I got into a huge conversation recently with an old friend of mine. He’s in his mid-30s, self-employed, and works from his home in the burbs. He recently broke up with his girlfriend, and is newly single and realizing he just doesn’t have the group of friends that he did in his 20s. I’ve had the same conversation with other friends in their late 20s and 30s (and 40s)… how the fuck do you make friends as a grown up?
So here’s the thing about making friends with other parents: it’s kind of hard. Every time my kid makes a new friend I am so excited (!!!) for him, but it’s also a little trepedatious for me: does this mean I have to try to make a friend, too?
We live in a world where online dating is becoming increasingly mainstream (Match.com recently funded a study that showed one-in-five relationships now start online) but somehow, finding friends online is still seen as abnormal. And that, to put it eloquently, is really dumb.
Okay, so you just moved to a new location and you’re looking to make friends? Have you ever thought about doing so with a Frisbee? Here’s how one Homie used Ultimate Frisbee to make friends, build muscle, make dinner plans, and even make more money! Frisbees, man. Who knew!?
Large parties are rife with what I call “fringe friends” — strangers, distant family, or people you don’t know intimately. You might get invited to (or asked to organize) a wedding, reunion, baby shower, barbecue, work function, or camping trip. If you’re shy, this can be a source of anxiety instead of fun. Large parties prove difficult for those who are shy, and are a true challenge for the introverted host.
Here’s what has worked for me when hosting and socially navigating large parties.
Throughout my pregnancy I’d sit with my friends, often at a bar, sipping Orange Juice and Seven-Up and suspiciously eyeing my other female friends who weren’t drinking. I hopefully watched drinking patterns to see whether or not I could “score” a maternity leave buddy for at least part of my year as a stay at home mom. Although I have many close friends who often act as designated driver no one was pregnant while I was, and at this point no one will have more than a few weeks of overlap time at home with me unless they are very cleverly hiding five months of pregnancy. I have a handful of mom friends who are at home right now, but they all live outside of the city and on average are a fifty-three minute drive away.
My four-year-old has a new friend that I’m not the biggest fan of. The friend’s behavior (being destructive, kicking, hitting) isn’t my favorite. My daughter has also started acting out to get a laugh from her friend. The trouble is my daughter ADORES her friend — she talks about her at home, wants her to come over all the time, have sleepovers, etc.
My partner and I are considering having children sometime in the next few years, but the question of “community” has been holding us back. We both grew up in religious households but we are pretty much agnostic. However, we both know how powerful that supporting community can be.