Friends are such an important aspect of a person’s life. They shape who you are, hold you accountable, and make memories with you. But, have you ever felt that your friends have moved on without you? I found myself feeling like this recently. After getting married and moving to Hammond, nearly all of my friendships grew apart, ended, or we just got less connected. Early in 2018 I found myself craving deep, real friendships with a group of girls. With my introverted personality, making new friends seemed impossible. I did not know how to start talking to new friends, how to build deep relationships, or how to find time in my busy schedule to grow to those friendships.
In June 2019, I began listening to The Girls Night podcast by Stephanie May Wilson. In the opening of the episodes, she introduced a new book she had written called The Real Girls Guide to Taking it All Off. It was a friendship guide. Similar to a bible study but created to build deeper friendships with otherr girls! I was really interested in this. Everything she was saying about this book was what I longed for in my life, but how was I going to do it? I really thought and prayed about how to get this started. In July, I finally got up the courage to text a group of girls that I knew (some I just knew through friends and some I knew a little but wanted to be closer with). I told them about the book and asked if they would be interested in starting it with me and most of them said yes.
I started a group me with 8 girls in it and discussed a date for our first meeting. I used the group me app so it would be easier to welcome new friends into the group. Our first meeting was on a Friday night in August. I held it at my house with pizza and cookies for dinner. It was awkward at first. I hadn’t really held long conversations with any of these girls, much less been comfortable enough to invite them over. After dinner, we all fixed a cup of coffee and dived right into the book. The first week was about friendships. We talked about past friendships, what we wanted in a friend, our best and worst friendships, and more. Hearing everyone’s stories, I realized that I was not alone in this friendship journey. Nearly everyone had a similar story. We were all longing for something deeper. We agreed to meet every other Monday. The book had 6 chapters, each one diving deeper into ourselves. We discussed our relationships, religious backgrounds, insecurities, families, and dreams. Each time we met, we found ourselves talking and laughing more often (To the point that some chapters had to be split into 2 weeks). We took 4 months to complete a 6-week book and in the process, I made 6 sweet friendships.
Each one of these girls is completely different. Not all of the things we talked about were relatable either. Some of us are married, some in serious relationships, and others are single. Some of us come from split families, families with drug/alcohol issues, and some of us come from happy marriages. One thing that we all had in common was that we all have a love for Jesus. All of our religious backgrounds look different. All of us have a different relationship with Jesus, but because of Him we came together in a greater way. We talked about the when our faith was strongest and cried together when we discussed the times that we were most angry with God. It got to a point where when we do go longer than 2 weeks without seeing each other we all feel disconnected and miss each other. While our friendships are still forming and growing, I already feel so much more at peace that I have a group of girls that I can wholly be myself with and count on when I need them. I haven’t felt that in years and it feels great.
I urge you to contact some friends and read this book. Even if you are not Christian, this book is for everyone. You will find deep, reliable friendships and learn how to trust complete strangers. I promise that you will not be strangers after the first meeting. Be willing to let new people in. Before this study, I had never even spoken to 2 of these girls. We are beginning our first real bible study together soon, and I cannot wait to share how that bible study goes and how it affects me spiritually and how it effects our friendships. Just keep in mind that you cannot grow friendships entirely by reading a book. You need to find time to pour into each other. Make sure you check in with each other and actually open yourself up to them.
Find the book on amazon or stephaniemaywilson.com