I probably wouldn’t have chosen myself. They’re older or younger, they may or may not have kids my age or share my interests in homeschooling or music. But I’m learning to pay better attention and value people for more than similarity. While I still don’t have a BFF here in this area, I’m finally okay with it. I really am. I’ve learned to lean more on Christ and my husband, and I’m pretty sure that is the result of the lesson I’m supposed to learn at this time.

  47. Wow…did I need to read this. I’m not the only one feeling this way! I was thinking earlier today- there really must be something wrong with me. We moved 7 years ago with 3 children and now have 5, and we’re members of a church with many other young families ( who already have friends that they have grown up with, went to college with). I’ve been blessed to experience the true friendship with a few, and miss them dearly. Christmas cards, FB updates and an annual trip sums up our friendship at this phase in our lives. I think that in the busy-ness of being Mom to five young children, I’ve lost the ability to hold a meaningful and uninterupted conversation! Thank you for sharing this message…I hope to build the confidence to break out of my comfort zone and keep trying.

  48. So many of us in the same place, longing for authentic relationships. My sister has always been my best friend, but we have never lived near each other since we both got married. I lived in the same city for 46 years and then we moved and I managed to make two very good friends. Then at age 55 we moved again and 9 years later even though I am involved in church and small groups there and have a group of ladies I meet with to quilt, I still don’t have any “share your heart” kind of friends. I LONG for that. I sometimes wonder if it’s me, if I don’t know how to connect on that deeper level.

  49. Thanks for this post. I am going to be moving again soon. (Home 17 in 12 years of marriage and we aren’t military). I have not done a good job making friends at this location. Thanks for the ideas to help me make friends on our next move!

  50. Yep, me too. We’re new missionaries in Uganda- been here since May- and God has graciously bestowed one friend here. But I’m hitting the lonely stage of transition. At first it was all new, I was focusing on making sure my family was adjusting well, and enjoying meeting tons of new people. But now I’m ready for some more established friendships, where we can go out for coffee, do game nights, etc. And it’s just tough in a big city where driving after dark isn’t the best option. And at church it’s all university students whom we minister to. But I am grateful God knows- and has some sweet things up His sleeve- just waiting on His timing and doing what I can to put myself out there- and be open to friendships I might not have expected! He is a creative, wildly good God.

  51. Wow, thank you so for this post – it’s come at exactly the right time for me.
    I’ve had what I’d consider an awful week concerning friends or my lack of them.
    I’m at university so it should be easy but unlike almost every other person I’ve met I have no interest in drinking and partying which has made me feel a bit like an outcast.
    It’s too late at the moment but I’m going to join the Christian society at the start of next year and hopefully make some new friends.
    Thank you for giving me hope 🙂

    • Rhianna,
      I don’t think it’s too late to join a Christian student group! Lots of my friends work in student ministry (I live in a university town, too) and they always welcome new people to events and even start new groups throughout the year.

      I find that the most effective way for me to find friends is to join a small Bible study group. As everyone becomes more and more comfortable sharing with the group, we all find ourselves invested in each other.

  52. This is truly, deeply encouraging. Thank you for your honesty in this post.

    I have so often felt exactly how you described as you visited various playgroups. I have a 1-year-old and still feel like I am adjusting to being in the “mommy” groups. It is hard to have significant conversations and built real friendships while running after a toddler. I also find it is difficult to move beyond the “mom conversations” (baby’s sleeping and eating habits, nursing, baby gear, etc.) to conversations that reveal more about who a person is inside.

    I really appreciate your encouragement to just keep persevering, keep initiating…I know I’m not alone!

  53. This post was very encouraging as I have been feeling this way lately.
    Thank you for your tips, encouragement, and for sharing your heart! It really is a good reminder that I am not alone! Maybe as I continue to pursue relationship I will find someone else who has been in my position–longing for true friendship.

    Thanks again!

