About the Author

Kristen Strong, author of Back Roads to Belonging and Girl Meets Change, writes as a friend offering meaningful encouragement for each season of life so you can see it with hope instead of worry. She and her US Air Force veteran husband, David, have three children and live in Colorado...

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  1. So true, especially for us military spouses. Unfortunately the internet can be a double edged sword for some military wives, as there is less motivation to get out and meet people IRL.

    I’m hosting an (in)RL meetup and I am soooo excited about it! For anyone who is wanting to meet new people but discouraged, I would encourage you to start small. Maybe join a small group at your church, or the women’s group perhaps? Volunteer in the nursery and you’ll likely meet other young moms.

    And most of all? Don’t worry so much about how you look, how you act, how you seem. We’re all the same, and we’re all usually so worried about how we appear to others that we don’t notice your perceived flaws. 🙂

      • Tracey I’m so sorry you still feel alone. And, yes, being surrounded by so many makes the loneliness feel lonelier. I pray you have a church family where you can try these excellent tips. Pick out one friendly face every week to introduce yourself to. Take the bull by the horns and invite someone to lunch. Join groups where you are sure to have similar interests (sewing or crafting or scrapbooking or TaeKwonDo or whatever). I’m new in my town, too, but in the town I just left, my closest friends were at my gym.

  2. Ministry is like military. You don’t always end up living near family and you’re often the NEW girl!
    I’ve lived in my current town for 10 years now and still don’t have friends like I did before. It takes a lot of work and when you’re in the throes of parenting/jobs it’s extra hard.
    Friendships are always worth it.

    {For such a time as this…}

    • Wanda, I have such admiration for all those in ministry! And you’re right…ministry *is* a lot like military {although I believe y’all face more challenges}. Praying now you find a good gaggle of girlfriends within life’s craziness, sweet mama. In His time…

  3. When I moved to town a few years ago, I remember saying to myself, “Ok, you can stay home and alone, or you can be brave and maybe, just maybe make a new friend.”

    So glad I did that. As God has brought some amazing women into my life that I now count as my dear sisters!

    Great stuff Kristen!

    • Stacey!! You are one of the most genuine, encouraging, beautiful souls God ever knit together. You are the best kind of friend to all in your circle of influence! xoxo

  4. Good words! And totally in line with what Lisa-Jo put as her Five Minute Friday topic today! Thanks for these tips… I’m one of those who struggles to make new, meaningful friendships. (I’m a bit awkward, so it takes a while!) Timely post!

    • Don’t we all feel awkward at this? I like what Martha said below…basically, we ourselves are generally too worried about what we are saying or doing to give much thought to the other person’s words or actions. ‘Tis true, I think!

      And didn’t I meet you at She Speaks this year? Or am I just thinking of seeing you around the ‘net? Either way, you’re completely darling.

  5. Kristen, you, my dear, are a ray of sunshine wherever you go. And knowing how intentional you are about that (you make it seem effortless) makes me adore you even more!

  6. Thanks for this encouraging and helpful post! I love the reminder that we have deep and wide love of Christ to give.
    And thanks for the nudge the fake it till you feel it, I needed to hear that. I do it at work – I put on a smile and do my best to be welcoming and to connect, often past my comfort zone. However, in social situations, I tend to go by how I fee (and as an introvert, I tend to not ‘feel’ like being outgoing)l. It’s a good reminder to be more intentional and make more effort in social situations as well, because it does lead to real connections.

    • So appreciate you, Jadyn!

      I want to be careful with the “fake it ’til you feel it” line because I don’t want anyone to think I’m suggesting we put on masks or plastic smiles. But there are times when I *know* I should do something, and if I wait for the “want to” feelings to show up I may never get ‘r done. So I {hopefully} choose to just do the thing, and often in the doing I find my feelings coming around after all. It isn’t easy, is it?

      And YES we have Christ’s reserves at our disposal! May we all look to Him for strength to step out!

  7. This is excellent advice. As a naturally shy introvert-turned-Army wife, I had to learn reeeally fast how to put myself out there. I also had to learn that people will both take me and leave me, and that is just fine. I often make a total idiot out of myself during that initial conversation, but if the person is one that I will be friends with, the truth is that she doesn’t care, or she thinks it is funny and it breaks the ice.

    So…are we going to have a post aimed at people who aren’t the new girl, who maybe have plenty of close friends? About how sometimes they need to reach out to people? I’ve noticed that military communities seem to be easier to make friends in, but out in the real world–man, it’s brutal! People have their little circles and are not interested in inviting other people into them. It’s a little cruel. When I’m somewhere that I’m surrounded by my close friends I try to remind myself to look out for someone who might need to be included. Wow, sorry, this is way too long.

