Loner. Shy. Awkward. Quiet person. I’ve heard and owned all these labels. Staring off into space, wondering whether to go to youth group tonight or stay home and find something to do.
If you go, you’ll be lonely. If you stay home, you’ll be lonely. Either way you’ll always be lonely. You can’t win.
I decided to go this time. But when I got there and saw everyone already in their own little groups, I headed into the bathroom.
Feeling hopeless because you think you’ll always be lonely? Let me encourage you that God cares as I share what I have learned about making friends as a quiet person.
The Struggle Within The Struggle
What do you believe about your self-worth? Do you believe God loves you? Do you believe that God is powerful and loving enough to bring friends into your life?
Part of my struggle with making friends has been linked to my own struggle with self-worth. This is why we must trust God’s faithfulness and remember what we mean to Him. One of my go-to books of the Bible when I’m feeling this way is Ephesians.
Friendship is powerful. Our enemy knows this and attacks our friendships. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
This is where the real struggle lies. Friendship is such an important part of our spiritual life that it is susceptible to spiritual attack. It makes sense that our enemy tries to use our shyness to prevent friendships that strengthen us.
This verse is also true about our conflicts with others. The enemy wants us to lose faith in God, and an easy way to do this is to make us feel isolated from our church or in conflict with believers. This is why keeping God’s faithfulness in view is vital when we reach out to make friends.
Be There and Be Honest
The second most important tip I have for making friends is “be there.” Show up. Come to events at church. Respond to texts. Even if you don’t talk to a lot of people at those church events, seeing you there helps people expect you to be there, and there’s always a chance that they’ll happen to reach out and include you.
Adding on to that, “be there and be honest.” For those of us who struggle with anxiety, showing up and sharing ourselves is harder than it sounds. But sharing things about yourself, even though it might seem scary, is a way to connect with others on a deeper level.
There’s a group of girls I didn’t think I would fit in with, but one time I shared a prayer request and then broke down crying. They gathered around me and prayed and I felt so touched in that moment. Learning how to be vulnerable with our friends is so important because otherwise they can’t help us when we’re hurting.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says this, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
You will still have struggles when you have friends. The difference? Now you will have friends for support.
Learn How to Sit With the Awkwardness
Unfortunately, my friend, all friendships start out awkward. It’s inevitable. You don’t know the person yet, so there’s always going to be some stumbling in the dark, fumbling for a conversation.
But if you knew that a beautiful friendship might come from a few awkward moments, wouldn’t you take that? Awkwardness is not the end! Don’t bury yourself in your phone. Instead, sit with the awkward. Turn off the device, take a deep breath, smile, and say “Hi! How are you?” That’s all you need to do. It’s much simpler than it sounds—trust me.
Small Talk 101: How to Prevent Conversation Death
Small talk used to be my worst nightmare. What do you say after “Hi! How are you?” Give the other person a chance to respond. Most often, they’ll say something like, “Fine. How are you?”
Now, normally this turns into a dead-end conversation, but here’s the plan of attack for sneaking your way into an actual conversation. This person just asked you a question and you can use your answer as a springboard. Say something like “I’m doing well. I made a batch of muffins today. Do you like to bake?” or “Today was boring. I had to do a bunch of science homework. Are you taking a science class this year?”
Friends Do Not Define Your Identity
The most important tip of all is to make sure you know who you are. Your worth is not in the friends you have. Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (ESV)
Unfortunately, there will be friends that abandon you or betray you. True friends will stay close to you in good times and bad. But even when human friends fail you, there is a friend who will never leave you. That friend is Jesus, and He is the best friend you’ll ever have. He died for your sins and calls you His own, a beloved daughter of the King of kings. So, go out and make friends, remembering that Jesus has already called you His friend.
Emily Bianchini is a church kid. Her passion is writing to other church kids about owning their faith. When she’s not writing, Emily loves spending time in God’s creation — she likes hiking, but she dislikes trails and prefers to blaze her own.