About the Author

Myquillyn Smith, The Nester, is a home stager, redesigner and design school drop-out. Her last home (a rental) was featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Cottages & Bungalows, Ladies' Home Journal and in her upcoming design philosphy book, The Nesting Place: It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful....

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  1. Great idea Nester, it really is important so I’m so glad you are doing this! Yay!!

    This is the idea (linked below) that our church group started and I’m about to begin it again with another group of ladies who are new and don’t know each other yet… I’m SO excited to start another group!!!

    Glad you are meeting real life friends (well, I mean, close by friends), it really does take effort and intentionality like most things in life. But so worth it!!!

    Here is where I talked about our plan for making friends and how fun it was:

    https://aws.incourage.me/2010/05/the-lost-art-of-friendship.html

    • Okay, you ladies—my friends—are making me wish you lived closer to me in real life, instead of meeting you all over. Such a good reminder, as someone living in a new town. It’s so helpful to just make it easy on myself by putting in these auto-generated meet-ups.

  2. I’ve never had making friend problems. Until I moved to my current small town. It’s not the most welcoming of communities.
    I’ve veen here 10 years and if my family and I moved in the middle of the night–I don’t think too many people would notice for a while.

    It’s embarrassing!

    I’m not that kind of friend. I like people and I don’t value them for what they can do for me but for who they are. It’s been a very hard lesson for my teen/young adult kids. I know God has a plan and He sees–so I perservere!

    • I know how you feel! Small towns are harder because everyone is FROM there- they all have their life long friends and family and don’t really seem to need newcomers. It seems the friends we made in this area were others who had also moved here! When I lived in bigger areas with a lot of families from all over, everyone was much more open to new people in there circles. Good luck, it will happen but a little slower than we like. I have lived in this small town with my husband and kids longer than any where else. We were a novelty when we came here, but it took years to establish REAL friends. Sort of ironic that bigger, fast paced areas were easier to establish real friends. We have MET a lot of people but only a few friends… Sorry for the novel, it struck a cord…

  3. Great post. I love your ideas because I am awful about making time with friends, and I don’t have many for it:)
    I think another great idea for “automated” friend making/keeping- is to write a list on the women in your life that you really want to stay close and in touch with. The ones that you know are GOOD for you. And then jot down their names on your calendar like once a week as a reminder to shoot them a text or phone call:)

    Thanks again for this post! -Audry Cece (www.thedontlovedare.com)

  4. I really appreciate you talking about friendship. I know that is an area God wants me to work on!!

  5. I really like how you said “The key is to make getting together your default. You want to set it up so you have to go to trouble to say NO not go to trouble to say YES. ” SO TRUE, especially for a natural introvert like myself!

  6. I love this idea! I have a close group of friends that have drifted apart due to life. Everytime we try to initiate a get together, it’s like an act of congress. Like you, I tend to be intoverted and don’t make friends easily. I cherish the friends I have and really want to get reconnected. I think I’ll initiate something automated for the rest of this year and see what happens. Thanks for the suggestion!

  7. I’ve been thinking about this sort of thing a lot starting out the new year. I have a circle of friends but I kinda feel like our friendships are at a standstill, they don’t seem to be growing. I moved here 10 years ago and I do have one really close friend but seem stuck on not growing other friendships. I have a few regular commitments that I attend weekly, Bible Study and a Preschool but other than that the only get togethers seem to be organized parties where people are selling things. Tight budget and I always feel guilty going and not buying. I’ve tried arranging playdates and that’s fine but it ends up being more about the kids then bonding with a friend. Not sure how to get invites without having to plansomething. Thanks for the tips though, never saying no despite excitement level seems like a good start.

  8. Great post! I noticed this as an area of need in my life, so at the end of last year, I started a craft club that meets once a month. This year, I’m keeping it up and adding a book club. I think you hit the nail on the head when you asked Reeve to choose a the same Tuesday of the month. For my book club, we are the first Friday of the month and craft club is the third Sunday afternoon/evening of the month. For me, if I don’t have it at my house, I probably will not make it (have a toddler and work full-time as a teacher which means I bring work home too. So I like him to be around me as much as possible). I do allow others to bring their kids and send them to play in the playroom while hubby or an older kid watches them play. That makes it a little more friendly (although, book club will not always have this option since I host every other and another friend hosts the alternating month). Anyway, great ideas and advice!

