When we’re younger, school and jobs and loads of free time makes it easier to cultivate friendships. Once we’re older, it can be hard to find the time… and even the venue for making new friends.
In this episode, Sterling shares why friendships are so important and how you can find your perfect best friend!
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Welcome to the Made For Greatness podcast. I am your host Sterling Jay, and on today, episode 40, we’re talking about making friends. This is something that comes up often in moms groups, and whether it comes up verbally or just in your mind, it’s something that I think a lot of us grapple with and what that is, is how we make friends basically after our twenties. So we go to school and there’s kind of this built-in structure for making friends. And then sometimes we even get jobs and we make friends there and we have all this free time to connect with people and to get to know them, to do carefree timelessness. And so it feels easier to make friends when we’re younger. And then we get married. We have some kids and somewhere in our thirties. And I think every decade after that, it’s easy for us to go, huh? I don’t have any good friends. All of a sudden, or I don’t know how to make good friends. And maybe it’s because you moved. Maybe it’s because you converted to Catholicism. And now you’re no longer friends with maybe some of your secular friends, but we find ourselves feeling lonely. I think that’s a really common feeling.
We’ve talked before about how isolating American culture is and that most of us don’t live in community anymore. You’re not friends with all of the people who live on your street. And a lot of parishes, you know, you go and you smile at people and maybe, you know, some people’s names, but a lot of people don’t even have a really good friend at their parish. They go, they participate in mass and then they go home. And so first I just want to acknowledge this pain and how painful loneliness is because that’s going to come bubbling up for some of you and you’re going to resist it. You’re going to say, oh, I’m not really lonely. It’s fine. I have my husband. I’m too busy. Anyway, I’ll kind of push this, this feeling aside, but God gives us all of our feelings and their check engine lights. Right? And I think the check engine light of loneliness has God showing your, your desire for relationship. And ultimately we have this desire for a relationship with Christ. So always check that first. Hey, how’s my relationship with the Lord right now? Is he my best friend? Do I talk to him all the time? Do I find rest and comfort in him?
But then if you feel a longing beyond that, it might be for a really good friend, but then once you allow this desire to bubble up, the next dot most of us have is people don’t really like me or they won’t really like me for who I am. And we feel like, like if we had to show our real selves, we wouldn’t be accepted. And then by the time we get to our thirties and older, we’re also kind of tired of our fake selves. Like we, maybe we did that in high school or in our twenties. And they were like, listen, I’m too busy. Like, that’s just the truth. Right? I have a bucket of kids. I’m too busy to be fake me. If I leave the house for two hours to go spend time with someone, I want it to be with someone that I can be authentically myself with.
And so that thought is going to come up for a lot of you. I’m weird. I’m not interesting. They’re not going to like me. I can’t be who I really am. And those thoughts are going to feel crushing. Because if you read, we believed that people wouldn’t like you for who you are, what a scary thing, what a yucky feeling. And if you think that that’s okay, all of us have thought that some of us just practice it more than others. So it’s not a problem that you have thought that, or you do think that, but I promise you if you are thinking, yeah. Is that the way that you show up in your own life will just create more evidence in your mind that people don’t like you to, if you think they’re not going to like the real me, then you’re going to be withdrawn.
You’re going to, to present a false version of yourself and you probably won’t form deep connections because we can sense when people are giving us the false version of themselves on a subconscious level. So they may not know Y but they may meet you at a mom’s group or an event and just think, wow, she was all right. I don’t really connect very deeply with her though. And it’s because we weren’t showing them your real self. So because you had this thought, they won’t like me for who I am. And then you act withdrawn and you don’t show them your way, real self. You won’t make deep friendships. And you’ll say, see, I went to that mom’s house. And the conversation was stilted and awkward. Probably not going to call me again, but you created it by your thinking.
And so I want to offer to you that if you have a desire for a good friendship, God has placed that desire in your heart. There have been times in my life where really felt that desire like, oh, I just really wish I had a good friend. And then there have been times in my life where I did have a good friend. And then there have also been times in my life where I’ve just been kind of busy living my life. And I haven’t really dwelt on the absence of having a good friend. So some of you are going to fit each of those three categories, but if you are feeling the stirrings or the desire for a friend, just know God put that desire in your heart. And he will fulfill it.
That desire that longing that loneliness is a signal that God is creating space to fill it, but you have to work with him. And here’s how you can do that. One. I want you to make a list of all of the things that you want in a friendship, everything that you want, and you might say, but nobody’s perfect. It’s not going to be everything I want for, of course, of course, that’s true. But I want you to, just to dream and think what would the perfect friend look like for me, for most of us, it’s going to be that she’s Catholic. Maybe there’s some more criteria. Is there. Maybe you want someone who loves going to daily mass. Maybe you want someone who’s a big fan of adoration, or you could even qualify it more than that. Maybe you want to be friends with someone who’s also a Catholic convert.
