rebelling against low expectations

How can I be more open with my friends?


SHANNON WRITES: I have had a lot of problems with my friends over the past two years. A lot of them walked out on me when I was having a hard time. This year I started high school, and I just made a bunch of new friends at my youth group, but I still feel nervous about being myself with them. How can I be more open with them?

Share Your Thoughts in the Comment Section! There are currently 7 Comment(s)

Have something else you’d like to discuss? Just submit your question or topic (and any elaboration you’d like to provide) using our Submit Content Page. We look forward to hearing from you.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Discussion Questions

are submitted by real rebelutionaries who are looking for godly answers to tough questions and lively conversation with other young adults. You can join the conversation by commenting below. If you'd like to submit your own discussion question, email us at [email protected].


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but rather be transformed by the renewing of your mind”

    Don’t try to act differently so that people will like you, because if somebody is a real friend, they’ll like you for who you really are. On the other hand, make sure that while “being yourself” you’re still striving to act godly instead of saying, “well, I’m a hyper person so if I purposely annoy people, that’s ok because I’m just being myself.” Sorry that might be a strange example but my little sister says that about herself, so that’s just the example that came to my mind.

    In other words, be satisfied with how you look, what you like, and those kinds of things. God made you just the way he wanted to; why would you ever want to change that simply because of what one person says you should be?

    • Yes yes yes yes yes. I was about to say something to the effect of your 2nd paragraph but you already nailed it. 🙂

  • I think ultimately the goal should be to just be yourself as much as you can (I know it’s scary when you enter a new group of people because you want people to like and accept you). As my friend Brant has said, “You can’t change yourself to make God love you,” so you shouldn’t have to change yourself to impress other people either. God made you who you are, and He wouldn’t have made you that way and not provided at least one person who’s going to adore you for it, because God knows how much we depend on each other. I’m glad you asked this question though because I need some help in this area as well, and I’m going to try really hard to follow my own advice because we just went through the last half of Romans 2 (from verse 17 to the end of the chapter) at my youth group last night, and it told me not to “talk the talk” unless I’m gonna “walk the walk.” Haha 🙂

  • Wow Shannon….This is a really difficult question and one I’ve been thinking a lot about lately because I have a friend who this has happened too….I haven’t walked out on her, but I have moved away so while she knows I’m still there for her, it’s hard not having that relationship close-by…I’ve really been praying about what to tell her and how to encourage her! I’m talking to her on the phone in about an hour or so; so I’ll be keeping a close watch for good advice… 😉 I’m sorry I don’t really have a lot of advice for you! All I know to say is pray about it!!!!! Ask God to guide you to the right friend(s) who will be a true friend to you….Also, something God has been teaching me lately is that He is enough for me! I often idolize my friendships and relationships….and I haven’t started loving my friends less, but i HAVE started loving God more and seeing the beauty in an intimate relatinship with Him…HE is your 1 friend who will never fail you….He’s ALWAYS there!!! =) So when you’re having a hard time, make the Lord your first “go to” friend… 😉 Not that other friendships are bad (God designed friendship!!!!) but always know God is there for you. Hope this is encouraging at leas a little… =P

  • Hey Shannon, so the best way to be open with them, if you find the right friends who really care.

    See, a similar thing happend with me, A bunch of my friends at my old church just moved on and forgot about me. Well soon after that we moved to a new church and the kids in the youth group welcomed me happily, but I didn’t feel like I could be myself around them. Its been a few years now, and the best bit of advice I could give is this, find friend who love the Lord more than anyone and want a growing relationship with Him, because they will truely care about you and will be there for you when times are rough.

    But remember this, God loves you and all you really need is Him, also make sure you don’t idolize the idea of being accepted or open with others. This is all in God’s hands. He will do what gives Hime the most glory. One final thought, if you praise and honnor God, even though you can’t see the big picture and times are rough and it seems like no ones there for you will give God so much praise, honnor, and glory. I hope that was helpful.

    I will be praying for you, and hope you meet some really godly people and that your life will be a picture of Christ and the gospel.

    • I think this is the best answer that I’ve found. I don’t know why exactly, because some other people gave more actual advice. But I do know that I like it when people don’t just give advice, but back it up with real life experiences. I like to know that I’m not the only one going through whatever.

      And for that matter, yeah. I’ve had that happen. One of my friends was all “sad” when we said goodbye at church two years ago. Well a few months later she had a big birthday party and didn’t even invite me. Another one I saw around but…. it just wasn’t the same. The hardest part was when the new pastor’s daughter was around their age, and anytime I saw them, or emailed them, they would talk about her. My replacement. One of them emailed me a video to introduce “Gracie” and said at the end, “and she’s not your replacement,” In a silly babyish voice. Oh, Brynna. She had no idea. No idea the hurtful, tricky, sticky situation we were in there, and why we left. So we went to a big church half an hour away. Going from a 100 person church to a 500 person church was drastically different. I met one friend in youth group. I don’t know if we were even close enough to be friends; I actually didn’t know her last name. But I was thankful that God had provided at least one person that I could hang out and talk to at youth group. And now, a year after going to that church, we’re going to yet another. It’s this church plant, but it meats in the evenings so we have to go to church somewhere else in the mornings and for youth group.

      I don’t know whether I’ll meet friends. I don’t know why we’ve had to go through this long process where I now literally am left with one friend. But I know that God has a reason for all of that. The verse that has really helped me is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a future, and a hope.”

      • I’m sorry. That was super long. And not very necessary. But hey, maybe God had a purpose in me writing that! Other than to drive people crazy with what looks like me trying have a pity party for myself.

        • Hey Olivia! I’m sorry to hear you’ve been hurt by friends- crazy part is sometimes they don’t even know they’ve hurt us! Anyway, sending prayers your way as you make new friends.
          From an introvert, I can’t say to be outgoing, but don’t necessarily look for the mega-popular people to be friends with, sometimes the quieter ones are so so cool 😉
          Aaand…keep in mind that whatever situation God has you in is not an accident! I’ve gone through some periods of loneliness in my life and fought against them when God was probably just trying to draw me closer to Him.
          Good luck and I’m praying for you!

      • Hey Olivia. Just wanted to say, I’m sorry. This is a funny thing to say on a DQ about opening up to friends, but… if you want to talk about it more, I’m here. I’ve been (kinda am) in the same place so far as friends. I’m praying for you!

        • Thank you so much! It’s comforting to know I’m not alone in that. The Rebelution has really been such a help to me! I think when you’re busy with other things, you don’t think as much about your own problems, plus so many people on here comfort and encourage each other.

  • Hm… I have the opposite problem. I’ll tell people whatever after knowing them fr 5 minutes. I regret it afterwards usually. Of course I dont tell what goes on deep inside me which honestly if I were to share it with anyone it would be God ( he knows anyways) or my parents. Other than that you’d have to be a crazy trustworthy friend for me to share something very personal. Anyways maybe open up and share something somewhat personal about yourself and if they resipercate ( i cant spell it) then you could go deeper. I dont recommend opening up to someone who doesnt feel comfortable opening up to you.

    • I’ve made that mistake on the internet before (at least it was with a fairly trustworthy fellow christian homeschooler)……. so I wouldn’t recommend unloading your personal problems on somebody even if they feel like a close friend. But, I think that a good friend is someone that you should be able to trust, that it’s ok to let them know when you’re feeling down, and if you talk to much, they’ll forgive you and be ok with it.

  • There was a period in my life that I went through exactly that situation, life was giving me a hard time, and the people that I considered my friends walked and I was left alone in a crowd full of people. This pushed me to seek solace in God, my best and only true friend. Because of extra time, I was able to read many things that shape who I am, among which Do Hard Things features prominently. These two things radically changed my haughty attitudes of superiority into more humble ones allowing a group of people who I had pushed away as “social outcasts” to come closer and allow me to know them, today they are my closest friends.
    Because of this lonliness, the race for popularity in my life was changed to a race towards godliness, and I, being free from expectations, was able to live life fully and simply with love. Through this process, I learned that my true friends are the ones who, like God, take me at what I am, understand I´m flawed, love me anyway, and help me grow. After going through this, my advice would be twofold; 1. Be who God wants you to be, and everything else comes as a bonus, 2. Know as you make new friends that God can use really sucky situations to help us grow and bring blessing as long as we seek to honor Him.
    Hope this helps!

