My Thoughts on Authentic, Imperfect Friendship

My thoughts on pursuing authentic, imperfect friendships as an adult. Hint: It requires stepping outside your comfort zone!

This post is going to be a smorgasbord of thoughts on friendship, as I sit here in full appreciation of the women (and men) I have in my life. I hope you see yourself in these stories and can relate.

Making New Friends

Some of the best friends I have ever made have been from either they or I reaching out, beyond our comfort zone. For example, I met Simi because she emailed me and asked if we could chat on the phone and connect.

I met my friend Nichole because I messaged her on Instagram and told her she seemed nice and asked her how she liked living in Reno, because I was thinking about moving here.

I met my friend Asia because, one early morning in SLO, I was at Starbucks and she was there with a group of friends, sitting at the same table as I was (a community table). They were talking about meal planning and I hesitantly chimed in “I just wrote a blog post on that!” Haha.

I met my friends Bryanna (who’s wedding I’m in this weekend!), Caitlin, Dominique and Jess because of Meetups.com. Well, Cait introduced me to Jess, but both Bry, Cait, and Dom and I met at a meetups group that I went to by MYSELF.

Was I uncomfortable in every single one of these scenarios? YES. Totally. Did I feel nervous? YES. Totally. But I did it anyway, and these are some of the best friends that I have today.

I have plenty plenty plenty of other friends who I adore just as much, but for the purpose of this post I’m not mentioning their names because I met them in more natural/comfortable ways – so if you’re a friend reading this, I love you and I’m not intentionally leaving you out 🙂

Take-away: Get uncomfortable! Go outside your comfort zone. Say hello. Go to an event. Talk to new people. Compliment someone (I met my friend Aubrey because I told her I liked her purple shirt! Haha!). Make some friends 🙂

The Best Friends

When I initially got the inspiration to write this post it was because I was thinking about my friends, how much I appreciate them, and thinking about what makes a friendship so special to me.

Here are a few things that make friendship so special to me:

Support: My friends root each other on. They lift each other up, they celebrate one another’s success, no matter where they’re at in their own journey. It’s never about “you versus me.” It’s always “I want you to do well!”

Unconditional love: I feel the safest and most loved in friendships where I can make mistakes. Where I can be a great friend and also mess up and NOT be a great friend, and that person is willing to love me anyway. A friendship that requires you to be perfect is not one that I want to be in.

Spouse support: This is a HUGE one for me. I appreciate, deeply, friends who support my spouse. Who will say to me ‘Paige, maybe this is actually YOU!’ when I’m sharing something that is hard in my marriage. Or, the ones who will remind me how awesome Marco is ANYWAY, even if we’re in a rough spot. The ones who support Marco and will see his side of the road, when I’m not seeing it. This is *so, so* important to me. Friends who will help me to “put out the fire” and not “fan the flame.” My friends are also friends of Marco. They love him and believe in him as well. They’re always rooting for “us” together, not “us” apart, if that makes sense.

Sisterhood: I feel the best in friendships that feel like we’re sisters. We don’t have to get ready or make a plan to hangout. We can cry through a movie together. We can cry together in general. We can call each other. We can go months without seeing one another or talking and then we talk and it feels just as normal as ever. There are no huge expectations. We love each other, no matter what.

Allowing differences: My friends (most of them) are *so* different from me. Some of my friends travel the world. Some of my friends ride dirt bikes (and get first place in races, ahem, Nichole!). Some of my friends are Christian. Some of them are not. Some of my friends are conservative, some of them are liberal. Some of my friends own their own businesses, and some of them are happily employed by someone else. Some are in relationships, some are single. I could go on and on. Amongst all of our differences though, we have a couple of things in common: we don’t expect each other to be the same and we love each other anyways.

Loving the Friends You Have

Love hard on the friends you already have. Believe in them. Support them. Listen to them. Cheer them on. Be there for them when they’re struggling. Especially the ones that you know will be in your lives forever. I am *not* perfect at this. I mess up, I miss things, I maybe give advice where I should just listen… and my friends love me anyway.

Understand that you’ll be good at some things and not so good at others. Give yourself permission to show your love in the ways you show it best. For example: I’ll send text messages or call friends to check-in and see how they’re doing. I’ll listen to them when they need support, I’ll pray with them, etc. I’m not a good gift giver though. I admire my friends who are so thoughtful with gifts. But that’s never been my strong suit. So I don’t beat myself up for it. I just let myself be loving in the ways that are more “me.”

Keeping in Touch When You Move Away

Ooooph. This one is hard for me! I’m not great at this, whatever “great” means. I’m a home-body. Meaning, I most definitely prioritize my home life and being with my family (Marco and Abby). I also feel that my calendar is generally as full as I want it to be for regular life/work stuff and I super super super value free time. I am not the friend who will fill her calendar with trips every other week to visit friends. THAT is overwhelming as all get out to me. Instead, I try and do things like… When I go back to Ventura, I’ll send a message saying “We’re going to be at THIS place at THIS time, anyone wanna come hang?” Otherwise, I’d be running around not able to be present with anyone.

I’ve had to let myself off the hook for this. I have friends who travel every other weekend to see their friends and I’ve had moments where I feel guilty that I’m not doing that… but, you know… I’ve never done that. That’s not how I like to live (like I said, I value being home) and so, I’ve had to let myself off the hook for that.

We often put so much pressure on ourselves to be the perfect friends, don’t we? If we could all loosen up our expectations a bit, we’d have a lot more room to love on each other. Don’t you think?

This isn’t a “how to have a good friendship” post. Rather, it’s just my own thoughts as I think about friendship. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Share in the comments: What are your favorite friendships like? What do you love about them? I’d love to hear.

Love, Paige
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