I used to have friends, but as an adult, I seem to have lost them all. I work part-time and I have young children, and I can’t seem to make or keep any friends. I see other women out having dinner together, or walking around the mall, and I’d like that to be me, but I can’t figure out how to get to that point with another person. My husband is a great guy, but I can’t hang out with just him for the rest of my life. How can I make some friends?
First, let’s think about you. Do you lecture other mothers when they feed their kids non-organic vegetables? Do you put your kids on those leashes disguised as backpacks when you take them to the park? Do you trim your fingernails in your office where everyone can hear the click-click of the nail clipper? Are you the neighbor we discussed a few days ago who installed a giant spotlight in her back yard?
If you really are normal and don’t have any horrifying habits or a disability to read social cues, we can think about other people.
I don’t fully understand being shy, but I hear that some people are like this. If you have trouble striking up a conversation, just ask a person about herself. A neighbor, a coworker, another mom at the playground: Where did you get that stroller? I love it! I’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was a little girl; what about you? Those hydrangeas are beautiful. I can’t seem to get mine to grow. How did you do it?
People looooooooove to talk about themselves. Don’t be nervous; they’re judging you a little bit, but not a lot. I think people in general tend to get so wrapped up in whether or not they’re being perceived well that they forget that the other person is probably worrying about the same thing. It’s like they say when you go to a job interview: pretend that you’re interviewing them to decide if you want to be friends, not like you’re just throwing yourself out there indiscriminately hoping someone will like you.
Also, join things. Knitting class, Pilates, a mom’s club, a writing group, the mayor’s campaign, Save the Whales, or whatever interests you. There you’ll meet people with similar interests, which will give you an opportunity to strike up a friendship.
Also, don’t be weird.