  9. Yes! If I don’t get it on the calendar, it’s just not going to happen!

    So now I meet with my friends for a conversation about the book we have chosen together. And I meet with my counseling colleagues to support each other, consult together, pray.

    These groups are scheduled every six weeks. These are the gifts I gave myself last year, after YEARS of wishing I had this kind of connection – personal and professional. Even though these groups just started in 2011, my life is already alot richer for the interaction I know I’m going to receive each time we sit and share time together!

  10. I am totally 100% hooked on your friendship series. They fascinate and challenge me. Often because I have young kids and a baby and work from home, etc etc, blah blah blah to the nth degree I think I should be exempt from extra curriculars. But really, those are where friendships are born. And without them my days are a vacuum of Internet only connections. And yea, (in)RL counts. So, last week I was shocked to discover myself after church walking up to groups of women and announcing I was going to start a bi-weekly Bible study. I mean, shocked! to hear the words come out of my own mouth! And now, what do you know, I’ve done nothing to advertise it and women are coming out of the wood works to join in. Still can’t believe it’s happening myself. But there it is – now it’s officially easier to say yes than no, since I’m hosting. Go figure.

    smooches
    LJ

    • yay! what a blessing to those women around you! i’m so excited for your adventure! oh the relationships that will form!
      i did the same several years back- except with youth age girls. i was amazed at the response and i was truly blessed by the experience!

  11. Because my husband is in the (Canadian) military, we move every couple of years so making new friends is something I have to do regularly. One thing I have forced myself to do is to take the first step, whether that means going up to someone and starting a conversation, or inviting someone out for coffee. Because I know that we are likely in any new place “for a good time not a long time”, I no longer wait to see how things develop, seeing people every now and again and hoping friendship grows as time goes on. I’ve done that too many times, and then run out of time. Just as the friendship is growing in a meaningful way, we are moving again. I now try to be deliberate and say, “I’d like to get to know you better. Want to meet for coffee?” I’m also trying to listen more to the nudging of the Spirit. If someone I’ve just met is consistently in my thoughts, I take that as encouragement to act. And let me just say that that is not my comfort zone! But I met one of my best friends in our last location that way. Hard as it can be, we need to keep putting ourselves out there! It’s worth it!

  12. Such great ideas ~ I have such a hard time developing friendships. I work from home….homeschool the kids and my husband is disabled….so for the most part if someone doesn’t show up at my door or tackle me at the grocery store {which would scare me}, I pretty much am just with kids or myself. The boys have activities and I really encourage them to be out “there” and making friends ~ I guess I should do that for me…hmmm ; )

    Have a wonderful, blessed day! hugs, mb

  13. Thanks for this post! I just moved to a small town after my whole life in the same town, along with my entire family. I have never really had to work for friends they were already there. Your first post was really helpful and I know I can benefit from this one, as well.

  14. We moved over a year ago, and as one of those over extended extroverts, it was kind of nice to have a year to cocoon and set up house and settle in slow. But this fall, I started to really long for those deeper connections in(RL). I had made a few friends, but longed for the you-can-show-up-at-my-messy-house-anytime-with-your-unwashed-hair-and-tantrum-throwing-three-year-old friends, to be able to talk about more than about kids and schedules. I started a book group – one intentionally and ridiculously short book, only four weeks, I thought. And what you describe here, that’s just what happened, and we’re starting our next book this month. I found having it at my house (which made me clean once a week), making it no frills (just coffee & water, some dessert if I had some, but no pressure for guests to bring anything) and starting with a short commitment (vs. want to do a book club every Tuesday forever?) helped us get going, and once the relationships were there, all those details just worked out.

  15. I love this idea. My mom has a crafts group from church that have met weekly since I was 5 (so 33 years). These women were and are my extended family.

    Now I live far away from my hometown and I don’t have many close friends or those who don’t work full-time. I would love to start something like this. You have inspired me to find ways around our limitations and figure something out (maybe monthly on a weekend).

    Thanks!

  16. Thank you so much sharing on friendships. I have three daughters who are now out of the home. They have always been my circle of friends so I am now trying to figure out how to make friends. It is challenging when you are an introvert. Looking forward to following your posts. Blessings!

