Want to make new friends
How do I do it?
, Jun 17 2012 08:50 PM
13 replies to this topic
Posted 17 June 2012 - 08:50 PM
So I am in a situation where I have lost most of my friendships.
Most friends I used to work with, and since I have become a SAHM 2.5 years ago those friendships have died off.
I only have one true friend left (who is not family or interstate) that I regularly catch up with and she is consumed by the process of having her son diagnosed with ASD and her life is pretty full with him at the moment.
DS used to go to Gymbaroo, but we have stopped that and as the play was very much directed by the parents, there was little time to chat, and get to know anyone.
I am going to find a playgroup to join and hopefully meet some new people, but I find it hard with meeting new people to break the ice. I can do the whole "hi nice to meet you/see you again thing" but then awkward silence seems to set in. Even when I do meet someone who I can seem to chat a little easier with I find it hard to progress from that to asking do you want to catch up for coffee sometime? I feel stalkerish, and am scared that it would be awkward and horrible and I would have to face that person again if they made it obvious the answer was no.
On the flip side, I would like to think that I seem friendly and approachable, but no one seems to want to ask me for a coffee or catchup. I am aware that they could be like me and too scared to make the first approach.
I do feel lonely though. I would love a friend or two, with a child a similar age to DS, with whom I could have play dates at each others houses with, or go out for lunch or a coffee meet at the park.
I want DS to have friends with whom he can spend time and get to know, and look forward to spending time with too.
How can I put myself out there more and start making friends like this?
Posted 17 June 2012 - 09:11 PM
Sorry to hear you are feeling isolated. And once you lose your social confidence it can be a bit of a hard gig getting it back.
I think you are doing the right thing, go to as many groups as possible and find people to talk to.
Here's what I would do:
-research some kids stuff to do with toddlers before you go. There is a wiggles exhibition at the Powerhouse museum in Sydney at the moment, my DD loved it. This is just an idea, I don't know where you are located, but surely there is something to do in your area. Markets? Local wildlife park? Something like that. Use the internet for ideas, ellaslist is a great Sydney website for example.
-when you get to know someone ask heaps of questions about them and their child. They will feel you want to get to know them and it's always a good idea to find something nice to say about their child ;-) Also I would try and find out their preferences. Love fresh food and cooking? Suggest checking out local market in xyz together on a Wednesday morning. Their child loves the Wiggles/Peppa Pig/Dinosaurs? Casually suggest something to do with that, along the lines: I was going to take DS to look at this, do you guys want to come along?
This is just how I would do it, other people might have other ideas!
All the best OP
Posted 17 June 2012 - 09:23 PM
I know how you feel ... I was so daunted when I had dd because I was the first of all my friends to have children, and I suddenly seemed to have no friends, other than family members!
My dh forced me to go to mothers group (and im so glad I did!) but even then it has been almost two yrs before I have felt truly comfortable around these ladies and felt like they are proper friends. I think some people make friends quickly and easily, but for others (like me) I just have to accept it takes time to get to know people and feel comfortable around them.
The easy thing about playgroups is you can just talk about your kids
Especially as NO ONE other than mums at playgroups wants to hear about how dd wont eat or sleep or whatever. If you're really nervous about it, even think about some things you could ask other mums, like asking them about other activities in the area for kids, or if there are any good parks etc, just to break the ice.
There are also great kids groups at local librarys, like rhyme times and story times, and there are often some council run travelling toy library type things. I find at those sorts of things its often the same mums every week, so its a good opportunity to get to know people.
I'm not sure if you already do them, but I am finding at the moment that I am slowly becoming friends with some of the parents from dd's swimming class too .... its not like we're going to catch up out of classes or anything, but its nice for now that once a week I can go to swimming and have a chat with some other adults
I guess they are all the suggestions I can think of, I really understand how you feel, even now I've probably only made 4 friends since dd was born, but for me that's quite a big deal
I just had to force myself to put myself out there, and YES there were times where I tried to organise things and the other mums were just uninterested, but I just had to keep going and try something else
Posted 17 June 2012 - 09:34 PM
I so know how you feel. I have 2 young children and have always been very quiet and found it hard to make friends. But since the kids came along I seem to have lost all my good friends. I have DP'S friends to socialise with but none of my own anymore. It is really getti g me down and knocking my confidence to the point I am not sure I will be able to come out of it.
I know how to meet people and have plenty of chances but being quite shy I just don't connect with anyone and I dont really think people are interested in forming regular deeper friendships with me.
Nothing more to add. Just wanted to say I know how you feel.
Posted 18 June 2012 - 05:36 PM
I found playgroup a great way of making friends, also joining the committee at playgroup and also preschool helped.
Posted 28 June 2012 - 12:29 AM
I also know how you feel. Very hard to keep socialising with old work buddies so now its just dd and I walking around the shops and me having coffee on my own during the week.
Have thought about joining Playgroup but dd is only 4.5 mths old so its not like she can even play with any of the other children - so i am delaying joining.
I sometimes strike up conversations in the parents room at the shops but its not like i can ask them for a coffee and chat afterwards without sounding weird.Really envy those women who have friends to socialise with during the week.
