Motherhood finds you busier than ever. Still, that doesn’t mean friendships are doomed. Hear 13 moms share how to make friends.
Friendships used to be tricky for me. Long before I was even a mom, I wondered why I didn’t have that one “best” friend that some people seemed so lucky to have.
Sure, I had amazing friends, but never that one person to call my best, the one everyone associates me with. I didn’t focus on how to make friends and certainly didn’t have many.
After I got over myself, I then wondered why I didn’t have a group of friends, you know, like on the show Friends. The group that always gets together, has traditions, laughs at inside jokes. My friends, the awesome people they are, are scattered everywhere. They’re not exactly the folks you see three times a week regularly.
Thankfully, I’ve kicked both hangups out the curb. Not having one best friend doesn’t mean I’m any less loved. Even my friends who live miles away are still close to my heart. And I can reconnect with those whom I haven’t seen in ages with as if we just spoke the other day.
Even though we don’t hang out every day (or even talk or email every day), they’re quality friends. I can (and have) cried to them over the phone or in person. Friends whom I can be completely myself, look disgusting, and always be forgiven.
Then there’s family. I get along amazingly well with my siblings and cousins. I grew up with my mom’s side of the family. Our close group of cousins, mostly the same age range, have remained so close until today. We’ll hit up a bar for “cousin time” and send cheesy “I love my cousins” memes on Facebook.
So I’m not actively looking for new friends. I’m lucky in the friendship department, even if it took me years to realize that.
And that’s my story. I was curious to see how other moms define friendships and whether they focus on how to make friends. Different circumstances, locations and family and friend dynamics make every situation different. I recently even read a story about speed dating—for moms.
So I turned to your fellow moms and asked them the question: How do you make friends? How did you find the friends you currently have? Are you able to spend time with them as much as you’d like? And is making friends a difficult task?
13 moms share how to make friends
Many of the responses elaborated on more than just those questions. People discussed what friendships mean and where they fall into their lives. Some are content with their friendships while others are looking for other friends. And still others don’t know how to make meaningful friendships.
Read these different tips on how to make friends — and what friendship means.
Maintain regular girls’ nights
“I met most of my friends through my children. I chatted with other moms at school drop offs and pick ups, on the playground, or at school functions. Play dates for our kids were almost like first dates for the moms. If we hit it off, I maintained the friendship even after our kids moved on.
“I don’t find it hard to learn how to make friends, but it is a challenge to invest time in a friendship and keep it strong.
“Girls’ nights are a must for me, and I go for walks with friends whenever I can. I have one group of girlfriends who meet for lunch at one of our houses every week; we’ve been doing that for ten years. I refuse to let my friendship languish and die; these are women whom I want to grow old with.” –Dana Hemelt
Have family play dates
“In a past life, I made friends through church and school. Now as a parent, it’s harder to make new friends and even to hold on to the ones I have. I currently have one close friend. We both have kids and work full time.
We also have husbands who work crazy schedules and are rarely home. And we see each other regularly at church, but keep in touch through text messages and Facebook posts. When we spend time together outside of church, we usually do so at one of our houses and bring the kids along.
“As for making new friends, I honestly can’t remember the last time I made a new friend. Working full time makes it hard to be in a place to meet people and spend time with them.” –Rabia Lieber
Be a good friend
“I learn how to make friends by being a good friend.
“I host other families for dinner on Friday nights (our Sabbath in Judaism), plan movie outings, walks, or other fun activities with friends like going to see an author speak. And I reach out to friends to make plans for dinners with other women or with other couples.
“In other words, I don’t just wait for people to call me. I introduce people to each other and enjoy making connections for others. And I accept others’ invitations to events and outings that are important to them.
“Am I able to hang out with friends as much as I’d like? Nope! I could stand much more friend time. But I accept that at this point in my life, I don’t have as much free time as I will have when they’re older. That time will come, but for now I enjoy the time I do have and I make the most of it.
“I love my friends, and I’m so grateful for the way they enrich my life.” –Nina Badzin
Strike conversations at school pick ups
“In the past year, I have tried some different ways to make new friends. I started attending local story times at the library and other play dates where I can meet other moms.
“A mom who just moved to the area started attending and we seem to have a lot in common. We exchanged phone numbers and I hope to invite her and her kids over for a morning sometime after Christmas.
“Honestly, going to playgroups feel tedious. I get tired of talking about only my kids and need some chat about other subjects. So far I haven’t made any strong friendships from that.
“We just started attending a new church this past September and it has a lot of younger families. Having a real conversation is hard without someone tending to a diaper or a misbehaving child.
“I’m desperate for other adult conversation, so I strike up conversations at preschool pick-up. I want to get to know people better and form some connections here in our town.” -Vanessa Solko
Find support groups
“Friends! For me the word ‘friend’ represents my ‘village.’ My friends include my husband, my mom and an incredible collection of women spanning the globe.
“I don’t need to see them to feel their presence in my life. Just knowing we are never more than a text or a phone call apart can get me through the worst of times.
