“I am not here to make friends ”
That was my go-to line when I first moved to Australia in 2015 when my best friend would ask me why I didn’t want to socialize with anybody at Uni or anywhere else. I had made it very clear to her that I came to Australia just to study and then return to my home country Malawi to settle down.
3 years of studying certainly brought that statement to life; I went to classes, the library, and then home. My routine never deviated from this; I had made up my mind that making friends was just not what I was here to do.
This statement was like a shield around my tiny, fractured heart, it was the layer of protection I needed to tell other people and myself that I was “okay” on my own. Beneath that protective layer of words, was a scared little girl. A girl who had trusted and been let down. A girl who had opened up and had the door slammed in her face.
My history with friends from a young age was nothing short of challenging. I made friends quite easily, because if you know me, you know I have a smile on my face 90% of the time, I love a good laugh and I would say I’m easy to talk to. Making the friends was easy, but keeping friends was the hard part. I remember being in Year 1 at Hillview Primary School and meeting this little girl with a sweet pink ponytail in her hair, we giggled and exchanged our names, and next thing, out of nowhere, she expressed her dislike towards me and told me to stay away from her. I was confused and surprised at what I had done so wrong to her. I’m 25 now and I still remember that day like it was yesterday.
Fast forward to high school, I remember walking into my friend’s dorm, grinning from ear to ear because I couldn’t wait to see them. As I turned the corner, I heard my name and as I got closer, I heard them talking about me – and it wasn’t very nice! In my anger I confronted them, and they acknowledged they were talking about me and said they didn’t care that I overheard them.
So now years later, the instability of friendships was unappealing to me. The fights, drama, and flip-flop love were too much for my heart to take, again. I just was not interested. I finished my degree in 2017, and for another two years, I still wasn’t interested.
2019, I began to feel the loneliness creep in, I was running out of things to do on my own. When the 1 friend I had in Australia was busy or had other plans, I sat in my room weekend after weekend wondering who I could call to grab some ice cream with, or who I could take shopping with me. I was longing for connection- just the way God created me to.
One day when I was tired of the loneliness, I messaged a girl I had been following on Instagram and asked her if she wanted to hang out, the days leading up to us hanging out were STRESSFUL. I didn’t know if she was going to like me or not. The day came and we hung out, my heart was beating fast the entire time but also at peace the entire time because I knew that I had pushed myself out of my comfort zone to get here.
A hang-out multiplied into many more and she was my place of refuge when I was going through a very challenging time in 2020. I would show up at her house in tears and leave laughing in tears. God used her to remind me how beautiful life is at a time when I felt like giving up. 2021 she stood beside me as I walked down the aisle to marry the love of my life.
Now you’re probably wondering, what’s changed? Jesus! That is what’s changed. All other friendships in my past were done outside Jesus, but now, I have my haven Jesus, who I run to when my heart feels vulnerable, broken, or confused. Do I disagree with any of my current friends? Yes!. But the one thing we all have in common is JESUS! Our friendship is not sustained by our great personalities or our ability to laugh until sunrise, but it is sustained by the one who in the beginning said, “it is not good for man to be alone”.
Some days I’m still scared to make friends but then I hear a voice say “Try Again” you never know what might happen!
Writer: Chiku Majuta, Founder of Riches of His Grace Blog.