  • Shannon. That is a good question. Real friends are a rare commodity. And real friendships take time. It is very hard as a young person to feel left out or shunned. My advice to you in developing friendships is to

    -take your time
    -show no favoritism to anyone
    -ask others about their interests
    -get to know as many as you can, keeping it at a very casual level
    -not expect everyone to want to be your close friend, but consider them still your brothers and sisters in Christ
    -keep your relationship growing with Christ. He will never fail you or turn His back.
    -show interest in others that might be new or feeling like an outsider. They often have a lot to offer for a friendship
    -look for Christlike character
    -understand that this is a process that God is using to shape you. Do not be hard on yourself. Good friendships take time.

    I pray the best for you. Don’t ever forget that you are never alone.

    Sincerely His,

  • I would say that it’s not always a good thing to be too open with new friends. Perhaps try being yourself quietly–don’t talk excessively but rather try to get to know others. I think it’s a good idea to let friendships develop before you lose all caution. It’s ok to go slowly and not open up straight away! 🙂

    • I agree! Don`t make my mistake; don`t throw yourself out there and let them know exactly what you`re like within 20 seconds. Stand at a distance and get to know them slowly. Dont “barf yourself upon them”!

  • Hi Shannon!
    My advice is that you slowly open yourself up more and more. Let people ask you questions and pursue getting to know you more. It’s not always a good thing to open yourself up to brand new friends right away. Get to know them from a distance and, if you feel like you can trust them as decent friends, become more open and social. 🙂

  • Okay, I’m gonna sound REALLY crazy, but bear with me.
    I’ve been looking at other comments, and they keep saying that you need to make sure that you surround yourself with the right friends. This is my definition of a trustworthy friend: When you laugh, I laugh; when you cry, I cry; when you fall, I laugh so hard the I fall too.
    I know this sounds crazy, but again, bear with me. A real friend is not afraid to tell you what they really think about you. Once, I was on a stage in front of about 800 people…… hoarse. I could not talk without squeaking like a cat. I went up there to speak….. and squeaked. The people who laughed at me the most, and still laugh at me a year later, are also the people that I know I can go to with anything at any time.
    That’s just my two cents.

    • When people realize your real and make mistakes like they do they become more open and you also become more open. loved what you said. nothing is worse than singing in front of your youth group and your voice totally going wrong on the microphone, until I herd your story. I am not alone, and neither are you mcstache.

      • The problem with me and friendship and mistakes is that I compare myself to people a lot and I feel like it hurts my friendships.

    • I really like your advice mcstache! I think you’re right. That is what my friend is like. I love the part where you said, “When you fall, I laugh so hard that I fall too.”

  • Me and my friends in my youth group made a covenant to be ourselves, respect others, and be accountable for and with one another. my goal with all my friends is if I can give them “Jumper cables/ electrocute them” as some people call it and they do it back with no problems then wala I know that they are an awesome friend. sometimes we have to be the ones to be weird around friends. When I meet someone for the first time I usually try asking a random question like Do you like penguins? that opened up one of my best friendships. be yourself no matter what others think of you.

  • I honestly think that it just takes time….. get to know your knew friends and let them get to know you before you start opening up. That doesn’t mean don’t be yourself with them I just wouldn’t open up completely until your sure that they are trustworthy.

      • I’ll answer your question here, too! 🙂

        It really depends… I have one friend that I’ve known for three years now, but just recently opened up to her about some stuff. I also have a friend who I’ve only really known for a few months now, but I talk about just about everything with them. So, there’s really not a way to know.

      • I think that you have to use good judgement and ‘evaluate’ for lack of a better word, if you think that these are trustworthy friends who won’t gossip about you. You’ll start to feel more comfortable around them. I am by no means an expert on this subject, I struggle with what’s appropriate to do often. But hope this helps

  • *gasps for breath* HHHHHH, I finally got Disqus to work! Never fear my peeps, Carson is back!

    Anyway, back to the question. I think this could be answered in a number of ways, but the general answer is probably to just be trusting with them. Only share things with friends you trust and people who you know won’t judge you. 🙂

        • Lol I’ve been all right. Sorry it took me a while to get back to you, I’ve been suffering from a cold and some major jet lag! Plus I’m going to a wedding rehearsal tomorrow, so this has basically been a crazy week. XD
          So what’s new with you? Sounds like you’ve had some issues with Disqus?

