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How to make friends*

Fat Mum Slim /

friends
*when you’re 34, have moved to a new town and know nobody

Two years ago last month we moved all the way up north from Sydney. Looking back it was such a brave, leap of faith. I don’t usually do big chance-y things like that. I was talking to Hubby about it the other day and we were discussing how it all happened {because I so quickly forget} and he reminded me that we came up here for a holiday, liked it, put in for a transfer with his work, got it and then flew up, picked a house… and moved.

I didn’t know anyone when I moved up. Well, I knew my girlfriend Rowe who lived a little bit up the coast, but she quickly moved to Bali after I came up {perhaps she’s trying to tell me something? Eh?}, but other than that NOBODY.

My first endeavour into friendships happened when we were buying our fridge. I’ve written about it before somewhere. I saw a lady with nice hair, asked where she got it done, she told my her niece did hair, and in a matter of moments she’d given me her number. “She really likes to drink,” the lady told me, “Do you like to get on the drink?” “Oh yeah!” I enthusiastically fibbed.

Lesson 1: Fibs will get you everywhere. We’ve been friends since that day, and our kids are friends too. Win!

My second foray into new friendships was someone I met online. No, not through a dating site. She had a blog. I had a blog. So we met up for a play date. I thought it went well. Kids played nice. We chatted. Much like a successful first date, I thought it had potential. I was hopeful for the future. I waited the obligatory three days before texting again. “We’re going to the beach for a play next Thursday afternoon, want to join us?”

She had something on. And then something on the next time too.

Point made. I was dumped.

Lesson 2: She’s just not that into you.

My most recent adventure into friendships happened just last week. Lacey had made a new little friend at school, and I really liked her mum. I thought it would be awesome to arrange a little play date in the school holidays. I said to the mum, “We should have a play date these school holidays.” The mum smiled and agreed. So I pulled out my phone, typed in her name and asked, “What’s your number?”

“I don’t know,” she replied, “I don’t know my number. Oh my goodness. Umm… I think it’s O4-something.”

I popped my phone in my pocked and gushed, “Oh it doesn’t matter. Don’t worry.”

Lesson 3: She’s just not that into you either.

But she did give me post-it with her number on it the next day. Phew. Was starting to get a complex.

Awkward stories aside, I have made some beautiful friends up here. It helps when you’ve had a baby, go to activities like swimming lessons, and have a child that goes to school. That leap of faith move was one of the best things I’ve ever done, for myself and my family. Even though it does come served with a side of slight rejection.

Got any interesting friend stories to tell? Got a big group of friends? A small handful?

Image credit: Jonas Nilsson Lee

  • Karin Joyce

    I moved my life from the US to the UK 9 years ago for a rather lovely Englishman who is still my husband today. Finding friends has been tricky and didn’t really happen until I had our daughter 6 years ago. Blogging helped me immensely and I have made lifelong friends as a result but there’s nothing quite like having a friend down the road who you can run to when you need them. I am still lacking in that department!

    Karin

    • Blogging does help, definitely. I’ve met some of the best people I know through blogging. x

  • Sue Peterson

    I am seven years into our “new place” and I’m still having a hard time finding friends who I can hang out with on a regular basis. I find myself incredibly fearful of rejection, worried about our small and slightly dirty/messy house, struggling with a schedule that is constantly changing and unusual, etc. I have some acquaintances I’ve made through my daughter’s preschool, but even the mother’s club I’ve belonged to for four years is often a place of discomfort for me. I just can’t seem to find my people. I’m way older than most moms I meet (probably could hang out with their moms) and I think I judge myself so often I project that on to others. Geez, I sound like a sad, creepy, cat lady or something. It isn’t THAT bad. I do have some friends…sort of. πŸ™‚

    • Guest

      I’m in just the same intimation. Been here since 08 and missing the friend friends, you know, the ones up for a call and a chat. I have some ‘friends’ I think, I dont know. I feel like I just don’t fit here. It’s soooooooooooo hard.

      • Sarah Alexandra A.

        Try meetup.com! Maybe they have meetup groups near you that are interesting. Otherwise you could set up a group for girls events/mum playdates/cocktail evenings etc. up yourself!!!

