I am an introvert with social anxiety.
Making new friends is not an easy thing for me. I have a hard time putting myself out there, and when I do, I often act awkward or freeze up and stay silent. I have a tendency to keep just a few close friends, and that’s fine with me, because I need a lot of alone time. I know it’s common for adults to struggle making new friends, especially outside of a work environment. When we were in school, or are at work, we make friends because we are in the same places every day with the same people. The same is not true when you are a stay at home mom. You’re just…at home.
In January 2020, I wrote down all the things I wanted to accomplish for the year (I know, it’s hilarious!) and one of those things was: make two new local mom friends. Despite the obvious challenges for the year, I was determined. I needed mom friends. I especially needed mom friends who lived close by, and while I had friends scattered throughout metro Atlanta, they’re not local enough to ask them for recommendations for babysitters, kid-friendly restaurants, dance classes, or swim lessons. They’re not close enough for a last minute lunch on a tight schedule.
Surprisingly, I did make more than two new mom friends who I can seek advice from, make plans with, and schedule play dates with. I even managed to make these friends in the middle of a pandemic while we were very, very careful. I am going to share what I’ve learned when it comes to making new friends as an adult, because I know I’m not the only person who has struggled with this.
Go to the same place regularly.
Join a gym, and go the same time each day. Join a fitness class. Join a book club. Take your kids to a music class. Grocery shop at the same store every Monday at 10 AM on the dot. It doesn’t matter what it is. If you consistently show up to the same place, you will become a familiar face and conversations will strike up. Even preschool drop-off can be a good place to do this!
Find an extrovert.
As an introvert, I love to be adopted by an extrovert! They are often easy to connect with, make social situations easier, and introduce me to even more people I might become friends with.
Just say hi.
I know. I KNOW. This is terrifying. But what do you have to lose? Pre-covid, I sort-of-kind-of knew another mom at preschool, and one day I stopped her and properly introduced myself. Yes, it was scary. I knew she might totally blow me off. But she didn’t!
Reach out and follow up.
We love to say “We should get coffee sometime” and then never follow through. But if you take the initiative and actually attempt to schedule a place and time to get said coffee, your future friend might really appreciate that effort. Actually making plans — and keeping them — can go a long way.
Be prepared for rejection.
You aren’t going to be liked by everyone. That’s okay, because you aren’t going to like everyone, either. And sometimes people just have stuff going on in their lives that puts them in a place where they aren’t receptive to opening up. Keep this in mind as you reach out to potential friends. It’s often not about you.
Whether your introvert or an extrovert, how have you been able to find new mom friends?