    • I’ve so been there Martha. Used to be a military wife and it seemed friendships were easier to build at that time. Unfortunately none of those friendships have lasted. This was an era before cell phones and personal computers. I have never been good at making friends too many times I try and feel rejected which leads me to feel why should I bother. I am a lot like Kristen in that I want to sulk in the corner until someone notices that I’m alone. Or not go to church and see if anyone even notices that I’m there. Funny I’ve never thought about how others perceive me….
      I am attending a church function tonight and will make a huge effort to put myself out there again. Thanks for the encouragement.

      • Sweet Annette, keep on keeping on, Friend. I’m praying God directs you to some quality friendships soon as you keep your eyes fixed on Christ. Do tell us how the function goes, okay?

    • Martha, that’s a brilliant post idea! And kudos to you for keeping eyes peeled for the new person, to welcome her in words and actions. I need to be more conscious of this…I know at times I’ve rested in my familiar people rather than reached out. Thank you for your wisdom here, Martha. 🙂

  8. uhhh it’s so hard, but the effort is well worth it! I’m learning the importance of being intentional. Whenever I’m intentional about a struggle despite feelings, I can see changes almost immediately. Thanks for the great advise Kristen!

  9. This seems to have my name on it today. As I had never moved until about 16 mos. ago. And it felt like to the moon as it is 18 hrs. from what I always called home. Definitely have learned to make the first move and “un-cross” my arms. So glad to find your website. What a blessing.

  10. When I met you at She Speaks, I was struck by your open heart and beautiful, welcoming smile. You live out the wisdom and courage in this post, Kristen! God bless you – I love your blog and your spirit!! Hugs!

    • Heidi, I look for you every time I’m at Chick fil a! 🙂 It was wonderful meeting you at She Speaks, and the cherry on top was finding out we’re both in the Springs! 🙂

      Thank YOU for the encouragement, sweet girl. You are a gift.

  11. It’s definitely hard being the new one. In college it was nowhere near this tricky, but ever since then it seems as though people I meet are nice, but they already have their close friends and most don’t seem to open their hearts to more. Every now and again I meet some special kindred spirit and those post-college friendships are sweet. And I love the internet – I’ve met so many wonderful people on blogs! I never thought I’d want to go to a blogger conference, but I’d so love to meet people in real life that I enjoy online.

    • Amy, some seasons do prove harder than others for building friendships, don’t they? Are you thinking of attending {or hosting} an (in)RL meet up? Maybe check it out?

      • I recently moved and people would have to be extremely brave to meet up in the construction zone I call home, so I’m not sure hosting would be a great idea for me. I do want to attend an IRL meetup, though. I think it would be fun!

  12. It can be hard being the “new girl” in town, especially larger cities. One thing I found out that helps is getting involved in some activities like ACS Relay for Life, or a Bible Study at church, local Kiwanis club.

    Getting out & doing things opens up all kinds of doors & opportunities to meet people.

    Great advice!

  13. I so love this. I am naturally shy and grew up in a tiny agricultural town in Northern California where everyone knew each other. And it was a place that actually felt too small, too closed in. I so just longed to move away and be free . . . but yet it was hard to figure out how. Moving away from home for college was what I needed to do to feel more confident in myself. I had leaned on my family as a crutch, socially, and with my first step out, to first a small college, and then to a larger one, and then to a move across the country where, except for my husband, I didn’t know a soul. . . I finally began to find my way and to grow confident to take risks like the ones you so beautifully describe — risks that felt impossible to me when I was younger. Thank you so much for sharing this, Kristen! Gratefully, Jennifer

  14. “Make the first move.” That’s big. But it works. And you’re right. The other option doesn’t work. I know. I’ve tried that one, too. 🙂

  15. Perfect, Kristen!

    I loved how Lysa T. asked folks, “So — tell me one thing that you’re excited about these days?” What a great opener!

    I love you women…

  16. Practical tips. Thank you. It is often hard to articulate a strategy to find friends when you are transitioning your whole life to a new city. We have journeyed through this zone at a break-necking pace with one job moving us through four new cities in a total of five years. It is hard. H.A.R.D.
    If I could offer something from my experience in seeking out dear friends it would be to practice hospitality over and over. Not the soup-to-nuts-house-has-to-look-like-I-didn’t-just-move-in kind but the kind where you greet your neighbor, make eye contact with the clerk/mom at the park/family in the pew so when you do introduce yourself it isn’t as terrifying and allows space for the connection of human spirit. We are all broken (yes, even those people who have never been in your shoes moving all over creation!) and practicing hospitality puts you in an active place of showing Christ to others.
    As I continue to pray for courage to meet people in our newest city I am pleased to see there is an (in)RL host close by. What a gift. Thank you for your words and links. 🙂
    Blessings to you all! Melissa

  17. […] the air. Change has not typically been my best friend, which is one reason God arranged for me to fall in love with and marry an Air Force man. Seventeen years into this military lifestyle, change still may not be my best friend, but we do […]