by Jeanne Rodgers
Whether attending a church service on a Sunday morning or a workplace conference during the week, most people will be faced with the challenge of meeting someone new, someone who could maybe use a friend. Our looking beyond our own comfortableness to reach out and extend friendship to someone can be challenging, intimidating, and frustrating. In fact, not everyone wants to stretch in this manner, but we know that life isn’t just about hunkering down in “our own little world.”
Let me share with you five practical ways to make a new friend:
- Take time to look.
I enjoy looking for a new friend. I watch for someone who appears as if they are not connecting with anyone, one who appears to be “the most unlikely.”
- Be fully present.
Smile at the person as if there is no one else in the room but them. A sincere smile can take you far. Show sincere interest in their conversation. We can get so easily distracted when trying to do this, especially in a group setting when there are people around we already know who may want our attention. When that happens, keep your focus on your new friend while acknowledging the other person with a quick smile and side hug. Then continue your conversation.
- Find common ground.
Look for common ground in your conversation. Do you have any similar interests? Invite them to grab a bite to eat with you or have coffee or tea at their favorite place. Don’t be pushy. Be discerning about their comfort level.
- Beware of criticizing.
It’s too easy to judge a person by their appearance, their conversation, their tone of voice, or other areas. Instead, when you start to judge someone you’ve just met, lean into what God’s Word says and ask Him to help you see the person as He does.
- Respect their boundaries.
Give your potential friend plenty of space. Allow them to be who they are and don’t try to conform them into “your image.” People are different, and everyone is not like you. Also, be very careful not to use them for your own personal gain just because they have resources, etc.
Believe it or not, making a new friend has not always been as easy for me as I might make it look. The bottom line is PRAYER, continually asking the Holy Spirit to show you each person’s heart from His perspective.
You can now take these five points and move ahead from making a new friend to connecting with that new friend.
About the Author
Jeanne Rodgers, and her husband, Dwight, have three gifted and talented adult sons, an amazing daughter-in-love, and two beautiful and comical grandchildren. Retired from lead pastoring and residing in Florida, the Rodgers have moved on to one of their next assignments, Encouraging Journey Ministries. You may learn more at Encouragingjm.com
Watch for Jeanne’s next article, Connecting with Your New Friend, in the December issue of the Message.