“Some I’ve never met face to face, but we travel similar journeys of having children who share medical conditions. We understand each other and know when to step up our ‘virtual presence.’
“I don’t have one BFF, but I have a handful of great friends whom I call on at different times. But I know that in the end they are all there for me—and I am there for them—no questions asked.” –Tove Stakkestad
Make friends with fellow church members
“Making friends can be tough! It’s a challenge for me because I’m introverted and I’m home alone all day since I telecommute for my job.
“I learned how to make friends by being part of a church, where my husband and I are active members. I also make friends through hobbies, such as blogging and singing. Making connections with those who have something in common helps to break the ice a little.
“Mom connections are a bit more of a challenge for me. It seems that we working moms don’t fit in with the stay at home moms. Not out of exclusivity or anything like that. It seems to be more of a practical issue.
“SAHMs have play dates during the day on weekdays, but some of us are at work during that time and cannot play along. And having that work obligation makes it tougher to have time to do ‘extra’ activities. Tough, but not impossible.” –Marjorie
“Making friends as an adult has been a lot harder than I expected.
“I made most of my friends in the small group of young adults that attended my church. They are some of my closest friends even today, almost 10 years later. Many of us had children around the same time and bonded even more over that experience.
“But I recently moved to a new town, about six months ago, and I am still trying to find friends here.
“I once heard you need to have three things in common with someone before you find true friendship with them. I am finding that to be true. I’ve reached out to parents of my son’s friends, but with that as our only connection, we run out of things to talk about.” -Sarah Kerner
“Since having kids, I’ve made friends through joining playgroups. When my daughter started school, I made friends with the parents of the children in her class.
“Since having my second child, I have not been as social. But occasionally, I go on a girls’ night out. One of my New Years’ resolutions is to be more social.” -Melissa
Make the first move
“The biggest way I learned how to make friends now that I am a mother is through church. With activities, and several young mothers like me, it is much easier to make friends.
“But, I go above and beyond just seeing them at church and get-togethers. I work hard to organize play dates and playgroups. I even recently put together a monthly book club. We also invite whole families over for dinner or to play games, offer to babysit and help when needed.
“I like to ask questions and get to know each person beyond surface things, and to listen to what they say.
“Waiting for someone else to ‘make the first move’ is not going to get you far and will often depress you. So, despite living in a small apartment with few toys, I have people over. I get over myself even if other people have bigger houses, more toys, and a backyard with a trampoline.
“I understand that women crave friendship and that I can do my part to cultivate it with them. ” –Katelyn Fagan
Find friends at work
“It’s easiest for me to learn how to make friends at work since we spend so much time together. But I rarely hang out outside of work with any of them except for a handful.
“Outside of work, the easiest way to make friends was with parents of the kids my son was drawn to at daycare. But we’ve only hung out once without the kids since we met three years ago!
“It’s taken us three years of play dates to get us comfortable enough to hang out without kids. It’s because I’m lazy in making friends at this age. Sometimes I just want to be at home after having taken care of kids all day on the weekends.” -Lisa Ng
Make friends online
“So, I actually have a hard time making friends now which is weird as I never used to when I was younger.
“I’m not sure what it is and only have one close friend where I live now. We met when both our sons were in preschool with the same teacher and our sons became friends as well. Her friendship has been a huge life saver for me! It’s different though than the friendships of my youth.
“When we’re young and without children, we’ll hang out with until the wee hours of the morning. I miss that part of friendships a lot.
“I do also value the friends I’ve made from blogging. It’s been amazing to connect with other writers. I, like I’m sure many of us do, reveal a lot more on my blog about my feelings and fears than I do at the kindergarten bus stop!” –Kristi Campbell
Find another couple to befriend
“Ever since having kids, it seems like it’s a lot harder to make close friends. My husband and I have friends from work, and we also meet people through church and the kids’ schools.
“But we’re still on the lookout for that couple. The one whose kids enjoy hanging out with ours and whom we enjoy spending time with too. Someday we’ll get there. We’ll just have a lot of play dates in the meantime!” –Leslie Ibanez
Find friends who do the things you enjoy
“Frequent moves are our normal as a military family. We have the advantage of an immediately available network through the military community. But the environment isn’t always brimming with people who share similar interests.
“My best bet for making new friends is to get out. Go to the places where I can find the people who do the things I enjoy. Then keep showing up. I grow bored with small talk, but I have a few easy ice breakers I always have in my hip pocket. Children and being new to an area are good material!
“If the conversation goes well, I make plans to meet again (or at least to connect on Facebook). This is when making friends turns into work. You have to commit to showing up again.
“Sometimes you need to jump out of your comfort zone to agree to a meetup or ‘date’ that you wouldn’t normally be up for. Things like lunch at a restaurant you aren’t wild about or a play date at a time that’s not convenient.
“But that’s how friendships are born. Friendships are about being there, and they won’t develop if you aren’t.” –Lynn Beha
Your turn: Have you focused on how to make friends? Are you happy with the friendships you have? What are the challenges with making friends? Let us know in the comments!
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