Friendship: When You’re *Not* the New Girl in Town

She talked in quiet tones as she circled her finger around her coffee cup, telling me of a struggle in her new town,

“I’ve met some sweet women whom I enjoy, and I’d like to be better friends with them. But they already have an established group of friends. I feel like the ‘it’ll do’ girl. Ya know, when I’m around them, ‘it’ll do’ to talk to me. But they won’t go out of their way to include me. They’re not mean or unkind. It’s just that there are only so many hours in the day, and these women already have their hours filled up.”

I leaned back and sighed. Yep, I *know* that feeling. I’ve been the ‘it’ll do’ gal. And if I’m being honest, I’ve been one to give someone else that ‘it’ll do’ feeling.

I’ve gabbered a bit about how to build near and dear friendshipswhat to do when you’re waiting for friendships, and being just plain tired from trying. Today, I’m asking some friendship questions from another angle:

When you already have a circle of friends, how far should you go to be a friend to those who don’t? And if you are *not* the new girl in town, isn’t the burden on you to reach out to the one who is? The answer for us depends, just as it did for Jesus.

As Jesus traveled from place to place, He did what He could when He could to be a Friend to others. He healed, convicted, listened and ministered. When a need arose in His vicinity, He graciously met it. But while He responded to all around Him as a true Friend, He didn’t walk the earth with twelve hundred or twelve thousand disciples. There were twelve.  And inside the twelve, Jesus had a closer circle of three who accompanied Him more than the others.

It is a fact there are finite hours in each day, and those darling people under my roof deserve the majority of them. While I need friends, I’m not called to be friends with everyone. If I was, those priority blessings would sink faster than the Titanic. Like Jesus, you and I do what we can when we can to be a friend. We introduce ourselves to the lonely girl standing in the corner or take a meal to the new mom down the street. From these small encounters friendships may or may not blossom. Either way, we praise God because His grace knows our needs and our calendars.

Sometimes people approached Jesus and sometimes He approached them. Jesus didn’t always reach out first, but He always reached out from a place of love. Perhaps the same should be said of us? We might not reach out first, but when we do, we do so in love. And for the times we don’t reach out, may we be given grace.

What are some ways you do what you can when you can to be a friend to others?

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  1. I had a few things on my mind to say but for now (b/c I am still digesting), I just want to say “thank you.” I enjoyed it and was blessed by your words, here.

    • Thank *you*, Stephanie.

      • My other blog friend and I are in the middle of a series on Friendships – there seems to be such a need right now for them. I would have to say I am blessed with some really close friends and then even more but not as close. I really think in order to have those close friends no matter what you must be “you”. You MUST BE AUTHENTIC. There are too many masks worn today, too many walls being put up by women to impress each other. No one seems to be vulnerable. You see CHRIST was as real as you could get. Just by being who HE was, people wanted to REACH for HIM. If we keep our eyes on HIM we could learn so much as to how HE treated HIS friends. Bless you for this post!

  2. I think you make such a good point here. We don’t have enough hours in the day to be friends with everyone we meet and breaking into established circles of people is so difficult. I’ve been on the receiving end of that treatment, so I try sometimes to make the effort to include someone new in group outings because she might end up being someone that we “click” with. Sometimes I’m too shy to reach out or I’m just wanting to have familiar faces around me, and as you say, “may we be given grace” for those times.

    • I’ve been on both sides, too. I don’t like the ‘it’ll do’ feeling so I try to be mindful of those I don’t know, but fact is I’ve let good opportunities go in favor of familiarity and ease. May I give people grace – just as I need it – for the seen and unseen choices made!

  3. Man. I’ve definitely been the “it’ll do” girl. I think being a pastor’s wife makes it that much harder. Going into a new church can be daunting and friendship circles seem to already be established. Anyway, who really wants to be friends with the pastor and his family? Yeah right. Because of that, I work extra hard to make new people feel welcome. We have them over for dinner and I make as many connections for them as I can. I now know so many people really well that I can pick out similar interests and use those to help introduce people. Most recently this happened and I thought that I had made a good friend. A little time passed and she found other friends (one in particular, my life-long best friend) that she connected better with, I suppose. And I BECAME the “it’ll do” girl to another new girl and her new BFF!! It’s like middle school all over again. Bleh. That’ll make you never want to try to reach out to new people! ;) I’m healing from that one still. Overall, I just try really hard to make sure that others don’t feel like the “it’ll do” girl, even if I don’t have all the time in the world to be a top notch, all-star friend!!

