About the Author

Lisa Leonard is mom to two boys, David, 13 and Matthias, 12 and wife to Steve. In between school and work they spend their time playing outdoors on the central coast of California, eating chocolate chip pancakes, tapping tunes on the piano (David) and choreographing elaborate light saber duels (Matthias)....

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  1. Lisa,
    Nurturing friendships takes some intentional work at times…especially as our lives get busy and complicated. One thing I still like to do is send cards and notes via “snail mail”. I always say that I was born in the wrong century as I like to take pen to paper and encourage my friends through their trials and their joys. I still say, nothing beats getting an uplifting card in the mail amidst all the bills and advertisements. It’s kind of my way of letting my friends know that I love them and care about what they are going through. Love the pic of you and your sisters!
    Blessings to you Lisa,
    Bev

  2. Hi Lisa. This is a subject I have been pondering a lot lately. My stage in life is Empty Nester, married to a retired pastor, and we are only in our mid-fifties. These facts matter, because it affects my friendships. We have moved away from any “gal pals” I would meet for coffee or lunch. I use social media and phone calls to stay in touch. Some of them use “snail mail” as Bev Duncan prefers. By the way, Bev, I LOVE it when I received a card or letter from a friend. Although, I rarely reciprocate in kind, I turn to the phone. I miss the face-to-face. Smiles. Hugs. Laughter and even silence sitting together. I have been grieving these losses. I haven’t been working hard enough to engage new friends-or even just one in our new surroundings. But, your post was a perfect confirmation that now is the right time.

    Thank you for your post.
    Blessings ~Debra

    • Debra,
      I am also a fifty-something empty nester. Though we have not moved, some of my good gal friends are retiring and leaving the area. I have found myself in a position of having to cultivate some new friendships which is hard when you don’t have small children as your “foot in the door”. I really try to look hard at just who God puts in my path and if I think I might “click” with that person, I find I’m the one who has to do the reaching out. Praying for you as you establish new friendships while keeping the old.
      Blessings,
      Bev

      • Hi there! This is such a timely topic for me. I am also a fifty something empty nester who has moved to a new area (small town). I am loving the area here and we are visiting churches to find the one that God is leading us to. In the past, through many trials and tragedies in my life I have always had wonderful friends that held me up, encouraged me, prayed for me etc. I know how crucial these friendships are. I am willing to reach out when I meet someone who I “click” with, but I hesitate because we don’t know which church we will be a part of yet. What are your thoughts about reaching out for friendships even if we may not be returning to that fellowship? I surely appreciate your insights! Blessings, Jane

  3. Thank you for sharing this with us. The point of our friends change depending upon the season is so important to remember. Not to mourn the past, but realizing that it was for such a time as was necessary. Thank you.

  4. Great post. I can so relate. As a mom of 4, one with special needs, some days, I feel like I don’t have a lot left to give. Thankfully, I have sisters…and sister-friends…who walk with me on my journey.

    “Most of all, I rely on patient friends, who are willing to pick up where we left off, and forgive me when I’m imperfect.” As much as I desire this, and I DO…I want to be this kind of friend to others.

    Thank you for this post. Blessed me today. 🙂

  5. I have struggled over the years when friendships were no longer based on convenience alone. (Ie…living in the same neighborhood or serving in the same ministry). But I have found that actually scheduling face to face time is the best for me. Lunch once a month with those who live across town, or planning a long weekend getaway once a year with those who live farther away. Notes in the mail or simple ‘I’m thinking of you’ gifts on occasion fill in the gaps.

  6. I am learning to choose face to face over Facebook, for hugs over “pokes” – it is far too easy to be non-relational in the world today. Embrace one another ladies…we need watch other!

  7. This is such a wonderful post. Friendships have looked different for me, also, in different seasons. I truly believe that now, at 50 years of age, I have the sweetest friendships I have ever had. They are based on Jesus and food!! What more could you ask for? I have friends close by and far away. Friends who I rarely see, but know that we are there for each other when the day comes that we need one another. Friendship is a beautiful gift.

