Find Your People


     I am just going to come right out it and say it because I am big believer that ripping off the metaphorical bandaid is always the best way to go:

Going to a church is not going to guarantee you instant friendship.

It's not.

       It is very possible that you can attend a church for years and not feel like you have a single, true friendship. Many pastors will tell you that one of the biggest complaints they receive is that their church has to many "cliques" or is lacking a sense of "community". Bigger churches invest tons of money, time, and pastoral resources into developing a strong "small group ministry"... and still people will say, "I have no one to talk to after church on Sunday."

     A pastor friend once said to me, "We have to realize that the loneliest place to be sometimes is standing in the corner during coffee hour after a church service...hoping to find not just a friendly face....but a real friendship."

Folks are looking for more than a friendly face in a church logo t-shirt. They are looking for true friendship.
Why We Still Feel Lonely Even Though We Belong to a Church Community.png

Why do we still feel lonely even though we belong to a church community?

1. We have handed over the responsibility of "making friends" to our church leaders. 

     The only person that is responsible for making and maintaining friendship in our lives... is us. Church leaders are there to be helpful but they cannot be the "" of friendship in our lives... no matter how hard they try. And believe me, most pastors want the people they have the honor to serve to feel connected and cared for. This is why they work hard to try to meet everyone for coffee once in awhile.... or organize an effective small group ministry. Good pastors want people to feel like they belong. The problem is that  belonging is more than giving people something to attend. Belonging is a belief that people have accepted to be true in their lives.

2. We think that "Small Groups" will be where we find our people.

    I think small groups can be where we find our people but it doesn't always work out that way. There are two things that are fundamentals in friendship: Connection and Consistency. When you attend a small group, you need to have an organic connection with at least one member. It can be a small connection... but there has to be some kind of sense that "THIS PERSON GETS ME." The second thing is that you need to have consistent interaction with the people you feel there is a connection with.  Sometimes this happens in a "small group" and sometimes it doesn't. 

    A woman once told me a story about a time that she went to her pastor and said, "I am feeling lonely." The pastor replied, "Join a small group." She told him, "I did. I still feel lonely." The pastor shrugged his shoulders and walked away as if to say, "There is nothing else I can do for you then."

  Small groups are an opportunity for friendship but they aren't the only option for friendship... 

3. We believe our closest friends have to be apart of the church we personally attend.

   There are many of us who believe that our closest friendships must only be found in the church we attend. Not only is this belief untrue, it's unhealthy. The Kingdom of God is bigger than the local church we attend and we when we forget this, we can find ourselves in dangerous "isolating" waters. Deep, meaningful friendship can be cultivated outside the walls of our church... aaaaaaand dare I suggest... deep, meaningful friendships can even be cultivated with others who attend a different church.

    Our local church is a community we belong to BUT ultimately, we belong to the Kingdom of God... which offers an ample supply of wonderful souls we can build a connection with. This should encourage us!

4. We have friendship issues that we need to work through before we feel connected.

     As a person who has struggled with "friendship hurt" from my past, I can attest that until I dealt with my friendship was very difficult to have healthy friendships with others in my church. My perception of "community" was colored by my past experiences and I interpreted every encounter through the lens of rejection, betrayal, and spiritual abuse. I was not a fun person to try to be friends with.

   I remember being on staff at a church where the pastor called me into the office and said, "What happened at your last church? You seem so fearful to let people in." I immediately began to weep and share some of the hurt I had experienced. It was in that moment I realized the pain I was holding onto was shaping my perspective of the present. When I began to forgive... I began to find friendship in my new church community.

5. We have decided there is a "cool group" in church and those are the people we want to be friends with.

     Ugh. Even at church we can be tempted to see certain people as the "cool people". I once was at a women's retreat where a woman shared with me that she felt the church she was attending had a "hierarchy" of people who were considered the important folk you wanted to be friends with. When I asked her who were the "important people", she named all the members of the worship team and church staff. 

     It is easy to deem those who take "the stage" on Sunday morning as the "important people" or the "THE COOL TABLE OF CHURCH". There can be a temptation to revert to our 7th grade ways and want to be those "important people" to be our friends because some how it validates our own desire to be considered cool.

