If the title of this blog reminds you of cliques from when you were in school, stop right there. While I can feel that vibe, this is about the opposite. This, my friends, is a blog not just about friendship but about small group friendships.
What do I mean by that? My definition of small group friendship is based on a cluster of people who come together regularly because they have a common purpose, goal, or interest, and they continue to meet often over the course of several weeks, months, or years, getting to know each other more deeply than just by the initial thing that brought them together. In time, these people become true friends, and while members of the group may get together one-on-one, the group as a whole gets along so well that they love spending time all together. These groups can become accountability groups, groups that hold you up through hard times, groups that pray for or with you, groups that go out for a drink with you or a good time.
I have a few of these groups, and I’m going to write about my experiences with them and how these groups of amazing individuals have enriched my life. I hope you have at least one group like this in your life, and if you don’t, I encourage you to find or create one.
The first of such groups I am a part of is a group of women from church who have been meeting regularly since early 2011. We get together most Mondays (with summers off) in a room at church and do different faith-based book or video studies together. The discussion these studies generate often leads to pondering some deep life questions, to pulling at a few heartstrings, and to exploring our connection with God and each other. These ladies have become like sisters to me. While people have come and gone over the years, there is a core group. We have hosted luncheons at our houses. We have done outreach and small missions. We have shared laughter and tears. It’s the place that feels like coming home, you know? It’s definitely a heart group more than a mind group, and that’s what we love about it. We can be authentic, vulnerable, and open without feeling judged. Sometimes these ladies are like therapists to me! When we haven’t met in a while, I feel that gaping hole in my life. Going to this group feeds my soul.
The next group that comes to mind is also connected to church, although the dynamic has changed over the years. Back in 2008, a few other young married couples joined our church. (We are not so young now–haha!) Only one of the couples had a kid. Since then, we have all had kids. (The kids now outnumber us!) We began meeting for adult Sunday school, having formed a group for people our age. At the time, there was a need for a group like that. Circumstances have made it next to impossible to meet for Sunday school any longer, but we still do things socially about every other month. It’s often the case that the guys do their own thing and the girls theirs. As couples, we try to do something annually, but getting sitters is a challenge. The girls always go out for our birthdays, even if it’s just for ice cream. (And who needs an excuse to eat ice cream?) As moms of young kids, we often talk about our woes, worries, and joys of motherhood. We get it. I am grateful to have this group of other moms who are at the same life stage as me, and that despite the craziness of our lives, we have stayed friends.
While there are other groups in my life that are important (MOPs–Mothers of Preschoolers, a Thursday morning Bible study, a special needs parents group, etc.), I won’t go into all of them. Some groups are still fairly new to me, so I don’t feel I’ve developed a deep connection with them yet, even though those groups serve their purposes and are wonderful in their own ways. Some groups don’t meet often enough for me to really feel a huge connection. Other groups have come and gone (another moms group I was in at church for years, a short-term special needs Bible study, a Saturday evening church group, etc.). While I am a stay-at-home mom, I am still quite busy with running the house, cleaning, cooking, shopping, taking care of three kids, managing expenses, and more. I am not just a weekly blogger, but I am an author and a writer.
Which brings me to the final group I would like to mention: my writers group. Of my groups, this is the newest. I’ve been attending a writers group at the local library for just a little over a year. We meet every other Saturday afternoon for a few hours. We read and critique each other’s stuff, chapter by chapter. This might not sound like a lot of fun to some of you, especially if you don’t enjoy reading. But writers are also readers. We are like-minded people, and I have developed friendships with most of the people from the group. Like my other groups, people have come and gone, but there is definitely a core. The ladies from the group have recently started meeting for lunch. I’m getting to know one of the girls who’s my age on a one-on-one basis as well. This group is awesome, and as a writer, this group is immensely important to me. These people who “get it” in terms of writing have helped me become a better writer. It’s thanks to them that my whole second book was edited and able to be recently published in the fixed up format it’s in. More than their writing and editing abilities, however, is the value of their friendship. I love this group and wrote about the benefits of joining a writers group here.
So, there you have it. I’ve shared examples of my small group friendships with you and why they are vital to enriching my life. Are you part of at least one small group? If not, I encourage you to find one. Churches can provide a great source of support groups. Libraries often have book clubs and other groups. There are national groups like MOPs for moms.
If you don’t have the time, ask yourself why and try to make the time. I believe we make time for what matters. Maybe you aren’t comfortable walking into a group of strangers. Get a few of your good friends together and form a group. Make it about something you share in common and make it a point to meet regularly. Hold each other accountable to that. We all have busy schedules and can come up with a million excuses for why we haven’t gotten together with our friends. At the end of your life, you won’t be regretting that you didn’t work enough, keep your house clean enough, or make enough money. But you might regret not spending enough quality time with people. People matter. Small group friendships are just one way to keep that bond going.
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