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. My husband is the extrovert in our marriage. It feels like sometimes couple friends call because he is so much fun to be around, not me. I did a post a while back comparing friendships to dating. It hurts just as much when a friend “breaks up” as it did for a teen romance. Ya know?

  2. Oh this has been a huge issue for me along the way … we live in a very transient area where people come and go … many years ago we had tons of friends, never a dull moment, so much fun. But everyone has moved on. We’ve changed churches a few times. The kids have grown. Life has really changed.

    But a few rich friendships remain. And those I treasure like gold! Here’s some of what I’ve discovered along the way … about finding friends, and then taking those relationships to the next level. I hope these thoughts will somehow be an encouragement to those who are finding themselves in the same boat I’ve been in.

    Friendship 101
    http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/2011/04/taking-friendship-to-next-level.html

    Taking Friendship to the Next Level
    http://creeksideministries.blogspot.com/2011/04/taking-friendship-to-next-level.html

  3. I checked out your post (part 4?) on deeper relationships, Nester. Very encouraging words on the importance of airing my dirty laundry with those “sufacey” friends. Who knows, some may actually share my clothesline!

  4. I’m the extrovert in our marriage. I don’t have any advice on making friends except that I’ve noticed a trend with the couples that we DO really get along with. The husband of the other couple is almost always an extrovert. My husband is NOT an initiator of conversation so it really helps if the other guy is. Maybe seek out couples that are the opposite of you? 🙂

    • I agree with you. My husband is introverted with a brain injury and coupled with mental illness. Last year he had a nervous breakdown and a couple of my friends went to visit him. He is the extrovert and now they go for coffee every week and we get together with both of them every few weeks – I see my friend much more but it’s nice when we all get together. I find other couples trying to force a relationship with him/us isn’t working. It has to be natural and yes I let my husband lead in these instances. If he is uncomfortable then it’s just not going to work. I will add I am not an extrovert but more outgoing than a lot of introverts. I’ve asked God to give me boldness and my goodness, I think He is 🙂

  5. I find that the friends I enjoy hanging out with the most are with other couples who mutually have things in common or things to talk about with both of us. My husband gets along with the wife and can have a conversation with her and I can do the same with the husband. It makes for less awkward silences when we are all having dinner! My husband is the extrovert so he gets along with all of my girlfriends but I struggle with getting to know his friends and their wives when we don’t have a common interest. It is hard to find people that we both get along with so we have to grab them up when we find them! I have realized that many of my close girlfriends have husbands that don’t connect with my husband and I have stopped trying to force the four of us to be friends and just be content it is about us girls. Some of our closest couple friends would not necessarily be categorized as either of our best friends…rather they are great couple friends that we have a lot of fun with!

  6. We moved to the country from a big metropolitan area. It was a blessing for our family, but very lonely for me, at first. I really struggled because it seemed like no one had similar interests and it was a huge paradigm shift.

    I think church was our saving grace (literally). As a couple, we made friends within our church group because even though the external interests were different, the internal interests were cohesive. It was a safe place to bond and form lasting friendships.

    • We moved from a small town to another smaller town a few years ago. I agree Church has been the best place for us to meet friends by ourselves and as a couple. It is here we all mostly come from the same spiritual place and values. That alone is a lot to build friendships on. I joined a group or two and so did my husband. The groups had social activities for couples and that is where we have gotten to know some wonderful people. It takes time – years but it is worth it.

      I flutter between being an introvert and extrovert. My hubby is the same but definitely likes to be home with family. I discovered that I need to be the initiator if I want to do things with other couples because he is content at home. Then again he is mostly content to go out if I plan it.

      I think we all go through periods where it is easy to make friends and periods of difficulty. Being open and putting yourself out there is scary. I’ve found that the ones you thought you’d never be friends with end up being some of your closest friends.

  7. My husband is the extrovert and brings home all sorts of friends. Which is great because friends are awesome. But I have a really low social need. I have a huge family and one really awesome best friend and have a hard time balancing his need for other people with my need for peace and quiet.

    I’ve had to be the person to really make an effort because he has so many great Marine friends that he’s deployed with and loves like brothers that will come to our house to hang out or even stay a few days and I haven’t even met the person. I’m just a slow to warm type of person that likes to get to know people over a long time. It’s forced me to be more welcoming and open to relationships and make more of an effort to be a friend.

    I will say that I found my best friend at a particularly hard time in my life where we had just moved to a foreign country. I had little kids and was home alone most of the time. When I got lonely I would call my Mom or sister back in the states which would just make me miss home more. I met a really sweet gal at church and decided that every time I would get lonely I would STOP calling back home and call her instead. Best decision I ever made. Sometimes you have to put less time into relationships that aren’t working and more time into new relationships.

  8. I love Lindsey, your friendliness and sharing of lives and children times is more of a closeness than you know and, if trouble or difficulty strikes, you are ‘closer’ by helping one another out, whether by dropping by with some soup for a sick friend who can’t get out of bed and feed her family or by helping her by picking up her sick child at school when her boss won’t let her go, both things I did that I consider ‘close’… also when we can talk about a grief and help one another move past it or pray about it. But I think you’re the kind of friend I would love to have, just someone to ‘hang out’ with in our lives and enjoy one another’s company!
    Sometimes there’s ‘slow’ times with less friends around and sometimes there’s busy times where you don’t get to rest as much as you need, so I find it good to appreciate both as much as I can while I’m in it because some friends do come and go but they’re still precious mom’s/people and I wish them many more friends in their lives and hope for more in mine.
    This is a great topic to read from everyone’s lives and see how much we (my husband and I) share in commone with other couples and families!

  9. We moved to a new city 3 and a half years ago. It took a long time to find friends. This city is much “faster” than the city we moved from, and add to that I’m an introvert even though most people don’t believe it. Anyway, it takes time. And I mean time…. But, I believe that friends worth having are worth waiting for. So, anyway, the woman who eventually became my BF here, I wouldn’t have initially thought would be my BF. We have different tastes and style etc. And add to that, her husband is very different than mine, but we gave it time, and in spite of our differences, we are all very good friends. We are all very different but have mutual CORE values and a respect for each other. And, Nester, I agree. You do have to share the unlovely parts of yourself or your life in order to get closer to others. That’s just life: dig in!

  10. I was really frustrated the way my husband reacted to MY friends and there husbands so I turned it around by asking HIS friends wives to do stuff with us. Now those couples are our couple friends. Since I am the extrovert and get along with almost everyone it has worked for us.

  11. We’re not married (yet- 72 days!!), but my fiancé and I enjoy spending time with our couple friends. Now that I think about it, I’m realizing that our closest couple friends are my two best girlfriends and their significant others. My fiancé is definitely the extrovert in our relationship, so maybe it helps for me to already have a deep connection with the girls. He gets along with almost anyone!

    Your observation about how to help an introverted spouse make friends with your friends is brilliant- find the people the extroverted one is already friends with and see which couple the introverted one feels more of a connection with.

    As for making friends on a deeper level, I’ve found that sometimes the best thing you can do is to make yourself vulnerable. My best girlfriend and I are very close now, but we weren’t instant friends. She actually dated one of my good friends, and they ended up breaking it off, which made it a little awkward. One night we ended up going to dinner together, and I stuck my neck out and asked her about that relationship and shared some details about myself. That was all it took- we clicked! Don’t be afraid to be transparent and tell people about yourself. Even as an introvert, you may have to initiate the “deeper level” conversations. Talk about your dreams, your fears, your faith- anything that gets you past the small talk.

  12. Lindsey’s question is really rolling around in my head. I am going to stick my neck out and respond to it (not knowing Linsdey AT ALL and wondering what sort of backlash i might receive for being honest).

    Hey!- if i sit and think about Lindsey’s question and write a long response to it, then maybe I will have a great excuse not to do the chores I had planned for this next hour 🙂

    I am thinking to myself about women who might be the Lindsey’s in my life: these women are friendly and nice, I enjoy chatting with them when we see each other at events or at the park, but I don’t consider them to be a close friend. They are on the periphery, socially. I am asking myself, “WHY?”