    • I totally get what you mean! I have beautiful friends too of course. In Sydney I was a young mum, and here I feel like an older mum. I get it. xx

  • It’s been six years since I crossed the pond and moved down under and left my huge circle of friends behind. I totally felt like a Billy-no-mates for a while. I’ve made heaps of wonderful friends through work, met some awesome peeps through blogging and had my fair share of new friendship fails but now I’ve got a super but small circle of friends here. I’ve learned that it’s quality not quantity that counts! And just for the record, who would want to dump you? Doh!

  • Jem

    Well it’s a slight relief to know that I’m not the only one faced with this dilemma! My DH & I moved from Perth {where we had lived for 5 years, minimal friends} to QLD at the beginning of this year, to the country nonetheless. Friends where proving to be an elusive dream…so I found a few locals on my social media and met up for coffee. Problem is I feel kinda out of their loop, so to speak, as they are in the midst of parenting and school holidays, and I don’t have any kids. Not even a pet!! Alas it feels a little disjointed. Perhaps one day I will actually meet people my age, in my situation, and become best buds!!

    • Nell

      Glad I am not the only one! I have just moved to Cairns and have the same problem πŸ™

    • There seems to be a few people here, without kids, who find it harder to make friends… I guess kids are an easy ‘in’ with people.

      I hope that ‘best bud’ is just around the corner. x

  • Moved 18 months ago to a new hood. Have a handful of lovely friends now, but it did feel a bit like dating for a while there!

  • Nayeli

    Ho my! reading your comments makes me kinda sad because I moved from the border of USA to east Texas 6 months ago and the friend zone is so out of reach here, and I don’t have a blog or work (thank God for that). I am seriously considering working just to meet people. It does get lonely πŸ™
    Point in case making friends is hard especially when you’re a young Mexican mom in a Texas world jaja

    • Perhaps you could volunteer or something? I’ve always worked alone, or from home, so I do wonder what it would be like to work with people. Might be fun!

  • Nice post, no one talks about making friends as adults. I moved about a year ago and a few weeks ago I met a rally nice mum at the park and we got chatting and she said she would really like to start a blog and could she ask me some questions, I said yeah, let’s have a play date and chat blogging. (Friend win!) and she said, for sure, can we do it next week because I’m moving to Vietnam next friday (boo) so I did get another online friend but not a local one. It’s hard to find like minded people in the real world sometimes but having kids helps for sure!

  • We move a lot with my husband’s job. I have a lot of friends littered all over the western US. Thanks to social media and cell phones I’m able to stay in touch a bit. It’s hard to make new friends though, I don’t have kids, I’ve lived in my new town for about two and a half years and have only two good friends. It is tough to make friends as an adult.

  • Reannon Hope

    A few weeks back I took my little to playgroup. I never did playgroup with my bigs because that time I had a mothers group, tis time I do not. Anyway one of the ladies introduced me to a mum that had only started last week & I could tell straight up this woman did not want to talk to me but I’m friendly so Ia sked a few questions about her & her kids when she cam eout with ” I’m not interested in making friends, I have a really good group of friends I’m only here for the kids”….Okaaaaaay then. I was shocked! I was just being friendly! But for the record I was there to make friends & for my kids πŸ™‚

  • Samantha Turnbull

    My bestest friends tend to live far away, which is hard… and I also have a super-outgoing husband who likes to consider 600-or-so people his ‘besties’… which is also hard when I’m more for a tight knit group of extra specials.

    I’m working on expanding my circle locally, and having kids does help. It also helps not caring about rejection anymore – if someone consistently has ‘something on’ it’s their loss πŸ˜‰

    • Yes, I did write this post a little bit tongue in cheek… and hopefully that came across. I’m OK with not being friends with everyone, I just thought it’s funny how it becomes a little bit harder as we get older… unlike when Lacey goes to the park and is immediately friends with every kid there. Such a contrast. x

  • Oh shit I was about to get very cranky there until that person gave you her number the next day, some people just aren’t great with their phones right? So I’ve been on the Gold Coast for 8 years and still can count the number of actual, genuine friends I have here on one hand.. I have others that I see from time to time. I often get a little despondent as have lost a lot of people from my life recently, but they were toxic and really had to go, doesn’t make it any easier though. Once kids get to school things change right? Thankfully. x

    • Yes, I think it gets easier when they go to school. Definitely. I just went out with a group of mums on the weekend and it was lots of fun.

