Divine Secrets of the Moving Mom Sisterhood: Making friends
Shortly after my first move with my husband a little more than five years ago, I remember sitting in the kitchen of my new home in rural Tennessee in the middle of tons of boxes and mountains of white packing paper. With my husband already at work, I was literally surrounded by so much stuff, but feeling so lonely and overwhelmed. I quickly realized that what the moving company failed to deliver with the truckload of our belongings was what I actually needed the most: my dear friends from our previous hometown. Why on earth didn’t they want to move 600 miles across the country with me? It really would have made this whole thing so much easier.
I think to a certain extent we all need people close by to rely on. And once you start moving, you realize that a close group of friends is not always a given. So, for all us Moving Moms out there, we better learn how to get really good at making new friends.
In all reality though, that is a lot easier said than done. There isn’t some magical waiting list you can get on or a place to apply for friends in a new area. It just has to happen. And I don’t know what it is about post-collegiate life, but it just seems like it is harder to make real connections with people. I’m sure part of it has to do with the simple fact that we aren’t surrounded by thousands of people that are in the same life-stage. Throw moving every few years into the mix and you are just a strange new face in a town or city. Most people already have their “people” figured out and don’t need to go looking for new friends like us.
If you happen to have a child, your time to make connections is just that much more limited. You might even feel like you want to throw in the towel if you have more than one little one running around and demanding your attention. And heading to the local playground can make you feel that much more isolated when the mom crews roll up to the playground for their nicely organized play dates. You wince as YOUR child awkwardly follows after their group of children asking repeatedly “Do you want to play?” It’s okay buddy, Mommy feels exactly the same way.
So, from that very first move to now, I’ve learned a few things and I thought I’d share them. I’m not great at all this, but I feel like I’m learning.
- Get out there! Sign up for a community class, join a gym or a church and if you have little ones, go to the story time hour at the library. New friends are not going to walk up to your front door (unless you live in an awesome neighborhood), so you better get to where the new friends potentially are.
- Be open. Not everyone is going to remind you of your closest friends from back home. That’s okay though. I’ve met some of the most different, cool people, and a lot of times, I went in thinking there was no way we were going to connect.
- Meet up. Once you’ve made an initial connection, initiate another time to get together. I know, I know, it sounds almost like you are trying to date someone, but in a way, finding a new friend is a little like a new dating relationship. You have to figure out if you are going to relate to each other well, and the only way to do that is by hanging out and spending time together.
- Get your kids together. If you have children, it makes the process of getting to know a fellow mom that much easier because there are tons of activities you can get your kids together to do. Then you have the time to talk and get to know each other better. Tire out your kiddo and get to know a friend better –that’s a win-win in my book.
- Open up your home. There is something about the comfort and informality of our own homes that makes us feel at ease. Once you get to know a new friend well enough, invite her and her family over to your home for dinner or a barbeque. It is a great way for her to see you in your real, honest element.
- Take it easy on yourself. Not everyone is going to be your best friend and to be honest, not everyone is even going to be friendly. That’s okay. But even if you aren’t going to be best friends with everyone, it doesn’t mean you failed. It just means you are normal and honest.
Now, don’t misunderstand what I am saying by all of this. It is NOT usually easy, and some of our moves have been so discouraging because I couldn’t seem to meet many people. And if you aren’t a naturally outgoing person, all these tips can be extra difficult. But, I will say from personal experience, when you find a really great friend along the way, all of the other difficult stuff really is so worth it.
-by Emily Robertson