A Lesson in Friendship

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

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About Sarah Pinnix

I'm a mom, blogger, vlogger, libertarian. I love Jesus, and my husband, too. Social Media Strategist for a Non-Profit (All statements here are solely my own)

Comments

  1. Kim's Hotrod says:

    There’s much wisdom in what you write, grasshopper!

    My oldest is a little socially awkward, but she wants to fit in so badly. This has caused her much grief in the past. If only kids could truly understand this principle at a young age – not just that it works, but WHY it works and what that means about themselves. .

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  2. MorningSong says:

    Great post! My daughter is very friendly and is confused when a child doesn’t return her enthusiasm to share life. She thinks everyone should want to play and have fun. Unfortunately, some do feel they have ‘enough’ and do not reciprocate her welcome greeting. She is only 4 and I don’t want her to change her openness because some reject her. I am sure it is a lesson she will have to learn, but I dread the day she actually considers changing b/c of a rejection. Great post! I enjoyed it!

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  3. Morning Glory says:

    What a great learning experience. You certainly seemed to figure it out and guide your little girl in a really wise way.

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  4. What a great story. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. MorningSong says:

    Thanks again Sarah – I finished passing on the award you gave me!

    Blessings to you! Wanna take the kids for a stroll tomorrow? haha Wouldn’t that be nice?!

    :)

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  6. Excellent post! I can really relate to your daughter’s story, even as an adult. We’ve made two big moves in our marriage and I’ve experienced being the ‘new girl’ twice. And it has been quite an experience!

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  7. I really enjoyed this post. I can really realte to this one. I have always been one of those people that doesn’t talk to anyone unless they talk to me first. My son, Bucky, has inherited this unfortunate trait. Oddly my daughter who is nicknamed Shy is outgoing and has a million friends. How is that for irony?

    You have inspired me. I am going to work on a post about my shyness and fear of rejection have effected my life. That will be coming to the Bitter Ball soon… so keep an eye out! I will send a little link love your way in the post. ;)

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  8. It took me almost 28 years to figure out that it’s ok for everyone not to “want” you. Hopefully as mothers who have suffered loneliness we will be able to guide our children on the concept of friendship with everyone. My oldest has this down as he will leave a group to play with the odd man out. (teachers even commented to me about this) **He is so like his dad!** Being leftout does make you more prone to approach the lone wolves though and that makes it nicer for them but, you don’t want your girls to have to learn that way. Ofcourse, this is only an issue with hip chick as the 2 youngest have your extroverted gift! It is hard to watch the shy child struggle on their own. Everytime she makes a new friend it will get easier so that she remembers how it was last time and she will move with more confidance.

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  9. I mentioned in an earlier comment on this post that you inspired me to write a post. I have finally brought myself to put those feelings into words. I would love for you to read it.

    http://bitterball.blogspot.com/2007/09/shyness-curse-of-my-life.html

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