Just show up.

Friends, it is time. I wasn’t going to get so heavy here when I’m about 4 seconds into having a blog, but things got really real this week and it’s time to talk about something that’s been on my mind for months.

Friendships were so simple as kids, weren’t they? I don’t remember really ever putting much thought into who my friends were…they were neighbors who played in my backyard, classmates who sang Mariah Carey’s “Always be My Baby” ALL DAY EVERY DAY at recess, and basically anyone who wasn’t a jerk. Maybe it wasn’t so simple for introverted people, but somehow you found the one or two friends who you liked to spend the majority of your time with on the playground. (PS. I labeled you guys as snobby, oops.)

But somehow, as adults, friendships seem so much harder to navigate. How do I find a college roommate? Who do I pick for bridesmaids? Will my husband’s friends like me? We need ‘a couple’ (you know, the double date go-to, which, by the way, is very difficult to find), how do I stay in touch with old friends? Is this friendship worth finding the resolution to a conflict or do I just let it go? Do I keep reaching out to a friend even when she never seems to have time in her schedule for me? Will I fit into this new friend group? What if she doesn’t like me because [insert insecurities here]?

And then I wonder: Why do all of a sudden I have all of these insecurities that simply did not exist ten years ago? And why do so many women around me seem to experience the same? I’m not a sociologist by any means, but I think I can confidently put one cause of insecurity on the list:

We stopped showing up for each other.

Yes. Yes we sure did. I know a pretty fabulous tribe of women who are confident, uplifting, truth tellers, prayer warriors, and pretty much the most awesome group of women I’ve ever known. I want to be besties with all of them, and yet these are the things we lament about:

“I had a housewarming party and nobody came.”

“Nobody showed up to my 22nd birthday party.”

“I’m having a party Saturday and only 2 people have said they are coming, the rest have only said maybe.” (DON’T even get me started on RSVP’ing to things- that’s a soapbox I’ll be stepping up on another day.)

“A friend invited me to lunch, and 45 minutes later she hadn’t shown up yet. She texted me and said she forgot about it.”

There were lots more equally sad examples (including people who flaked on kids’ birthday parties. I can’t even. That’s a whole new layer for another day.), but one friend perfectly summed up the reason I’m writing all this. She said:

I’m tired of feeling like I’m not worth showing up for.”

Boom. Now I know, we have to give our “best yes” because Lysa Terkeurst said so and we have to have our boundaries because Brene Brown told us to and we need to practice self-care because everybody says so and oh, we’re introverted and can’t do all the things and it’s okay if we skip because we are extroverted and surely so and so will understand if something better came along. Can we just take a second and put on a different pair of perspectacles?

I want you to show up for the little things so that I know you’ll show up for the big things.

 Let that sink in for a minute. The little things are: the birthday parties, barbecues, girls’ nights, that Pampered Chef party where you SO do not need another kitchen gadget, the coffee date, the play dates, the housewarming party, the baby shower, the bridal shower, the graduation, the lunch date, that service project. Pretty much to everything on that list I say “mmm no thanks, I have better things to do”, but I’m convinced each of those things are building blocks to better relationships.

Showing up for the little things whispers ‘I’m here for you.”

Showing up for the little things says “I believe you are worth it.”

Showing up for the little things says “I will lay down my precious time for you.”

Because at some point, the little things become the big things. The birthday parties turn into days of sorrow when a child is taken too soon. The girls’ nights become a miscarriage and needing some friends to help heal. The Mary Kay party becomes a prayer session for a friend whose marriage is in trouble. The housewarming party becomes a gathering to grieve with a newly widowed friend.

Do you see the connection?? I hope so. When the heartaches come, (and believe me, they sure as heck will) I want to know who my people are. I don’t want to wonder which of my friends might show up in time of need- I want to know who’ll drop everything without a second thought to stand in the gap for me. I think we all want to know the same.

Who can you show up for this week?

11 thoughts on “Just show up.”

  1. Susan, so honest and insightful!! I love this. I guess we ALL feel this way!! Life can be SO LONELY!! I was never lonely when you were around!! ?

  2. Yes.i agree but for the selling stuff parties. Some people only invite people when selling stuff. Those are not friendship builders when that is the case. Otherwise, love it!

    1. Yes- nothing worse than someone who spams friends just to earn freebies. I’m in direct sales and for the most part, hostesses really want to invite actual friends who are close to them or people they think will love the mission or product. At least that’s what we tell them to do- some don’t always listen 🙂

  3. While I understand what you are saying, I just want to say from the perspective of someone that bows out of a lot of these that that vast majority of the events you mentioned have a problem for a lot of people. They all cost money. I have 4 young children and stay at home to raise them on my husband’s modest salary. In other words things are tight. Real tight. We do experiences, not gifts. I have 6 birthdays a year just in our family, then parent’s, cousins, friends etc, etc. It’s so much. Graduation gifts, housewarming gifts, feeling obligated to buy that kitchen gadget, bringing a bottle of wine to girl’s night, expensive coffee, baby gifts, lunch dates…it seriously adds up. I’m all for play dates…but not at the zoo or museum. Sometimes I think people seriously don’t think about that. There is nothing that is more likely to get me to an event than if the invite includes a “no gifts please”. If I can bring something, I will. Trust me, the will is there. I SOOOO want to shower my loved ones with special thoughtful gifts and help them by buying mascara. But for now I can’t and it’s difficult to show up empty handed or eat the appetizer and buy nothing.

    1. Totally get it. Fortunately, that list isn’t exhaustive to all the “little” ways we can be good friends, and there are tons of ways we can be a good friend that doesn’t include gifts! I think most of us are longing for connection, not presents 🙂

  4. This is brilliant! #justshowup
    I am so eternally grateful for the women who just showed up in my desperate time of need some years ago. Showing up is more than just someones physical presence. Even from miles and miles away so many of my ladies showed up. Cards, gifts, FB messages, texts. I would encourage everyone reading this to just show up. You quite literally might save someone’s life. And the blessing you get in return…. awe inspiring.

  5. Take opportunities to go to little get together events. It’s amazing how subjects that “come up and experiences shared” are not by accident. It can become just what you needed to hear even though your name wasn’t mentioned but it was exactly what you needed to hear. Time marches on whether you do or not. When you get to be my age, you can almost count number of days (opportunities) you have left and if you have ignored little events long enough, there won’t be “opportunities ” because not many people think “There’s this elderly lady that has never shown up but I’ll bet she has something interesting or worthwhile to say”. So what I’m saying is be sincere and loving early in life and keep it up. Otherwise you will be elderly and irrelevant and lonely. Life sneaks up on you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *