Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Trick to Making New Friends

Remember when I said that our whole family is working hard to make new friends in our new city??  

It really is a whole family effort.

And something we talk about often.


I have a sneaking suspicion that we are not the only ones who find ourselves wishing we had more friends.  Do you ever feel that way?  Even if you haven't moved a lot like us, I bet there are times when you wish you'd make a new friend or two.

I thought I'd give you some tips and tricks to things that we have done to help us connect with new people this year.  These things won't work like magic for you.  Making real friends is HARD.  It takes a lot of work and dedication.  It means that you'll sometimes say yes when you want to say no.  It might mean that you will have to be the initiator and the one who does the event planning if you want to connect with new people.  And it might mean you'll feel awkward at times navigating the waters of being new friends.  If you want to have fun plans - make them!

Welcome to our house!

Here's what making new friends looks at our house:

Kevin has invited guys to breakfast or lunch to try to get to know them better.  He's made us family dinner plans with other families and invited us to work functions or volunteered us to host lots of dinners with new friends.  He has also worked hard to find us a great church for everyone in our family, we have the same church routine most weekends and he said yes when we were invited to join a small group.

I have joined some women's Bible studies that are geared towards moms of little ones to help us make friends.  I just started and am hopeful that this will be a great place to make friends.  I always keep our pantry stocked, our house ready to host and have worked really hard to connect with our neighbors.  I talk to other families when we go for walks.  I introduce myself and try to find things that will connect their family to our family.  If you're flying a Notre Dame flag, you better believe that I'm stopping to say hello.  It makes me feel good to be making friend connections and learning names around our neighborhood.  I have added new friends on Facebook and I try hard to volunteer at the kid's school to help them feel connected there.

Side note: There is a man in our neighborhood that keeps a stash of folding chairs on his front porch.  I always wondered about these card table chairs.  I couldn't figure out why he'd leave them outside.  Then I went for a walk one evening and he'd gathered with his neighbors on his front sidewalk.  Everyone had a chair and they were chatting the evening away.  It made my whole evening!  It was so sweet to see (what I presume is an older man who likely lives alone) go out of his way to connect with his friends.

The kids are working hard to make friends, too.  They are always on the look out for kids in the neighborhood and at school.  They have familiar faces from their classes last year, but are eager to find best friends this year.  Olive got invited to a birthday party of a school friend.  She couldn't wait to pick out the perfect gift for her bestie.  She asked if I'd take her and stay with her at the party since she wouldn't know many people.  I wanted to pass.  I knew I wouldn't know a single parent or kid for that matter and it was going to be awkward.  It was not exactly how I wanted to spend my Saturday night.

But instead of saying no, I said yes to the invitation.  We went to the party last weekend.  I was right - I didn't know anyone and it was kind of awkward.  I opted to focus on the positives, start conversations with the mom hosting and then pitch in to help her.  Who doesn't need a helping hand at a party full of 9-10 year olds??  I enjoyed getting to know the friend's mom and we had a nice time.  Olive thanked me for taking her to the party, thanked me for staying with her and was so happy that we all said yes to going to this party.  We both powered through the awkward together and were glad we did.

Olive got to play with a foam canon, swim, eat pizza and make a sugar scrub with her friends.  She couldn't have been happier!  I'm so glad we both said yes.

 

Fletcher isn't the best at remembering names, but he makes friends easily.  He rotates who he plays with at recess and after a bit he learns the names of his new friends.  He is working hard to find new buddies.  He's glad when he sees a school friend at church and he can talk the leg off of any neighbor.  He's got some favorite older neighbors that he loves to talk to in the evenings.

Leo waves hello to everyone in the neighborhood and loves to say hi to anyone walking their dog.  Everyone thinks he's the cutest.  He always draws a crowd.  The morning walkers, the mail lady, the evening go for a stroll people - they all are eager to say hi to Leo.  It easy for me to start a conversation when he's flagged down someone to say hello.  Or say WOW to a cool vehicle in their driveway.

My message for you to day is that making new friends is hard and it's worth the effort.

There is no magic trick.  You've got to be a good friend to new people and keep saying yes.  This is my encouraging nudge to reach out to someone that you've been wanting to become friends with.  You won't regret making new friends!  And if it doesn't end up being someone you want to be best friends with, it'll still feel good to know someone new.

9 comments:

  1. This is so encouraging!! I am so impressed and inspired by your heart and your determination to step out of your comfort zone to be a friend. This is sometimes hard for me and I appreciate your tips and encouragement. It’s a very Christ-like approach! Thank you!

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  2. We have 2 of our kids at a new school this year, so we are trying to form new friendships there. We're volunteering and showing up, and making small talk and jumping in when we see help is needed. It's a lot of extroverting for this introvert, but I think it's worth it. Our kids play sports, so we started going to the extra, optional (and free) conditioning evenings they held over the summer...it was great for my kids to meet other kiddos in a low-pressure environment so they already had friends or at least saw some familiar faces on the first day of school. Activities are always a great way to make new friends. My house is NEVER hosting ready - I can't even imagine, LOL, but I'm always willing to go hang out somewhere else.

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  3. If we lived closer, I think we would be really good friends in real life!! <3

    I love your perseverance, openness, and friendliness in all these suggestions. May God bless your efforts for each one of your family members with good friends!!

    Have you read Sally Clarkson's Girl Club? I thought it was a great book on this topic.

    We have been blessed with an incredible community here that was partly already in place, but a friend and I have worked hard to grow our moms group and go deeper with small groups within it. It has definitely payed off and we have a really solid network. I don't know how long we will live here (my husband commutes and there's definitely a potential of moving to the city, sadly!!) but I try to be grateful while we are here and I'm very passionate about inviting new moms and women into our "circle" because I know how hard it can be to make friends from scratch!

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    1. My daughter and I just started a mother/daughter Girls’ Club group because of this book! We are all reading the book and getting together to discuss each chapter and go through the “experience” guide together. It’s been fantastic!

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  4. I love this post and your positive outlook to doing something hard even when you don't feel like it -- long term pay offs!

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  5. It is very hard to make friends at any age. I feel like in my life, being in farming with two littles, we have to say no a lot because we're not sure what our schedule will be like. I'm hoping to connect to some moms at church since we all have littles that visit the nursery often.

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  6. I've always thought that you seemed really good as making friends! You're warm and welcoming, Whitney! I struggle with this big time. Homeschool moms tend to put their heads to the grindstone and forget to look around and connect with other moms. I've especially found this to be true since we're no longer in a co-op, which was a great way to connect. A few weeks ago at church I complimented someone on her cute hair, and she asked me if I wanted the stylists number. Even though I didn't really need the number I said yes, and she later asked me if I might like to get coffee or lunch sometime. I'm feeling thankful like this was God's way of helping me connect at church. We haven't met up yet, but hopefully we will soon. Anyway, thanks for sharing how y'all are doing in this area!
    ~kristen

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  7. Love this post so much!! Thank you for sharing!

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  8. Thank you for the encouragement. You're right...there isn't a magic formula, you just have to put yourself out there. I'm working on this a little now with a new Bible study.

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I LOVE hearing from you!! Thanks for taking the time to leave sweet comments; I enjoy reading every one of them.