  8. Well, I am not quite in the empty nest stage, but we are getting very close to it. I love handwriting letters and sending them out. I love sending out cards and random gifts as well. I also enjoy getting them in the mail. However, I do not have any friends right now. Do any of you want to snail mail with me? Leigha

  9. You are indeed blessed to have four sisters. I’m an only child, mid seventies now. Would love to have had a sister to confide in and share my life with, but I do have an amazing circle of friends – two going back as far as high school! So glad you are realizing the value of friends. At this stage of my life they are appreciated even more, we are of like minds and we understand each other. We can complain about our aches and pains, or how our children don’t call us, but we still recognize how blessed we are. God sends us the people we need for different times in our lives and I thank Him daily for the ones He’s chosen for me.

  10. It wasn’t until I was almost 50 years old that I was able to and saw the great need to reach out for friendship. At times it bothered me that it seemed I was doing all the reaching but decided that was ok. It can be painful at times to open oneself to be and have a true friend but totally worth it!

    Now four years later how very thankful I am that I did!! I too was blessed with four sisters; however, my twin sister took her life about 6 weeks ago. It’s been totally devastating. My other sisters live a distance away and we encourage each other the best we can, but my sisters in Christ have really stepped up to be here for me and help me walk through this. I have to wonder how those who don’t have the hope of Christ and sisters of any type to walk along side make it through these heartbreaking times of life.

    • I am so sorry to read about your twin sister Becky. I am glad for your sisters in Christ who are there for you!! Love to you!

  11. This isn’t in reference to the content of this post but about the photo of you four gals. You’re all so gorgeous with your curly hair!!! I want to let mine go wild but I don’t know how (if that makes sense) and I don’t feel brave enough. You’re my curly heroines! 🙂

  12. Can I borrow you up here in Toronto? I don’t know anyone like you personally but read about said friendships and long for at least one. The issue with me is that I feel taken for granted so I cut everyone off. I did all the work, so I got tired and quit. This past week I heard an older gentleman said, “Relationships are hard when you’re older.” I actually read an article some time ago that said the same. Been really thinking I don’t want to grow old and lonely as I am right now at 57. Thanks for sharing though.

  13. This is right on time for me! I am a empty nester with no close friends. My husband retired from the military where we were in a close community. After serving 26 years in the Army we moved back to our home town where everyone has there close friends and it’s been hard for me to fit in, even with family. I try to reach out to others but I can’t seem to make a connection. I miss my friends from the base where we use to meet every Wednesday for bible study and fellowship. Please help! I need a real friend.

    • WOW, this seems to be a topic… lots of women in need of friends. I am in that same boat, having changed location. It’s like starting all over again.

  14. Wow great article, im an empty nester also and need some friends, all the people I thought were my friends disappeared after we quit going to church!! They just have a ministry works mentality not true friendship very sad! We are in shock after 20 years no friends just judgement crazy!! We are lookng for just regular people now not church people….

  15. Amen! Friendships are so valuable and need to be nurtured! It can be hard to do when we are so busy yet when we remember how vital and lifegiving a good friend is we are willing to make the time. I moved a year ago. This past year as I was starting to build new friendships, I valued being intentional in calling, email, or skyping with the deep friendships I have already built. I found in times in my life when I was desperately lonely and in need of friends that it takes time to build friendships. I developed friendships as I got plugged into serving and took the focus off from myself. I also had to be intentional in reaching out to others. Thanks for this article!

  16. For me this is a bit of a hard topic. I love friendships, I need friendships. I have immigrated to the States and nurturing long distance friendships is hard. I don’t want to let go because friends are really dear, on the other hand I have found it’s mostly a one way street. Many people are just not good at long distance connections. It makes me wonder about worth. Is it worth it to nurture when I seem to do the only nurturing? I think I am just in a hard place since it’s true, building new friendships takes time. I am longing for new friends but it doesn’t happen overnight. I am pretty good at nurturing I think. Doing friendships only via computer is not my thing so I am all about sending out snail mail. Making trips to see people even if it means buying a flight ticket.

  17. Good post to ponder! I don’t have many good friendships and my sisters are all much older and live farther away. Add to that I have no children. I do try to work at making some friends and being there for people.

    Like Bev I send cards in the mail to encourage people during the week. I love it when people send me cards or notes saying how much I mean to them. Encouragement and friendships are most important to God!

    Blessings 🙂