    Here are the possible reasons that surface in my mind:

    a) I am so busy, that I never really go out of my way to make deeper friendships . I don’t NEED to have more friends (but i LOVE LOVE LOVE women and love to have many of them in my life). So, how do acquaintances become deeper friendships for me?? I credit my friends. Some women have sorta pushed their way into my time in the most awesomely loving way! As in, they call. They text. The drop in with a diet coke. They make me laugh. They drop off goodies. They invite me to come over and hang out (to watch crappy reality tv for 30 minutes??), they offer to join me in what I am busy with (painting? organizing? cleaning?). They ask if I want to join them in exercise (zumba? running?) These women insist on taking my kids when I feel sick. They create in me a wonderful need for them. I miss them when i haven’t seen them in too long. I text them. I make plans to see them. hmmm… They just know how to be friends. (that being said, before any of this somehow there is a clear co-feeling of enjoyment in our relationship… a mutual, “dang, i love that chick” feeling.) As opposed to option (c) below 🙂

    b) But then there are other women who I might like to spend time with, but… this is going to sound bad, but: their kids are total maniacs. You know? Like, I wish I was brave enough to wrap my arm around them and say, “let me help you with your child-rearing skills: ie. consistency, loving positive attention, discipline. Then maybe the 39 kids we have between us could manage to settle down and we could actually enjoy each other’s company” (I say that knowing that at this point, with my 4th kid being age 2 and a total spoiled brat, I am becoming that mom with that kid…) Also, some kids have more issues than others and I am not judging on those issues. My affection for a mom is only increased when they are dealing with difficult issues due to health of the child, you know?

    c) Some nice enough women are just too pushy about ~something~. Are they always talking about their home business and how it’s products would change my life? Are they always talking politics? Are they always telling me (and others) when we are doing wrong? Are they so “green” that I feel uncomfortable drinking out of my water bottle or toting my McD’s cup? I just can’t handle it. I turn off emotionally to these people. They wouldn’t know it, because I still absolutely love to chat with almost every single person I meet and I can turn most bad situations good, but I don’t leave wanting spend MORE time with pushy people.

    d)My biggest piece of advice for Lindsey is to serve. Serve, serve, serve. We love those whom we serve. It’s one thing to say, “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help” and another to say, “You and your kids are coming over to my house tonight for pizza since your husband is still out of town, got it?” My deepest friends are those who either a) I have served b) have served me in a time of need and c) I run with.

    #C is totally unrelated, but it makes a difference. A running or walking partnership is the best way to deepen a friendship. Early morning, crack of dawn type of stuff. It allows for more time to KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON IN THEIR LIVES AND TO KNOW HOW TO SERVE THEM. See? It’s a cycle.

    To sum up the world’s longest blog comment: a) be present and fun b) if your kids are maniacs then you might be driving friends away c) don’t be annoyingly pushy about your edible undies business/amazingly green cleaning products/miracle oils/don’t eat processed food or you and your spawn will all die STUFF, brah! d)serve and love

    bye.

    (why i am so scared to click “submit”??? don’t hate me.

    • I love your comment Angie. I don’t often read this blog, but somehow found my way to your comment today. Guess I needed to read it! Totally agree about serving. So necessary.

      I’m the extrovert in our relationship and I’m not sure I have real, true friends (so where does that leave us with couple friends? Yikes). I only have one friend in my life that would drop by or text or would miss me if I didn’t show up for weeks, yet I know so many women. (But thank heaven for that one friend!! She’s awesome!) I have struggled for years wondering what’s wrong with me. I love people but sometimes they drive me crazy. I used to have friends. I totally need to work on this, but wasn’t sure how. I’ve never felt like I fit into a ‘group’ but it seems like everyone around me is always trying to form one. I wonder if thats just the culture where I live. I love being a mom and most of the time that’s enough for me, but I live in a house with five boys/men. I definitely need women friends!!

      So I’m going to put this out there and would love any feedback. I’ve wondered if because I’m a perfectionist, people don’t want to be my friend. I often hear comments like a) you can’t come into my house because it’s not clean like yours b) you never have a bad hair day c) your husband is always so good at… d) you would probably never do/eat/like….

      Here’s the real deal though. I love to clean (thus the clean house). It’s a stress reliever. And I don’t want to be perfect. Not at all. And I don’t expect other people to be perfect. I have so many health issues. I eat well because it makes me feel better and helps me get through the day. How do I smash through this perception that people have of me? I’ve wondered if I should just show up to church in my pajamas or stop showering. Hee. hee. Maybe that would help!