Does she have kids? Are they about the same age as yours? Where does she live? What is she into? What does she want to talk about? That’s a big one, because I think when we’re younger, we’re kind of defined by the music we like or the clothes we wear. And then when we get older, we choose to do different things with our time. And so we have different conversations. What kind of conversations do you genuinely want to have, or which are the ones that you don’t want to have that you find trite or boring? We’re just dreaming here. So we’re not making any judgment against other people. We’re just saying I’m going to place an ad for my very best friend. And here’s what I want it to say.
And then you’re just going to give that to God as a prayer Lord, please bring me a wonderful friend. And then I want you to thank him for being a wonderful friend and thank him for going out and finding that friend for you. And of course, he’s already found her, but I want you to think about it like this. I want you to think that if he’s placed a desire in your heart, of course, he’s going to bring her. You don’t even need to know how you just need to believe that he will. Now, what if I told you it would take two years and you might think, Ugh, two years, but right now you believe you’re never going to find a friend. You’re just sitting in eternal loneliness right now. You’re kind of like, oh, it’s not going to happen for me. I’m just going to be lonely forever. And that’s what our brains do. They’re very dramatic. So they want to tell us when we’re experiencing a challenge that we’re going to experience it for ever.
And instead, I want you to just think in your mind, like, okay, it could be a couple of years for me to find this really great friend, but then we’re going to be friends for the rest of my life. And we’re going to have so much in common and we’re going to enjoy each other. And it’s going to be lovely. She’s going to push me to be stronger. We’re going to talk about interesting things. We’re going to support each other. We’re going to challenge each other. Really just imagine what this friendship could look like and be willing to wait for it and just believe that God is going to bring it to you. I’m just thinking about all the days that you were single, when you wanted to be married and you thought, I don’t know how I’m going to meet this guy. And you had this idea of who you wanted him to be, and you didn’t know when he was going to come.
The part of you wanted to get married. And for a lot of you, you believed that that would happen. And when I meet girls who are single, I just tell them if God has placed this desire in your heart, he will fulfill it. Somehow. Some of them do end up being nuns. And that is the type of marriage too. And we tell them he will bring the right guy at the right time. And I just want to offer that finding great friends is the same way, and we don’t want to rush it and we don’t want to fake it. And we don’t want to shoehorn the wrong kind of friend in our lives. And that doesn’t mean we can’t be casual friends, but in this episode, I’m really talking about finding a deep friend, someone that you’re very close to, someone you can do life with.
I was reading recently that, you know, we used to have such communities and so many more people in our lives and deeper relationships that we didn’t put as much pressure on our husbands to be everything to us. But now as we become more and more isolated, we’ve turned to marriage to fill all our holes, all our needs, all our wants. And we look at this guy and we’re like, you are the one that’s supposed to make me happy. And I think husbands do the same thing because they are also often just as isolated as we are, but that when we have more relationships in our lives, more friendships, it takes a little bit of pressure off our spouse.
And I think that’s really true. Now, some of you may live in rural areas and you’re like, I don’t know how it’s going to happen. You don’t need to know how that is. God’s job. You’re just going to place an order. Heavenly order for a best friend. You’re gonna say, God, I’d love her to look something like this. And then I want you to thank him for answering your prayer. Lord. I know you’re going to answer my prayer. I’m just thinking you in advance. I’ve been reading about that more lately, this concept that we can kind of thank God in advance for answering our prayers. Now we don’t know how he’s going to answer it. We’re not telling him what to do. We’re just believing in him. We’re believing that he fulfills the desires of our hearts. And again, I want you to ask yourself what if it took five years? Are you willing to wait five years to find your best friend?
Why or why not answer that for yourself? And then the last piece of the puzzle, and this is true. And what we tell single women as well is, are you working on becoming the type of woman that that woman wants to spend time with? Because sometimes we’re lonely. But then when we think about having to go to social events, we’re like, Ooh, I’m tired. You don’t want to do it. Or sometimes we make our entire life be about our husband and our kids. And then we don’t have anything else to talk about. And I’m not saying that that’s wrong. If you want to find a friend and all you guys talk about, are your kids great? It’s never all we talk about. But if that wants to be the majority of what you talk about, maybe you guys bond over homeschooling, maybe you bond over homesteading. Maybe you bond over being soccer moms. And you talk about that. Most of the time, there’s no right or wrong list of attributes for your friend. But when you look at your list, make the list first. But when you look at that, I want you to think, who do I have to be to attract that kind of friendship? How do I need to be living my life? Where do I need to be in order to encounter a woman like this?
