Maybe you meet in a supermarket check out line. Or at a work meeting, where you’re both struggling to stay focused, and exchanged smiles brighten the tedium. Or you meet at a park, watching your similar-aged children play.
Common experiences. Never-common people. Opportunities for friendship and connection everywhere we go.
Will we take the invitation to be friendly — to make friends — when those moments come?
Today’s guest post by Kelli Wommack shares some ways to do just that. And she’s speaking from experience… because she’s been that kind of friend to me. When she sent this article to share, I had no idea what it was about us until I sat down to post it here. But that’s the thing about friends — they bless us big when we least expect it.
As we both nervously stood in the W – Z line to get officially registered, I turned around and introduced myself. She was tall, blonde, and super approachable. We exchanged names and the oh-so-important reason we were here: “Speaker or writer?” We both were signed up for the speaker’s track and we were also both here to pitch books to publishers.
I felt an instant friendship coming on. She told me that she had just met with a well-known publisher and they had taken her proposal and wanted to talk with her more about her book. I was astounded. This really happens?
I didn’t know if I would see her again in this sea of women-hoping-to-be-more, but I prayed I would. She seemed fun. Funny. Interesting. And non-threatening.
Her name was Laurie.
With butterflies swirling inside my stomach, I walked into the room where my Speakers Group was meeting. And there she was! Somehow just meeting her earlier that day helped me to quiet the butterfly movement and focus on the task at hand.
Laurie and I sat next to each other in our Speaker’s Group and cheered each other on. We also shared our dreams and our struggles and our desires to speak more, write more, and possibly be published.
There is so much to love about Laurie – but one thing that Laurie helped me to experience was a non-competitive relationship with another woman in pursuit of a similar calling. That kind of friendship is hard to find.
Why do we as women tend to:
Compete instead of cheer?
Assume instead of ask?
Be jealous instead of being joyful?
Provoke instead of praise?
Label instead of love?
My relationship with Laurie didn’t end in that Speakers Group or even at that conference. We continued to support each other. She enlightened me with her social media skills. I excitedly agreed to write for her blog. She introduced me to an agent. I pray for her. We are friends. And even though she lives in California, and I live in Georgia, we keep up with each other.
How can you and I have this kind of friendship with others?
- Realize that we are all different and have unique gifts and qualities. Embrace and celebrate those differences and encourage each other. Though we may have similar callings, we live out those callings in very different ways.
- Relinquish the need to compete and compare. We are all in this journey of life together – but we are all on different paths that lead to different places at different times. Laurie is getting traditionally published (TWICE!) this year. My time for traditional publishing hasn’t come yet. But that hasn’t changed our relationship. I am cheering her on and doing what I can do to help her during this crunch time!
- Resist the temptation to assume anything – that someone doesn’t like you, or that you are not good enough for a particular group, or that your platform isn’t large enough. Who cares? The people who like you for who you are don’t care about how many Twitter followers you have.
- Rejoice in the successes of your sisters. The Message version of Romans 12: 15 says, “Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down.” This is so very important!
- Reach out to others for the sole sake of friendship. Not for who they know. Or how they can enhance your platform. Ulterior motives and agendas can be smelled miles away.
Let’s be the ones to go against societal trends. Let’s build each other up instead of tearing each other down. Let’s share our knowledge with each other. Let’s support each other’s callings and pray for each other.
Let’s show the world that having friends is more important than having followers.
Is there one of these five that is more difficult for you than the others? Or maybe you can encourage us by sharing a relationship tip? We’d love to hear from you!
Kelli is a motivational speaker, writer, and blogger and loves seeing people reach their full potential in Christ. In her role as Serve Minister at Christ Community Church in Georgia, she has the awesome privilege of rallying others to find their unique place of ministry. Her favorite home team includes her loving, funny, yet quiet husband, and her two loving, funny, and not so quiet children. Connect with Kelli on Facebook (Kelli Wommack Ministry Page), on Twitter (@KelliWommack), or by visiting her website (Living for One).