      And we’ll have to catch up too! x

  • Nell

    My husband and I have recently moved to FNQ (not by choice, a good opportunity arose and we needed to take it) and I am struggling to make friends. The town we have relocated to is very clicky and its hard to get an in or a friend. I have taken on some study in the hope I would make friends there (we don’t have children, so can’t use them to help) but the 17-20 year olds aren’t keen on a 30 something. I’ve even tried to dumb myself down and not let on about my travels and previous “life” just to fit in. It;sdefinetly not easy relocating and I miss my old friends heaps. I have moved cities & towns many times, but this is by far the hardest

    • Deb

      Where in fnq?

      • Peta

        Far North Queensland πŸ™‚

    • Tania

      Hmmm, sounds like where I’m living in FNQ (not here by choice either, lol) πŸ™‚

    • It is a beautiful part of the world, I hope the friendships come soon too. xxx

  • Lauren

    Love this post, so glad I’m not the only awkward thirty-something trying to make friends! I have had it opposite over the past couple of years, all of my tight, go-to, best friends have not only left my city, but they all left the country! All 4 of them. Distance friendship is hard to navigate and it’s just so much easier to talk in person! I have a lot of Mum friends through school, but it is so difficult to get to the point of close friendship. So, I am in friendship limbo at the moment!

  • Bec H

    My husband is a soldier and we move every two to three years. I’m quite reserved and struggle to make friends. Luckily his work is very social and I have made some dear friends that way. The only problem is we all move around. Right now we’re all in the same place and it’s wonderful!

    • I’ve often pondered what that life would be like. You’d see some beautiful parts of the world but it would be hard being so transient.

  • Megan

    I can relate. I moved up here a year and a half ago and have only made a few friends but none yet that I could call a BFF. It’s harder when your older and not working in bars and restaurants.

  • Kristie

    A few months ago I met this lovely person at event who I hope ill be friends with for a long time… cause I also don’t make friends easily.. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  • illesees

    Hi there. This is such a great post. I moved to Germany for work about 2 months ago from South Africa. I’m super shy, not married, I don’t have kids, and I don’t speak German. It’s really difficult for me to make friends and the language barrier makes it even harder.
    It’s good to know I’m not the only lonely lady out there. Thank goodness for bloggers and social media!

  • Thank you for posting this! Mark and I are currently considering doing the big move out west to Cowra (3 hours away, middle of nowhere). We wouldn’t know one single soul though and that scares me.

  • Oh gosh. This topic is hot in our house at the moment!! We are planning a move and have moved often and I have always looked at it as a chance to meet new people and have an adventure! But for some reason this upcoming move seems more daunting. I don’t know why though. I lived in your neck of the woods briefly and still have a couple of mates there. If you ever meet a Janet (I reckon her daughter is a similar age to your eldest) she is a gem! She introduced herself to me at the library play group and is lovely!! πŸ™‚

  • Such a beautiful post. My little family and I moved to a little holiday spot by the sea – after a holiday too. It took me a little while to find friends, I realise now that is because I was deeply depressed. But now, when I think of the friends I have made, the beautiful people I’m surrounded by its brings a tear – life is so beautiful. Thanks for bringing those beautiful thoughts to me <3

  • It is a hard thing to do. Six years and three days ago my kids and I left Sydney and moved to the Southern Highlands. Not a long distance but we knew no one. It has been an incredible experience for us, I have written a lot About it on my blog. But I wouldn’t change a thing!
    Oh, and that chick’s loss by not going on the play date too!!

  • Leisa Jane James Hill

    I’m in this boat at the moment, moved to my area a year ago and am hosting my first play date next week hoping to click with some of the mums my kid has taken to at kindy. I’ve found being a stay at home mum so lonely and isolating and its taking me very out of my comfort zone to try and make these strangers like me but I will continue to do so, hoping to find a local buddy.

  • Sarah Alexandra A.