          • Not much is new. Just adjusting to the freshman life. Yeah, Disqus stopped working for a while but I think it’s fine now. Wbu? What’s up?

          • Ooh, starting high school, how exciting! 🙂 Well, I’m currently not in school, so I’m taking some time to travel with my family, and I’m looking for opportunities to volunteer.

      • There’s different ways it can happen. With some people, it can take a long time for you to know you trust them and vise versa, and with some people it can be instantaneous. It all matters on the person and the circumstances. I’m sure you’ll know when you trust someone. And ask God for help!

      • This isn’t my convo, but hey. 🙂 (I love stealing peoples’ taglines…)
        It normally takes a little risk to get to where you can trust somebody. You probably don’t trust someone unless they’ve proved themself trustworthy; somebody can’t prove themself trustworthy unless there’s something that they’re trusted with. If that makes sense…
        Just thinking about my own friendships where I trust the other person a lot, I’m not entirely sure how I got to trusting them. But with all of them, there was one point or another where I opened up beyond where I *knew* I could trust them, some time that I didn’t know for sure that it would turn out good if I told them about X, but I did anyway.
        How are you doing? I haven’t been around much… :/

        • I haven’t been around much either. I disappear and reappear all the time. I’m doing really good. Yeah, sometimes we need to take risks (and hey, we’re all brothers and sister in Christ right).

  • I think a really good thing to think about is, if you want be able to trust people, be someone people can trust. This saying look at the way they talk to and about people behind there back and see wether or not the can be trusted, because if they gossip about other people they might as well gossip with you.

  • Oh, I definitely know where you’re coming from. This past year I’ve grown closer to and lost a friendship with a pretty close friend. The thing is, not everyone is meant to stay in your life for a long time, but some are.
    True friends are the ones that can see the ugly, jagged parts of your heart and share more than just laughter with you. I’ve had friends that I can have the BEST time with, but not pour out my heart to, and I’ve realized that though those might remind me of the stereotypical “best friends” from Disney channel, we need more than just people to laugh with. We need people we can trust with prayer requests and broken hearts. It’s not easy to build and its scary to be vulnerable with people but it is worth it.
    If you’re trying to build good relationships, I would honestly recommend starting a Bible study or something like that. Invite a group over to your house and get to know each other spiritually, find that safe place that you can be real in. A big thing with me and my friends is we have agreed “what happens in the Bible study stays there” so what we say is not shared unless we give the okay for it. Be patient- strong relationships aren’t build quickly!!
    My prayers with you as you figure this out- friendships are tough things but we need them 🙂 God bless!

  • I feel you here, although I’m not sure I really have an answer. I have like one pretty close friend, but we only see each other once a week on a regular basis, and we mostly text. Actually, we became good friends through text. Text is beautiful, so if you want to get really close with people, get their text number. Obviously, not everyone’s going to text back, so it might not work with everyone. Well, since most of my problems actually involve “friend” issues, it’s really hard to talk to people outside of my family about things. Even when talking with this close friend, conversation can often go from talking about my struggles to gossiping about how people have hurt me. I also don’t really like talking about my struggles, both because I hate feeling vulnerable, but also because when I talk about my pain, I feel like I’m trying to get them to pity me or something. It’s also kind of strange, because though I’m a guy, I relate a ton better with girls. Probably two main reasons, I have two sisters and have been very close with them, and because I’m not a stereotypical guy. I like poetry. My favorite color was pink. I love romance and books like Anne of Green Gables. And as I said in my description, I like Frozen. When it comes down to it, it can be really hard to know how to relate to guys (or not even how to relate) but how I should feel in a friendship. I know this is weird, but most of my close friends before have been girls, and since I’m stupid and I like almost every girl in the entire world, I’ve liked nearly all of them. I have like one friend that’s a girl that I’m not super attracted too, but don’t think is un-attractive (Although, I had a huge crush on her in first grade). Anyway all that to say, my friendships have often involved attraction and I’m better at relating with girls, so it’s hard to know how to feel and think and act in my friendships with other guys. One other reason for this is because I have a lot of struggles with comparing myself to other guys, even my friends, so that’s hard. I think I would advise (maybe selfishly) to find someone that is genuinely interested in you and try to be genuinely interested in other people. When you find someone like this, you’ll know. You’ll feel it. They’ll have a presence, or charisma, and I don’t mean the popular people. But the people who actually care about people. So, I guess I might have added less clarity rather than more clarity to the discussion. But hey (that’s my catchphrase.)

