Friday, January 14, 2011

Ya Gotta Have Friends

by Jennifer AlLee

There are some folks who light up a room. I know that's a cliche, but it's extremely accurate. I have one friend in particular who draws people to her, literally. Wherever she is, that's where the party is. She's one of those folks who seems to truly know everybody.

I envy her, because I'm nothing like that.

Inky Friends: Jen, Dina, Lisa & Anita Mae
ACFW Banquet, September 2010
I have a hard time making new friends. Once I get to know someone, I'm a friend for life. But the initial getting-to-know-you phase is like torture for me. I'm no good at small talk. I'm always worried that the person I'm talking to would rather be talking to someone else. In other words, I have issues.

But God is so good. He's put me in situations where I have to get to know people. He got me into a Bible study where I met people who are now like my family. He pushed me to join the praise team at church, which has opened doors to create more friendships. And over a year ago, He allowed me to join this group blog where I have met the most amazing bunch of ladies on the planet!

Friends from left: D'Ann, Connie, Jen, Gwen,
Deb, Lisa, Anita Mae
ACFW Banquet, September 2009

Well, I've met most of them. I still haven't seen Gina, Niki, Susie or Suzie in person yet, but that hardly matters. I absolutely KNOW them. All the Inkies are my tried-and-true friends. What a blessing!

Being a writer is a solitary profession. It's the kind of thing you could do for the rest of your life and have minimal human contact. But I've found that my friendships enrich not only my personal life, but my writing life as well. The encouragement of being around people who get you is amazing.

I've heard people say that social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are making us a more and more isolated society. I don't think that's true. I have friends that I see in person several times a week. In between, we keep in touch electronically, which is fabulous. But I also have friends that I never would be able to connect with if not for the Internet. True, we could write letters and talk on the phone, but not nearly as often as we send each other tweets and short notes. In my opinion, a good mix of face-to-face human socializing and electronic communication creates a healthy, well-rounded emotional life.

How about you? What do you do to keep in touch with special friends? How have your friends enriched your life?


  1. Oh Jen, I wish you could see the big smile on my face and that watery stuff in my eyes. How sweet! How true!

    I feel doubly blessed in friendship. Some of you have heard me speak about my friends that I've known since elementary school. "the girls". I don't know what we did before email but we talk every day now, this way.

    And my Inky sisters? Oh my gosh. Yesterday we had one of those ongoing conversations throughout the day...hopes, dreams, 911s, laughter, tears. I think we've all agreed that we went into this for one reason, unaware of what it would become.

    I can hear Bette Midler belt out "You gotta have FRIENDS!"

    Ahhhhhh, I love you guys.
    Group Hug!

  2. Deb, I heard the same song in my head and was trying to figure out how to write it out so everyone else heard it too!

    Social media and the internet have given me more friends than I ever had before. (I'm a lot like you, Jen. I spend most of my life in my head. I'm freer with words when I'm writing than talking.) And although some of those relationships are indeed shallow and transitory, I've also made some wonderful, forever friends. We've managed to carve out a relationship despite being hundred or thousands of miles apart. And when we do get the chance to get together it is Ah-mazing! The Inkies fall in that category.

    I'm with, Deb. ((((Group Hug)))))

  3. Wow, we're all hearing the song. See how linked we are :)

    I've always really valued my girlfriends. Sometimes I can be very shy in social settings, but I seem to come to life at writer's conferences. I even manage some small talk - which isn't so small when writing is involved.

    I love to meet my "virtual" friends in real life. Now when I read Jen's post, I hear it in her own soft-spoken voice and can see her gentle mannerisms and facial expressions.

    And...I can attest that Gina is a real live person, and just as quirky as you might imagine.

    This year I've been doubly blessed with ACFW friends in my local area. They are quickly becoming some of my closest friends.

    Next week I'm blogging on sisterhood novels, so it seems we have accidentally stumbled onto a theme once again.

  4. Hubby's driving me to the city this morning - thankfully because 3-4" of fluffy whit stuff covers the ground - so I read today's post out loud.

    Then I said I had to think of something funny ... and intelligent ... and gushy to add.

    Well the city's in sight and here's what I came up with:

    Ditto Jen.

    Ditto Deb.

    Ditto Lisa.

    Ditto Dina.


    (((((Group hug)))))

    Anita Mae

  5. I'm with you, Jen. I have a hard time making new friends, but once I do, they are friends for life. Like you and I being the only ones to show up for dinner before skit practice and keeping up our friendship ever since!

    I love that I can keep up with my friends who are far away via email and facebook and twitter--especially those ones I have yet to meet face to face!

    Here's to friendship! Thanks, Jen!

  6. Anne, I love that memory! I'm so glad it worked out that way, and you know, I'm pretty sure God did it on purpose. He knit us together :+}

    Deb, it was that wonderful volly of ideas and jokes and thoughts yesterday that inspired this post. It made me realize how truly blessed I am to have friends that I can chat with at a moment's notice. I didn't say it then, but I was giving all of you big hugs with my mind :+}

    Lisa, you put it perfectly: I'm freer with words when I'm writing than talking. One of the reasons I LOVE email and other electronic media. So freeing!

    Dina, I'm going to tell my husband that my friend says I have gentle mannerisms. It will make him laugh. (Obviously, he gets to see a totally different side of me.)

    Anita, my dear, witty friend, I couldn't agree with you more: DITTO! Very well put :+}

  7. Oh, Jen, I love this. I am so shy, too, and terrible with small talk. Jen,like you, I wonder if they really want to talk to me. But God keeps putting me in situations, and he fills me with a desire to belong, so I keep putting myself out there. I try not to think and rethink the things I said in a group setting, but sometimes I drive myself crazy wondering if I said something dumb or if they really like me or....

  8. Suzie, we are kindred spirits! I drive myself nuts sometimes going over what I should have said, or hoping that what I said in jest wasn't taken the wrong way. I guess we just have to have more confidence that God won't let us make total fools of ourselves :+}

  9. Jen, I needed this. I have no close friends here anymore. All my friends have moved away and the only connection I have with them is virtual and/or phone-mail. Facebook and the Internet have made it possible for me to connect with those friends, friends I left behind years ago, AND I've made so many new friends (i.e. my Inky sisters!)
    Like Anita, I want to say ditto, ditto, ditto.
    And Suzie, you and I and Jen are in the same boat. I frequently have minor attacks of neuroses over things I've said in group situations (and online, too!).
    God is good. And I, for one, and grateful for the Internet!

  10. Niki, sometimes I worry about what I said online, too. Was it dumb? Did it sound stupid? Who could possibly be interested in anything I have to say?

    Yes, Jen, I do think - no, I *know* we have to trust God to help us through these insecurities. I do think that's a big part of why he led us to each other. :-)

  11. Yup, put me on the shy list!!

    Wonderful post! LOVED the group hugs and comments!

  12. What a wonderful post! Thanks Jen. It made my day. Even though I'm a day late. Yesterday I played hooky and went to see "The King's Speech."

    I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who has issues with meeting people. Except I feel like I put my foot in my mouth all of the time! Or say stupid stuff. Sigh.

    But you guys like me anyway ;-)

    I love the group hugs! So here's mine! (((((HUGS))))


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