How To Be a Friend

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How To Be a FriendI’ll admit, I did an Instagram poll to see what topic Moms wanted to cover; the two options were: finding your tribe or how to be a friend.

A close pole, but “Finding Your Tribe” was the most popular vote. I get it; everyone wants a tribe! It’s definitely my most jealous struggle moment to see a crew of girls enjoying a birthday or girls’ night out but not being invited to the gathering. What it seems like is women are searching for their tribe, but not wanting to be the friend they need themselves. Ouch, did I really just write that out? Yes, Momma! Time to reevaluate. Here’s the best piece of advice I’ve been given and have to preach to myself now: “You have to be a friend to have friends.” Tribes start with one combining to two then three and hopefully stopping there, because more than three friends can be overwhelming!

Take it from a 30-year-old grown woman that keeps a phone Note titled “Friends” just as a reminder that I am not alone in this world and also to remember to check in with my friends. Is that awful? Maybe to you, but don’t knock it until you get humbled really quickly listing out your own friends!

Maybe your list really is empty or maybe all your closest late night Target run buddies just had babies and you’re needing some fresh blood pumping, ready to listen about how Becky at the gym is trying to kill you with your new workouts. Regardless of where you are in life, we can all use some freshening up in the “how to be a friend department.”

I’m not telling you to be a “misery loves company” friend — I’m going through the exact same tragedy as you right now. What we need in a tribe are women who have been there and are in it for the long run. Communication goes a long way in being a friend. Brené Brown is hands down the queen of vulnerability and something I learned from her is this: “Connection is the energy that is created between people when they feel seen, heard and valued — when they can give and receive without judgment.”

Be a friend who values seeing and hearing over judgment.

What do you like doing for fun? I love walking through the Chickamauga Battlefied, chasing sunsets, hiking, drinking coffee, driving in the car while the kids are strapped in watching a movie, and eating donuts. Most of these things I can do with a friend! When you’re feeling like you need an adventure, don’t go at it alone! Invite your friend along. Don’t be discouraged when the first friend from your list (oh yes, it’s a useful Note you’ll see!) can’t because baby Tommy is throwing up.

Be a friend that is engaging and flexible!

Goodness, I’m about to call myself out, but here goes. Be a friend that follows up. I am terrible, AWFUL at following up. “Hey, let’s meet up again! This was fun!” Two months go by and I have not once made new plans with that friend. You know what I can always do though? Be real without excuses and overloading your problems. “I know it’s been three months since we last hung out and I promised we would get the kids together again, but I haven’t made plans with you! Are you free on Friday? I’m taking the kids to the new jump park and I’ll have a coffee with your name on it hot and ready!”

Be a friend that follows up without excuses.

My Enneagram 2 friends are going to shout “Amen!” on this one. Meet a need for your friend. Moving? Offer to clean. Schools out and your friend works full time? Offer to babysit. Overwhelmed? Show up with a hot meal. New job? Send a congratulations text! Stressed marriage? Babysit for them to get a date night.

Be a friend that shows up.

Just as I’m writing this post, I’m in the middle of a breakneck life situation. My friends know it, because I’ve asked for prayer, cried on their shoulders, dropped my kids off at their house, and been vulnerable. They’ve checked in on me at the most opportune times and taken me on the best donut dates. I know this though; even if I weren’t (and I haven’t been always) a great friend to them, they would still show up. There are amazing women out there like them, and I really hope that this post leaves you feeling encouraged to find a friend and be what you need for that person.

Let’s talk this out: what works in friendship? Do you agree that to have friends you have to first be a friend?

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“Chattanooga is something you can have any way you want it…” I am so blessed to share this city with my husband and three children: Dallas (9), Lillie-Mae (4), and Mindy (3). We enjoy the mountains and the valleys that make up the geography of our city as well as the metaphor they stand for in our lives. Always an adventure in parenting, homeschooling, and loving on others, we look forward to each new day that we are given. Follow along with the antics of the #guesstribe on Instagram @ellieguess and here as we share our city/country love with you.