Making Friends

As the new term starts and the kids are back at school, how do you feel? If you are sitting at home wishing you had more friends and a better social life, you’re not alone! Although you may feel lonely, many other mums are in the same situation. Whether you have a small baby and all your old friends are busy with their working lives, or you’ve moved to a new area and know no-one or your children have started school and the house suddenly seems very quiet between nine and three, there are some simple things to do to meet new people and develop friendships.

Five ways I’ve found friends since I moved town: Being a regular in a coffee shop - Chatting to other mums at the school gate - Waiting while my son takes part in a toddler activity group - Joining a women’s group which meets on a Thursday morning - Joining a book group

New Mummy Mates

If you have a baby or pre-schoolers, the fastest place to make new friends is at baby and toddler groups. This isn’t always the easy option. Many mums feel daunted at the prospect of walking into a group where everyone seem to know each other. Start by looking for the group leader: if you know no-one let the leader know and ask for a few introductions. Seek out people with children at a similar stage. Or watch who your child makes a beeline for and talk to their mum. Don’t worry if some of the people you talk to don’t seem very chatty: they may be feeling paralysed by shyness too. If it is your first time at a new group set yourself a target of speaking to, say, 5 people. Go back the next week and speak to those people again, and find a few more too.

Grown up Socialising

Once you’ve got past the baby stage you may find that it is months since you have been out for the evening and you’re missing having a social life. It may be a cliché, but the advice to ‘join a class’ is good. See if you can book time  each week to take up an activity. Pick something you’ve always wanted to do. I found a French conversation class was good for making friends because we were encouraged to talk… albeit in French! You could also look for a local book club, or volunteer to help with an organisation like your local NCT or join the PTA.

Stick it out

Whether you join a toddler group or take up an evening class, remember that it takes time to build friendships. Aim to be outgoing, even if you feel shy inside, and suggest meeting up for a coffee after class or a playdate to people who seem friendly. And if the first group you join or class you attend doesn’t result in friendships, try again. Once you find a group with likeminded people you’ll find that friendships grow.

This article by Antonia Chitty is in Relax magazine‘s current issue.

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