The title of this post is making me laugh because it's all serious like I'm about to write a dissertation with step by step instructions on how to make friends.
But God's been showing something to me lately that I think is worth passing on. It's definitely not rocket science, it's something that maybe other people already do or at least already try to do, but it's been a hard thing for *me* to do despite being well worth it.
Moving all the time (well, not all the time, but certainly frequently), gives me lots of opportunities to make new friends. Unfortunately, it's also given me lots of opportunities to judge people too quickly.
I used to have this attitude when I moved to a new place: find people that I have lots in common with, ignore other people, hope person I have lots in common with needs new friends, if they don't: go be sad.
Oftentimes, those other people I was ignoring had the potential to be my bestest friend and I was ignoring them for pretty stupid reasons. "Oh, she wears nice clothes, she won't want to be my friend." "Oh, look at that pretty jewelry, I don't wear jewelry." "She wears makeup to go to the gym, I think that's silly." And most recently: "Her kid's clothes match, she won't want to hang out with my mis-matched Jade."
I've realized that my reasons for judging other people are often my own insecurities talking. Most of the time, that person with the well-dressed kid could care less that I let Jade dress herself.
So here comes my big point (wouldn't want you to miss it amidst all the rambling): look for things you have in common with people instead of things that you don't.
Haha, I know, I know. Not rocket science. But seriously? I know I'm not the only one who struggles with this. For some strange reason, we often believe that we can only be friends with people that are just like us. This is incredibly stupid.
For New Years, my five bestest friends in the whole world got together at a cabin in North Georgia. At one point, I was sitting there looking around thinking "I don't have anything in common with these people". We've been best friends forever, and when we met we had all the important things in common. But now, 10+ years later, not so much. One stay-at-home-mom, 2 working moms, 1 pregnant working mom, 1 working girl that just likes being an Aunt. The list goes on. We don't dress similarly. We don't listen to all the same music anymore. (Of course, I mainly listen to Veggie Tales, but I digress) We don't like all the same foods, the same movies, or the same TV shows. We spend our free time completely different ways. If I met these people now, I might completely ignore them. Decide we don't have enough in common to pursue a friendship. Be intimidated. But these girls are some of the most important people in my life. We have everything that matters in common. We all have a zeal for the Lord and a love for each other.
So now, when I meet people, instead of judging or jumping to conclusions, I look for things we have in common. Sometimes, certainly, I'm still drawn to people I have more in common with. And there's nothing wrong with that, because I'm no longer cutting other people out without even giving them a chance. I'm realizing that iron sharpens iron and just because someone doesn't parent the same way I do doesn't mean I can't be their friend. That some people that take time to look nice every morning aren't conceited and generally they're not judging me because I don't bother.
The body of Christ is made up of people from all walks of life with completely different gifts and abilities. We can't operate without each other, so I was so often short-changing myself and other people by looking for people just like me. Now that I have given God a chance to show me how awesome people are that are nothing like me, I am realizing how full my life can be. How being around people that do things differently from me is a good thing. We truly need to stop judging people based on their appearances and one short conversation and really take the time to get to know people. It can be surprising :)