We’ve all heard the story, or felt the feeling. Girl meets boy, flirting ensues, girl’s time get’s taken up and, well… her friends can pretty much say goodbye. She doesn’t have time for coffee, or chatting, or any of the things she used to do with her friends. Having a boyfriend is lovely, don’t get me wrong. If the right guy wants to be a part of your life, you share the same values and he’s a keeper then go for it! Just don’t forget about the people who cared about you first.
When I first started dating, Peter and I were hanging out with the same group of friends. Our ‘group’ would catch up most weekends, and I went to school with most of them. Because Peter didn’t go to my school, it was easy to spend quality time with my girlfriends, and I didn’t have to worry too much about accidentally distancing myself from anyone. As time passed, I realised that friendships don’t build themselves.
In Australia, people don’t tend to move away for university or college unless they live in ‘the outback’. When I graduated from high school and went into university, I still lived within a few kilometres of most of my closest friends, but catching up with people was harder than I expected. Once Peter finished school I found myself enjoying our free time and wanting to spend more and more of it with him – we’d never seen each other on weekdays, and it was exciting being able to drop in or meet up whenever we wanted to. It doesn’t take a genius to pick up on subtle hints from close friends – when people start saying, ‘I miss you, I never see you anymore’, it’s time to make a change.
One of the best things I did last year was to take a trip with one of my closest friends. We took off to New Zealand and road-tripped around the North Island. We read a book together, prayed together, screamed songs at the top of our lungs and went on some incredible and crazy adventures. Just like you have to spend quality time with your boyfriend/family/spouse, you have to spend quality time with your girlfriends. That means taking time out for one another, not just catching a ‘hello’ at church, or talking on Facebook. For me, joining a girls’ bible study was also one of the best things I’ve done. Having time to be mentored and be accountable to other women and enjoy ‘sharing life’ together is so important, whether that’s in a spiritual way or otherwise.
If you’ve only invested your time and emotional energy into one person, then who are you going to turn to if everything falls apart? Boys play a big part in our lives, don’t get me wrong – but your girlfriends can’t be replaced with one single guy. Don’t just tell your girlfriends about your life, actually let them be a part of your life. You’ll thank each other for it later.
A friend is one with whom you are comfortable, to whom you are loyal, through whom you are blessed, and for whom you are grateful.
William Arthur Ward
— Lauren x