During the childrens sermon, in my white patent leather Mary Janes, I solemnly listened as the pastor spoke. ‘Friends’, he said, ‘are from the Lord. Today, just ask someone to be your friend. It’s that easy!’ And everyone knows that if a pastor said it, it must be true.

I walked up to the new girl, pastors words ringing in my ears and heart. 

I said, ‘Hi. Want to be my friend?’

She said, ‘No’, and walked away.

I remember looking at the ground and trying not to cry,
big hot crocodile tears welling in my eyes.

It’s exhausting to build friendships. All the get to know you smallish talk. Trying to squish in coffee dates amidst the crying babies and work deadlines and LIFE happening. Deciding how real to be when the relationship is still being developed – just transparent enough to keep progressing but nothing too deep/revealing/freaky, ’cause that might scare them away. Wondering if they really like you. Hoping you’re not bothering them with a text.

And if they don’t text you back, trying not to cry.

You want to cry at that unanswered text for the same reason I wanted to cry when the other little girl said no. Because making a new friend is taking a gigantic risk. It’s revealing parts of yourself and hoping – praying – that they’re accepted and enjoyed and worth appreciating. It is exhausting. It is scary. It makes us feel exposed. So we use our screens and tablets and text messages and blogs, and we choose to put a little bit of ourselves out there, word by word, and with the pressing of the ‘publish’ button we reveal a bit of our heart. Comments and RT’s and friend requests are the acknowledgement that we have been seen.
But sometimes we need to be brave and put more out there because we need to be hugged. We need to look into our friends eyes and see ourselves. We need to laugh and cry and eat together, all in the same night. We need friends in real life. It is an aching of our hearts, and one that is so common. But instead of banding together and accepting coffee dates and working to make friends, we hunker down and stay behind our screens because we think that everyone else has small groups and besties, and that we are the odd ones out.

You are not the odd one out. I am standing alone with you.

So let’s come together. In real life. Offline and outside the screen and into a living room.

(in)courage had a brilliant idea for an un-conference, one that is happening all over the country. Click here to register – $10 gets you a sweet t-shirt and and a package of cards. The (in)RL webcast kicks off on Friday, April 27. Tune in by yourself for an hour on Friday for the keynotes. On Saturday meet up with friends to spend a few hours in real life. Think of it as a retreat where you don’t have to leave town. (in)Courage will be providing video content which explores the topic of gritty, beautiful, messy, real life community together. We will have door prizes and snacks!

Want more convincing details? Watch this:

Minnesota gals, the sweet Allison and I are hosting a Twin Cities (in)RL meetup – after you’ve registered, click here to RSVP and join the meetup community, and here to join the Facebook event.

Let’s be brave together. Let’s venture out, and let new friendships cover the sting of the girl who said no.

{girl with blog}

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