Last month, before we left for Kenya, my 15-year-old daughter went on a retreat with her youth group. She built a luge track, went sledding and skiing, hosted snowball fights, and in general had a grand ole' time.
Until, that is, we started talking the night she got home about friends.
Rebecca is a lot like me. She's the kind of person that is more likely to have a few very close friends at a time than have a whole pile. My younger daughter, on the other hand, is always right in the middle of everything. She's a social butterfly.
I find that I need a few people to talk to, but I don't need a lot. And since I've been married, my husband has taken on the role that many girlfriends once did for me. I can talk to him about just about anything, and I find that I can now go several days without calling an actual friend, since I have my hubby and my girls to talk to. It isn't that I don't appreciate my friends; it's just that I'm slightly introverted, and I need one or two close people and that's about it.
Yet as a teenager I was very insecure, and I desperately wanted friends as an affirmation that I was a good, fun, lovable person. I think most teenagers are like that, and that's why peers take on such importance. Often teens seek the approval of kids they don't even necessarily approve of. But even if our kids think other kids make poor decisions or are kind of mean, it hurts when those kids don't like you.
My daughter, for instance, sometimes feels like she's second best to many of her friends. She has one best friend, but to everyone else she's second best. Sure they'll talk to her and do stuff with her, but she's not their number one choice. (I pointed out to her that they're not her number one choice, either, since she already has a best friend, but I think that was far too logical for her).
I know that women need friends, and often we can't figure out what we think about something until we've shared it with at least five friends. When I have a big decision to make, I do tend to pick up the phone, certainly more than my husband does. But that doesn't mean that I find it easy to make friends. In high school I remember praying and yearning to make those years go quickly so I could get to college where I would meet others who were more like me.
In university I had a very few close friends, but I always felt that they were better friends with each other than they were with me, and that was strange. And then in the various churches I've belonged to, I've managed to find one or two good friends, but I've never felt like I've been rolling in friends. Others look at me and probably think I've got a ton, because our social schedule is quite full, but that's more that I have a lot of acquaintances. I've never in my life had more than two people I could really share my heart with at one time. Friends have always been a struggle for me, and I have gone through years of real loneliness. Thankfully, my husband has been there, but it is hard to find adult women to befriend. Often I'll meet someone I know I'd love, but they live in another city or something.
My daughter Katie isn't like that. I think she'll always be swimming in friends, but perhaps those friends won't mean as much to her as my one or two mean to me. So I'm wondering how you view friends. Are they hard to come by? Do you have a bunch? Do you find yourself lonely?
Has the internet, and blogging, helped plug a hole in your life? Let me know!