Have you ever been left out by a friend? Have you ever felt like a certain friend wasn’t reaching out to you enough? Unfortunately, when stuff like this happens, our natural tendency is to complain about what the other person (or group of people) isn’t giving us. We complain that they aren’t loving us enough, caring about us enough, or initiating conversation with us enough.
I know, because I’ve done it many times myself. However, about ten years ago my entire perspective took a 180-degree turn. I learned one of the most valuable truths about relationships that changed everything for me.
I decided to become an initiator.
Instead of waiting around for someone else to take the first step, I realized that I could take the first step.
Instead of waiting for someone else to initiate, I could take the initiative. Although this concept seems simple, it radically changed the way I viewed my family, friends, neighbors, and future friends. Someone has to take the first step, so why shouldn’t it be me?
From that moment on I decided to be the initiator instead of the complainer. And guess what happened? I began building deeper friendships like never before. I began making new friends like never before. And I began to love and minister to other girls like never before.
When I took my eyes off of myself and instead focused them on other people, I was amazed at how many opportunities I had been missing. When my focused shifted from “waiting for friends” to “initiating friends,” everything changed. Even you consider yourself to be an introvert, you can ask God to help you take a few small and courageous steps.
As Christian girls, we are called to take the first step.
We are called to love others. We are called to minister to other girls (Titus 2). Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” For the past ten years, I have been intentionally cultivating a heart of initiation and care for others, and I want to challenge you to do the same. Don’t wait for someone else to reach out to you…reach out to them first.
If you’re new this whole idea of being the initiator, I want to share with you 4 of my favorite ways to do this.
1. Initiate in Everyday Life.
This is the easiest and most practical way to initiate friendships. Simple invite a girl to join you in your everyday life. What fills your week right now? School? Sports? Church? Youth Activities? Exercising? Bible Study? With the COVID 19, things might look a little different than normal, but you can still be creative.
Think through your entire week and look for activities that would be fun to invite someone along to participate in. Initiate a relationship with that girl and invite her into your life. This is one of the simplest and most impactful ways to initiate a relationship with a new friend (or old friend).
2. Be Proactive at Church.
I’ve always viewed Sunday mornings as a time for fellowship and growing in the Word…but I’ve never viewed it as a prime time for pursuing friendships and ministering to others until recently. I was at a conference a while back and several of the speakers shared about their Sunday morning habits. They viewed Sunday morning church as an opportunity to show love and care for other women.
They challenged all of us to purposely arrive to church early and stay late in order to initiate conversations with others. They challenged us to look for the women and girls that we had never met and to go up to them and meet them. Instead of viewing church with the mindset of “what’s in it for me?,” we need to view church with the mindset of, “how can I love others this morning and be a friend to someone?”
3. Plan Gatherings and Invite People.
Instead of complaining about never getting invited to any parties, plan your own parties. You could even plan them outdoors if you have COVID 19 concerns. Growing up, my sisters and I would host super fun parties and game nights for every season and occasion. We would invite all sorts of different people and loved getting to know them. Our house quickly became known as the gathering spot because of our regular gatherings.
Maybe you’ve never hosted anything before, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start now. I have a friend who hosts one game night a month and everyone looks forward to it. Don’t wait for someone else to plan something. Be the initiator and use your home as a place of loving and ministering to others.
4. Initiate Coffee Meet-Ups.
Nothing can beat a one-on-one coffee (or tea) date with a new or old friend. After you meet that new girl at church, choose to take the next step and invite her out to coffee or tea with you. Choose to be the initiator in building a friendship with her. Once there, take an interest in her life by asking her good questions that help you get to know her better.
Ask her how you can be praying for her. Show her Christ’s love through your words, actions, prayers, and genuine interest. Wouldn’t you love it if someone did that for you? So why not be that person for someone else? If you can’t meet up in person, you could always plan a “Zoom call” coffee date.
Being the initiator isn’t easy at first, but it does become natural over time.
If you don’t choose to reach out to other girls, you won’t build friendships and you won’t show other’s the love of Christ. If you truly want to build solid friendships, you must choose to look outside of your self and reach out. Even when it’s hard.
I have a challenge for you.
Who could you begin building a friendship with this week? Think of one girl you could reach out to in the next 7 days. Once you have someone in mind, choose to reach out to her by doing one of the 4 things I mentioned above. Once you do this challenge, come back to this post and leave me a comment below telling me what you did!
And for some additional ideas, check out my other post called: 15 Fun Ideas to Help You Deepen Your Relationships.
Now, let’s chat.
- Do you view yourself as the initiator or the receiver? Why?
- What additional ideas would you add to my list from above? Share with me below!