I recently read a Facebook post where a mom joked that she forced her kids to plan their own play dates because she didn’t like talking to other moms. It bothered me. Why do we hate having to talk to each other? It’s already hard enough to make mommy friends and it’s even harder when we try to avoid each other! Can we go beyond Facebook friendship?
I struggle with face-to-face interactions. I would rather send a text than call. It’s easy to click thumbs ups and hearts than it is for me to leave a comment. It’s easy to send a friend request than to actually build a friendship through eye contact, laughter, and cups of coffee!
And that, my friends, is the problem!
We moved to this big city almost two years ago for my husband’s job. We live three hours from our nearest family. I needed new friends in close proximity. It was hard in the beginning to connect to people and build friendships all while my family and I were adjusting to a new area.
I am a natural introvert so soon as I would meet a fellow mom I would send her Facebook friend request thinking it was the safest way to build the foundation for a friendship. My thought was they would see how awesome (and normal) I am and they would want to be my friend. I waited on the friendly moms to invite me to playdates, invite me out for coffee, or invite my family to dinner. When it didn’t happen I decided people were too busy or unfriendly.
Facebook tells me that I have 593 friends but I still feel all alone here! Social networking sites allow us to learn about our friends’ lives without even having to talk to them. Instead of spending time with a person, we settle for a quick message with a cute emoji. I miss the days when socializing meant face-to-face interactions.
I need friends that will invite us over for a playdate, friends that will go shopping with me, friends that will bring a meal if I am sick, who will pick up the kids from school if I am in a bind, and friends that I can call in case of an emergency and they show up. Unfortunately, friendship like this are not made through computer screens.
I’ve spent too much time waiting for someone to seek me out! I’ve never wanted to think it was my own fault but realizing that I haven’t built one real friendship here, I finally understand that I need to make some changes. I know what I have been doing wrong and I am going to share some tips with you so that you get it right!
Communicate! I feel like I’ve met sweet “potential” friends but in most cases, we’ve never gone beyond short conversations. Communicating sounds so simple but lots of my conversations go:
“Hi, how are you?”
“How are you?”
Awkward smile. Weird lingering until one of us walks off.
Yikes! Let’s try asking questions to get to know each other. Ask questions about the city, the schools, or the restaurants. Compliment a new haircut or how talented their child is. We love that! Listen. Take mental notes. Get their phone number. Call them. Invite them to do something!
Get out! I am a SAHM and it can be really uncomfortable to navigate this bustling city! I just stay home but you aren’t going to meet new friends if you never leave your house! Go on a play date or join a mom group. Volunteer. Go to the park, playground, library, or church. Don’t be afraid to smile and say “hi” to other moms you find.
Don’t be Flaky! “We are so busy!” It’s true. We work and volunteer. My daughters have play practice, my son has speech, and my husband has baseball five nights a week. We fill our weekend with FAMILY time. Honestly, I just use this as an excuse some days. It’s not that I’m always busy… but more of I’m tired or I just don’t want to go anywhere! Let’s start squeezing people in! Make time for friendships to bloom! Go to that birthday party or baby shower that you dread because you picture yourself all alone in the corner. Be intentional! Don’t back out or cancel plans. We are moms. We get that things come up, but if you typically find excuses not to do things, people are going to stop trying to be your friend!
Be a REAL Facebook Friend! There is nothing wrong with using social media to enhance a friendship! It’s there to update, share, and show highlights from our lives. I have Facebook friends I really don’t know- distant relatives, former co-workers, my daughters’ classmates’ moms. These are all potential friends that I often ignore on social media. Occasionally, I like a post. You know what I rarely do… comment! Think how much more of a connection you could form, just by one comment! I’ve been missing out on opportunities to make friends because I’ve failed to be a real Facebook friend! When you see a cute baby picture say “She is adorable! What a sweet smile!” When she see a fun family vacation say “Oh, I’ve always wanted to go there!” Let people know you see them and that you enjoy their posts!
Momming is hard- especially in a new city! We all need a good friend! If you are like me and are looking for some local mom friends, I hope these tips help you connect in person and build new friendships. Let me know how it goes!