   Yet, we get hurt when these "important people"  are too busy to hang out or seem distant when they do. There are LOTS of reasons for that (which is an entirely another article I will write someday) but please...PLEASE listen to me:


      It's SOOOOO true! Every single person who walks through your church doors is important and has something amazing that God has put inside of them that will impact the world in an IMPORTANT way. So, don't pass up amazing friendship with people just because you don't call them "pastor" or because they are not launching a worship album. There is no cool table at church. We are ALL  invited to sit at Jesus' table and I don't care if that sounds cheesy. I believe it with all my heart.

     Going to church is not going to guarantee instant friendship but it's not a bad place to start looking for friendship.


  1.  It's our responsibility to make and maintain friends... not our church leaders.
  2. Small group is not the only option for friendships...
  3. Our closest friends do not have to attend the same church as we do.
  4. We have to work through our  friendship issues before we can feel truly connected.
  5. There is no "cool table" at church. 


The bottom line is that God wants us have to have friends.  

It's never His plan that we are chronically lonely.

Always your friend,



The definition for the word, MOXIE, is: 


1. vigor; verve; pep. 

2. courage and aggressiveness; nerve. 

3. skill; know-how. 


     Moxie friends are the energetic souls in our life who always seem to have plenty of nerve in supply when it comes to challenges and opportunities they face. These are the people who never ask themselves, "Do I have the ability to do this?" They just do it. Almost always, they are met with success in whatever they dive into and we are always left scratching our heads saying, "If they could do it...could I?" 


    Our moxie friends are the living proof that some risks are worth taking.


    The audacious spirits of our moxie friends is contagious. Watching them achieve their  dreams or wade through their challenges gives us reason to pause and consider our own possibilities. When we are around these kinds of friends we begin to wonder that perhaps our own dreams are not as unrealistic as we had once believed.


      We begin to muster up our own portion of moxie.


      Moxie friends are incredible encouragers. They truly believe that "anything is possible" and generally have a positive outlook on life. When you are going through something difficult, they are the ones that come along your side and cheer, "You can this! I believe in you! Don't give up!" These friends help stir courage inside of us when we feel afraid or alone. They are natural speakers of hope.

       Moxie friends want to cheer on our dreams. Over a casual cup of coffee, a moxie friend will ask:

   "So, what about that book you said you wanted to write? You should do it! Get it published!"

    When you tell them that you work a full time job or that the publishing industry is difficult to break into, your moxie friend will hush you with, "You've got to least try! What's the worst that can happen?"


   Moxie friends don't let us give up or give in.

   They are not easily manipulated by our self-pity and they are rarely are influenced by our self-doubt. Their super power is bravery and as they exercise it within their own lives, they instinctively share this strength with us. This is why need them.


    So, who is the moxie friend in your life?

Tell them. Tell them that their moxie makes you a braver person in this world. Tell them that you appreciate the positive outlook they bring and the hope-filled words that speak. Even a moxie friend needs to have someone to encourage them too

   Your friend,





     Noelle is a  speaker, podcaster, and self proclaimed: Friendtor(Friend +Mentor = Friendtor).  She is the podcast producer/host for Friending Podcast and is a regular co-host for the podcast, Slices of Life. She lives in North Jersey with her hot husband and two wild children. She is a big fan of Constant Comment Tea, the Oscars, and Lesley Knope.

      Noelle is passionate about helping women find grow in their calling and encourage one another to do the same through the art of friendship.   For more random facts on Noelle you can click here or stalk her on Instagram.


SQUAD CULTURE: What is your group of friends known for and why does it matter?

Culture: the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices.

       Every friendship squad has a culture. Even yours. Each friendship group holds a set of (often, unspoken) values, attitudes and practices. This matters because "culture" determines the health of a group of people. If the culture is toxic, the relationships became dysfunctional. If the culture is healthy, the relationshipS become life-giving. 

   Here is an example of a healthy squad culture I observed in a friendship group that began in middle school and has carried through 12 years:


-Spending time together face to face.

