Friendships with Women: 5 Tips on How to Make Mom FriendsMari Hernandez-Tuten
The first time I felt like I got the “you’re not good enough” snub from another mom was shortly after we moved to a city where my husband and I didn’t know anyone our age. A family had us over, and we had a lovely time together; we talked, we laughed and our kids played.
I left feeling optimistic about this community and the possibilities of a new friend. Sunday rolled around and we saw this new friend at church. She walked right past me and didn’t even look at me, much less greet me. I thought, “Well, surely she just didn’t see me.” But it happened every single time unless she was with her husband, who was always willing to go out of his way to greet us. I quickly realized she was not interested in being my friend. I was hurt and kept wondering what I could have possibly said or done to offend her. At that time I worked and she didn’t. Did that bother her? It didn’t bother me. Honestly, I never figured it out, but I moved on.
I wish I could tell you that this incident was the first and last of my wounds with friendships with women but it’s not. We have moved many times since that situation, and each transition has its own challenges when it comes to making friends with other moms. But I will tell you this: the challenge has not stopped me from reaching out and making friends with other moms. I am so thankful, because I would have missed out on all those amazing friendships that I have made in the past nine years. I have shared here some reasons why it is so hard to make mom friends.
So whether you find yourself in a similar situation, or you’re currently holding your precious newborn and wondering “What now?”, these tips will help you move forward in your mom friendships.
5 Tips on How to Make Mom Friends
These are some general principles of friendship-making that would apply to any relationship, so stick around and read below, even if you’re not a mom.
1. Know when to stop pursuing. You invited her to hang out; she was too busy. You called her; she never returned the call. You emailed her an invite to your social gathering; she never responded. Dear sweet mama, I am sorry to tell you, but “MOVE ON.” There can be a slight chance that she never got the invites and, if you’re up for it, talk to her about it. But most likely she’s not interested. Don’t take it personally. Don’t get worked up and use it to rationalize why you don’t pursue friendships. Shake it off and move on.
2. Make yourself available. You’re not going to make friends if you don’t come out of your house. Join a mom group, community playgroup, church, library reading time… Go online and look for the one nearest you. Some groups even have mom online forums giving you an opportunity to communicate online before actually meeting each other at playgroup. Use your own social outlets like a community book club, gym etc… you may find other moms who have kiddos and are looking to hangout during the day with their kids.
3. Don’t be afraid to make the first contact. Exchange emails or mom cards and initiate a play date at the park. If they accept, give them some time to reciprocate the invite. If they don’t reciprocate, feel free to initiate again. If they do join you once again, give them another opportunity to reciprocate. If they still don’t reciprocate, you have a choice to make:
- A. This new found friend may be a taker and not a giver for whatever reason (busy, shy, doesn’t know how to be a friend). Are you okay with that? If so, continue pursuing the friendship.
- B. Stop pursuing and be okay with not developing that friendship.
- C. Let it go. She’s not interested and this is her way of letting you know.
Personally, I stink at just being the pursuer. To be honest, I believe that friendships need a good balance of give and take. So I would opt with choice B, unless I was desperately lonely. Which I did find myself in that place years ago, and I was happy to move on from that friendship after we moved. ( mom cards above can be found at Minted.com)
4. Keep an open mind and don’t be judgmental. All of the close mommy friends I’ve had in the past have all been great moms, but they have different parenting styles than I do. Guess what? It’s okay! If I was constantly judging them for their choices, our friendship wouldn’t go very far.
5. Don’t go through your friendships with a catcher’s mitt on both hands…. (reworded from Maya Angelou’s quote) Learn to give and be intentional about making time to hangout. You may be lucky to have found a friend who doesn’t mind being the intentional pursuer, but for the most part even she wouldn’t mind you initiating once in a while.
What have been your biggest obstacles in making mom friends?
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