    • Hi @liv737johnoxide:disqus,

      From reading this comment and some of your other comments from this discussion, I think we struggle with some similar friend problems and I wanted to share with you some things that have helped me in hopes of being able to be an encouragement to you.

      1. It sounds like you have trouble trusting people outside of family members because of past hurts. I also have struggled with being able to trust people and it has caused me to be, for most of my life, really closed off. Even now I struggle continually with really being able to open up with people even though it has gotten better within the last year or two. But I think one thing I have learned is that if you wait to make friends with someone until you can completely trust that person than you will never make friends at all or else that friend will end up failing you at one point and hurting you once more. The fact is, people are always going to fail us. We are a fallen people, but we also serve a God who is full of grace and completely trust worthy in every way. So rather than it being a problem of not trusting people because people aren’t trust worthy, it is rather an issue of am I willing to trust God with my heart and trust him to still love me and stand by me when friends and family fail me? Be willing to trust God when it comes to friendships because people will fail you and people will hurt you, but we still need to love them deeply and that sometimes means being willing to hurt deeply for the sake of Christ. Christ loved us so much that he was willing to suffer for us so much more than we will ever suffer for loving another and being a friend. So trust God when it comes to friends because he is faithful no matter what mistakes you make or no matter how many times people fail you.

      2. It’s ok if you don’t have a ton of close friends. I think it is good to have at least one or so good friends to help keep you accountable, but you don’t need to have a million close friends. Don’t feel bad if you don’t have a ton of friends and also family members are totally legit friends. 😉

      3. I have a guy friend who absolutely loves Pride and Prejudice, which is normally seen as a very romantic movie that only girls like, and he likes way more than I do and probably more than a lot of other girls. So I don’t think it totally strange that you like romance stuff or Anne of Green Gables (I love the first movie, but haven’t ever read the book) and yeah, as much as I try to hate Disney princess movies, I still find myself singing “let it go” sometimes. 😉

      4. Some girl is going to be so blessed to have a husband who is romantic and likes the same movies that she likes and who knows how to write her sweet romantic poems. You will make a great husband someday if you strive to live for Christ in all you do. 😉

      5. I totally get the comparing yourself to others. I have struggled with doing that a lot with my sister who seems to be better than I at everything and is just ten times nicer, smarter, more talented, and more likeable or so it seems, so yeah. Or else in school it feels like everyone else is doing so much better than I or understanding things so much more quickly or not failing like me. But one thing you’ll find if you are willing to open up with people, is very likely they are struggling with the same things or have other things that they struggle with or aren’t as good in as you. If you could trade your own problems and be inside the skin of the person you are comparing yourself to, you will probably find that you will want to get right back into your own skin. 😉

      And as one last thought, be who God created you to be. That is, continually strive to grow in holiness and grow in godliness, but also be the personality that God gave you. We are all made for a purpose and for a reason and God has given us all various gifts and talent. You never know how God can use specifically your personality to touch and bless others. So don’t be afraid to be the man God created you to be.

      So yeah, I just wanted to share this with you in hopes that you may be encouraged to go and seek out friends and love like Christ no matter how painful it can be at times. Trust God. He is faithful and he will never let you down. 😉 I will be praying for you, friend!

      • Thank you so, so, so much! Wow! I can tell you spent a lot of time on this comment.

        I totally know how it is to feel left out, and I have dealt with some hurt in the past from friends (but I think maybe more from my perceptions of friends rather than things they have actually done if that makes sense. Just recently, I have gone through my first real losing of a friend (but it was more out of not staying in touch and stuff probably than any issues we had.)

        I’m glad someone sings “Let It Go” and doesn’t hate it, and guys are reading Pride and Prejudice! Yay! (I haven’t actually read it, so I don’t feel so bad now.)

        Mostly, my trust issues is because I’ve always been on the outside and never been part of the in crowd. Thanks for your prayers, and I’ll try to remember to pray for you and your friendships too (but I’m just sending a quick prayer right now as I’ll probably forget).

  • It starts with a healthy conversation, as it grows sharing your true opinion will help expose your true colors. If something is funny laugh cry or whatever people don’t reject people who are themselves. Everyone fits in somewhere.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →