If you have an extra five minutes and you’ve ever thought it was more challenging building strong friendships after college, I encourage you to read Sarah Grace Akerly’s post How Not to Make Friends After College on Faith Village today. If you don’t have an extra five minutes, then I have to say I’m quite honored that you’re still here on Song of Sloman, and I appreciate your loyalty. So for those people short on time, I will give an incredibly brief synopsis of Sarah’s post and then take her idea one step forward.
Sarah found great friends in college. Her friends had a passion for Jesus and were intentional and encouraging. When she graduated, she got a new job in a new city and planned to simply find a new church home connecting with a group of young singles like her, like her college friends. Instead she found herself making endless lists of pros and cons and church hopping week after week. After several weeks of this, Sarah found herself friendless and realized she was the one failing to see the hearts of the people she was meeting. She was the one being judgmental and failing to be vulnerable. Sarah realized her friends from college knew her heart, and she knew theirs, and those relationships took time to develop.
So now Sarah is focusing on being a more open person and investing in peoples lives.
So what’s the next step?
My wife and I had nearly identical experiences. We formed deep relationships with our college friends. Several years later we still consider some of these people to be very close friends, but speaking for myself, even my college friends might not have been the ones I had picked for myself. They were band geeks, thespians, madrigal singers, Emo kids and homeschoolers, but God placed us together in the Christian Campus House. We “did life together,” because we lived together, and we formed lasting bonds that I will forever be grateful for.
After college, I too moved to a new city and struggled to find community. I tried out several single men’s small groups, and although I finally settled on one, it never felt like what I was missing. I could blame it on only meeting once a week or that I missed meetings frequently, because I would travel out of town on the weekends, but the truth is that I was unwilling to be transparent and honest about my struggles and failures.
The weekend after we got back from our honeymoon, we made it a priority to dive head first into a multi-generational small group and push ourselves outside of our comfort zone to really engage others and be engaged in return. Six months later we were leading our own group. We’ve spent the past year and a half trying to build the kind of Gospel-centered community the Bible calls us into, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. There have been struggles, and we have often yearned for those rooted relationships we experienced in college, but that only encourages us to be even more diligent to invest in each others lives.
We have a great group that God has put around us, and we are beginning to taste the rewards of our collective pursuit of friendship, but we do not want to grow complacent. We do not want to be satisfied. We desire for God to do incredible things in our midst, so we continue to pray that He would mold us into a group that is open, honest and edifying.
How do you make friends?