My kids are starting school this week. We are going full-throttle into our full schedule next week. As I was reflecting on our summer, I remembered something my oldest daughter and I learned at the beach. I actually think this is one of the most important lessons in life, and one of the hardest for me to grasp.
Not everyone wants to be your friend….and that’s OK.
My 6 year-old, nicknamed HipChick, loves to make new friends, but she is very shy at first. Since I am a raging extrovert, my job was to introduce her to other girls sitting near us. The first day was a great success. She met a great little girl who played with her all day, and whose parents were nice. The only sad part was the friend was leaving the next day.
The next few days were interesting, as we tried to find another fun friend. It probably didn’t help that she loved the first friend so much. We saw a group of girls right next to our spot. They were of similar age, and they looked really nice. They were frolicking in the waves and digging in the sand. So why wouldn’t they want another one to join in? The more the merrier, right?
Well, the parents, I must say, were great! The moms brought HipChick and I over to them and we introduced ourselves, the girls said Hi and were cordial. Mission accomplished! As we all know, “mission accomplished” is not always as easy as it seems. So as I said, “OK, have fun playing!” I started to walk away, and so did the other girls…without HipChick. I got HipChick to go over and just start to play with them, but there was no denying it. They were ignoring my daughter.
I started to feel very sad, until I realized what the problem was. They already had plenty of friends to play with. They didn’t have that longing feeling to connect with someone. I realized that until you’ve had that, until you’ve been on the outside, you don’t know how important it is to include a newbie. It was not the other kids’ fault, they just hadn’t been around long enough to feel that.
I have. I’ll share another day about my experience, but suffice it to say that I will always reach out to the “new girl”. I hope I can instill that in HipChick as she grows into the fickle, and sometimes brutal, world of girlfriends.
It was time to change our strategy. I looked for another little girl who was by herself (with her parents, of course). Someone who needed a friend. Maybe she would be so thrilled that someone wanted to play with her, and would not squander the chance to meet someone new. Well, we found her on the last day, and HipChick had a great time digging, making castles, and playing in the surf with her.
We both learned a great lesson. Seek out the one who needs a friend, and meet her need. In doing so, you will also meet your own needs. Don’t bother with the ones who aren’t interested, and don’t take it personally.
Now I’m sure it will be a long time before I will not feel rejection when this happens; question whether I’m good enough. But at least I can look back at this summer and remember.
- A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Pro 17:17
- Two are better than one,because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Eccl 9:10
- Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13