Getting to know people is usually not difficult as a parent. You meet many other parents in the parent cosmos. But whether contacts and acquaintances also become friends depends on many things. Making new friends as an adult takes a little effort and a lot of luck.
Why do I think happiness is part of it? Because friendship is not only based on common interests. Finding someone who accepts you for who you are, has the same sense of humor and sticks by you even after years of disagreement or different paths in life – that is very rare. That’s why I’m talking about the luck that you have to have to meet this person and that they feel the same way. You can’t force friendship, just as you can’t conjure up a dream partner. But it helps to keep an open mind and keep inviting new people into your life.
How parents make new friends
The time of the pandemic made it very difficult for us to make acquaintances. Therefore, in such an exceptional situation, where we have to keep our distance and reduce contacts, it has become even more difficult to get close to people. This applies to dating as well as to new acquaintances. We’re all much more suspicious and cautious overall, and we’re careful about who we meet up with. If you don’t have children, you spend most of your free time with friends, going out in the evening or doing hobbies together.
As parents, we don’t necessarily need friends to pass the time. Because our everyday life is already filled with appointments and to-dos. But most relate to the children. We parents need friends to share common concerns, to pour out our hearts and to realize that other parents are just like us and that someone understands. But we also need them like everyone else to laugh, to experience beautiful moments together and to support each other in everyday life with the children. Parents who want to make new friends basically have many opportunities to get in touch with other parents. Here are some places and offers to help. Just try it!
Ideas list: Here you could find new friends
On maternity leave
- at the retraining course, Pekip or sports course (there are also sports with babies)
- in the toddler group (usually in every town or municipality)
- in the park (many mothers or fathers usually do the same laps and you see each other several times, just talk to each other)
- Parent or mother-child cafes
- in the day care center (especially during the period of acclimatization, because you see each other there more often)
- at daycare clubs or parents’ cafés and daycare festivals
- in sports or music clubs
- in the library
- Parental leave offers from your municipality
- on playgrounds
During school time
- in clubs
- at parents’ evening
- at the school support association and at school festivals
Getting to know apps or communities (digital contact for Corona times!)
Finding and keeping new friends: 10 tips
It takes a lot to turn an acquaintance into a friendship. You can’t always control it. However, it is the same as with any relationship: both must do something to ensure that trust develops and closeness develops. It’s not always enough to have one thing in common, namely the children. There’s a little more to it than that.
Be open and don’t close yourself off
Basically it’s like dating: If you keep an open mind and are interested in other people, it will be easier for you to make contacts. Therefore, I can only advise that you try to go through life without prejudices against people. Give everyone else a chance to get to know you better. Sometimes true friends only emerge at second or third glance. There is the lucky chance that you meet in the day care center or on the playground and you like each other right from the start. Then it runs by itself. But that’s not always the case. Depending on where you live and how you feel about yourself, you may or may not find it easier to meet new people. Sometimes the person who doesn’t seem to fit you superficially is exactly the right potential girlfriend.
Offer your help and be there for each other
If you don’t know each other that well, it’s obviously difficult to ask for help. Just take the first step yourself if you notice that a new contact of yours needs help with one thing or another. Of course, one should never impose oneself. But it’s good if the other person knows that you could help with this or that thing or that you are familiar with it.
Stay proactive and suggest something
Friendships are based on shared experiences. When you experience everyday life or special holidays together, you create beautiful memories and experiences. A friendship absolutely needs such experiences in order to be able to grow. Don’t always wait until the other person suggests meeting up with the kids. Suggest something yourself or invite someone over. Friendship is give and take.
A journey together brings us together
It’s a bit more difficult in Corona times: But traveling together is always a nice opportunity to share experiences and build friendships. The advantages are clear: You can take care of the children together and relieve each other. It’s also a lot more fun than just being alone all the time. Holidays with friends are a real relief, especially for single parents.
Do you think you don’t know each other well enough to go on holiday together? Sometimes jumping in at the deep end is just the right thing. Certainly you have to make compromises so that every family couple likes it and all needs are met. Such a journey can be a real revelation.
Be curious and try something new
This brings us to the next point: If you want to make new friends, you should always remain curious about people. At a certain age, you might get a bit lazy about making new friends. You are no longer as flexible and maybe annoyed by others more quickly or put others in a drawer. Always stay curious about people and you will see what positive surprises await!
Don’t impose yourself, but show that you’re there
I had recommended that it is always good to take the first step and offer help. Of course, it always depends on the type of help. It can also quickly be too much for the other person if he has the feeling that you are being forced on him. There is no recipe here, you have to be emphatic and always report back. But if the other person makes it clear that he doesn’t want that, you should stop.
One of the top rules when you want to make new friends: stay authentic and don’t pretend to please. There are people who have the habit of wanting to adapt to new acquaintances. This will be noticed quickly and very uncomfortable for both sides if you have to pretend. Proposing to go cycling even though you hate cycling? Don’t do that, but always be as honest as possible with everything.
It’s okay if you disagree
This brings us to the next important point: A good friendship can stand it if the other person has different opinions on certain things. Of course, friendships can also break up if both develop in very different directions. There are also topics that are taboo for oneself and where one simply can no longer ignore them. But in certain areas, such as meat eaters or vegans, you can also be friends if the other person doesn’t really know what to do with them.
Of course, it can be more difficult when it comes to politics, religion or corona vaccination. This can break many friendships. Every family has its own rules when it comes to raising children. These don’t necessarily have to match yours and you can still be good friends, right?
Good friendship sometimes needs distance
Even though I just wrote that friendship is based on shared experiences. It doesn’t hurt a really good friendship if you don’t have any contact for weeks or months. Maybe not just at the beginning of an acquaintance, it can happen that things quickly get lost if you don’t keep at it. But basically it’s not the end of the world if you have to cancel a meeting because it doesn’t fit into your everyday family life or you don’t feel like it. Your boyfriend or girlfriend should understand that and you can also communicate that openly. That’s a lot better than making up flimsy excuses.
It’s the same with every human relationship: When you get to know each other for the first time, you’re usually still unsure what to say about yourself and whether you can trust the other person. Some people are very open very quickly and some people are still holding back certain things. That’s absolutely true, too, and it depends on how long you’ve known each other and how vulnerable you are to certain issues. A healthy caution can’t hurt at the beginning. Most of the time you realize when you can be more open in a friendship and then you just have to trust. You can never be 100% sure how a person develops, and sometimes you might be disappointed. But if you close your heart completely, you will also remain lonely with your problems.
Image Credit: Getty Images/jacoblund
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