A few of my dear friends have been precious to me for so long that I don’t even remember how our relationships began. We were in grade school or middle school, we had classes together, we were thrown together by our daily schedules and the first letter of our last names. But other friends have become sweet life partners because someone pressed in. Sometimes it was me; more often it was my sweet friend. Let’s talk about the beauty of pressing in.
Being a friend is a challenge, but becoming friends is sometimes the greater difficulty. In a day when we’re all busy and obligated to so many personal demands, it’s hard to take the time to invest in fledgling friendships. Plus, new beginnings are just hard by nature. New is hard. To the point that we’re prone to just throw our hands in the air and decide, “I’ve got plenty of people in my life already!”
But a truly beautiful woman is one who graciously makes room for one more in her life. She knows that making new friends is not just a matter of filling her own social calendar or aligning herself with women she enjoys. New friendships are a gift…to the other person. The beautiful woman really sees other women and is attuned to their signals of loneliness, their desire for companionship or their need for a simple conversation.
For her, beginning a new friendship is not about herself, it’s about the other woman in the room…the one sitting by herself, trying to look occupied on her cell phone.
Even if there’s sacrifice involved – and there is – I want to be that woman. I want to be the woman who presses in, continues the conversation even after the new friend looks a little nervous and begins to withdraw. I want to be the one who initiates a coffee date or lunch. The one who gently asks questions with genuine curiosity and then follows up on the answers the next time.
How to be the Woman who Presses In
I’m not talking about being overbearing or nosy or intrusive. You know that, right? I’m simply talking about being the woman who asks another woman for coffee or lunch…and then follows up on the initial, vague invitation with a definitive invitation that includes a date and time and place.
I’m talking about being the woman who leans in and asks gentle questions and really listens to the answers. And then she follows up that conversation with another invitation. And maybe even another. Some gals are hard nuts to crack! Some friendships take persistence. I want to be the friend who persists…even if it feels a little awkward. Even if there are no guarantees that this relationship will ever get off the ground.
Here are a few ideas for pressing in…gently:
- Go out of your way to introduce yourself. A few weeks ago at Bible study, a sweet young gal moved from the other side of the classroom to sit down by me at the end of class before I had the chance to rise to my feet. She said she just wanted to come over and welcome me to the class. She sat and asked me a few questions and then we walked to the restroom together. I haven’t forgotten that small act of pressing in.
- Initiate a conversation. Have a few go-to questions in your back pocket that you begin conversations with. Link those questions to some good conversation starters. For instance, you could say something like, “This is my first time at this conference. Have you attended one of these before?” or “I had a hard time finding a parking place so I’m a few minutes late. Where did you find to park?”
- Find common ground and explore it. As your conversations take off, discover the life experiences you have in common. Let her know that you relate, but continue to ask her to share more of her perspective. It’s a gift to discover someone else who “gets it.”
- Truly listen. I’ve discovered that beginning a friendship is more about listening than speaking. We feel close to those who we feel really hear us.
- Schedule an opportunity to visit some more. You, beautiful gal, be the one who invites your new friend to coffee or lunch or a walk in the neighborhood. Don’t wait to be invited. Initiate. But don’t settle for, “Yes, let’s do that sometime.” You be the one who nails down a date and time and place. Get a phone number and text her the address. Tell her you’re looking forward to your visit.
Look back over that simple list. When you look at the first letter of each of my bullet points, what do you see? GIFTS. A beautiful woman presses in. And when she does, she gifts another woman with genuine interest, sweet conversation, a little empathy, a listening ear and an appointment for going deeper.
Have you recently met someone with whom you might need to press in a little? What could you do this week to offer the gifts of your friendship? I’d love to hear from you today in the comments section below. Have a beautiful weekend!
I’ve written a book about beginning friendships and the beauty we discover as we journey forward with new friends. In fact, the title comes from the C.S. Lewis quote above. It’s called When You Find Another. I’ll include links to it and my other books in the shopping widget below.
You can find other “on Saturday’s we talk about Inner Beauty” posts here. Or they’re always available under the Beauty tab in the top menu, under Inner Beauty.
Blessed for My Day
As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt. And David went out and was successful wherever Saul sent him, so that Saul set him over the men of war. ~ 1 Samuel 18:1-5a