The older I get, the deeper I find myself involuntarily in the no-friend zone. Back-to-back mom duties can quickly cram your schedule and leave very little time to even wave at the neighbors as you scurry all of the mom life accessories into the mini-van, close the trunk, lock the doors, click the seat belts, and hit the gas. My husband and I are horrible at making new friends. If you are anything like me, it can be a struggle to carve out time for a social life outside of family time. I spend way more time organizing and managing my kids’ social lives than my own.
So, in honor of Make New Friends Day, I vow to make a new friend this month!
But How? Start With Your Neighbors!
This post is not about how to meet the neighbors when you move into a new neighborhood. (Although, some of these tips can probably help someone who is moving into a new neighborhood!). I am writing this post for us moms who have been living in a neighborhood for quite some time with absolutely no neighbor friends.
Ironically, it is easy for me to watch our kids effortlessly play outside alongside the neighbors’ kids. I politely nod and wave at the parents of the kids. We even sit parallel on our porches and watch the kids play. I am ashamed to admit that our kids have had neighbor friends for years, but until last month, I didn’t even know the parents’ names. Harper Woods has been our home for the past four years, and I just learned the names of my closest three neighbors this summer.
Similarly, when we lived in Center Line, we assigned the neighbors nifty descriptive nicknames, such as “Woman with the short haircut” and “Man with cool hats.” Ugh. So, I get it. Making new friends is tough, and when it really comes down to it, doing anything new can seem overwhelming and exhausting to add to our already long laundry list of mom duties. But, I promise making new friends is just as rewarding as it is challenging. No mama is an island, and it helps to have someone near you, like a neighbor, to share your highs and lows with.
How do I get started?
1. Take off the Judgmental Lens
Though this is not a list of chronological steps, taking off the judgmental lens is definitely number one to making new friends. There are no perfect people. A search for a perfect friend will leave you feeling defeated and disappointed. Usually, we are the most judgmental of ourselves. Give yourself a break mama! You are doing the very best you can with the very best you have. Building a good tribe is a high level of self-care and being a good tribe member takes work!
2. Invite a Neighbor to Join You for a Routine Task
The last thing we want to do is add another task to our list. Instead, take inventory of some regular, ordinary, mundane things that you do throughout the month in your neighborhood. It wouldn’t hurt to have some company for trips to the local dry cleaner, grocery store, bakery, or even to the salon. Offer to drive or walk with your neighbor and chat as you travel.
3. Discover a Neighborhood Event Together
If something new is happening in the area, invite your neighbor to explore it together. Some ideas include a new restaurant or a retail store’s grand opening. It’s easier to break the ice when the event is new to everyone.
4. Write a Note
Drop a short note in the mail or hand deliver a cute card attached to come cookies. Let your neighbor know that they are not invisible to you. It will make the next “Hello” so much easier.
Share Your Neighbor Friend Story
These are only a few suggestions. Certainly, some may work better for some mamas than others. Try one or all of them, and let us know how it works!
Have you tried to reach out to neighbors and failed miserably?
Have you connected with a neighbor and found a life-long friend?
What is your plan for making a friend this month?