Posted 28 June 2012 - 12:40 AM
I am not very good at making friends, but I did have a success recently. I went to a free parenting seminar, and only one other mum had shown up! We got chatting and I discovered she has two little girls each 2 - 3 months older than my two. Her two go to the daycare that I had dd1 enrolled in, one day a week, the same day that my dd1 was going. Between the first and second session I decided to ask her if she wanted to catch up with the girls, but she didn't come to the second session because her dd1 was sick, so I thought I'd missed my chance. Then I bumped into her at daycare pick up and just blurted out the question and grabbed her number and we have caught up every 2 - 3 weeks since. We are both quite different in our parenting approaches, but our girls are surprisingly similar in lots of ways and we get along well. It felt weird to do, though, like I was asking her on a date.
Posted 28 June 2012 - 01:08 AM
If you live in an area with parks and playgrounds nearby, it can be worth getting out of the house and walking to them both for exercise and fresh air, but also because you're likely to meet other mums who live close by.
We've made a few new friends that way, and it's much simpler to arrange catch-ups with people who are within walking distance or who you can just meet at the local park rather than trying to arrange who should drive to whose house or whether to go to a cafe or playcenter etc. I don't think it matters if the kids are a bit different in age too - my daughter was fascinated by both preschoolers and babies when she was a toddler and she plays really well with younger kids and babies now (also because she has a younger brother).
Posted 28 June 2012 - 08:38 AM
I totally know where you are at. I was very social when my kids were toddlers and then we moved overseas a few years ago and I did not know one other person outside my immediate family in this whole country.
I think meeting people unfortunately does take a bit of time. Everyone was friendly enough here but they all had their own lives so it was really me who had to put myself out there. I'm sure quite a few thought I was a bit over friendly and many people said 'oh we must get together' and then it wouldn't happen.
I agree with the PP who suggested joining committees at playgroup,pre-school etc. that way you can get to know people gradually and then invite them over or on a playdate with kids etc.
Just keep putting yourself out there and try out different things. Don't be discouraged if you don't click with others straight away or they dont initiate getting together,eventually you will start to form friendships.
Good luck OP.
Posted 28 June 2012 - 08:58 AM
It's pretty scarey putting yourself out there, isn't it? But it's the best way - asking people you have met if they'd like to have a coffee or something. You will get some knockbacks - as PPs have said, sometimes people already have their own lives and friendship groups and don't want any more. Then again, there are people in the same situation as you, or who have moved, or who are open to more people in their life who would probably be pleased by the invite - I know I would! I think that often people are open to friendship suggestions, they are also shy themselves or are otherwise not the "organising" kind of people to put themselves out their first time.
As for small talk, it's something I struggle with too. I agree that asking people about themselves is a great way to go, but I know it can be hard to think of what to ask. A few years ago I heard this for what to make small talk about and I have found it useful: FORM. That's Family, Occupation, Recreation (what do you do for fun?) and Mutual Interest (you're both at playgroup/ swim lessons/ the park, so you've got something in common to start with).
Posted 28 June 2012 - 09:15 AM
I moved interstate a few years ago and put a post on a parenting forum similar to this one in the 'State You Live In' section. I made a post about wanting to make friends or have catchups with the kids in tow. Made two good friends by doing that
You can even just warm up to one another by shooting emails back and forth for a few months before actually meeting. I did that with one lady and we ended up being really great friends. Her DD was only 3 months younger than mine and her and my DD spent their baby and toddler years together having playdates at kids' farms, cafes, playcentres eachother's houses etc.
I had a catchup with one online mum where we just didn't click or have enough in common, but I just persevered. Gees, it's almost like dating isn't it?
Posted 28 June 2012 - 09:25 AM
I totally understand where you are coming from. I am quite a chatty and friendly person by nature and have found since having my dd's 4 and almost 2 (and another bubs due in 1mth) I have felt more alone than ever. The area I currently live in only offered mothers groups to particular demographics such as young mums and different cultural groups. My sisters who live in different areas to me have formed some very strong friendships as a result of their mothers groups many years ago. I too went to a playgroup but like you, parents didn't get much time to chat as the playgroup facilitator had ideas about the playgroup being structured instead of child led. We stopped going for this reason and also the fact that once again the demographics mentioned above were pushing out us mums and children who did not fit. I am moving to a new area with my family in the coming months and hope that for all our sakes we make new friends. Friendships are so important for everyone but SAHM really need to have a network of friends to enjoy all the parenting moments. Its amazing as children, friendships form so easily, but as adults its so hard. I found my network ceased to grow when I left full time work. When I returned after 12mths maternity leave I was confronted by hostility by the same very people I'd been friends with fearing I was not working hard enough, going to steal their jobs, when all I wanted was adult conversation and something I could call mine. I truly hope you strike the courage to ask someone to go for a coffee and build lasting friendships from there. Best wishes
Posted 28 June 2012 - 10:12 AM
Do you have any interests / hobbies of your own, seperate to having children?
I only ask as sometimes trying to form a friendship based on the fact you both have children is not the strongest avenue for forming close friendships - for me, my mothers group was filled with very nice ladies, however the only thing we had in common was the fact we had kids - so conversation became limited!
Reading groups / book clubs, gym, sporting clubs (if you play sport), are other avenues you can look at too!
Posted 28 June 2012 - 10:25 AM
Perhaps at the end of playgroup just let it be known that you're off to a cafe for lunch or coffee, then and there and would they like to join you. If they're busy or can't at least they k ow you're interested In Getting to know them or you can say perhaps next week and leave the ball in their court. It is less like putting yourself out there.i wouldn't be as comfortable asking for a 'date' as such but continuing your current engagement seems easier iykwim.
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