      How do I allow people to feel safe around me? What am I doing wrong? I’m even the first to admit all my flaws, but that makes it even worse. I’m trying to be vulnerable and present, but that doesn’t come naturally to me. I have a hard time accepting help and have been on bed rest for weeks or had miscarriages without telling anyone (outside of my immediate family) right away. We aren’t even close to our siblings. Clearly, I need some advice. Thank you for this post and a place to put all of these tender feelings I have.

      Thank you all for your input/ comments. It’s awesome! I love to hear that other women are praying for friends too.

      • Oh, Jen, I feel like I know you! You are THAT GIRL! I have about 4 good friends that could be perceived as absolutely perfect. Here are ways that I can still be friends with them even though I know they school me in so many, many ways that women usually compare themselves to others on: 1) one friend is so gosh darn close to perfect, and is always trying to improve (on perfection??!! stop it!) in the most sincere, innocent ways. I love her still, because of her sarcasm and her witty cackle. I know that underneath that size 2 frame, perfectly clean house and styled hair, that she is a crack up and i love it when she laughs at me and herself. Her cackle alone saves our friendship (and perhaps the way that I am imperfect and am ok with it helps her feel safe? she says she strives to take a chill like me). 2) another friend is so gosh darn perfect and i don’t know how we would ever have gotten past that intimidating “she is too perfect for me to be friends with: (aka she is also a size 2) if it wasn’t for her 2 year old dying in an at-home accident in september. that crisis brought us together because i felt so much pain for her that i served and served and was just there in as many loving ways as i could be. When she came out of the darkness, she had a friend and I admire her above so many other women and i see her whole self. so– when you have sadness and crisis, let others help you! let others love you!!!! they will be treasures to you. 3) the other perfect friends are just so dang nice and fun that i can’t hate them like i want to (in their size 2 jeans with size d cups) 🙂

        I would say, yes, wear a sloppy pony tail. Invite people over and purposefully DON’T let the house be perfect and most importantly, DON’T APOLOGIZE FOR THE MESS!! say, “come on in!!!” this might take practice. And.. also, i prescribe reading The Nester’s blog and all back posts. You don’t have to be perfect. Perfect is scary for us regular people.

        look–! i am so good at being imperfect that i just wrote this big long response instead of tiding up the office and now i am also late to get my kids from school. If i showed up on time (with make-up) people would wonder about me.

        Jen, i think i love you because you clearly have a gooood heart. Can you give me the gift of the “love of cleaning?” i’ll give you the gift of “girl next door-ness.” somehow.

        why do i keep coming back to this post to read all the comments? what a good post!!

        • Oh Angie, your words are such a gift to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Maybe I can just let this go and stop worrying. That time would be better spent serving someone else anyway. And now I’m grateful that I’m NOT a size 2. (That feels weird to admit.)

          You’d even be proud of me . I had a neighbor come over this morning so I could take some baptism pictures of her daughter. We have the same model house so we started talking about projects, and I offered to take her on a tour of my entire ransacked house so she could see what we’ve done. I even let her look close-up at all the projects we’ve hacked (some badly!). I’m pretty sure I didn’t even apologize for the mess more than once.

          I think you are a gem. Thanks for being brave enough to write your post and then for reaching out to a girl that you’ve never met. If I could bottle up some of my clean freakiness and give it away that would be a blessing for both of us! Luckily, I’ve definitely learned to relax a little with my four boys. Now I’m off to clean some toilets! 😉

          • Jen, you are onto something. I struggle with letting friendships progress to the dropping in stage, with women ( who are in my view perfectionists.) It stresses me out to think of them seeing me au natural…. (somewhat) Messy house, projects on the go, sweat pants…. But I guess I never thought that they might not care and may need a real friend. So I will try to stick my neck out to the perfectionists I know and see what happens.
            Lora

          • Lora – Wow! I love that you added that perspective! I’ll bet those girls you know are lonely for friends. Take a risk. I’d love to hear how it goes! I know I need to take some more risks too. This has been so therapeutic for me. Thanks for sharing such great insight.