    A bit over two years ago I moved from the Netherlands to Canada to be with my significant other. I knew none else then his family and felt a bit lost at first. How do you make friends when you don’t work, don’t have a car to get out by yourself and don’t study or have a kid?! I found a website called meetup.com which has certain groups that are close to your town/city… On of those was a girls group that hosted some fun events to meet other girls. I felt like I was on a dating site and was hesitant to go to an event at first, when I finally went to a board game night I felt silly for the hesitation. It was amazing! I met some amazing girls and one of them is now a really close friend. I guess ‘online dating’ really works sometimes πŸ˜‰ hahaha!

    • That’s so cool. I’ve never heard of that. I love that it worked for you. Thanks for sharing. x

  • Anna

    Although I’m without children, I can relate. I live in the UK but grew up in Melbourne. Some days I miss the luxury of old time friends where you can just pop in. Here nothing seems as easy, but slowly and surely I’m building a network of close friends. Maybe you could do some Photo A Day Global Meetups…mind, that would mean I need to get my act together and participate again!

    • I was thinking of doing a Christmas one. The thought makes me nervous, but it would be fun, hey?

  • American Guest

    I’m actually in the midst of this situation right now! I’m am taking a huge leap of faith & will power by moving to a different state with no job lined up. My mother just bought a house to become a snow bird (6 month resident of New Hampshire & other 6 months a resident of Florida, to avoid the harsh New England winters) & she asked me if I would like to live in New Hampshire year long. I am a very independent young 20-something woman and have not had to rely on family for many years. I have only been in NH for two weeks but I have already explored the area, and found local guilds that share similar interests as I do. Plus I’ve been applying to jobs that are actually in the field I went to college for! There are times that it’s scary & lonely but I have to believe that in the future everything will work out just fine. Best of luck!

  • Anna

    I am 2.5 years into our stay in Broken Hill, has to be the biggest most isolated town in OZ, I found when my daughter started school it was easier as I could meet her friends parents, everyone in town is nice I am loving it, not sure I have a best friend but I have a great network of friends who we help each other out, we are 1200km from our nearest family but our friends mean we don’t feel like we are missing anything

  • Karen

    We’ve recently moved to a new town and my twins are due to start school in September (we’re in the UK). I don’t know a soul so I’m hoping to get some ‘mummy dates’ when the term starts! We’ve been to a few stay and play sessions to get used to the school and the mums seem friendly enough so fingers crossed there’s hope for me πŸ™‚

    • I found that when school started, I met lots of new people. It’s been fun. I wish you all the best too. x

  • Rebecca

    Just a hint not all the mothers of your child’s friends will want to be friends, just get to know enough on those occasion to be happy that your not sending you child on a play date with a family that holds different values than yours! A quick cup of tea to establish a connection & a looksee into their home is enough, that is when she gets to the age of being left of course!

  • We made the big move around 2.5 years ago – from one side of the country to the other. I’ve made some great friends & we’re very happy but I definitely miss my friends and family back home, especially on the big occasions – new babies & other celebrations.

    • Oh yes, I guess that’s where Facebook comes in handy, so you still feel connected but I hate missing out on things too. Thankfully my mum and my little sister followed me up here, so I don’t miss too much. x

      • Ah now that’s the way to do it!
        My bestie is about the only person left under age 70 who’s not on Facebook! She also never has her mobile on her so I have to go all retro & ring her landline πŸ˜›

  • Monica @lifeastyled

    This brings back some memories of trying to fit in. After almost 15 years in Melbourne, we moved to Gold Coast last year (we weren’t sure how long for) but it was for hubby’s job. I immediately fltl the strain of having to fit in and making new friends. My then one year old was my motivation. I joined a play group, and looked for activities through meet up, but still found it really hard. Thankfully I started working very soon after, and made some really lovely friends. However, we moved back to Melbourne this year, again for jobs, and although glad we made that move out of our comfort zone for a year, made some friends, and enjoyed the weather, don’t think we will be doing a move again anytime soon! (would have loved to meet you Chantelle, if only I knew back then that you were up that way, we were in Cooly).

    • Oh man, Cooly is next door! Dang.

      • Monica @lifeastyled

        Yea I know…what a waste. Next time…:)

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