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ten ways to have more friends


Friendship is a word that is laden with so much angst. It is one part of our life that be completely BRUTIFUL. Many parts beautiful and so much brutal. Conflict, unmet expectations, loneliness, and cliques.

Lately, I have been reflecting on what friendship means as I step into my forties and changes are afoot.


Fewer expectations, More spontaneity

As a Mum and a wife, I have realised in this season that friendship for my season needs to carry less expectation and more spontaneity. Friendships that carry expectations, like…”Why haven’t you called?”, “Why wasn’t I invited?”, “Why are you not spending time with me?” are being reprioritised for friendships that are full of encouragement, life and “I know we haven’t spoken for ages, but how are you?”

Less Criticism, More Accountability

Honestly, it is easy to sit in a conversation with someone you know well and become the critic. Comparing one another is rife in conversations between women and when we sit in the space of judgment and thinking we know better, the friendship becomes toxic and decays. These days I am searching and keeping friends who want to criticise less and be honest a whole lot more. I want and need friendships that are accountable. Ones that have the courage to say, “Amanda you can do this.” and also ones that are honest enough to say this conversation is not healthy for either of us.

Less Intensity, More Fun

Back in the day, I was a clown. Funny jokes, dance parties, cookie bake-offs were my jam. Lately, in the pursuit of meaning and inspiration, I have become a little intense. Bring back the movie going, coffee planning, the hang-out loving friend of my twenties. Dance a little, smile a whole lot and bring back the playful you.

Less Waiting, More Contacting

I have realised if I play the victim and hold a list of who has contacted me when, I would have fewer friends. If I think of someone, I message them. If I have an idea or encouragement, I contact the friend. Do you hold account of how many times you made the first move in friendship? Are you always wondering whether you are being used? When we sit in the seat of the accountant in the friend contacting game, we will always loose. Contact, text, call and extend. With no expectation of return.

Less Talking, More Listening

Friendships can easily be ruined by too much conversation. Can you sit in silence with a friend? Do you fill the voids with so much information that the listener is overwhelmed? Do you have an answer for everything? What if our goal in friendship was to listen more and venting less? What if we became such amazing listeners, that people desperately wanted to be around us?

Less Whining, More Encouraging

The most enjoyable people to be around are those who sit in the seat of the cheerleader. Competition can be cancer to friendships and when we spend time competing with our friends rather than championing their best, we both loose. The thought “I’ll have what she is having” is one of the worst phrases on friendship that could have ever been invented.

Less Assuming, More Letting Go

Social Media is a scourge on our friendship cultures. We see a post, we read into the messages communicated and bam we have landed in assumption. Many times lately, I have had people speak about assumptions they have concocted from social media rather than the truth. After a quick conversation, it is funny to realign what people have assumed about my life and what is the reality. This year I am committing to assume less and let go more. Believing the best is the most amazing way to sit in the place of friendship. If a friend says she is unavailable “She’s busy”. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to hang out with you, let that thought go.

Less Insecurity, More Passion

When we find our own passions and we place ourselves in a space of acceptance, we become much easier friends to be around. When we access every conversation and interaction from a place of self-acceptance, self-compassion and future focused opportunity, we become great friends. When we are secure about our voice, our purpose and our passions, when we spend time with other like-minded women, we don’t spend the whole time we are together reframing the sense of worth in the conversation. The more we come from a foundation of love and acceptance about ourselves, the more people will gather alongside.

Less Copying, More Individuality

Do you allow your friends the autonomy of being different? Do you love them fiercely, but let them have the space to explore their own wisdom for each season? This is the tension of great culture in friendships. When we expect our friends to react the same way, to think the same as us or to feel the same way, we will constantly be disappointed. How do you release friends into their new? Do you try to hold them back out of fear of the unknown? Less co-dependence, more release. We need to hold our friends lightly and allow them to explore new friends, new opportunities and new experiences. With a flavour and individuality that is completely their own. We need to release those closest to us to explore with freedom. When we demand loyalty to the point of stifling friendships out of fear of rejection, we crush the very essence of friendship, which is trust.

Less Fake Moments, More Authenticity

Authenticity is the catch cry of the last few years and may fill your heart with dread but when we commit to less fakeness and more honesty, the true colour of friendship is revealed. Can you listen to a friend who is revealing their heart, without taking on their feedback as an offense? I have often told myself this phrase “Amanda, offense is a choice” I have realised that I have a choice in the way I respond to others behaviour. Sometimes in friendship we can care way too much and hold onto the expectations that can keep us captive. If we want more true, long lasting, honest friendships we need to be honest and we need to keep short accounts in our offense banks. Each and every time we forgive and we let go, not allowing bitterness to become the paint that we colour friendships with, we all win.

These are some random musings on friendship, this February afternoon.

