First Day of Kindergarten. College Orientation. There are some situations in life when it is easy to make friends because everyone else is looking for new friends too. But for the rest of your life, it can be more difficult. You have to make more of an effort. You have to seek out friendships instead of having them fall in your lap.
This can become even more difficult as a single mom. Some newly divorced moms find that their married friends don’t call them to hang out as much, or they stop getting invited to couples events entirely. On top of that, many single moms end up moving, either for financial reasons or to be near family. That means they have to start over in the friend department.
But don’t worry, there are many places to make new friends if you take the initiative and have an open attitude!
Where to Make Friends
- Church – If you are a Christian, the local church is a great place to build new friendships! The key is getting involved by joining a small group/lifegroup/Sunday School class and/or volunteering in an area where you are gifted. If you are currently at a church where you aren’t connecting with anyone, try a different church! Pro Tip – If there is a playground, hang out there for a bit after the service. That is a great place to meet other parents!
- Meetup.com – I have made countless friends on this site at different stages of my life. It is free to join, and there are groups of every kind. Search for Single Moms groups or moms groups in general! But don’t limit yourself to meeting other moms! Charlotte (where I live) has groups for hiking, board games, kickball, wine tastings…etc. Whatever your interest, you can find others who are into the same thing!
- Sports Leagues – If you are the sporty type (or not, but you like team sports anyway like me), check out the local leagues. You can play kickball, soccer, flag football, softball, volleyball, etc.
- Facebook Groups – No matter where you live, there is likely at least one group on Facebook for moms in your area. Where I live, for example, I am in three: one for my town, one for moms in my neighborhood with school-aged kids, and a smaller group for those new to the neighborhood. Post in the group asking if anyone wants to meet up for a drink or a playdate. You’ll likely have a ton of interest!
- Neighborhood clubs/events – If you live in an active neighborhood or apartment complex, you probably have clubs and activities going on. Pay attention to any newsletters or announcements that you receive from the HOA or management company to see what all there is out there. See something that interests you but not sure if it is your thing? Try it out anyway! Bunco is something I had never played before, but it was a great way to meet people in my neighborhood!
- Start a group for single moms where you can meet up together if you can’t find one! I have lots of friends who are married with and without kids, or single with no kids, but it is nice to have at least a couple of friends who can understand the specific challenges that come with solo-parenting, dating with children, etc. In fact, I just started my own local group for single moms last week! I posted in the Facebook mom’s group for our hometown asking if there were any other single moms who would like to get together. The response was great, so I started a Facebook group for us and we got together this past Friday night for the first time! If you start it, they will come, and they’ll be thankful you took the initiative!
So now that you know how to find people, how do you turn acquaintances into friendships? Here are some methods that work for me!
How to Make Friends from Aquaintances
- Be open to people who are different than you. When I go somewhere new, I do not just go into the room looking for single moms in their 30s with a 2nd grader and 4 year old. Don’t discount a potential friend because that person is married, doesn’t have kids, has different interests than you, etc. There is likely something you have in common with pretty much everyone. Look for that commonality, and build a friendship from there.
- Look for ways to hang out in addition to the planned activity. If you are meeting people in a structured environment, invite the group out to do something fun. If you meet at church, see if anyone wants to go out to eat after the service Sunday, or go grab a drink after kickball.
- Invite people over to your house. Pretty much every month has at least one excuse to celebrate! Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, St Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4th… Throw a party and invite people from the groups you are involved in to come. It is a great way to get to know people better! Pro Tip: Over-Invite! Especially if your party is on a holiday when people may have other plans (ie: July 4th), you could have low percentage of attendees. Even if someone cannot attend, however, your invitation will be appreciated!
- Invite people from one group to another group. I naturally do this, but I’m not sure if others do. If you are my friend from small group, I’m going to invite you to join my kickball team, and vice versa. This is a great way to spend more time with your new friends as well as to get to know them in a different environment!
- When someone invites you somewhere, go. If you get invited to something and you like the person who invited you, go if at all possible! If you can’t find a sitter or have previous plans, be sure to let that person know that you would love to attend next time!
- Be authentic. We are all different. Be your own, real self and don’t try to be what anyone wants you to be. They will like the real you more than someone who wears a mask.
Bottom Line: No matter where you make your friends, be true to yourself and open to others, even if they seem very different than you…the person who is your total opposite may end up being your best friend!
What are your tips for making friends?