I’m in a singles ward, and after a few months I decided to talk to my bishop about feeling like I had no friends. Coincidentally, two weeks later the Relief Society president and all of these different women in the ward have started saying hi to me, sitting with me, asking me about my life and I guess it’s good. But I don’t want people to talk to me because it’s a mandate from the bishop. I want to have friends, but I don’t want to be a project. Am I a project?
I think a lot of people can relate — I can remember in college almost blurting out to this unusually friendly ward-mate, “Excuse me, are you talking to me because you just had a meeting where someone said you had to?”
No one wants to feel like someone else’s project. So, I feel you.
But have you seen this quotation? It’s by the late member of the Quorum of the Twelve, Elder Neal A. Maxwell and he says, “Being blessed with hope, let us, as disciples, reach out. Let us lift to reach hands which hang hopelessly down."
I'm sharing this with you because intellectually, we know we should be reaching out to others, right? But in the midst of deadlines, dates, no dates, job interviews and buying hipster sunglasses online, even the best of us can forget to do that. So your bishop probably did remind a few people to be mindful of you, and maybe they aren't being very savvy about it, but who has ever heard of anyone being savvy in a Mormon singles ward?
Fight the urge to reject these sisters because their approach may have been awkward and conveniently timed, but reach out — back to them. I guarantee they need to be lifted, too. Then after you've done that, reach forward — find someone whose life you can impact for good. If you do this, at the very least, you'll become more aware of those around you — and you may even make some new friends.
Readers: Do you worry about being a project? How do you fellowship someone without making them feel that way? What are some good tips for making new friends at church?