-Showing up to the important stuff to show support.

- Speaking honestly with each other.


-  "We are willing to travel to each other so that we can spend time together".

- "We will drop anything to support each other through the tough times".

- "We are not afraid to speak truthfully with each other even if we disagree".


- Planned weekend trips, visits to each other's apartments, spending holidays together, etc.

- Attend family members' funeral, makes every effort to celebrate each other's birthdays in person, help each other move, and show up to big events to show support.

- Speak honestly (with careful thought and love) to the friend who has compromised their integrity, well being, dreams or priorities. 


       Some examples of toxic squad culture would include:

  • Gossip
  • Chronic cancelled dates to hang out
  • Saying what the other(s) wants to hear
  • Exclusion
  • Jealousy
  • Dominating personality that calls the shots
  • Unwilling to be inconvenienced to help


Healthy squad culture will make you feel like you have a safe place to belong. Toxic squad culture will keep you guessing if you are "really in the group" or not.

Healthy squad culture will make you feel supported as you pursue new adventures. Toxic squad culture will make you feel paranoid that your friends will disapprove of your pursuits.     

Healthy squad culture will make room for new friends to join the tribe. Toxic squad culture will keep the doors closed to newcomers.

Healthy squad culture will address issues with openness and compassion. Toxic squad culture will discuss issues behind each other's backs and with judgement.

Healthy squad culture will make sure every one has a voice. Toxic squad culture is controlled by a dominating personality who throws a fit when he/she doesn't get their way.

Healthy squad culture commits to showing up to each other's lives. Toxic squad culture is too busy to make the effort.


    Many women have described their friendship groups to me which often sound terribly toxic. I am always amazed what women are willing to put up with. When I ask them, "Why do you still hang around these people?", the answer is nearly always the same:


"I have known them forever."

   Tennessee Williams said, 

Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.

      We cannot stay in a unhealthy friendship group  for the sake of "history". When we choose to remain in a "toxic squad culture", we short change ourselves. We need to surround ourselves with people who will encourage us to be the best version of ourselves. 

   It's never too late to start a friendship group that will have a healthy culture. No matter how old you are or what season of life you are in, there are plenty of people in this world who want support, encouragement and honesty too. It will take bravery to step away from a toxic group of friends and it will take even more bravery to go out and make some new friends. But. It's worth it.

    Culture determines future. If you want to have a healthy future, then you need to have a healthy group of friends to walk the journey with you.


Your friend,



  Noelle is a researcher,   speaker  , and podcaster. She is the podcast producer/host for   Friending Podcast   and is a regular co-host for the podcast,   Slices of Life  . She lives in North Jersey with her  hot  husband and two  wild  children. She is a big fan of Constant Comment Tea, the Oscars, and Lesley Knope.        Noelle is passionate about helping  women   empower women through the art of friendship .     For more random facts on Noelle you can    click here    or stalk her on   Instagram  .

 Noelle is a researcher, speaker, and podcaster. She is the podcast producer/host for Friending Podcast and is a regular co-host for the podcast, Slices of Life. She lives in North Jersey with her hot husband and two wild children. She is a big fan of Constant Comment Tea, the Oscars, and Lesley Knope.

      Noelle is passionate about helping women empower women through the art of friendship.

   For more random facts on Noelle you can click here or stalk her on Instagram.

WHY NOT ME? 7 Questions to Ask Yourself When You are Feeling Left Out.

“The only thing worse than not knowing where she belonged...was knowing where she didn't.”.png

"The only thing worse than not knowing where she belonged...was knowing where she didn't."

-Tess Shaffer, Heaven Has No Regrets

   If you ever felt "left out" of a social group, you are NOT alone. Many of us have experienced the pain of being excluded. A question we often will ask ourselves is, "Why not me?" We want to understand why we are not being chosen to be in a specific friend group.

Here are 7 questions that will help you navigate feeling left out:

QUESTION 1 - Do I really want to be included?

        Even as adults, we still secretly wish to be apart of the "cool group". We think that if we are hanging with the "popular people" we may find validation for ourselves: "If the cool people are inviting me to their barbecues, I'm must doing okay."

