I I’m a 31 year old in a de facto relationship with 2 children. My partner and I have a great relationship and we adore our children. On the surface, it looks like I have it made. But I have a horrible secret I’ve been hiding for ages. I have no friends. Zip. Nada. I have no girlfriends that I can call and meet up for a coffee and gossip.
I work full time and am the only mum among my female co-workers. I’m quite friendly with some of them but we don’t live near each other and have different interests. My life is basically work, kids, partner, sleep, and my weekends consist of cleaning and preparing for the week ahead. I have virtually no down time. I drop my kids off at before school care so I never come into contact with any other school parents.
I completed a part-time course in 2012 and I’ve not kept in contact with anyone from the course. I’ve lost contact with former colleagues, uni and high school friends, former neighbours and pretty much anyone else I’ve ever known. At work, I pretend like I have some semblance of a social life so I don’t come across as a complete weirdo. I’ve never really had a ‘best’ friend or even a really good friend, only acquaintances and it’s really getting me down. I feel so lonely and inadequate. As much as I love my partner and children, I really really need a girlfriend. Really bad. Where do I start?? Friendless
Hmmm. I’m not quite sure why you’ve let the gal pal thing slide quite so drastically – maybe you’ve been busy becoming a mum, maybe you’re shy or find small talk a drag or maybe you just find it easier to stay in your comfort zone with your family – but that all stops here, Friendless. Sure, it takes time to make and maintain friendships but you can’t NOT do it. I personally would be lost without my posse to call on. They soothe my soul, listen to me vent, pour vino down my neck, give me sane advice when I’m acting mental and, yes, make me laugh so hard I have wet my pants on occasion. I want that for you too. The pants-wetting included. And while you may be out of the habit of meeting people, you just have to rejig your priorities and put yourself out there. Here’s how:
Get onto social media. It’s downright brilliant for connecting with old pals, particularly Facebook. If you’re not on there, that’s a no-brainer, no pressure first step. Join and start hunting down those peeps from high school, uni, past jobs, other courses. It’s easier than starting from scratch as you’ve already got a history with these people. Reconnect, chat, tell them you fell off the face of the Earth for a while but now you’re back and believe-you-me, you’ll quickly start building those bonds back up.
Follow some blogs. What’s your passion? Cooking, gardening, parenting, home renovating, fashion, travel? There are literally millions of blogs out there and heaps of time-poor women dipping in for online chats and laughs. I’ve met some amazing people through blogs – and sometimes it carries over into a real life connection, too. Check out Blog Chicks for a comprehensive list of women bloggers to follow.
Join a friendship site. While dating sites do have the option to find ‘friends’ I reckon you’re better off checking out friendship connection sites like MeetUp where you can search for group activities in your area. Invite For A Bite is also great, designed for women who want to make female friends.
Organise stuff. Invite a neighbour you don’t know that well in for a coffee. Host a gathering or street party shindig (and you’ll start to be invited back). Attend some school events and chat to other parents. Suggest playdates for your kids and get to know some other mums that way. Contact your local council and ask about parenting groups or community groups to check out.
When you do meet someone you think might be a good friend, be a good friend yourself – that’s one of the best ways to build a strong foundation. That might mean phoning them regularly for a chat. Being a good listener. Making time to do stuff with them, even if you’re stressed or busy. But also giving the friendship room to breathe and going with the flow.
I hope that helps and good luck.
Love, reality chick