  13. Thanks for this post. I’m more extroverted, my husband is more introverted, but very friendly and can make small talk easily. He usually bonds with men through sports. We recently got together with an extroverted friend of mine and her husband is an introvert. It was painful! It was the 4 of us plus our babies for a football game at our house. My husband must have asked the guy 30 questions just sports related and about the game, the guy would give one word answers and sometimes say nothing. The worst part is that the guy is really into sports and football. We were so turned off I’m sure we’ll never see them again as a couple.

  14. I am the introvert in our marriage but, I have learned to be more out-going when I need to be. Someone once told me that in order to have a friend(s) that you need to be a friend. So I try to make a point of reaching out to someone who is new to church, school, community, etc. That doesn’t mean that they will become my new best friend but, it’s good for both of us.

    Also, the deepest most rewarding friendships that I have were started through/in a church small group. I didn’t really have any friends in my new church and community until I got involved in a women’s bible study. Bible study, couples small group, adult Sunday school classes have blessed us with both “couple” friends and individual friends. I also have a core group of lady friends that were born out of a time of pain and crisis for all of us, we started a support group and we’ve been there for each other ever since. I never would have chosen to walk the painful road that we all walked but, I am so thankful for the “bossom friends” that I have as a result. Truely, beauty from ashes.

  15. Angie,
    You are dead on. Thanks for thinking that all out. I especially resonate with the kids thing. Friends that one has pre-kids don’t always continue in the same way after having kids. Styles of parenting, priorities in your family, affects friendships far more than you anticipate. It’s just reality.

  16. To get past the surface-ey stuff and move deeper in friendship, I drop a bomb. Meaning, if the talk is staying surface-level, then I’ll drop something deep like something I’m struggling with. Or, I ask for advice. Or, I ask the other person about something that they had mentioned.

    It’s so hard to take that first step into deeper, more meaningful things. I find that once I go there, then the other person will too. I think we all want that, but we’re afraid of being vulnerable.

    It’s kinda like being the first one to take off their cover-up at the pool.

    • dropping a bomb- that’s perfect! i love talking about real issues with friends at the park. it’s like my own doctor phil couch.

      i have one acquaintance though, who only ever tells us what we are doing wrong and never ever ever ever asks for advice on her own life (she could use some) and it is a very awkward imbalance. Sometimes i’ll even say, “what do you guys think i should do about “x” issue in my life” (with the real intent that we can talk about that issue in HER life LOL) and instead she tells me what to do and never references herself. ugh.

      ok, in all honesty, that 1 women is the only person i can’t stand and i can’t get rid of her by law. nuf said.

  17. This is such an interesting read! I love everyone’s honesty in the comments. My husband travels extensively for work so he’s gone overnight a lot during the week. Our weekends consist of sporting events and/or church events that our 3 kids are involved in which leaves little time for friends. His friends are close by but don’t receive the attention/time they need to maintain a friendship. I have lots of friends from all different walks of life but as a couple we have very few couple friends. It’s hard because we want to spend time together as a family during the weekend since our time is so limited. Before we know it our kids will be graduated and gone. Maybe then we’ll find some couple friends!

  18. I love all this wonderful, gentle encouragement. I too have been hurt, discouraged and frustrated when friendships don’t develop, or the efforts have all been on my side. I have left park days not being able to talk to other moms because I needed to keep an eye on my young one. Just when friendships develop, seasons of life change or we move. And I have prayed for friends but I have sensed that God wants me to turn to Him. I will continue to reach out and try some of this great advice but I need to seek Him first.

    • After years, 14 to be exact, of moving over ten times all over one big city, I have had the same sense that God is calling me to turn to Him instead of a friend. I know He made me to desire friendship, and I believe it will come eventually, but I have just about given up for now. Maybe I am just supposed to cling to Him, because it is too hurtful to go to another park or Bible Study or whatever & not talk to a single person. I have always been shy, but have gotten worse since being married to an introvert. It’s extremely hard to put myself out there, and I just can’t stand to do it again unsuccessfully.

  19. Wow, thanks! As funny as it sounds I never really considered how the introvert/extrovert situation affects this, but it’s very true. My husband is an introvert and unless he already knows someone well he has no interest in going to a party or gathering where he could meet anyone, and he really hates small talk.

