Making friends as an adult is not as easy as it might seem. Without a workplace, school, church or other structured environment it can be even more challenging. So, how does a mom in a new area make new friends? Seems like a silly question, one our children would be asking. Actually, I take that back. Children typically don’t need to ask that question because it happens more naturally for them. But if my son were to ask me how to make friends, here’s what I’d say:
Approach someone who looks friendly or interesting to you.
Tell them your name and ask them their name.
Ask them if they’d like to play with you.
As an adult it’s not so simple. For starters, we don’t play necessarily. We chat. The basis for our friendship is talking, not really doing. And if there is doing involved, there’s also talking. So we need to have something to talk about. A common interest. But how far will that take you?
I admit that most of my activities center around my son. We go to the park, the library for story time, indoor and outdoor playgrounds, gyms, and we even tried Kindermusik. I’ve exchanged numbers with a few people but it feels so much like dating.
“How old’s your son/daughter?”… “Mine is the same age (x months older/younger)” … “Yes, he loves to play basketball/run/blow bubbles” “We should get the kids together some time” “Let’s exchange numbers…”
See what I mean? It’s so awkward to even strike up the conversation. Then you have to ask for a number. And then, hardest of all, you have to call. Thank goodness for texting. It’s the new email. I’ll send a follow up text to someone I’ve just met:
“It was so great meeting you and (child’s name) today. (My child’s name) and I are looking forward to seeing you guys again soon”
Then one of you will need to send another follow up to actually do something. This is the hardest one of all. Then you need to break the ice and suggest some fun playdate for the kids usually at a neutral public location.
“I’m thinking of taking (my child) to the Children’s Museum this week. Would you and (child’s name) like to join us?”
If they say yes, then you work out the details of day/time, etc. If they are unsure or say they aren’t free but you hadn’t yet picked a day then you know it’s a good sign to move on.
I’ve actually exchanged numbers with a good handful of people but have only had play dates with two of them. Sometimes I review our encounter later and decide that actually I didn’t want to see them again. Or, sometimes it’s just too darn difficult to schedule and as much as you try, it just isn’t worth it.
Any way you slice it, making friends when you’re new can be difficult. Mostly because we’re tired, we’ve got responsibilities like taking care of the children, our families, and our houses and making new friends takes time and energy. But I’ll tell you, even though I know we would sometimes rather spend our few precious moments to ourselves, friendships with other adults are important and worth the effort. And in the long run, just like dating, we’ll eventually find our match(es).
What are some ways you’ve made friends as an adult?