        I remember a group of young women getting together to go see a movie. They did not invite me and if I'm honest, I was a little hurt. They were young and hip and I worked alongside them every day. Why did they not consider me to be a part of their group?  I cried to my husband and he asked me a simple question "Did you really want to see that movie at midnight?"  I didn't. Sometimes we need to realize that not every group is a perfect fit. And that is okay. It has no reflection on our worth or validity as human. It simply is not a match.

QUESTION 2 - What are the benefits of being included in this group?

   When we recognize the benefits (or lack thereof)  of being a part of the specific group, we can decide if it's worth taking the extra steps towards connecting with this group. A friend of mine had joined a Bible Study a few months back. When she learned that many of women in the group had a friendship outside of the study, she worried that she was being excluded from coffee dates and dinners, etc. She said, "Noelle, I know that if I was better friends with these women, my faith would strengthen." She recognized that there was a benefit of being included in the additional activities these women were doing together. 

   Not all social groups are beneficial. For example, I had heard of a local Book Club that I was hoping to be invited too. When I really thought about it, I knew that Book Club would be more of a burden than a benefit due to my current time commitments. This doesn't mean that the Book Club is a bad social group. It is simply not beneficially to me at this moment.

QUESTION 3 -  Have I taken steps toward connecting with people in this circle of friends?

     I remember having tea with a woman who was sharing with me how hurt she was because a specific group at her church had not invited her to their weekly "Moms-Get-Together." I was shocked since I knew some of these women personally and would not have considered them to be exclusive. I asked this woman, "Have you invited any them to your home or have you spoken to them after church?" She told me, "No. I doubt they would want to come to my house. Why would I go talk to them if they won't talk to me?" 

     We need to let people know that we want to connect them. We do this by "invitation". If there is a group of women that we want to connect to, why not invite them into our home for brunch? If there is a circle of friends that we would like to be a part of, why not walk over to them and strike up a conversation? We need to be willing to be the first one to take steps towards connecting. Most people are not intentionally exclusive. They simply are not aware you want to be friends with them unless you make it known.

QUESTION 4 - Have I been invited before and have declined?

     A few years back, there was a group of folks who would get together fairly regularly for barbecues.  Nearly every Sunday, they would invite my husband and me to join them. It was a group made up of people who did not have children, so it would have been awkward to drag our two wild kids along (even though these wonderful folk said they were welcomed to come). We always declined their warm invitation and eventually, they stopped inviting us. When I realized this I felt rejected! Once again, I cried to my husband and said, "Look how they have rejected us from the group! It's because we have kids!" He laughed and pulled me into his arms and said, "No. I think you have this wrong. We have been rejecting them."

     It is important to realize that when we continuously decline an invitation from a person or group, they may believe we don't want to be included. If this is the case, we either must accept that we do not have to be included or we must willing to address the fact that we want to be included.

QUESTION 5 - Are there unresolved issues between myself and specific people in this social group?

    This question can feel like an awkward one but it is an important one to consider. We need to understand that tension will always make room for exclusion if we are not willing to tackle it head on.

    A young woman told me about a time when she and her boyfriend of several years had broken up. They both attended the same church and social activities soon became awkward. She had been invited to some of the gatherings but not others... because he would be there. Though her friends at church were trying to protect her, she felt excluded during a very painful time of her life. She finally sat her friends down and said, "I want you to feel free to invite me to any gathering that you have invited him." Her vulnerability and willingness to address the elephant in the room brought the solution to reconnecting with her friends after the break-up.

QUESTION 6 -  What insecurity within myself is being highlighted by the exclusion?

      Pain, if we allow it, can often be an opportunity for self-growth. When we are excluded, insecurities rush to the surface of our heart. This becomes an opportunity for us to address the lies we have believed about ourselves. 

     I once found out that a group of moms I knew had Starbucks together every Friday. I cried buckets over this. They hadn't invited me to join them and I believed it was because they thought I was a bad mother. The truth was that I was feeling insecure as mother and that I believed I was a bad mother. I was able to attack this lie, with truth: I am not a bad mother. This is not the reason why I have not been invited to weekly Starbucks with the other moms.

