Hey, you sweet thing!
Parenthood can be lonely, especially if your pre-children friends are still, well… pre-children. Whilst some of us are lucky that our social groups quite happily accommodate for our wild offspring, many parents are left spending more time with the parents on Peppa Pig than other real-life adults. This isn’t just the stay-at-homers either; even when working, your social interactions may be limited, so even though you’re surrounded by people you might still be lonely. I don’t think I need to tell you how sucky being lonely is. And how, the longer you’ve gone without meeting people, the more difficult and freaking terrifying the thought of trying to befriend someone is. Because it is sucky, and it is difficult.
I thought making friends as a kid was hard – making friends as an adult is even bloody harder.
So without a regular social lunchtime and teachers hanging over us pairing us off with our pairs, how the heck do we make friends these days? And where do we find these victims *ahem* future homies?
Ok, so I started with an obvious one, but maybe this is the sign you were waiting for. Playgroups are only partly for the littles – they’re actually mostly for the parents to talk to other parents. So while you obviously need to supervise your tot, try to also make an effort to say hi to the other adults supervising their tots. This is the easiest place to start – you already have a common interest and a default conversation topic, so it’s a winning situation.
Join a sports group/exercise class
I may be slightly biased because this was how I happened to meet my now-fiance (not my intention when I signed up!) but it honestly is a great way to meet new people. There are classes for all different skill and fitness levels, so check out your local gym/sports club rooms/community centre for something that peaks your interest. Heck, go wild and try something new! You might find people introduce themselves to you if you’re the newbie, but if not, don’t be afraid to say “hi” to people once they start becoming a familiar face. Added bonus, all the extra endorphins released from exercise are always helpful for general life-living!
Enrol in a class or find a meet up group
Similar to sports classes, you can find all sorts of night classes or meet ups for different interests or hobbies – photography, knitting, cooking, book clubs, wine-drinking even! In fact, here’s a social life hack for you – there’s even a dedicated website for finding meet up groups with other people with similar interests to you. How awesome is that?!
Join local community online groups
I know most of us grew up with the “don’t meet strangers on the internet” general rule – and of course you should always, always, always take precautions when meeting people online, but with the transparency of social media and accessibility to information online these days, it’s definitely a lot safer. I’m not saying join a group and stalk everyone but you can always put a post on your local community Facebook page and ask if anyone wants to meet up as a group; there are often others in the same boat who just need the opportunity to say yes!
Start talking to your kids’ friends’ parents
Whether it’s at Playcentre or kindy or school drop off, it’s likely you’ll bump into the parents of your children’s friends from time to time – so take the opportunity to strike up a conversation with them, or even invite the whole family around for dinner! I started talking to one of the other school mums whose son started New Entrants the same term as Ashton, and now six years later we’re actual friends – not “such and such’s mum” (in fact, we’re friends even when the boys come home saying they aren’t friends anymore!!).
It can be scary to approach a stranger, I know! Just try to remember a) most people are nice people and generally adults are mature enough to be polite, and b) they’re probably wanting to make a friend too but are having the same worries as you – so be a champ and take one for the team. Talking to people is one of those things that gets easier with time and practice; the time will pass, but you have to do the practice!
Plus, you can always message me – I’m always down to make new friends!!
Until next time,