    I will have to heed this advice and start finding ways to incorporate your advice more so that we can have some good couple friends!

  20. My hubby is an introvert and i’m a semi extrovert. I do things with my girlfriends sometimes, and we do things as couples, but we don’t have couple friends to do things with.

    He has unusual hobbies, low frequency radio, world war II computer games, comic books. Our area is loaded with people who enjoy sports, hunting, fishing, farming. None of which he enjoys. He does like shooting.

    Not sure I have advice as much as needing help!

  21. Our closest couple friends have been couples that are raising their kids in a similiar fashion that we do. We’ll be empty nesters in a few years and I suppose that dynamic will change.

  22. Thank you Nester for your advice and for asking the group for input on a topic that has been such a challenge to my soul. I’m going to rest in the knowledge that God will lead us into the friendships we long for if we continue to seek Him and show his love to those around us.

    My heart has been broken in the friendship arena these past two years, and truthfully I’ve felt very, very hopeless about finding some new friends in the last few months. This series, your posts Nester, the posts on incourage by other writers – they’ve been both the salve I needed from the Holy Spirit to truly feel that he understands where I’m at, and the encouragement and prodding I needed to push me to keep trying and keep loving. Thank you so much for taking the time to put your thoughts out there.

  23. For some reason I always get the posts a day later. It’s Friday and I’m responding to yesterdays post. I love this website! There is always something to I learn. Thank you!

    I want to respond to Lindsey. Small talk is okay for a while, but intimacy (into me see) is another level of friendship. I found that if I share something about myself on a personal level it gives the other person permission to share whatever they want. For me it’s about safety and being real. It’s about being vulnerable without being judged or hurt. Friendships that are developed where you can just be who you are…are priceless. Good luck Lindsey! You sound like a friend I’d like to spend time with.

  24. I agree with Rita’s comments for Lindsey. It is ok to want “real friends” and not just warm bodies. I have always struggled against small talk and surface shallow relationships. I never thought of myself as an introvert as i was the yourngest of 10 children from a Kennedy type family where being extroverted was a sport. After i received my doctorate, travelled the word, had three kids and acquired some good age spots it is nice to settle into the knowledge that your “soulmate” friends are gold but the new “acquiantance” friends are ok too. I needed to be more patient with others and myself. I love the women who are guarded because we are all afraid of being hurt and exposing our soul to one another. I have had to learn over and over that pain is part of life and makes life so much richer. Take a chance with your heart. Small talk won’t kill me and all people are looking for a connection and worth. Be merciful on yourself. We receive what we put out into the world.

  25. I’m the extrovert in our marriage. I talk to everybody, and have made many friends and acquaintances, but we only have a few couple friends. Luckily for us we have one couple who is both of our best friends.

    I volunteer a lot and gain friendships through school groups and the kids sports. I’m always room mom, team mom, etc. 7 1/2 yrs ago, I had organized the football team’s end of season party. We held it at the Fireman’s Hall. One of the dad’s was a volunteer fireman and he had procured the space for me. Towards the end of the evening, when most everyone else had gone home, we were finishing cleaning up, and I had mentioned that I was delivering my baby on Wednesday. The volunteer fireman said, “Oh Wednesday is my wife’s b-day, too. She turns 40. She’s a total cradle robber.” She shot him some eye daggers. My husband jumped in to say that I’m older than him, too. They’ve been our best friends ever since.

    I think my husband felt like any guy who could trip over his tongue so badly must be a kindred spirit. It also works out that our older boys are both 15, and our younger kids are only 2 years apart and the very best of friends. We enjoy camping together, and spend every Saturday hanging out together. Having friends is work. You have to foster a friendship like any other relationship. But life is richer for it, and it’s so nice to have a couple or several couples that you can both feel relaxed with.

  26. I would suggest taking a bible study class. Infact, my church is reading the bible in chronological order in a year’s time and I meet different people each week! In this way, you could really find out who truly matched up as a friend. Good Luck.

  27. […]  ”Invite people over, even when your house isn’t perfect.  You don’t have to be perfect.  Perfect is scary for us normal people.”  – comment by Angie on Making Couple Friends post at (in)courage […]