   Sure enough, one of the moms in the group invited me along to join the weekly date at  "Starbucks". She thought I worked on Fridays and would be able to join them. I was glad that I had the opportunity to address my insecurities and grow as a person. 

QUESTION 7 -  Are there others that I can befriend and include in my circle?

   Let's be honest for a hot second here. We need to stop always waiting for someone to befriend us and invite us into the circle. In fact, being left out of a particular circle of people could be just the gift we need to find our true tribe!  We need to open our eyes and look for the women who seem like they are on the fringe. Who is standing alone? Who doesn't have anyone to talk to? Who is the new girl? Who is the person who no one else is inviting? Let's befriend her! Let's be willing to gather our own circle of women who we can love and be loved by. Being left out does not have to be a permanent destination of our social life. We can be the one who "lets others in" and in turn, find true connection and meaningful friendship! 

Your friend,



 Noelle is a researcher, speaker, and podcaster. She is the podcast producer/host for Friending Podcast and is a regular co-host for the podcast, Slices of Life. She lives in North Jersey with her hot husband and two wild children. She is a big fan of Constant Comment Tea, the Oscars, and Lesley Knope.

      Noelle is passionate about helping women empower women through the art of friendship.

   For more random facts on Noelle you can click here or stalk her on Instagram.

Do you ache to have a tribe of women who you can share your dreams or struggles with?


Well, I am here to say, your tribe is here. 
You found us.

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   When we begin to pursue our dreams, I believe there are  three types of women we need to be a part of our tribe,

The Light At the End of the Tunnel
The Fire Under Our Butt
The Candle in the Dark

 Let me explain:
   The Light at the End of the Tunnel is the woman who is a little older than us. She is ahead a  few "seasons of life" of whatever season we are currently in. This is a woman who has seen and survived a lot of crap. She is a woman who is able to speak honestly about her own mistakes and comforts us as we navigate our own. "Oh honey, " she will say with her hand on our shoulder, "I did that too. It was a mess but I learned a lot. You will be fine."  This is a woman who has taken risks and has seen some of her own dreams fulfilled but nevertheless, has not stopped dreaming. She is our "light at the end of the tunnel" - the marker of our destination. You can find her in your own family (an aunt or grandmother) or in church or even in an online community. She is out there and she will be delighted if you ask her to help light the pathway of your dream.

    The Fire Under Our Butt is the woman who is pursuing a dream similar to our own. She is the writer friend who is also trying to knock out her first book proposal... or the neighbor who also bakes and is trying to launch an online bakery. She is the woman you have met at a conference and instantly clicked with. "Hey," she texts you, "Do you want to meet up once a month and keep each other accountable to our dream?"  This woman becomes the fire under your butt because her active steps towards her dream will motivate you to take active steps in your dream. She will share resources that she has discovered and you will do the same for her. The ONLY way you will find this woman is if YOU start to share your dreams with others.

   The Candle in the Dark is the woman who is excited for your dream even though it is not her dream. She is the friend who shows up to your first art show (after years of not lifting a single paint brush) and brings your favorite yellow roses. She is the woman who asks you, "How is your dream going? Tell me more about it!" She is the one that you call when you feel like the dream will never happen. In a gentle but firm tone, she reminds you, "Your dream WILL happen. Stop doubting yourself." This is a friend who you have allowed to speak frankly to you in the hard times. She is the candle in the dark, reminding you that no matter what obstacles may come our way, hope and possibility still remain. 

     Can you identify who these women are in your life right now? Send them a note/text/ gift to thank them for being so important to your journey! If you cannot identify who these women are, it may be time to think about HOW  you can cultivate these types of friendships in your life. It may require stepping out of your comfort zone or to think outside of the box. 

    If you are feeling very alone as you pursue your dream, feel fee to send me an email! I would love to hear about it!

Name *


We need each other as we walk out our personal mission and calling. Even Jesus chose 12 men to walk with Him as He carried out His mission and purpose on earth. This should encourage us to do the same.

