I have moved eight times in the last 15 years as a military spouse. I have become skilled as a Navy wife. I know how to sweep, pack, and research new territory. I have all my school admission papers in order, I can find a church house within her first month, and I have a way to find all the best restaurants. I cry every time I move because I have made friends everywhere. But even with all that included, it’s scary. It’s stressful. Every time I move, I experience the feeling of a toddler tantrum of “But I don’t want to go!”
have understood. Meeting people is scary. Moreover, it is difficult. Our schedules are full, our walls are up, and we are all so tired. Maybe you are new to the area or have lived there for years. Either way, if you’re looking to make friends, I’ve learned a few things through every opportunity to make new friends. take a deep breath. Some people may panic and scream, “But I don’t want to do that!” I know; I’ve been there. But, as we tell toddlers with tantrums, sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do. Sometimes the best things in life are really hard. Sometimes those hardships are well worth it.
I think the absolute best thing you can do to make friends is to act first. People are lonely and want to connect, but most people are too nervous to take the first step. It’s like we have a room full of people we want to make friends with but everyone is too scared to make the first move and we’re all left in this loneliness. Put yourself out there and you might look like an idiot. Others will too and will be very grateful for what you have done. You will be very grateful that you did. Introduce yourself with a smile and start asking questions. We all love to talk about ourselves. Listening is the best way to get to know someone. Ask questions and be genuinely interested in the answers. I can’t tell you how many friends I’ve made by trying to say hello to someone. It’s very difficult, but it’s also really easy.
However, we admit that rainbows and unicorns aren’t everything. I had quite a few strikeouts. Some people don’t want to connect with or clash with my personality. It may hurt or be embarrassing. Then we take a deep breath, remember that we are the only true children of God, and accept that although we did not get friends from our interactions, we did get stories. In my experience, interactions are mostly positive.
Remove the airpods from your ears and put away your phone. Stop scrolling through social media when a potential friend is around you. If you are open to connections, you are more likely to connect. Children’s events are the best places to make friends. Other parents are also looking for friends. You guys being in the same place means you have some common interests, or at least a common schedule. Discuss with other parents while sitting during practice. Host a cookout for your team. Kids participating in activities? No worries! I’m sure you’ve had times when you disconnected and connected with other people. Instead of listening to music, you might chat with someone you normally see at the gym. Instead of listening to podcasts, you might have lunch with a colleague. Open your eyes when you’re closing yourself off to others by focusing and adjusting your technology. Others will probably follow suit and put away their devices when they realize that human connection is available. Because that’s what we crave.
take part in something
Follow my interests! Search online for groups you might like. Many communities have groups for different stages of life, such as mother-to-be groups, retired groups, and interest-based gatherings such as running, geocaching, and knitting. You may find groups that can help you with your specific situation, such as grief or adoption support. Having similar interests doesn’t necessarily lead to friendship, but it’s a good starting point. If you are surrounded by many people, you are sure to find someone you feel comfortable with. Attending your first meeting with a new group can probably be intimidating, but sometimes there’s only one way to get involved. It can be hard, my friend! Remember, everyone has joined a group for the first time at some point. Once you’re familiar with the group, keep an eye out for new people. Remember how you felt when you first came to the venue. Making people feel welcome is also a great way to meet new friends.
Can’t find a group that meets your needs? Get started! Use word of mouth and social media to spread your message. When I was homeschooling my kids, our town didn’t have regular playdates for homeschoolers. There were lots of field trips and occasional park days, but we needed regularly scheduled events to plan our schooling. So I consulted with the church staff and posted on the local homeschool page that we would have weekly playdates in the church nursery. I brought toys from the classroom and let the children play while the mothers chatted. New people came in almost every week with a little intimidation and came back every week. Some started attending church there. I made friends, my kids made friends, and other moms made friends. If you don’t have kids or are not interested in just sitting and talking, come up with ideas yourself. Maybe you’ll form a group to pick up trash at your local park or book club, or meet weekly on the pickleball court. Invite others, whatever interests you.
Volunteering is a great way to connect with like-minded people. There are many opportunities to volunteer in your church or community. Giving back on a regular basis not only makes a difference and makes you feel better, it also gives you the opportunity to meet new people. Many volunteer opportunities involve a lot of talking, so you really get to know someone when you serve together. Cuddle your baby in the nursery on Sunday morning, sort clothes at the donation center, serve lunch at the local soup kitchen, play with animals at the shelter, or go on a mission trip at church. . Think about how you are interested in serving and find ways to get involved in that field. There’s a good chance you’ll have friends who care about it.
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Megan Moore Military spouse and mother of three children (through birth and adoption). Her trained speech pathologist now spends her time traveling across the country every few years. She has a passion for special needs, adoption, and ice cream.