I really tend to love women who go to daily mass. So if I wanted to make a friend who, even with small children, made an effort to go to daily mass, where do you think I could find her? Well, I could start by going to daily mass, right? If I wanted to bond with someone over being a Montessori mom, yeah. I could go find a local Montessori school and see if they have any events. Even if I wasn’t going to sign my kid up, or you could sign your kid up, or you could find a Facebook group and go in there and say, Hey, are there any Montessori moms in Idaho? How about Northern Idaho? We can keep getting closer and closer to home. Does anyone know anyone like this?
But when you know that she’s out there, when you believe that she’s out there, you’re so much more open to finding her. And it helps you do the activities and the self work to becoming the woman that that woman wants to hang out with. And all of this is going to bring up for you. This idea that you’re not good enough. It always does for all of us when we’re trying to find a spouse. And when we’re trying to find friends, our deepest fear is that something is wrong with us. We are broken. We are weird. And we won’t find someone who likes us for who we are.
And I want you to just be curious about that this week. Be curious if that comes up for you, a feeling like you’re not good enough and that people don’t like you, the way that you are ask yourself, why, what is it about you that you think that they don’t like? I know that I’m a bit loud and I have strong opinions. So I sound pretty judgmental. I feed my kids pretty healthy food and we don’t watch a lot of TV. So I always feel like I’m not going to fit in. It’s not that I care what other people do, but I have this story that they’re going to hear that about me, and then feel bad about themselves.
I have a story sometimes that I’m not one of the good Catholic families, because I wasn’t raised Catholic. And I, you know, my parents got divorced when I was five and I didn’t even become Catholic until I was 25. So I did all the things. And sometimes I get worried that they’re going to find out like the lift up the Catholic layers that they see and they’re going to see right. That broken child inside of me. And then they won’t want me. And I think in the back of our minds, we also have this idea that if somebody saw everything that I ever did or the way that I am at home all the time, that they wouldn’t really like me, they wouldn’t accept me, but that’s not usually how it works. People are usually much more loving and accepting, especially if they’re your friend.
If you find someone who doesn’t enjoy you, right? It’s like dating a guy that doesn’t end up being your husband. You’re like, oh, he just wasn’t the one, oh, she’s just not my best friend. It’s fine. We have different levels of friendships. But if you have a deep longing in your heart right now for a good friend, pray for her, ask God to bring her believe that he will and become the kind of woman that that woman wants to spend time with. If it’s genuine for you, not if it’s fake, but probably in this genuine friendship, you will become a better version of yourself. You’ll be walking towards becoming the best version of yourself. And when you both do that, your interests will align.
And when you stumble, you will support each other. We were never meant to do life alone. And our husband was never meant to be the only person that we had a deep relationship with. But deeper relationships require time, an effort and thinking and space communication and forgiveness, right? In order to have a really good friend, we have to spend time with them. We have to tell them who we really are. And when we hurt their feelings, we have to apologize. Now, masters members know we don’t ever hurt people’s feelings. We do things and they have a thought about that. And then they have hurt feelings, but that doesn’t excuse acting without charity or kindness.
So I still tell people, I’m sorry. If I hurt their feelings, I don’t give them the textbook coach responsive. Well, you know, it’s only your thoughts. I hurt your feelings, right? I just say, I’m sorry, I hurt your feelings. And I say that even when I’m not sure I’ll, I’ll say, you know, oh, that came out a bit strong. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. I love you. I think you’re a great, I can see it on someone’s face when I’ve said something too strongly. And if I’m being a good version of me, I apologize.
I don’t want you to think that you’re going to meet someone and have an instant connection. And it’s going to be easy. Nothing in life worth having you guys is easy. Nothing. I have not found one thing yet in life that is worth having that is easy. And it’s kind of like what I was talking about in loving the plateau. I want you to expect that forming new and deep friendships is work. It is challenging, but you signed up for that race and it’s worth it. So there’s going to be awkward, text messages. There’s going to be the first time you go over to each other’s houses, there’s going to be the first time you tell her something really dark and scary and see how she reacts. She’s going to be doing all of those things too. It’s a dance. You’re going to go through some stuff together.
You’re going to be figuring each other out. And it’s a process. And that’s how we create deep friendships. You might have to go through five or 10 women, and I’m not saying we’re auditioning people and we’re like, em, you didn’t make the cut. You’re gone. I meet people all the time that I genuinely enjoy. And they are my friends. They’re not my best friend or maybe not a deep friendship that I have. And for those of you that have a bunch of casual friends, maybe you don’t feel lonely, but I want to encourage you to form a deep friendship with someone partly because of the husband thing, but also because God made us to live in community and to have deep friendships.
