I absolutely love roller coasters! I love the anticipation that comes right before it flips or goes down a huge hill. My favorite roller coaster of all time is the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney!
However, friendship roller coasters are not my favorite. The ones that are full of emotional twists and turns with surprises full of drama and anxiety. You know exactly what I’m talking about, because everyone will endure these kind of friendships at some point in their life.
Whether your girls are in middle or high school, it is more than likely that they are experiencing some roller coaster friendships right now. I wanted to share some major points of encouragement with you as you help girls navigate friendship.
I think we can all agree that friendships that only stay on a track of ups and downs will never go deeper. When we don’t feel connected to someone’s life, the enemy likes to tell us that we aren’t important, that we aren’t a good friend, and that we don’t matter. It is our job as leaders to help our teenage girls understand that her connection to people is not based on how many followers, likes, or best friends she has on Snapchat. Instead, we must teach them that the time actually spent in conversation with others is what deepens and strengthens their friendships.
Encourage your girls to have “no cell phone” nights with board games, coffee dates, and watching movies to create meaningful conversations (rather than just documenting their time). This leaves no room for comparison, and doesn’t allow other girls to be left out.
Almost every girl will struggle with the desire to be seen and noticed by someone they think would make a great friend. However, the people you desire to be friends with so badly sometimes aren’t the best choices. I say that candidly, but I also believe there is some truth in that statement. When a girl is having to strive and change who they are, she will often find herself offended and let down by that person over and over.
I know, because I have learned that lesson personally. I was trying to be like a person I thought I wanted to be friends with by attempting to keep up with her lifestyle, modeling my clothes after her, and even trying to parent like her. I found freedom when I realized that I wasn’t her and I didn’t need to be her. I’ve personally learned that the more I tried to keep up with others the less I felt good about myself.
That is why I encourage the girls I pour into, as well as my own daughter, to search themselves for possible unrealistic expectations they are placing on their friends or on themselves. Removing those expectations causes space to create deeper relationships that are built on depth. It may be time to get off that emotional roller coaster and move on.
Identify and Control Emotions
God gave us every single one of our emotions. However, if we don’t learn how to control them they have the potential to derail us. I have learned over the years that the way we handle our emotions indicates how deep a friendship can go. I truly believe that teaching our girls how to verbalize their emotions is extremely helpful as they navigate friendships.
Because so many girls do not know how to really process their emotions, we must be intentional as leaders to never shy away from asking the girls we mentor, serve, or disciple the hard questions. The ones that cause them to reflect and think, as well as help them know that emotions are okay.
Here are a few examples of questions to help guide your conversations:
- Who in your life seems to always be mad at you?
- Who in your life makes you feel guilty for living life?
- Are you the one offended?
- Do you find yourself striving to be in a friendship that’s not going anywhere?
- Do you feel or and left out by a person or friendship group?
When we begin to ask ourselves the hard questions, we allow God to reveal the ugly and show us the good to help us discern the friendships that aren’t meant to be and the ones that should be pursued.
Encouraging authentic connection, modeling Godly friendships, and helping them to understand that emotions are okay allows our girls to see that God wants them to experience life-giving friendships.
Holly Myers is a passionate, energetic, and relatable woman that strives to minister specifically to girls and women. When Holly surrendered to God’s grace, her past ultimately drew her closer to her Creator and allowed her to experience freedom. Because Christ set Holly free from the bondage she was in, she recognized a calling to speak to other girls and women that may share her same story. Holly is passionate about seeing freedom in the lives of every girl and woman.