There you are.


I know I speak from an odd position considering friendship. I met my best friend here the first day I moved to Fayetteville, and I immediately fell into a circle of peers who cares for me, even if they’re nothing like me. This town is really good at community from my perspective. Remember that I am a strange cookie. I hardly ever don’t feel like an oddball when I’m with other women, so I’m no expert, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about a few emails I’ve received regarding The Sister Parties and friendship.

So many of us have been hurt by the mean girls. I have. It’s interesting because I’m studying Beth Moore’s Esther, It’s Tough Being a Woman, and yesterday’s lesson was about dealing with this mean world and with mean girls in particular. Sometimes they seem to have taken over; you know the ones: self-centered gossips, controlling, hurtful, insecure, hurting. They’re out there by the hateful room-full. They’ve made me cry, and I’ve wished they would wash their hair with Nair. 

In thinking about this world populated with people who just need a friend, I have to suggest that if a mean girl has made you into a mean girl or has kept you from reaching out to other women, get with God on the insecurities that started all that and learn the truth about who you really are – – not that I’m even close to having that down.

Beth suggests that we make positive sure that our enemies are also God’s enemies, and then heap burning coals of love on their mean little heads. Love them, don’t be afraid of them, but don’t try to make BFF with them. Also, Listen! We’re not all mean girls.

girlfriendsIf making good friends means that we first consider being a good friend, then what does it look like to be a good friend? When a friend is good to me, she seems to have mustered up the energy to actually be around people, and she musters up the interest to introduce herself, even if I’m different. She doesn’t try to be like me, but instead she’s honest. She listens. She’s usually positive. 

She never starts immediately into her thyroid problems or her hysterectomy. She doesn’t walk in and say, “Here I am!” Rather, she walks in and says, “There you are!”

A friend of mine named Staci seems to always be the one that gets an earful of my negative gripes, and she handles me by asking the best questions. She is the queen of good questions, never assuming I’m a thing like she is. I bet she knows twice as much about me as I do about her, and let me tell you, she is one of the greatest friends I’ve ever had, and without ever having to confront my negativity, she makes me feel loved and resolved after every conversation to humble myself and get a new gratitude habit.

Trees of the Forrest

Tonight I’m having my Sister Party, and I invited a few friends to come over wearing their sweat pants. I’m making a crock-pot chocolate cake, and I’m not going to obsess over my mess. I’ll do what I can, and after that, I’m going to enjoy the relationships.

I’m learning.

Today, we’re giving away  The (In)courage shop’s Trees of the Forrest Handmade Tea Towel designed by The Pleated Poppy to the Sister Post’s commenter #26, Terri from Artfully Arranged Disarray.

I can’t wait to hear about all your Sister Parties October 22-24. To see a list of the prizes for next weekend, see this post. Thank you for celebrating friendship with me. So what is it you consider a good quality in a friend?

amberhaines
About me

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25 Comments

Brooke McGlothlin
Reply October 15, 2009

Amber,

What a thought...that they would wash their hair with nair. LOVE THAT! I've been there too...lifelong scars from girls who shaped my thinking about myself as a young woman. Recently, the Lord had me write down every one of the names and specifically what they had done to hurt me...then choose to forgive them and ask for forgiveness for harboring bitterness toward them all these years.

Freedom is good.

sandy
Reply October 15, 2009

Hi Amber! You always crack me up! I'd have to say a good quality that comes to mind is trustworthiness. Once I know I can trust a friend (btw, for most of us, it takes courage to trust!), the friendship seems to take off ...

Love your thoughts, as always! xo sandy

dawn
Reply October 15, 2009

She doesn’t walk in and say, “Here I am!” Rather, she walks in and says, “There you are!”

That hit me today. It's so true...and I hope I'm that person. thinking on it. thanks.

    Amber
    Reply October 15, 2009

    Dawn, that one really hits me, too. By the way, that totally didn't come from my head, but I have no clue where I heard it.

deidra
Reply October 15, 2009

Oh my this one hits home! I'm laughing about the Nair. I'm loving the friend who doesn't make you a thing like her. I've known some mean girls in my life and for awhile I was one of them. Not just mean. Nasty. I should probably wash my hair with Nair. But time has healed a lot of wounds and I've got the scars to prove it. And I know that friendship is more about what I bring to the table than what I expect to get back.

Jennifer
Reply October 15, 2009

She doesn’t walk in and say, “Here I am!” Rather, she walks in and says, “There you are!”

I love that... that is exactly what a best friend is!! Hope you have a fantastic night enjoying your friendships! ♥

mandie
Reply October 15, 2009

Oh! I can't wait to do my post! My real-life sisters were here over the weekend for the first time since I moved over 3 years ago, and we did all sorts of fun girl things. I'd have to say that an important quality in a sister friend is availability- even if you can't be there physically, to know that their heart is always open and there for you when you need them- they know JUST when to call or send a note, or should i say, they are sensitive in knowing when you need them! :) This is something that I'm trying to work on myself...and I have been contemplating your theory of first being a good friend for a few months...I completely agree!

Traci Little
Reply October 15, 2009

Hey there!

Would you help this sweet mama on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day?

http://ordinaryinspirations.blogspot.com/2009/10/coincidence-i-dont-thing-so.html

Love,
Traci

Muthering Heights
Reply October 15, 2009

You make such valid points here!

I was devastated by a mean girl in the past few weeks...so much so that I canceled my sister party, as she is deeply entrenched in the group I had planned to host.

Now I'm reconsidering... :)

dawn
Reply October 15, 2009

hope you are up for a chuckle...just shared your post with my 13 year old daughter who thinks a lot about friendship (cause that is what life is about at this point). She very seriously said she had a friendship quote to share...here ya go:

" Friendship is like peeing your pants, everyone can see it, but only you can feel the true warmth."

Deep, huh?

Wendy
Reply October 15, 2009

Amber girl,
If my oldest didn't have a volleyball tournament game tonight, I think I might just do something crazy like drive to Arkansas and crash your girls night. I envy the friendships you speak about but so happy you have that circle of love and support!

Wendy

Elyse
Reply October 15, 2009

This is an awesome post. I have been hurt by many girls in the past and it is hard for me to make friends ~ but mostly for the reason you said - i dont put myself out there to BE A FRIEND first. Thank you for the insight and encouragement. Wish I lived in your neighborhood!

Jo@Mylestones
Reply October 15, 2009

This is so right on!! Growing up, my big sis and I were the best of friends, and sometimes when we'd fight, my mom would send us to our rooms to memorize a verse (BUT MAAH-UMM!). And the living bible translation of Phil 2:3 is still stuck in my head to this day, "Don't be selfish. Don't live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others better than yourself."
If we all just did exactly that, can you imagine what encouraging friends we'd be to our "sisters in the skin"?

Jess
Reply October 15, 2009

Amber, it is so cool that you shared this today . . . last week I was shocked by a really mean comment on my blog. Then came another one. In the past this would have sent me into a spiral of insecurity and self-doubt, but God has been helping me a lot with that . . . anyway, after some other people read the comment I received such overwhelming love and kindness, I just couldn't believe it! I thought, wow, I could have shut down my blog because of one mean person, and missed all of these kind-hearted, loving, sincere people! Sometimes it feels like the world is run my the mean girls, but there are still so many many beautiful girls out there! I don't want to shut people out for fear of the mean ones!

Laure
Reply October 15, 2009

I got sidelined when I came to the name Esther.

That was my mum's name. She died this past Monday.

As for being banged up and bruised by broken girls/women. Yes, I've know the pain ... intimately. Over and over and over again.

But.

My life is not lived in the shadow of such haunting memories.

No.

All that hurt. All that pain. It has had its way in me. Its done a great work as I now choose to face women with love.

Lori Geres
Reply October 15, 2009

Hey Amber .. Your post made me a bit sad .. I wish I had a sister to share my life with .. but I am the lone girl between two boys .. and now that I'm all grown up, and life has swept me up, I am left without a best girl friend . I have lots of acquaintances, lots of hey howdy friends, but not one best friend that knows "me" ..

Most of the time it's OK, but I have been missing this connection the last few months ..

Could I ask for prayer? I would love the chance to experience what you have described .. a chance for someone to say "there you are!" to me ..

Thanks for your words ..

Kimberly
Reply October 15, 2009

A good friend is someone I can tell anything without having to run it through certain filters on its way out of my mouth!

Joy
Reply October 16, 2009

I don't even know you except through your words and I love it.
There are so many wise women to learn from a blog!

I consider a good friend to be someone that listens. And I listen back.
To accept each other for the way they/we are.
To not criticize or be judge mental.
To love unconditionally.
Someone to make you laugh when you need to instead of crying...
And sometimes it's just an I love you.

I'm slowly but surely taking care and nourishing the relationships that really matter right now.
I have been trying for a very long time.
I won't give up despite the past hurts.
And despite it all, they still may not let me in.

Deb Martell
Reply October 16, 2009

Oh Amber, you nailed it!! Your description of your friend was exactly what I appreciate in someone and what I desire to be for someone. For so many years I talked, talked, talked without listening, really listening and I know I missed so much!
Love that Esther study too!
Deb

Corinne
Reply October 16, 2009

I adore this post. What a good reminder to be the friend you'd want to have, and to cherish those around us. I know I've been on the receiving end of the mean girls harsh words, and it still stings to think about, and it makes me a little weary of making new girlfriends. But it's necessary, truly necessary, in order to appreciate womanhood (sounds cheesy, but you know what I mean!)

Kiki
Reply October 16, 2009

I love this post. I love the "There you are!"

We've moved twice in the past 4 years. The best way I've found to make friends, is to be one. Reach out to someone and say "There you are!" to them. Send them a quick email. Call. Remember things that are important to them or things they are going through and ask about it. Most women will reciprocate.

It can be intimidating because it seems (to me) like most women already have enough friends.

Boy Crazy
Reply October 16, 2009

I think a quality that I depend on is the ability of a friend to recognize that friendships cycle and phase. Sometimes things feel very balanced, other times one friend is giving more or listening more than the other. But over time it waxes and wanes and shifts, and hopefully in the big picture both friends can be supporting each other to a somewhat equal degree.

Although, what's nice too is when you may be heavy on the taking end in a friendship where someone has the gifts to give what you're needing, while at the same time you may be the giver to a friend whose needs you are able to meet.

Robin ~ PENSIEVE
Reply October 18, 2009

Sometimes friendships are made, and sometimes friendships just "are". I'm thankful for both and they equally enrich my life, but in different ways.

Qualities I'm ever-grateful for in those closest to me are a quickness to forgive, love, hug, admonish or laugh...and knowing which of those things is called for in any situation.

xo

Terri
Reply October 18, 2009

Oh, my goodness! I can't believe you drew my name!!

I was reading this post, feeling a bit sad that I haven't connected with a group of dear friends here. I do know lots of wonderful people, but in the 3.5 years in this new town, I still miss my heart-friends back in Colorado. This sister party idea was just what I needed to reach out to BE a friend...

I am also doing the Esther study, or I should say, devouring it! It is so good.

Thank you again for the great prize!! I am still in shock. Blessings!

Adventures In Babywearing
Reply October 20, 2009

Oh there was a part that made me laugh out loud. I'm glad to call you friend and wish we were in closer proximity to hang out regularly.

Steph

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