CS Lewis talks about the kind of friendship that we can have in his book. The four loves. And I’m sorry, I don’t remember which type of friendship it is. My husband wouldn’t know. And the one, the type of love, that’s about deep friendship. He says, usually you one person in your life that meets that criteria. You don’t even have a bunch. It’s usually one. And so I want you to pray for this woman. I want you to pray that God brings someone into your life, that you can be really good friends with. That leads you closer to Christ. That helps you go through life.
I want you to ask God for that. And then I want you to practice thanking him in advance. See how that feels in your body to thank the Lord for answering your prayer. Even though he hasn’t yet just having that much trust in God. And again, this is for those of you that have this desire in your heart. You may not have that desire in your heart right now. And that’s okay. There were times when I didn’t, but we were made to do life together and more than ever in this world, that is so fractured. And we, where we live such isolated lives, friendship is so important.
And for those of you that are thinking, I don’t know how to make friends. I don’t know how to talk to people. I want you to just go find some books that talk about that, making friends and knowing how to talk to people. It’s just a skill. You can learn it. If you want to form deep relationships with people, go learn it. There’s the seven levels of intimacy by Matthew Kelly. There’s the charisma myth, something Fox Olivia Fox. I think that’s who wrote that, how to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie, right? It’s a skill. And if you are feeling awkward and like, you don’t know how to make friends, and if this is important to you, go learn this skill. It’s worth it. But I want us all collectively to stop sitting in our living rooms, being sad and not enjoying our day-to-day lives and just acting like victims. Like we can’t do anything about it.
God has planted desires in your heart and he will fulfill them, but he needs you to participate. And so this episode was about the desire for having a friend, but you could probably replace friend with whatever desire is on your heart to foster children, to write a book, to lose weight, to heal your marriage. And you could follow the same steps, write down what you want. Believe that God will bring it to you and ask yourself who do I need to become in order to have that, to attract that kind of person, to create that kind of space in my life, to have that kind of success that I want. And that is the work that you can do now, even if you have no idea how your dream or your goal is going to happen, and that is the power of life coaching, because I used to read all sorts of books about time management and habits and business and leadership, and, and even just being a Saint, being a good Catholic, but it missed this life coaching piece of being able to envision what I wanted, believe that it would come and work on becoming the person that I needed to be in the story of me having that thing.
So you can do that about friendship and you can learn how to connect with people. And in the end, working on ourselves is always the answer, learning more about who Jesus said he was and what he told us and practicing, living that way, right? It always comes back to that. And so my friends and I consider you friends, let us create stronger relationships. Let us believe that God will fulfill the desires of our hearts. Let us come together and build a better world. We have to stop sitting in our living rooms, hating our lives and spinning in stress and overwhelm. And I don’t know, confusion and I’m broken and no one loves me and everything is terrible. Keep listening to this podcast and we will keep giving you tools for how to get out of that darkness and how to believe something new. That is a skill too, and we have to practice it.
I’m praying for you guys. But before I wrap up, I wanted to let you know that I am going to be in Kansas, in Wichita, Kansas from August 5th through the eighth. Okay. So on Thursday, August 5th, I’m going to be doing a marriage talk. It’s St. Catherine of Sienna from six to nine, and it’s free to just show up on Friday morning, the sixth, I’m going to be doing a talk for moms at the church of the Magdalene from nine 30 to 1130 and then Friday evening and all day Saturday and all day Sunday, I’m going to have a booth at the Catholic family conference in Wichita. So if you want more details about that, go to made for greatness.co/kansas. And please, please, please. If you know anyone in or around Wichita, please invite them. Just tell them, just say my awesome friend. Sterling is going to be in Kansas for four days, go see her talk or go meet her at her booth. You know, I’m just going to grab them and tell them a bunch of wonderful things and help them love their life more and see themselves the way God sees them. Right? That’s my super power.
Let me stop mine. It’s God’s and he does it through me, but I will grab any person that I see and I will speak truth to them. And I love meeting you in person. And I love meeting new people and I love conferences and speaking and all of it. So if you are in or around Wichita this week, come visit me. If you know someone who’s there, text them, made for greatness.co/kansas and tell them to come check it out. All right, you guys, we’re in this together. We’re all doing better than we think God’s mercy is endless. And he loves us so much when we really, truly, and deeply believe that all the rest of this is just stuff we get to figure out along the way. I’m figuring it out, just like you. And we’re always going to be working on becoming the best version of ourselves until we go home to be with God in heaven forever. So I’m wishing you wonderful friendships, peace this week, and that you are working to see yourself the way that God sees you as a beautiful, wonderful, lovable person, just the way that you are. And I pray that we all find friends that see us that way too.
Alright, mamas, go out into the world to be Christ’s light. And remember that you are made for greatness.