  54. So many comments by lonely people! I too am living in a different country/culture than I grew up in. I went through a hard time with no real friends nearby, and I relied so much on long-distance old close friends. Somewhere in the process of time, I started making friends in my location, but my long-distance friendships kind of fell apart and left me feeling very vulnerable about making new friendships. The rejection of the old friends made me feel worthless and insecure – kind of like a pre-teen bumbly awkward girl again. Because of those relationship issues that still aren’t really resolved, I have had a hard time feeling like I fit in or add much to any new friendship I make and try to develop. But I keep trying and have had some sweet connections with the new friends sometimes, and I keep holding on to those moments to try to rebuild what has fallen apart in my all-too-fragile emotional state of mind concerning friendships. I think the biggest road-block to developing friendships at this stage of life is that me and my new friends are all very busy with our families. We really have to make an effort to have any time together, but time is what it takes!

  55. Preach it. I initiate many interactions and social get-togethers, and sometimes I get really tired of always being the one to make the effort, especially when it’s not reciprocated and/or people don’t show up. I have totally planned gatherings where 0-2 people come, and it is a real downer. Thanks for sharing your story, and for reminding me to trying!

  56. Making friends is hard and I find since becoming a pastor’s wife it gets even trickier. Thanks for the ideas and the encouragement not to give up.

  57. I have struggled with this my entire life. Finally, the most important thing I have learned is to be myself. Be there when people need me, and need them sometimes too. As I have aged, I have learned to be a better friend. And a happier person.

  58. I have learned that I don’t need friends nearly as much as I thought I did, and when I truly needed a friend or two, God has always faithful to put one in my path. I can look back on things and see where I tried too hard and went after friendships that weren’t good for me, because I was so determined to have a “friend” or fit in with some group. All the while God had already given me the friend I needed, but I didn’t see her because she didn’t look like the friend I was looking for. The two ladies that are truly my friends, those that I can count on, didn’t come from me trying to find a friend or getting involved with some group. God put them in my life without any help from me whatsoever!

  59. I moved to my current town 2 1/2 years ago. before I moved I had a great close circle of friends, and a larger group of acquaintances as well. Then when I moved here for six months every woman I met I tried to make friends, but nothing happened. Finally I met one kindred spirit, but nothing like my friend I had in my previous town who was almost like a sister to me (in fact, people often mistook us for sisters when we were together) she is the kind of friend I could say anything to and she would accept me unconditionally, we were both completely comfortable together, shared many of the same passions and beliefs. Even though we only knew each other for a year and a half before I moved, it felt like we had known each other forever.
    My new friend is a good friend, and I am very grateful for having met her, but nobody can compare to my old friend, so there is still a lingering sadness there, especially because since I moved away from her she has been through some tough times and I haven’t been able to be there for her to help her as I would like to be because I am now a 5 hour drive away.
    My challenge is to appreciate my new friends and NOT compare them to my old friend(s). I have been working through this, and opening my heart like the PP said trying to “be a friend” which has resulted in making some more connections. But it’s still hard for me to accept that no new friends will compare to the “old.”

  60. I recently moved to an area where neither my husband nor I have roots. Right before I moved, things were good. I’d finally made some friends (after EIGHT years) and I was nervous about moving again. Thank goodness for Facebook! However, I need real life friends. I’ve said Hi to the new neighbors, but we don’t actually move in for another two weeks.

    I’m thinking about throwing a little wine and cheese party. I’ve never done anything like that before, but I’ve always wanted to. What if people don’t come??? Do I invite the WHOLE neighborhood (52 houses) or just the ones on my cul de sac (6 houses) and the three ladies I’ve met (3 more houses). Maybe I’ll ask their advice. I see them every day at the bus stop. Ack! Just typing it out makes me all prickly. :banghead:

    One step at a time….

  61. I can definitely relate. I have hosted many no-show playdates, attended the mommy and me playgroups. But I know my true goal is to have some comfort friends that I can laugh with and seek support from on my darker days. Consistency and just showing up is definitely a great tip to having friends beyond just surface talk. Thanks for sharing.

