We are coming into Valentine’s week…That is kind of a loaded time. There is love. There are expectations. There are hurts. There are things to be said. There are things not done. I am going to share three challenges between now and Valentine’s.
Today’s challenge is the gift of going first.
I keep hearing this phrase come up. The gift of going first is…the gift of leading the way in friendship. Going first in friendship means sticking your neck out there and asking someone to lunch or for a family playdate for the first time. It means taking the leap of going out together on a couples double date. It means reaching out to someone who is having a hard time and letting them know you are there for them. It means sharing a struggle or something deeper with someone for the first time. Take the time to go first.
The gift of going first is important because so many of us want that friendship or next step in friendship. We crave it! There are so many lonely people out there. They have a hard time reaching out but are desiring that so much. Giving the gift of going first says, I want to get to know you and you mean something to me. I want us to be friends and I am willing to make it happen. You know how it’s so easy to say to someone in passing, “we should get together.” But then you never do it.
This can be really hard. When it comes to going first, what stops us? I struggle. I have always felt inadequate when it comes to making friends. I grew up in a family where we moved around a lot. I felt like I didn’t belong and it was easier to shrink into the sidelines. It is incredibly hard for me to give the gift of going first. I usually think about it for weeks before I ever do it, if I do it. In the last couple of years, I have been more intentional about stepping outside of myself to chat with others and initiate getting together. And it is so fun! One of my words for 2018, is “initiate.”
Even though I feel like the gift of going first is one of the hardest things to do. It is also very rewarding. You find out how meaningful it can be to take that friendship leap. I have found out that others aren’t giving the gift of going first not because they don’t want to be my friend but because it is just as hard for them. There are many lonely people out there. There are friendships out there waiting to be uncovered.
So what does it take to give the gift of going first? It takes keeping your eyes open for those people in your life that you would love to get to know more or those people that you have a feeling could really use a friend. Then taking the leap. Approach them, with a plan to get together. Be flexible to work within their schedule. Then get together. If you feel like you’re not one of those people that is great at first time conversation, come up with some questions to ask and be willing to share back. You don’t have to have any magic up your sleeve but you will be surprised at the reward and the magical feeling as you give the gift of going first. Then do it again.
As a final note, if you are wanting a good read on building meaningful relationships that last, you need to read, Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships.