Finding Friends as an Adult
By the time you've finished the laundry, washed the dishes, paid the bills, changed diapers, checked the closet for monsters and scarfed down a granola bar, you barely have enough time to sleep before you start the whole routine again. Such is the life of a busy mom. So if you can't remember the last time you talked with a friend, you're not alone. It's easy to feel isolated when you're juggling parenthood and a career too, especially if you've drifted apart from your pre-baby pals. It's time to find new friends with whom to enjoy the next stage of life. But just where are those elusive would-be friends hiding? As it turns out, they're everywhere—if you know where to look.
Go New Places
If you only ever hang out at home, at the office and in the grocery store, you may never cross paths with people whom you'd like to befriend. Changing up your routine brings you into contact with a whole new group of people. Start frequenting a new coffee shop, go to free outdoor concerts or try out a different library branch. You'll still have to make the effort to meet the people you see in these new spaces, but you'll win half the battle just by showing up.
Get Set Up
Most adults know how hard it is to make new friends, so no one will judge you if you go public about the struggle. Leverage your current social circle to expand it. Post a funny, self-deprecating message on Facebook or another social media site, asking if any of your friends know people in your city who would be a good friendship fit for you. Ask people who know you well to connect you with fellow moms who are fun and likable. The initial meetup may be awkward for a few minutes, but that's worth enduring if it means you end up with a great new friend.
Be a Joiner
A book club, a local jogging group, the community choir, that Saturday morning yoga class: Joining any group that meets regularly is a natural way to connect with new people. This is one thing that gets easier once you have a kid, because your child could be the perfect entry point into local groups that are popular with other moms. Join a play group or sign up your child for a music or gymnastics class; then chat up the other parents while the kids are busy. Once the class comes to an end, suggest meeting up for a play date.
Download an App
Yup, there's an app for this. More than one, actually. Search your phone's app store for programs that let you meet friends or connect with other moms. Older apps disappear, and new ones take their place all the time, but you might find a new BFF (or a love connection, if you're single) using technology.
Approaching strangers is scary for most people, but the payoff is often worth it. When you're out with your child, keep your eyes open for fellow parents who strike you as friendly; then start up a conversation. Playgrounds, parks, museums and libraries are the perfect place to do this. Place yourself and your child strategically close to other parent/kid combos and see what happens. If your kids start playing together, it's a natural opportunity to introduce yourself and chat. If your child would rather play alone, find another way to start a conversation. Ask for a spare tissue, compliment the person's shoes, or make a joke about your child's ability to find and jump in every puddle. Take it from there.
Kathryn Walsh has more than 20 years of experience working with children and has been writing about children and parenting topics for more than 10 years. Her work has appeared on sites including TheBump, Working Mother and Mamapedia.