  62. Man I needed this SO BAD! Many ladies that I know have close friends. I have had a lifelong struggle with this. We have friends but, they are my husbands friend’s. I have started to put myself out there again! I have invited ladies to my home to start a book club. Mainly why I needed this was I was already feeling the pressure/anxiety creep in for a super bowl party tonight. This has helped! Thanks!

  63. Clearly this is a topic so many of us can relate to! I hadn’t really realized my lack of “girlfriends” until my recent surgery. The phone rang constantly when I got home, but not for me… it was friends of my husband calling to check up on me/us! It was very sweet of them, don’t get me wrong… it just struck me as funny that my husband’s friends were more concerned than my own. (I did have emails and support, don’t mean to imply that I had nobody, just the constant phone calls got my attention!) So, yes, this topic has definitely been on my mind!

  64. It took me so many tries to find the right moms’ group for me after my kids were born…it was very lonely for me. So much of my life was dedicated to my job, and no one but the boss had kids there so I needed to start from scratch. Lots of misfires as well…but I did eventually find my “tribe.” I just had to remember–not one size fits all–and it’s important for my kids and me to have friends so I kept going. Thanks for this post!

  65. Thank you for sharing! I’m not good at surface level conversation when sometimes that’s what is needed before moving into a deeper friendship I long for. Thank you for letting God use you to encourage us who struggle in this area.

  66. I am so thankful that I found this site today. I am saddened by how many ladies are so lonely. I have been blessed with some good friends but we struggle to get together and really share and pray for each other.
    When I go to church on Sunday I will be entering with a new set of eyes. Will I see the ladies who need to make a connection? It is hard to move past the superficial and to be present in the conversation. I am blessed to be involved with different ministries and I will talk to people and see if we can brainstorm for ideas to help with making these connections.
    I am thankful that so many of you are taking it to God. All things are possible through him. Keep praying and always remember how much he loves you,

  67. Being a mother is intensely lonely, in my opinion. When I was working outside the home, I felt like everyone I knew was a stay at home mom. Now that I’m working from home to be with my kids during the day, I feel like most people I know are working moms. I think it’s very much a grass is greener on the other side of the fence scenario.

    Having said that, I think making mom friends has been the hardest thing I’ve had to do. I don’t enjoy small talk, and I don’t have time for those people who are nice and accommodating and then never follow through on the things they suggest. I’ve started and stopped several moms’ groups because I just couldn’t do it. But I kept at it, too, and eventually, I found a moms’ group that was a perfect fit for me. It feels comfortable to me. God answered my prayer.

    I’m so thankful that He listens to us.

  68. My husband is my best friend. I have a couple of friends outside of him, but one is my sister (so thankfully, I should never lose her), and another is a woman I have known for about a decade. We have lived near each other (same city) and far from each other (me in TX and her in CA) and we are still friends. Lately it has been more “acquaintance” but we have remained in contact throughout the years. I know that if we get into a “better” season of life, we could rekindle our friendship without really having to work very hard. I am aware that as my husband and I age (we are still in our 30’s right now) and as my son grows, I will need friends outside of them. Obviously my son will grow up and hopefully get married and have a family of his own; I am sure I would be able to count on him in tough times, but I don’t want to be in that situation if I can control it in any way. And I know that there may come a day that I have to live this life without my husband. And at that point I will need friends. If I have friends, I won’t be as alone without my husband and son.

  69. Wow, I SO needed to read this. Recently, my mother in law passed away. During her last few months, I was in AWE at her friends. She had women coming almost everyday to sit, pray, craft with her, rub her feet, massage her sore body, help her go to the bathroom, she even had some that would drive more than an hour and stay up all night long in case she needed something so my father in law could get some sleep. The people that came in her last hour=AMAZING. Her best friend recently wrote a blog about the paralytic who was lowered through the roof on a mat, by his FRIENDS. She spoke of how my MIL’s friends were “those kind of friends”- the ones who carry your mat. I don’t have those kind of friends now. But I so desperately want some. Even just one would do! When I lost all of my hearing, I lost almost every single friend I had. I learned that my friends were too busy to sit and write emails that would help our friendship stay close and so…they are now no longer a part of my life. My heart broke over and over again as each friend I cherished for years (sometimes decades of my life) stopped trying to keep me as a friend. I felt so disposable, forgotten, when I needed them the most. Since then, it has been so hard to make new friends. Same story as the rest of you…the circle is already established, no room for a new face, even within the church. It is so discouraging. I do try to put myself out there, though, even if it is hard and I am rejected. Last week I invited some women from my church over for a brunch and it was just lovely watching them all smile and laugh together. Maybe, someday, I will be a part of that. Until then, I will just keep trying and ask the Lord to bring that special friend in His timing. Thanks for the encouragement ladies, I really needed to read it!

