Change has a way of pushing us out of our comfort zones and allowing us to feel disoriented when anything new interrupts our lives. From our career status to our relationship status, everything is constantly evolving. We grow to be 20-somethings, graduate college, fall in love, move out and try to figure out what on earth a 401k plan is. It’s so much to take in!
In this same way, we’re met with change, our friendships inevitably evolve, too. Maybe your best friend lands her dream job and moves out of state. Maybe you meet your dream guy and get married, and all of your friends are single. When we’re walking through different seasons of life, sometimes, it’s hard to find anything in common anymore. Inside jokes go by the wayside, and communication becomes as small as a monthly check-in text.
While it may seem like you and your friends are walking through contrasting seasons in life, it’s important to find new ways of creating healthy consistency.
Here are a few ways I’ve learned to remain a consistent friend in the midst of different seasons of life:
Initiate the hangout.
Instead of waiting for your friend to reach out for a coffee date, take the time to intentionally reach out to show that you’re still interested in nurturing a healthy friendship. Sometimes we sit back waiting for a phone call or text to come our way, but maybe you’ll have to lead the initiative to reconnect with your friend.
All of our personalities are different! Some of us are natural-born leaders who know how to bring everyone together. Others are amazing at participating and showing up in support. Wherever your personality falls, try to step out of your comfort zone and be the one to reach out to set up a hang.
You never know how much good that initial move on your part can do to help reconnect you to a friend. Keep it chill and simple! Whatever feels familiar and fun for you and your friend, set it on the calendar. All it takes is intentionality to set aside that time and let someone know they matter to you, even in the midst of your busy schedule.
Be a good listener.
It’s easy to meet up with someone and to talk their ear off about how amazing things are going for you in your new season of life. Make it a point during your conversation to ask how the other person is doing and genuinely engage with their answer.
I’ve experienced several coffee dates with friends where all I did was chat their ear off about my life, and I’ve walked away realizing I never once took the time to ask about them. A good listener cares enough to hear out the other person and looks for ways to let the other person know their voice matters.
Listening is such an amazing way of showing respect and love to a person, and it helps to keep the conversation balanced. While you and your friend may be walking through different seasons, the simple act of listening can show your friend that you still care about his or her well-being. Listening shows you care about the little things. If a friend voices a concern or struggle they’re going through, then this is a chance for you to follow up and encourage them through that hard time.
Listening shows you care about the little things.
Leave your expectations at the door.
Often, when we experience a change in season, we project some unrealistic expectations onto our friends. When I was planning my wedding last year, I experienced a crazy busy season. On top of working full time and planning a wedding, my husband was being flown out for job interviews and several family members were facing health issues.
It was a lot to handle and manage! Sometimes, I carried the unrealistic expectation that my friends needed to realize how overwhelmed and busy I was. In reality, unless someone has experienced a similar season, they may not be able to fully understand what you are walking through. This is okay!
Unless someone has experienced a similar season, they may not be able to fully understand what you are walking through.
At the end of the day, if your friends truly love you, then they will always be there for you. Assume the best in your friends. Maybe they won’t know how to relate to your current season of life, but see them for who they are and where they are at. Finding value in the years of friendship you’ve had with one another can help place things into a healthy perspective.
Don’t look for ways people can serve you, but rather, look for ways to serve your friends. Healthy friendships aren’t self-seeking. They’re selfless and look for ways to add value no matter what the season.
Celebrate each other’s journey.
Maybe you’re reading this and have been struggling because you’re comparing your season of life with someone else’s. Instead of slipping into the comparison game, celebrate your friends. You never know when you’ll step into a similar season and you will need support down the road. We’re all called to our own journeys—each so different and unique. When we put ourselves down by comparing our lives with our friends’ seemingly perfect lives, we are devaluing ourselves.
Unhealthy competition creates more division than it does unity. When you feel jealous, remember that everything comes at a high price. We always envy the final result, but we never envy the process. Take value in your worth by knowing that you’re just as valuable and have your own season to experience.
There is a purpose in your season and the season that your friends are in. Celebrate each others’ wins together. Grieve each others’ losses together, all the while learning to hold friendships with open hands.