What would be your less or more statements around friendship?

Happy Days

Amanda Marie



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Finding the bigger picture: how to fight fair.

Fighting Fair

One of the hardest things to do in the midst of intense conflict is to find the bigger picture.

Albeit difficult, those who have the capacity to find perspective in the midst of confusion, misunderstanding and difficulty are the ones who end up with satisfying relationships. Those who can’t find the bigger picture, go around the fighting ferris wheel over and over, never finding what they are desperately looking for.

Every conflict has the capacity to create deeper and long lasting relationships or wound every person in the story.

None of us want conflict in our lives. Even those who are confrontational in their style of communication, will walk away wishing that that conversation went down differently.

What if we were empowered with some tools that helped us find perspective quickly in the midst of conflict?

Lately, I have found three simple ways to help find the bigger picture in the midst of conflict and these have been helping me so much in the midst of my difficult conversations.

Finding my voice

Imagine your life right now was a movie and every movie story line is soaked in conflict. Without conflict the story has no movement and shape. The difference between a movie though and real life, the emotions we feel in the midst of conflict are very, very real.

Most conflict happens in a movie when the protagonist (the lead character) looses their voice in some way. When they feel they are not being heard, when they are being silenced, when they are being misunderstood, when they are facing injustice or when they are hurt.

These are the same reasons why conflict occurs in our everyday lives. Most fights in our everyday, are actually about what is happening inside of us, not the circumstance that is causing the difficult conversation.

When I became a first time Mum, one of the greatest difficulties and also greatest opportunities was when I gave up full time work. I realised this season silenced me. It was like when I lost my job, that I also lost my voice. I was defined so much by my work, that when I no longer had a position any more, I realised that I had built my confidence around what I did, rather than who I was.

In this year, I made a decision to write on my blog every single day. It was through writing that I started to find my voice again. I dug deep, I delved into the greater story. I found perspective. I realised that writing was an important tool in helping me find internally the parts of my story, that I felt had been taken away.

My first thought is this…In the midst of the conflict, one of the reasons the fight gets dirty, when we feel like we are not being heard and not able to express properly what we are truly feeling.

“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” Malala Yousafzai

You will constantly be fighting with people and you will not be satisfied by any of your relationships, if you are not finding a way to express yourself healthily. Learning deeply what you are trying to say and finding peace internally before the conflict even starts. Most conflicts have nothing to do with the actual circumstance but everything to do with our internal peace.

Step back and think “What am I actually trying to say?”

Find the pause button

Our greatest regrets are the things we have said in the heat of the moment that we wish we had never said. There are moments in the midst of destructive conversations, that we need to press pause.

Im not saying stop the conversation, because when we stop communicating, when we become passive aggressive, we loose our voice and we all know what happens when people stop communicating, something small happens and they erupt.

The thing about pausing a movie, is we come back and press play again.

We need to find the bigger picture in the midst of the conflict, press pause, find the grace, find the bigger picture and then find a way to process the first point of what we are really trying to say.

“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”Brené Brown

We all get it wrong, we are designed to struggle, but when we press pause and when we gain perspective we remember we are worthy of love and belonging. In that place of strength we communicate with so much more clarity and peace.

Step back and find perspective in the pause.

Find the best possible reason

Lately I have been doing this little thing which is honestly changing the conflict in the midst of my life. Conflict with my toddler, conflict with my husband, conflict with my family.

I ask myself this question.

What is the best possible reason I can find for this behaviour?

Instead of going crazy in my head before the conflict starts, or in response to something really nasty that has happened, I get creative and I ask myself to come up with the best possible reason for the behaviour.

Honestly us humans are not great at this. Often we think things about what other people are thinking and we so often get it totally wrong. The depth of emotion that flies out mid conflict is all in direct association to the way we think about the person and the circumstance in the days post or pre conflict.

We are our worst enemies in this battle zone.

What if when something annoying happens, we find the best possible answer rather than the worst.

Step back and ask what is the very best possible explanation for this behaviour?

It actually starts to become fun. Try it sometime.

I hope these three thoughts on conflict resolution help you find some more peace in your relational worlds and help you to fight and communicate a little fairer.

Speak again soon,


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she is a great friend

Maximus on the Three Island Cruise, with Rockingham Wild Encounters today

There is nothing like a good friend.

She is like a warm coat on a windy day, an easy pair of jeans when you have eaten a little too much or a big pair of gumboots when the weather has turned grey.

She is warm.

She is comfy.

She protects.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about friendship. Actually I think about friendship all the time, it is really important value that my husband and I hold dear, but lately I have been thinking about it more often than normal. The reason I have been thinking about it, is despite the shifts and changes in my season, I am determined to carry on being a good friend.

It takes effort to be a friend. To ring, to visit, to forgive, to hold lightly, to speak, to listen.

