Nobody Knows My Name
by Susan Miller
I did it when I moved. You’ve probably done it when you’ve moved too. It was easier for me not to invest my life and time into building relationships, or spend the energy and heart-felt emotion it takes to make new friends, because I knew I would be moving again and it would hurt too much to say goodbye.
With each move, I was emotionally drained with the loss of friends. The sadness of leaving behind the people I had come to love made it easy to build walls around my heart. So often I would go into my “protective mode” to keep relationships from touching my life. I made no effort to connect with people, to open my heart to anyone, or to fill the emptiness. After shutting down relationally for many moves, it finally became clear to me that the risk it took to make a friend brought far more laughter than tears, more memories than regrets, more joy than sorrow, and a feeling of closeness that spanned separation across the miles. I made the choice (key word—choice) to do whatever it took—joining up, joining in, getting involved, participating, volunteering—just showing up to meet new people and make new friends!
Perhaps you’ve “moved in my shoes” and have felt the same emotions when it comes to connecting with people. Perhaps you are struggling without a friend right now and yearn for someone to connect with. When I was invited to speak for a Faithlift Conference at Yongsan Army Post in Seoul, Korea, I spoke to one of our PWOC classes for women who move. (Check out our Moving On After Moving In classes at your PWOC.)
I noticed all the women were chatting with each other like close friends, except one woman, who came into the room alone. Recognizing that she was new, everyone quickly embraced her and by the time she left, she had connected with the group and made some new friends. The rest of the week, it was a joy for me to see her “show up” at different events and begin to build relationships with the women. I know taking that first step to walk through the door and into a room of strangers wasn’t easy, but well worth it in the long run!
When we move, so many of the things we leave behind can be replaced rather quickly, and life then resumes its pace with a fairly normal rhythm. Friendships are the exception. The void created by the absence of a friend leaves a gaping wound in our hearts, and the longing for shared intimacy with a friend keeps us out of step with the world around us. Now is the time for you to take a giant step towards building relationships and making new friends. Here are a few ways to help you take that first step:
- Put on a happy face and smile.
- Find something you have in common with people you meet.
- Ask questions.
- Invite someone to lunch or coffee.
- Take your kids to the park.
- Find a church.
- Remember, to have a friend, you must be a friend!
- Sometimes, all you need to do is show up.
Remember, finding a friend begins with you. So put your best foot forward and take that first step. There is a new friend out there just waiting to meet you!
About the Author:
Susan Miller is Founder and President of Just Moved Ministry, a faith-based organization dedicated to giving hope to uprooted women. She has written five books, including After the Boxes Are Unpacked and But Mom, I Don’t Want to Move! She is also the author of the study, Moving On After Moving In, which is offered in churches, neighborhoods, military installations, and among corporate expatriates all over the world.
Susan is a popular speaker nationally and internationally, at conferences, women’s events, churches, and with the military. Her father and husband served in the Air Force and she travels the world to speak to military spouses. Susan has two children and six grandchildren. She resides in Scottsdale, Arizona. Learn more about Susan and Just Moved at www.justmoved.org.