    • Oh Mollie, that just plain stinks. I’m so amazed at how you’re turning all that blech into blessing as you reach out to others! Here and there I’ve failed at being a top notch, all-star friend to my longtime good friends, let alone to newer ones. So, I need grace for all of ‘em! In the meantime, I’ll join you in just doing what I can when I can.

      Thanks so much for your words of wisdom, Mollie. xo

  4. Love it. I have always tried really hard to include the new girls, so that no one ever feels like the “it’ll do” girl. But, honestly, sometimes after months and months of including, reaching out, etc and you can see that it just isn’t clicking with you and her, that is when it gets tricky!! I struggle when I’ve worked so hard to make her feel included and it still isn’t working, what then?! :)
    Thanks for your thoughts! I am sure after meeting you face to face you are VERY good at including the new girls!!
    Love ya!!

    • Oh Joy, I just don’t know. I do know exactly what you’re talking about, and it seems the outcome never looks the same. I suppose it boils down to believing God had a purpose in the process even when He doesn’t seem to purpose *me* to be her good friend. But it’s still complicated, isn’t it? On so many levels!

  5. I’ve really been trying to reach out to other new moms that I meet. Often, we have a hard time getting together because of schedules and differing ages of our children. Other moms I just haven’t clicked with. Some moms aren’t interested in being friends. It’s so hard at this point in our lives, at least from my experiences. I’ve had some great moms reach out to me when I became a new mom, I’ve had moms be not so nice. But overall, I hope to do my best to reach out to others.

    • Rach, I hope I do, too. It sounds like you are generous and graceful, dearie. You are absolutely right, however: It *is* hard. I’m praying you meet some good, true-blue friends. It *will* happen in His time! But the waiting is hard, isn’t it?

  6. Great stuff to ponder here. I’m sure I have been on both sides – though, never intentionally leaving someone out I’m sure I’ve come across that way before. And I get this, I really do. There are only so many hours in our day and only so much we can do. But still being the “it’ll do” girl stings a bit. So I strive for the reaching out in love, but thankful too for grace.

    • We’ve all probably made others feel left out even when that was the furthest thing from our minds {and intentions}. That’s why when I feel that left-out sting, I *try* to err on the side of grace.

  7. Hi Kristen! Thank you SO much for posting this and your other friendship posts. I currently feel *exactly* like the girl you describe at the beginning. We moved away from our hometown three years ago and although I’ve met some wonderful women at church/MOPS, I am left without that special girlfriend relationship. My “BFF” girlfriend from my hometown was new to our town from the Philippeans & California before landing in our small Pennsylvania town in 10th grade. We were friends all through high school, college, engagements, weddings, new moms, new homes, etc. Then my family had to move. My life has had a missing link since then. I blogged about it today and referenced two of your posts at http://bit.ly/u3jCdx . So I have been on both sides of the friendship dynamic – the one befriending a new person and the one who is the new person, fighting to find another “true blue girlfriend” connection. One thing I *have* found in these three years though, is a much closer relationship with Jesus. I’m extremely grateful for that, and in that light, it’s a sacrifice happily made. However, as I ended my blog post today, sometimes I just need a person with skin on! I’m asking Jesus, “Okay, hasn’t it been long enough now???” Thank you again!

  8. Talk about timing! I feel like I am still that “it’ll do” girl alot of the time, since marrying and moving to a new community, and just this past week, I received an invitation to a girls night out shopping trip with some of the new friends I’ve met in that new community… I must admit I was elated! It’s rough, and maybe even rougher because I totally understand WHY I’m still that “it’ll do” girl. The dynamics of female friendships are crazy-intricate, and I get that. I think it can be difficult for an established group of friends to trust the “new” girl, so I try to be understanding and patient when I’m not included. Funny thing is, it just as difficult for the “new” girl to trust the new group! :) Sometimes, it just takes time.

    • “It’s just as difficult for the “new” girl to trust the new group!” ~ You are so right, Mary. Time *is* our friend, albeit often a slow one.

  9. This is an important topic to explore. I was the new girl for years (Pastor Dad planted churches.) But these days I sometimes just FEEL like the “new girl” even though I’m not. It’s in those times that I reach out to someone who looks a little “new” herself.

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