  17. When did making friends become so difficult? Thanks so much for writing this and sharing your thoughts, it really does make sense. One of the things that I do to make my playdates with moms and kids easier is to make it a potluck. Every one brings something and I don’t need to feel overwhelmed by making tons of food, which does stress me out.

  18. I love, love, love this post. Such practical ideas — and you are being Intentional about engaging. Awesome.

    I actually have a group of ladies from my old job who get together about once a month. We always meet at the same quaint little restaurant and catch up on each other’s lives. I look forward to it so much.

  19. Before I switched to working full time a couple of years ago, my best friend & I had a standing date for every Friday (for MANY years). While we often went out to lunch or shopping together, we were sometimes just doing our grocery shopping at the same time, or even assisting each other with a dreaded house cleaning project. It may have been time to share a craft or work on ministry together or just sit & talk over a cup of coffee. Ohhh how I miss that time!!! Our friendship remains rock solid because of that.

  20. I would say I have 2 benches. The coffee I host every Tuesday morning and the Wednesday night life group we host. Actually, that second one doesn’t count because it’s the same 4 couples every week. Then again, maybe it does count because it often looks like a scene from ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’!

    I’m not even really an introvert, just lazy. I find as I get older, I’m not motivated to meet new people. I can feel myself wanting to settle into the same routine.

    I’m proud of you for stepping outside of your introverted box to be intentional about relationship! It’s seems like it’s always rewarding once you get there!

  21. You are so right on. I am a horrible planner and don’t enjoy setting up any kind of get together. But my friends and I have Wednesday, like your Thursday. Our kids are all there, but they play together and mostly let us talk. It’s the first time in my life, since college, that I’ve had really close friends. What a gift they are. I cherish my Wednesdays.

  22. G’morning! I too would probably be classified as an introvert. I say the same thing about time. But every time I spend time with friends, my day and life feel richer! Thanks for the ideas!

  23. I think being intentional about friendships is something everyone needs to work on. Thanks for this! My husband and I make a point of trying to invite a family or couple over for dinner once a week (sometimes it doesn’t happen that often). Sometimes it’s someone we are already friends with, but sometimes it’s someone new! He’s the one who instigated that, he’s outgoing 🙂

  24. What a fab idea! I moved this past summer to a new state, and have one couple friend(s) I haven’t had to “make friends” in a million years and am finding it difficult. This is great for any age group. I’m 50ish will also share this with my 15 yr old. Thank you for sharing!!

  25. The reason my book club has been so successful for the past 7 years is because we meet on the last Monday of every month — we are committed to that day, we show up, connect, discuss books, eat – it works!

    Then again, the reason my close network of mom friends has disintegrated over the last year is because we don’t meet regularly anymore. We used to do Mom’s Night Out once a month – it was on the calendar for the same day every month. It worked. Now we facebok each other and lament, “We HAVE to get together.” And then we don’t.

    This post is brilliantly spot-on!

  26. I’m the mom of a toddler (14 mo old) and struggle to find ways to get to know other couples. My husband and I are different in this area (he’s introvert and I’m an extrovert) but he knows it’s important to me and is willing to have folks over. I struggle with how you get to know the other couple who probably has kids too with them under foot or while trying to eat dinner together. Any suggestions? How does meeting folks change when you have kids?

    • No suggestions, but I have the same question. I homeschool my kids, so there is never a time they aren’t around.

      • Babysitters. 🙂 We have done this 2 ways so we can have a night out sans our kiddo:

        1. Hire a babysitter as usual and then meet up with another couple (or group of couples).

        2. If the number of kids is manageable, have a central house where all the kids can be dropped off before the parents head out. Then, split the babysitter’s cost between the parents (the total price will be more since there are more kids, but when split, you will also pay less than you would on your own. Bonus: Your kids get to play with other kids and think it is so cool to have a kids night out!).

        Hope that helps!

  27. I feel so honored to be in all three groups;)

    I can’t agree with all this enough!! I may be some weird mixture of introvert and extrovert but I’m not good at meeting new people and creating QUALITY friendships. I tend to get really quality music relationships, which are great, but have more to do with the sound you are creating than actually being their for each other and being in each others lives. So I’m doing the same thing with the same three groups!!

    Yes, the same day each month makes total sense!!

  28. This is really good and so true. Life is busy and easier than ever to say no. But it seems like the times I make myself go, even when I don’t feel like it, I’m always glad I did (and my family is too b/c I need that connection with people other than them!)

  29. Nester, I just had to comment that as a fellow introvert I love that blogging affords you a way to really share your voice. I love reading how you think and I often feel, when blogging myself, that I probably wouldn’t say this in real life but it’s really me, really how I think. Anyways…love the series and your ideas!

    • Totally. I think people are always surprised when they meet me in person because I’m a little quieter than they expect in a group. “You talk so much on your blog” they tell me. Cracks me up. But, to make up for it I usually make a fool of myself and talk craziness when I’m nervous.

      • I just had to reply to this. I am the same way! I could email people until the cows come home! I’m much more content to put it all out in an email than say it to someone’s face (blush). I’m getting better though. Your friendship series could not have come at a better time! I built up a huge wall after i was severly betrayed by someone i though was my friend. I decided that I needed to tear down the wall and as uncomfortable as it will be I need to just step out there and do it. so far, I’m working on making a couple of friends with some moms I see at my son’s school.
        Thanks so much Nester! You’re an inspiriation! from one introvert to another! 😉

  30. Realised I do this too. Home group once a week, prayer partner afternoon tea weekly, ladies breakfast once a month, girlfriends reunion once a year… automatic is excellent!

  31. I left a comment in the wrong place (again!) This is helpful to read. Because of a number of factors – child with autism, moving to another church closer to home, etc., many of those regular people times have not been constant in my life. I need to address this. Thanks for writing.

  32. Great ideas Nester!! I started with a Keeno group (bingo/w a deck of cards and dirty Santa with gifts kinda thingie) and we have evolved into “What the heck, let’s just go out to dinner and laugh so hard and long that other people shake their heads at us and ask to be moved (not really, but it feels like that sometimes.)” We look so forward to it once a month and it is a great touchstone for our friendships. I really appreciate that you have challenged me to orchestrate other “automatic” friendships. You are just…….a great automatic friend yourself there sittin’ on the other side of this screen. Thanks!!

  33. I love this post! I work from home, so it is easy to become a hermit. I’ve started a monthly mom’s night out with some great gals and really look forward to those nights. A weekly get together would be awesome and might just be added to my 2012 list! Thanks 🙂

  34. I would absolutely factor getting ready time into the equation if I were giving up some of my writing time:)
    Great advice as always, Nester. When we made our most recent move, I forced myself to say yes to pretty much every invite in order to meet people (torture for an introvert), but it’s paid off in some wonderful friendships. Now, I’ve been able to back off and be more selective, but different methods for different seasons. Maybe I need to start thinking automatic benches.

  35. Yes! This automating is brilliance and not at all rude so I’m glad you pointed that out – definitely moved me on over from Nesting Place to here. This is good stuff and is really apropos to where I am right now in my own stay at home mama, new to town place in life. I was just telling my mom the other day that I’m afraid that I might become a hermit sometimes because it is easier to stay home than be intentional about getting out. Thanks for this! Blessings on your day. wonder if today is one of the twelve. Kelly

  36. I think that I will set up some of these. Since having lupus tends to make we lupies withdraw, this might assist me in keeping much needed support and social contact. If it happens to be a miserably painful day, I could come up with alternatives, even allowing people to come over, I just would have to “call off”. I would definitely have to have understanding and accepting friends included. Some folks think that just because they cannot see our pain or our autoimmune system tearing us up that we must be faking it. I pray that those friends will some day understand, and that they do not have to endure such pain in order to understand.
    Lupus also makes my mind unorganized, so setting up automatic deposits would be very helpful. I miss my former organized mind. I just have to deal with what I have been given.

  37. I LOVED reading this post! I am completely the type of person who has a hard time getting together with people. I love doing it, but if it’s not scheduled then I tend to not follow through. Your line that said, “The key is to make getting together your default. You want to set it up so you have to go to trouble to say NO not go to trouble to say YES.” is wonderfully put!

  38. This is such good advice! If I just relied on my own sense of random spontaneity, I think I’d still be the new girl in town who has no friends. I tend to be fairly introverted, too. [I say fairly because I almost always end up with a 50/50 split between E and I on Meyers-Briggs – obviously I don’t know whether I’m coming or going!] I like the idea of having a regular place to be to build friendships because otherwise I can start turning into a homebody. I have a regular group folks from church that I have lunch with every other week and who are starting to be wonderful friends, and then I’ve met some wonderful people via another friend. She just decided that 1 Monday per month, we were just all going to take the evening off, so we each bring a dish and have a few hours to just gather and enjoy each other’s company. I only knew 2 people when I started going, but I’ve met some great ladies there.

  39. I knew the “scheduled is better than random” truth about myself regarding mundane things (grocery shopping, laundry, etc.) but never would have thought to apply it to fun things like friendship building … what a fabulous idea – I’m excited about it … thank you for sharing!

  40. That all sounds wonderful. Wish I could have friends meet like that. Working 8-4:30 & having to be in bed early doesn’t help the situation.

    My hubby is an introvert & has a people oriented job that can be stressful for him on many levels. Add to the situation that we live out in the country not close to anything (roughly 10 miles from most activities).

    I may try some of your ideas soon.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

  41. I am so thankful that you are taking the time to share this with us. Sometimes I feel alone in my friendship concerns so I’m really appreciating you right now.

  42. I love this. I am totally not the person to reach out and form new friendships, I am the girl that has had long-term friendships I can count on one hand. But since moving 12 hours from home a year ago, I am totally having to LEARN to reach out to strangers and make friends. I actually had a CRAFT DAY myself last week with 4 ladies. I even planned it and hosted it… so not me. But it completely just fell into my lap. And it was the best time. We are going to try and do it monthly.

    This was a great post Nester! Thank you so much:)

  43. Thanks for the tips! I’m a good mixer once I’m at the party, but I really need to plan some things and actually play the hostess role. Hope you’re having a good evening. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  44. I am in the same boat with Cindy, I’m an introvert whose circle of friends included my two daughters who are now grown and on their own. I’m not good at making small talk and I’m afraid I have substituted blogs (like yours and others) for my friend connections. I learn a lot and enjoy them even more, but feel I am really missing out on the friend connection here outside my own little world. Will keep following your blog to find out more on reaching out. It is much harder in a small community strangely enough. Blessings.

  45. […] them. So far my plan is working brilliantly and they are all clueless that craft day is really an automatic bench {insert evil laugh and rubbing together of hot glue burned […]

  46. YES! I just had the frazzled drowning in kids conversation with a mama friend today at the YMCA. Great ideas, and also a moms group…I am in the national http://www.mothersandmore.org and it does playgroups, but even better are book club, moms night out, couples stuff…and there is seriously dessert and wine with EVERY EVENT. YEAH. Or maybe that is just me and a flask?

  47. We have a group of friends who have dinner together one night a week. Because our group has grown so much (now six couples, 11 kids under 7!) we have a rotation where we meet different people each week. One family hosts the gathering and provides a meal, one brings dessert, and one is the ‘honored guest’! Been a great way to stay connected with busy lives and busy little ones.

  48. Hi, Nester…I’m curious to hear more detail about the particulars of the weekly women’s time on Thursdays. Is it during the day? Evening? Where are the kiddos? Are these working/non working women? Blend? I’m trying to visual what/how this would look.

    Also, did the other women all have a connection to each other (same college/church/neighborhood) or know each other first? Or was it all randoms? Is it the same group of women every week or a rotating mix, whomever can make it?

    So curious! Am brand new to a town and working really hard to figure out the best way to build a strong foundation of women. I’m an extrovert, so that helps, but the scheduling seems to sometimes overwhelm me.

  49. Great ideas! I grew up with lots of acquaintances but few close friends as I was a bit guarded. I’ve managed pretty well, but I’ve missed out on so much.
    I have three kids. My middle daughter is a fifth grader and is at a fragile age where she doesn’t always enjoy “being in my presence” like my six year old still does. I’m aware that she needs deep friendships, and I’ve learned that I do too. I’ve started a standing date on the last Sunday of the month with moms and their pre-teen daughters, we have a few grandmas and young adult ladies too. Moms and daughters are encouraged to spend their own special time together once a week during the month. When we get together we share about our mom- daughter time, have devotion time and then do a neat craft or game. One month our focus was “Having an Inner Bling” and we played “Blingo (Bingo)”. I’m loving it. I’m developing friendships like I’ve never had; these friends are now my sounding board. And our girls are making friendships and spending time with valuable role models.
    Thanks so much for sharing and helping me to reflect on the importance of good friendships.