Maybe it’s just me… but making friends is absolutely hard! Anxiety doesn’t make anything easy, but even before any form of diagnosis it was a difficult mountain to scale. As an introvert, I typically made one friend and was luckily absorbed into said friends group.
All my life that’s been the case for me. While I can chat up someone in a super market line, and my default setting is bubbly… friendship is another thing. My best friend for years was my best friend because we went to High School together and had kids around the same age. We just clicked.
But how do you make new friends? Well. Here are some tips! I wouldn’t say I’m an expert. But at 34 years old… I have learned some things.
In my experience, finding parent friends isn’t the easiest way to go, but when you do find them they tend to be the ones that last the longest. When my oldest daughter was very small, I was lucky enough to meet a Mom at her dance class who shared the same views as me on most things.
As someone who had been in dance, we were able to bond over our shared love of ballet, tap and other preforming arts. Our daughters were in the same class and thankfully also shared the same interests. We met when our kids were around four or five… and they are now eleven. Having someone to chat with during practices made them so much easier to ride out… if anyone else is a dance parent you will understand how difficult it can be. Having someone who understands that pain makes life so much easier and can help you survive the hours. And hours. And hours. You spend at the studio or competitions. If your truly lucky… everyone just matches up. The stars align and siblings get along, partners get along but if all else fails you still have that one thing to really bond over.
It doesn’t have to be something like dance either! Another friend of mine, who I consider one of my closest friends happened to be at the same field trip as myself as a chaperone, then we met again at swimming lessons. In a serendipitous twist, two of our kids were the exact same age, almost down to the month. It makes birthday months a little hectic, but is so much fun and being able to speak to someone who is going through almost the exact same thing at almost the exact same time… priceless. We can speak about our girls and commiserate the growing pains of being mothers of girls.
For my family, swimming lessons were the hardest of all. Trying to get two kids out of the water, showered, dressed and ready for -40°c was tough with a little sister who at three months old wasn’t a fan of being left in the playpen the facility had in the family change room. This particular parent and I became friends because she saw a struggling Mom of four trying her best to get everything done… and realizing she truly needed help. My partner worked nights at the time… something that happened after we registered the kids in the class. Without this wonderful woman stepping in and helping to take care of the youngest in our family… well. Frazzled doesn’t begin to cover it.
Parenting friends remind you, that you are not alone. Parenting is so insanely hard and truly one needs a village to raise a child without being overwhelmed. It’s hard to find one’s who really align with your beliefs and ideals, for some yjst doesn’t matter as much, but for others it is a really important part of being close friends.
As a personal note, my family lives 1,100 km away from my little unit. So friendships mean a lot since we don’t have built in friends like cousins or Aunts and Uncles. I was raised very close to my extended family and now for my kids extended family has become our friends.
Thanks for reading part one of many!