 Your friend, another candle in the dark,



      Noelle is a researcher, speaker, and podcaster. She is the podcast producer/host for Friending Podcast and is a regular co-host for the podcast, Slices of Life. She lives in North Jersey with her hot husband and two wild children. She is a big fan of Constant Comment Tea, the Oscars, and Lesley Knope.

      Noelle is passionate about helping women empower women through the art of friendship.

   For more random facts on Noelle you can click here or stalk her on Instagram.

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    It was 2003 and I had no friends.

   My friends would disagree with this statement but this is how I felt as the first person to get married in my squad (friendship group).

     Being a newlywed can feel incredibly lonely.

     At first, it was fun!  My friends rolled up their sleeves and helped me plan a beautiful wedding! We had so much fun picking out dresses, planning the bridal shower and enjoying the bachelorette party. Frankly, I felt like a rock star. Everyone seemed to be excited for me. There were so many special moments that I had shared with my friends leading up to my wedding... and then... I got married.

    Things changed.

  The spontaneous adventures with my friends became less frequent.  I was still invited to birthday dinners and special occasions, but those last minute calls to "go to a movie" or "out to do some shopping" were rare. My husband and I moved an hour and a half away from the majority of my friends. All "get together's" had to be scheduled well in advance. A new job brought a new schedule with less flexibility. We also were newly married and very broke. At a rapid pace, I was becoming the odd man out within our little friendship circle. 

     It seemed like my friends and I lived in two different universes: Married and Not Married.        

   I tried to make friends with the wives of married couples that went to our church. Most of these wonderful people were 5+ years older than me and I  felt like I was the young "newbie" they had to mentor. They were kind and welcoming but it was hard to relate to them. Some of them were starting to have kids and buy their first home. I felt like I was several steps behind them in the game of life.

    My loneliness became glaringly apparent to me on our very first New Year's Eve married. We had not been invited to any parties. Not one. My non-married friends had assumed I was celebrating with new friends in our new location. Our "quasi-new" married friends assumed we would be celebrating with our non-married friends. It was an innocent misunderstanding but I was heart broken. 

   "I have no friends, " I cried to my husband, "and I don't understand why."

     My husband would scratch his head and try to find ways to help me feel more connected but it was a lost cause. I was pining away for what "used to be" with my old friends... and I was finding it awkward to start over and make new friends as a newlywed.

    Finally, after several months (and many tears) I decided to do something.

    I started to host a yearly get together with my "old friends".

    This was a weekend getaway where we would simply gather together to eat and chat for three days solid.  As it turned out, life began to change for many of us within our friendship group. Some moved far away for jobs. Other friends got married and started families. We all became busy in our new lives and we found it difficult to keep our friendship "as it was". This yearly get together was a way we could stay in touch without the pressure of trying to stay in touch all the time.  

   I also made a decision to not get so caught up in having "married friends". It was more important that I had "local" friends that I could connect with.

    I put myself out there and invited potential new friends out to lunch or over for a dinner. I made an effort to get to know people where I was working. I also made a conscious decision to be a person who is willing to start a conversation. When I wanted to get to know someone, I made the first move.

  It wasn't always easy,  but after time, I found a new tribe of local folk I could call "my friends". I realized that the  problem was not so much that I was a newlywed but rather that I was in a "new" season. It wasn't until I accepted this "new" season that I was able to accept how my current friendships would take shape.

 This is normal.

     If you are a newlywed feeling alone in this new season of your life, please know that you are not a freak! Many of us have felt like you have. Many of us know what it means to feel like you have no friends. But you do...and you can.

   Take the first step and find a way to connect with your friends.

    Set up weekly Facetime chats with your friends or schedule a standing monthly dinner where you and your friends can get together. Whatever you do, make the first move.

   Take some risks too.

     Invite your coworker (the one who seems to love all the same TV shows as you) out for coffee. Make some cupcakes for your neighbor and strike up a conversation. There are many ways to get to know people, but again, you may have to be the one who takes the first step

    Fast forward, 14 years later... and I can say that no matter what season of life I am in... I have friends. It looks different in every season... but I am not alone. You don't have to be either.

  Your friend,