Charl and I were talking just yesterday in fact about something we want to do in the coming years and who we would want to do it with. It was a great conversation. We talked about who our closest friends were, we talked about who impacted us the most, who we respected.

We walked and talked for a good hour about friendship and how important it is to us.

How easy is it to lose sight of good friends?

It’s like our ship sails into a new season and our friends are kind of waiting on the shore doing their thing and we lose sight of them.

Some friendships and seasons change. In fact a lot do, but sometimes we need to make effort and priority to spend time with those people who are our comfy pair of jeans.

The ones that we could be at our very worst and they see us at our best. The ones whose voice we hear over the loud internal noise in our days. Wisdom is gained in company.

Proverbs 25: 11 says it this way;

Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.

or this one from proverb 24: 26

An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship

Friends are the greatest gift in seasons of change and transition and we are never too old to make another friend.

The best way to make a friend is to start a conversation and to ask them out for coffee. The best way to keep a friend is to forgive an offence and be generous with your words and life. The best way to have many friends is to keep growing and moving, holding your words and their time preciously.

The wisest of women spend their life in company of many different women, of all different ages, opinions, experiences and religions.

Proverbs 13: 20 also says this;

He who walks with the wise grows wise.

Friendship is the greatest proving ground for wisdom.

In this age of online, quick, nasty, debating, quick to unfriend culture, let’s make sure that we hold our friends closely and listen to their hearts for the future.

Friendship is the greatest of gifts.

It enriches our days, sharpening our acceptance of difference and makes us much deeper humans.

Make friends with someone who is very different to you.

It will usher wisdom into your days.

Tomorrows post: She faces her pain



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she knows the power of her words

tracey, beach, fun.
My friend Tracey on the beach, on Friday.

Today is day eleven since we have had hot water in our little beach shack. After replacing our whole hot water system, the plumber has worked out that we are not getting enough power off the grid and the power pole has blown a fuse. Enter the wait. Waiting for contractors, waiting for big company departments and waiting for body corporates to approve funds.

I have honestly been going okay, a plastic tub as a bath for my kids, using the kettle to fill up our sink for dishes and flannel baths for the adults in the family. We ventured out today to the city and went to church as a family. I was feeling quite good, except I knew my ponytail was hiding the fact my hair needed a good wash, but despite this was excited to see our friends.

Waiting in a queue, I saw a lady that I didn’t really know. She smiled and said to my little sitting in her pram “You have another baby now?” I said with a smile “Yes, it’s going really well.” She looked at my little girl and said “Gosh she is so cute, but you’re looking really old.”

I looked and waited for the laugh, thinking “Is she trying to crack a joke”.

No joke, she truly meant to tell me I looked like I had aged since having children.

I walked away and actually chuckled.

If only she knew that my husband was on nightshift last night and the 12am, 1am and 4am cries for help, were attended all on my lonesome in the middle of winter.

If only she knew that my husband didn’t go to sleep today, so that he could come to church with our little fledgling family.

If only she knew that I hadn’t had a proper shower in days and was putting on a brave face, venturing out in public.

If only she knew that two children in three years had made me a little weary, but I’ve been writing and contributing, doing everything I can to live a life of purpose in the midst of novice motherhood.

As I sit here writing, my little baby girl is grumpy because her sleep routine was upset today so we could go to church, I’m making my husband a coffee as he goes off to nightshift again and my little man is blissfully unaware playing with his toys.

The brilliant thing is, I was able to laugh this comment off, because I have built my life and sense of self on so much more than how I look. As I study the proverbs, I am becoming more aware of what is happening around me and the choice I have to be offended with the unthinking things people say so carelessly.

What does make me sad today, is the little I know about this lady, I do know that she is a Granma and I feel sad for the words and darts that have been spoken to children who don’t have the skills to dive and duck.

You see my Mum came over for a cup of tea this afternoon and as I stood up to walk over to put the kettle on she said this “Darling, you are looking fabulous in those jeans”, I just smiled and tucked that little truth in my back pocket.

Wisdom says over and over that we need to know the power of our words.

Proverbs 18:21

The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

Proverbs 12:18

Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.

Two Granma’s spoke to me today, one bought life, the other albeit careless could have bought death to my sense of self and day.

A woman of wisdom knows the cost of her words and she spends them carefully.

May I be someone who encourages and truly sees every person and the unspoken stories in their worlds, rather than carelessly saying things that impact people tremendously.

Always encouraging every Mum I meet with young children, that she is doing a fabulous job, no matter how unshevelled, food covered or unshowered they might actually look.

Soldier on, dear Mumma’s.

If no-one has told you today how brilliant you truly are, then let me tell you this “Darling, those jeans look fabulous on you…”

Own it, girls.

Till tomorrow,

Here is my next post: She guards her heart