When Friendship Clicks (not Cliques)

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When friendship clicks (not cliques)Have you ever met a new friend and something about the relationship just “clicks”? It feels right, right away, and your friendship takes off like you’ve known each other for years. It doesn’t happen often, for me at least, but twice in my life I’ve made an immediate and instant friend for life.

Instant friends

The first time was when I was in second grade and I moved to a new school in the middle of the year. My dad had taken a new job and he commuted back and forth until our house sold, but when it did, we moved. And it should have been hard, but it wasn’t, because I met Anna* the very first day at my new school and we were inseparable until we moved away a few years later. The teacher introduced us, suspecting we would have a lot in common, and we did. I still keep in touch with her via social media, despite the fact that she lives across the country.

The second time was more recent. We had moved to Michigan so I could start graduate school, and I was horrified by the cold weather and the snow and the ice. We picked a church to attend and then decided to join a small group, and we headed to the address of the couple’s home who was hosting that night. Sarah* met me at the door of her home with a warm smile and a joke about the horrendously cold weather. After the meeting, I thanked her for hosting us and mentioned that I loved her house (it was an older, charming home), and instead of saying what most people do (“oh, thanks!”), she offered to show me around. Now she couldn’t have known this, but I LOVE houses and all things home (décor, fixing up and renovating, etc.). I still remember the house tour, and I knew we were going to be great friends. She’s my best friend to this day.

What makes friendship click?

I’ve tried to analyze what it is that makes some of these friendships click like this, but I haven’t figured it out. Obviously, having something in common is important, but I think it’s more than that. My friend Sarah, for instance, is a graphic designer and is in to all things art. I, on the other hand, am, um . . . not. I am a scientist and my brain works completely and entirely differently. We are both moms now, but she was my best friend for three years while I had kids and she did not. I couldn’t do any of the stuff that fun, married-without-kids couples do (I forget what those things are), but she didn’t care. We went on walks while I pushed a stroller and visited many, many coffee shops.  

Sometimes it doesn’t click

But what if friendship doesn’t click? Like I mentioned, this doesn’t seem to happen too often. Maybe it’s like love at first sight. I suppose it happens to some people, but not to everyone. I knew my (now) husband for over a year before it ever occurred to me that he was husband material. But he’s my total favorite person ever now (swoon!), and that’s all that matters. I think friendship is like that. Sometimes it clicks and sometimes it grows slowly (and let’s be honest, sometimes it dies slowly, too). The common thread running through all of these types of friendships is that it takes a lot of work to keep them moving along. That seems to be true even more so in busy seasons of life (motherhood, anyone?).

Here are a few ways to diligently work on friendships (and I’m going to heed my own advice here, as I am certainly no expert or ideal friend).

  • Go somewhere you might meet someone new. Turns out it’s hard to make new friends when you don’t meet prospective friends. If you want to make friends, get out there. Go to the park, library story time, join a Bible study, or sign your kid up for soccer. Then don’t just stand there, go talk to all of those prospective friends! 
  • Pursue (at least) one friend each week. Everyone likes to feel loved and pursued. I try to pursue one particular friend each week. For instance, send a text that says you’re thinking of her, or drop off her favorite candy in her mailbox with a sweet note. Mail a card (yes, those still exist) with a hand-written note. Or set up a play date with someone you don’t know well but want to know better. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, but be intentional each week about doing one thing for or with one friend. Some mamas may have the time and energy to pursue lots of friends each week, and for others, one may sound like a big commitment. It’s okay to start small.
  • If it doesn’t click, don’t give up. You don’t have to be BFF’s after one play date. Don’t be afraid to try again. Sometimes really beautiful and sweet friendships grow slowly over time!
  • If it doesn’t click, don’t pursue to the death. But sometimes, you just don’t click and you probably never will. That’s okay, and you can continue about your life as acquaintances without any guilt!
  • Be grateful for friendships that do click. Call up (or text, if you must!) your bestie and tell her you’re grateful for her. If you haven’t recently, remind her about when you met and how you’re thankful that your friendship is easy.
*Please note that names are changed to protect privacy.
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Mallory grew up in Oklahoma, met her husband Dave in college there, and they have lived in Maryland, Michigan, and now Alabama since getting married in 2008. She graduated from Michigan State University with a PhD in exercise physiology in 2014, and her family then moved to Birmingham so she could start a job as a college professor. She is mom to five great kids ages nine and under, and considers it a tremendous joy to get to invest in the lives of both her kids and her students. In her free time, Mallory enjoys family walks around the neighborhood, reading to her kids, bargain hunting, home improvement projects, and being involved in the children’s and missions ministries at her church.