Making Room for the New Girl

Aug 21, 2012

It’s back-to-school time. New schedules. New opportunities. New friends.

photo credit: usag.yongsan

It’s not just the kids seeking out new friendships. Mommies may search the sea of unfamiliar faces for a inviting smile. Someone to include her in the inner circle.

But what happens if every mom she meets already has a “full table” of friends? If each mom already has established church friends, playgroup friends, old college friends, then we feel we don’t need anyone else to meet our friendship needs.

If my table is full and your table is full, who is going to make a space and pull up an extra chair for this mom? To continue the analogy…she may have the best chocolately brownies in her  lunch box and wants to share. But we’ll never know all she has to offer because she’s forced to eat alone.

photo credit

Having been homeschooled from 3rd grade to 8th grade, I know the feeling of being left out of the circle. Literally. At junior high youth group all the girls with mile-high bangs & permed hair wearing neon chatted in a circle. With their backs to me, I  tried to “work” my way in. But they were content to enjoy laughter & chatter. They weren’t looking around to invite me in. Each girl was looking out for herself & her comfort.

Is it any different now that I’ve exchanged neon Umbros a neon tank (the 80s are back!)? Now when I arrive at a back-to-school event I’m in the circle. It may not be the “coolest” circle, but I find my friends and catch up. There is nothing wrong with maintaining good friendships, right? But “she” is over at the snack table trying to look busy. Because the new girl doesn’t have a friend to walk straight up to. She may need me to make the first move.

I challenged you last August to meet 3 new people. How did that go?

If you struggle with making room at your table or your table is legitimately full, here are three tips:

  1. Invite her to an event you are already attending. It feels good to be invited and to know one person. Perhaps at the event/Bible study/play group God will bring the perfect friend who doesn’t have a full table.
  2. Introduce her to another new girl. Just because you do the “reaching out” doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with everyone you meet. Become a people connector. Introduce two new people you have met to one another. Have both new moms meet you at a park. Then step back and allow their friendship to grow.
  3. Be honest. Maybe you have overcommitted yourself and you know you can’t be the kind of friend you’d like to be. Say that. Tell her your life is full but you would love to get to know her. I shared this with a new mom to Dallas and she invited us over for dinner. There was no work for me. She wasn’t asking me to add anything to our schedule that we don’t already do (like eating dinner). It was a great time to share the ins & outs of Dallas and help a new family feel “plugged in”.

This is an exercise in humility. Serving others before yourself. You (and I) will be tempted to seek out comfort. Looking for a familiar face. But let’s resist the comfort and embrace “the new girl”.

We may discover a rich, new friendship. We may learn something new. We may give her a reason to smile that day.

I’ve been the new girl. I am the new girl. Thank you to all those who have welcomed me in the past and will in the future!

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.”-C.S. Lewis

Today I’m writing over at The MOB Society about my experience with a new friend. An email led to an entire new table of friends (literally every other Monday we sit at a round table). Click here to read more.


  1. joyceandnorm

    Heather, Thank you for this post. I wasn’t here when you challenged your readers, but I actually did meet 3 new people this year!! They are all moms who have moved from different states. I met 2 of them through bloggers, and one at the playground. We’ve been getting together often (rare of me because I’m a huge homebody and introvert) because I know that they don’t know a soul out here in CA. Today I introduced them to my MOPS friends, and I’m hoping that they will be going to MOPS once it begins. They have really been a blessing to me even though I’m sure they probably feel like I’m the blessing. I need to blog about this someday…it’s actually quite interesting. :p

    • Heather MacFadyen

      Oh I absolutely LOVE those stories. Having been a new girl in San Francisco I thank you for all the new girls in CA. 😉 God has places to use us if we are open to His leading. It’s so cool to be a part of it! Thanks joyce for sharing!

  2. Jamie

    Thanks Heather. great reminder for both sides of the circle:)

  3. Sherri

    I really appreciate you writing about this. Last year we moved for the 4th time in 5 years. A year later, I still wish that people would reach out to me. Everyone around me has a nitch, a history, a comfort level I do not have. It is the lack of deep friendships. I reach out, but everyone is so busy…so so so busy. I long for female companionship, but I think people find my brood overwhelming. I signed up for three women’s groups this year. I decided to take the bull by the horns. I can’t tell you how many people have said to me, “We should get together” and then never respond to my calls or always have reasons they are busy. Seriously, people just need to be real and get out of their comfort zone. There are some really cool and special people out there who need their friendship.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      I lift Sherri to you. May you bring the perfect loyal, God-honoring friend into her life. May she find true and lasting friendship around her new home. May you encourage her spirit. May others have eyes to see all she has to offer. Amen

  4. Kacey

    What a great idea to go out and meet new friends. I’m sooo bad at that. I work on this for September. I also clicked over and ready your local MOB Society post. Not sure how I missed that one but I really love the idea.

  5. Wendy

    Found you today through a MOB Society post on praying for your sons’ future wives – an excellent article full of the sentiments I feel daily. I know I’m making a whole boat-load of mistakes with my boy-brood and I pray that their future spouses will be so focused on God that they will know how to navigate the waters and stay afloat together.

    Also wanted to comment on this piece – another one which zings right to my heart. I moved to our isolated farmhouse (family property), in order to be able to stay home with my children, over seven years ago. I am not a shy person, yet I still haven’t been able to find a friend in this closed community. There seems to be no room for a newbie. I even drive an hour each way to attend a book club with women in another community who are more like me (highly educated and articulate), but that doesn’t fill the deep need I feel for close female friendship. Perhaps God has a purpose in this period of isolation and relational hunger, but getting through this stage requires a great deal of prayer. Thanks for encouraging women to reach out more to those around them.

    • Heather MacFadyen

      oh sweet Wendy. my heart broke when I read your post b/c it reminded me of those feelings of isolation and the craving for relationships. I was thankful to read you had found a group, but sorry it is not your immediate community. Praying with you for friends. Praying for others to see you and want to know you. Even it begins with one kindred spirit… love to you!

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