10 Things About Making Friends on Purpose {Even If You’re Scared}

I spend a lot of time talking about it, writing about it; how we are meant for community.  I’m always saying that God intended for us to do life to the very edges, together.

Truth be told?  I spend a lot of time sometimes blowing hot air.   I know I need community, I know I love community but…

I’m not very good at it.  Also I am kind of afraid of being a friend.  A friend on purpose.  

Last week in our small group us girls got together while the men took the children downstairs so that we could pray.   Praying together wasn’t something new, we’d bowed our heads together many times before last Monday.

I’m not sure what was different about last week.  I’m not sure why I felt His presence so keenly as we gathered and began sharing our hearts.  


But something was vastly different and as I opened in prayer I pressed into the fear and prayed over each of my sisters and they prayed over me.  Over the last week I’ve replayed that moment in my head countless times and each of those times I’ve basked in the joy that came out of our brokenness. 

With that moment rolling around in my heart I’ve been pondering why I was so afraid.  Why I was so scared of making friends on purpose? As I pondered, I carried a little note card around with me all week.  On it I jotted down 10 things that I need to remember when being a friend on purpose.

There’s nothing magical or even terribly earth shattering about these 10 things however, they are my heart’s beat and I want to share them with you.

1.  Get out of your head.  Sometimes I think we can get so wrapped up with an internal self-dialogue that we talk ourselves right out of friendship.  We fill our heads with negative and self depreciating talk that we bury our courage under our own self-imposed limitations.  Stop over-thinking it.  You’re a friend.  You’re a great friend.  Believe it. 

2. Stop waiting.  No, seriously, what are you waiting for?  If you’re waiting for perfect, the perfect moment, the perfect day, the perfect you; you’re going to be waiting a very long time.  Yep, it’s going to be scary and you’re going to want to hide behind a plant, or in your house, or behind your computer but I know you can do it.  Pick up the phone, send a card, tap the woman on the shoulder in the lobby at church and just be yourself. 

3.  Don’t be afraid of silence. Getting to know someone takes time.  Sometimes it can take a long time so don’t wig out when you finally meet for coffee and you hear the crickets chirping.  When it happens (and it’ll probably happen) don’t panic and for goodness sake don’t over-think it, you’re not messing it up, I promise (See Number 1).

4.  No more comparison. If we were all the same, had the same ideas, the same thoughts, the same body shape, body size,  if we all did things exactly the same way we wouldn’t need community would we?  Stop measuring yourself against everyone else. Comparison will ruin a friendship and it will ruin it fast.  Each of us has a beautiful story, one that raises in a crescendo when we dare to let it out.  Trust me when I tell you that your story is the music my story needs to hear.  

5.  Put your phone away.  So I’m sheepishly raising my hand and admitting that this may actually be one of the hardest things for me.  We are so driven by technology and for us bloggers and social media gurus it’s a trap to which we fall prey far to easily.  Put it away, turn it off and concentrate instead on looking your friend in the eye, on breathing the same air as her.  Be present with her even if no one is talking because if you lean in close enough you’ll hear her music, I promise. 

6.  Make room for it… not just in your day planner. Making time for friendship is hard, I get that.  We have so much vying for our attention.  But I’m talking about more than just space on your calendar, I’m talking about your heart.  You need to make room for someone else to speak into your life.  I know, it’s not easy because once you start shifting things around in your heart for new things the old, buried and yucky things can sometimes surface.  First, trust that God has put this person in your life for a reason.  Second, move on to Number 7. 

7.  Share what’s in your heart. You know all that shifting you just did to make room for friendship?  Well, what you uncovered needs to go somewhere and for goodness sake’s what’s the point of burying it again.  Let the light in.  Lay open those wounded edges of yourself and let the hands of community touch the raw and angry red.  Healing happens in community. 

8.  Take a risk or… three. Friendship on purpose takes intentionality, it’s not just going to fall out of the clear blue sky one day.  For some of us taking the first step is easy, for others it’s going to be a longer journey.  It doesn’t matter how long it takes, as long as your intentional about stepping off the ledge of solitude and letting community catch you when you do. 

9.  Embrace your brokenness.  We are broken.  All of us.  We are wounded.  All of us.  Don’t run away from it and don’t try to hide it.  Be who you are and that includes the broken, ugly and shattered bits you’d rather sweep under the rug.  When you embrace your brokenness you’re admitting that you can’t do it alone.  You’re admitting that you need Jesus and community. And, that’s a good thing. 

10.  Pray for each other and together.  The first part is easy enough but the second part?  Yep that’s going to be all kinds of awkward.  Trust me, I know.  But I also know this we need each other and we need Jesus and prayer brings us to that neediness in powerful and beautiful ways.

As mentioned before, I can sometimes suck at community.  This past week however, God has reminded me that I don’t need to be perfect at community, I just need to be IN community.




  1. Wonderful list, Tonya! I especially like #5. I’m learning to be more intentional about pocketing the technology and spending actual time WITH people (but that’s always messy, and I’m usually scared about starting friendships, too).

  2. I just love you. As a fearful friend, I’m taking in your words today!

  3. I love this. #1 & #4 are mine. I’m constantly over – analyzing and fearful that I don’t measure up.

  4. Oh my friend… yes! And as I am preparing to travel this week, both in the actual traveling time and then in the retreat time, I will be remembering this list! I love you so!

  5. Tonya, this is soooooo good. I feel like I am so bad at being a good friend. All 10 items you listed are things I struggle with but especially #2 and #7. I am so scared to make the ‘first’ move. I wait for the other person to introduce themselves, text, extend an invite or anything.

    Thank you for encouraging me to reach out and join in community.

  6. This is excellent advice,especially for someone who recently moved. One thing I’m probably going to address in a future blog post is what to do when you want to be friends and they don’t. So far my biggest problem has been in finding the time to nurture my new friendships and I find that it’s easier to maintain my online friendships because you guys don’t care if I’m a mess or my house is a mess or my life is in chaos around me, or if I had to stop writing this comment to get up and make someone’s lunch for school (true story). I’m so glad to be in community with you!

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