When we moved into our new neighborhood, I was pregnant and still working full-time. Although the neighborhood was filled with moms, I never had time to do more than wave hello.
When my daughter was born that December, it was too cold to stroll outside for a chance meeting and I felt silly walking up to a door unannounced. When we got outside in the spring, I tried to put myself out there, but the responses were less than enthusiastic.
Who knew making friends as an adult would be so hard? Here’s some advice to help!
1. Make the first move. It may sound intimidating, but it is that easy. If you are enjoying small talk with a mom on the playground or the sidelines of the game, exchange contact information. Suggest a stop for ice cream on the way home to continue the conversation. If you feel you have a connection, don’t be afraid to invite her over next week for a play date with the kids or out for a glass of wine.
2. Join social media groups. Facebook has tons of “What’s Happening in Your Town” groups as well as those specific to your neighborhood. I found my current Bunco group after reading someone’s post who wanted to start playing again. If you are looking for a running buddy, book club or bachelor watch party, put yourself out there with a post asking if anyone else is interested in joining.
3. There’s an app for that. Yes, there is an app for everything, including making new friends. Peanut is like a dating app, but made for women of all stages of motherhood. Meetup is an app for finding people with common interests in your area or online. The Nextdoor app is a local app that allows you to find groups like dog owners, gardeners and other common interests. It also lists local events in your area, opening the opportunity to gather with others who share your interests.
4. Go where other moms go. Get out of the house with your child and head to MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers), Mommy and Me classes, storytime at the library or swim lessons. Moms can also be found on school committees and other activities your child is involved in. When you get there, introduce yourself and strike up a conversation. You never know who will be your next best friend.
5. Find groups of like-minded people through gyms, volunteer spots or churches. While it is nice to find friends who have children the same age as your kids, it is not a prerequisite for friendship. It is important to look for friends who have common interests like reading, running 5Ks or baking. If they are moms with older children, they could be a great source of advice for the next stage of parenting.
6. Introduce yourself to the neighbors. Some of my best mom friends live in my neighborhood. Even if you have only had a casual conversation with a few of them, consider hosting a driveway potluck or a game night like Euchre. If your neighborhood has events like a bicycle parade on the 4th of July or an Easter Egg Hunt, consider getting involved in the planning committee to meet more people.
7. Be a matchmaker for your friends. While my preschool-aged son was playing outside with one of the neighborhood girls, I mentioned to her mom, Tracey, that he didn’t have any friends who were boys. Tracey told me of another mom who said the same thing about her son. The next week, our mutual friend hosted a playdate for the three of them (and their moms) allowing us all to make new friends.
8. Don’t give up, it takes time. Like anything, it takes effort to be successful. Once you have made a connection with someone, keep feeding the relationship with opportunities to get together. However, realize that not every new connection will become a friendship and know when it is time to move on to the next person.
Pam Molnar is a freelance writer who spends much of her time in front of a computer. Despite that fact, she is blessed with many mom friends she has met over the years.