    • My heart goes out to you. Thank you for sharing your story and your MIL’s testimony. I pray that you find not only friendships that go the distance but His faithfulness overwhelming you in the midst of the journey.

  70. […] to follow. On a Weekend Links entry, there was a link to a post by Kristin Strong titled, When You Need Friends {But Have A Hard Time Finding Them}. The title grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me. I was stunned that someone had written about […]

  71. I’ve had incredibly long spells of friendless seasons. Once, for 19 years (really!) we lived in a place and I called it “my 40 years in the desert”, it was pretty lonely. I knew many people, but didn’t have a girlfriend; not a kindred spirit to be found.
    I learned a few things, and still am learning from that season. One of the most important things is that if I had the friendships I wanted and expected, I wouldn’t rely on God so much. I need Him to fill those shoes, and what kind of friend am I (or follower!) if I don’t take time with Him?
    Another thing is to not limit myself with my expectations. As a young mom in CA I was a popular trendsetter, an encourager, a prayer warrior and often in spots to assist others. In the small town we lived in, few of those things held water. The friendship circles were mostly made of family ties, and I was a nobody! Needless to say, my ego took a quick hit, and I struggled with depression. The few acquaintances I had were unexpected! An elderly woman who taught me to quilt became a surrogate mom, and another new mom to the area became a lifelong friend…even though she moved through the area quickly (I was so jealous!). God knew what I needed, to grow in new ways.
    I also leaned on my old friends some…but not too much. It was before Internet, so phone calls spanning time zones and toddlers naps was difficult… But if I needed prayer, I had somewhere to go.
    Because we made unpopular choices, like homeschooling, and not joining the biggest church in the small town, we ran into circles of people that didn’t relate to us completely. That’s ok. We maybe had one thing in common – not enough to build a friendship on, but some sort of common ground.

    The biggest thing is what I’ve learned on the other side of it all- hopefully to be a better friend to God, to be willing to be a sister to other women who are new to an area, to find common ground and to not sweat the differences…especially age! We are all women, and can encourage each other in our walk with Him!

    Ps- perhaps God is leading us to stretch outside of our Christian circles, and to build bridges of friendship with unbelieving women?? I loved watching the Bridges study from Crescent Project, and encourage others to pray about applying it to your life… Reaching out to Muslim women to share friendship (and Jesus!) with them.

  72. I’ve had incredibly long spells of friendless seasons. Once, for 19 years (really!) we lived in a place and I called it “my 40 years in the desert”, it was pretty lonely. I knew many people, but didn’t have a girlfriend; not a kindred spirit to be found.
    I learned a few things, and still am learning from that season. One of the most important things is that if I had the friendships I wanted and expected, I wouldn’t rely on God so much. I need Him to fill those shoes, and what kind of friend am I (or follower!) if I don’t take time with Him?
    (more on my blog…)

  73. Thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.
    And Kaye, who just moved to Canada…. Where abouts? I’m an Alberta girl…. Just puttin it out there 🙂

  74. I’m there right now. I moved to NC from CA and it’s been a dry year. I have some that I would like to be friends with but no one seems to want to go deeper than the meetings or brief hellos we exchange at our get togethers. I feel like I keep throwing myself under a bus or am only partly there since I’m only partly seen. I know it’s a season but it’s long and dry. Hoping this year is the year that I will have a real friend. I feel like I’m in school again saying that lol. Ps it’s hard being a stay at home, homeschooling mom where you know no one. Thank you for your encouragement.