How do you make friends as a stay at home schooling mom, details please? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 07-12-2011, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This topic has been on my mind for a while.

I read many posts, articles about where to meet and how to make friends but they usually talk about where to meet new people.  I would like to hear from other moms who have handful of good friends who will come to you for help when you are sick, who will listen to you when you need to pour out your heart, etc...  How did you make friends? 

I go to church, homeschool, I go to libraries, dance school and various groups but I don't know how to extend the friendship to personal level.  We say hi when passing by but with majority of them, we don't exchange phone calls or even emails.

Do I need to initiate play time or dinner over even they don't do it?  Funny thing is I see several ladies develop into closer friendship in front of my eyes when we all meet for the first time at either library or homeschool group.  They go to lunch together, play date at each other's house but I don't get invited (or no one invite us).

I became somewhat introverted into adulthood since I moved here from another country in my 20s.   Do I just invite people over and see where it takes?   Sometimes, when I'm with someone one on one, I don't know what to talk about but then I'm not good with group setting either (like MOPS group).

Ok, gotta go for my DD's dance class.

Thanks for reading...


 ~ Have a Blessed Day!
DS 6/2002, DD 5/2006, DS Feb 2009
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#2 of 8 Old 07-13-2011, 09:50 AM
 
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I'm afraid I don't have any advice for you, just hug2.gif because I am pretty much in the same boat as you! I moved from Australia to the UK to be with my husband (looong story). His close friends are all single or in casual relationships with no kids. We aren't homeschooling (yet - DS1 is almost 3) but I am considering it. I didn't get the community feel out of our church that I thought I would. I think a lot of it is down to our (mine and DHs) lifestyle and the way we are raising our kids being so different to our peers at church. Because the other women seem to have no problem with making friends shrug.gif.

 

I am also introverted, although I think that only people who know me very well would know this. For example - I have no problem making small talk or telling a joke etc in a similar situation, but I do have trouble connecting with people that I don't know very well face to face. I feel like the outsider in group situations.

 

I am lucky in that I get along very well with my sister-in-law, we have very similar personalities. I so wish that I had a close circle of friends though! If you have the opportunity to ask the other ladies over, then definetely ask them. They may be introverted too and not sure if they should be asking you! My sister-in-law and I made this mistake, both wanting to hang out, and neither wanting to ask the other. It took a family holiday a few months back and a glass of wine for us to finally talk about it. We both felt so silly afterwards and our friendship has deepened since then.


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#3 of 8 Old 07-13-2011, 08:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you ilovesunshine for your post.  Good that you mentioned about small talk and joke.  I'm not good at small talk so I don't know how to break ice when I meet people for the first time.  I ask a question and if the other person just answers with yes/no, then I get stumped, no elaboration, no further discussion from me and I feel that closes the doors for further chit chat unless the other person opens another door of discussion (but it seems this doesn't happen often)...  I need to learn the people skill or personality make over or something.

I was so extroverted while in school up to high school but since I moved to the US as a foreigner I guess I feel less confident speaking English to Americans and that way made me into introverted somewhat.


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#4 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 12:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naturallyspeaking View Post

 I would like to hear from other moms who have handful of good friends who will come to you for help when you are sick, who will listen to you when you need to pour out your heart, etc...  How did you make friends? 

I ...


 

I have a couple of very good friends who I know would go the end of the earth for me. I also have some really sweet casual friends and 

acquaintances who I suspect would lend me a hand if I asked and it wasn't something too difficult, just because they are nice people would help out any body.

 

There is a lot more to friendship than having someone take care of you when you can't handle things on your own. Your question is a bit like someone who can't figure out how to make conversation with a date over dinner asking how to get someone to marry them. You are jumping WAY ahead of yourself!

 

Friendship is mostly about enjoying another person's company. People like to be friends with others who are happy, who they can relax around, who laugh at the same things they do.

 

The way I see it, there are 3 levels of friendship:

 

1. Acquaintance -- people you see over and over, your know each other's names and have friendly chats when you bump into each other, but may or may not have their phone numbers. You don't go out of your way to see each other. (your kids are in the same activity and you talk during  it, for example)

 

2. Casual friends -- these people have moved up a notch. You have each other's numbers and make plans to do mellow things together. These are people who might make a plan to meet up with at story time at the library and then go on picnic with the kids together. You don't bare your soul to them, you just keep it light.

 

3. Good friend. -- Most of us aren't going to have more than one or two of these at a time. They are people you've known awhile a trust. You care about them a lot, and you know that they care about you. Much of your interactions may be just like casual friends, but with a deeper level of openess and knowing that if the sh*t hit the fan, you'd be there for each other. 

 

back to you specific situation -- yes, you could opt to invite people. ask for their number, call them. Plan get togethers, see what happens. Making new friends is a bit like fishing. sometimes you catch something, sometimes you don't. Don't get to wrapped up in finding your new best friend to bare your soul to. Just have some fun. think about the friendship levels and how the people in your circle fit in.

 

Are there people you see but don't talk to that you could turn into "acquaintances"? That's an easy level. It's mostly remembering their name, saying hi, and asking how they are doing.
 

Do you have some acquaintances that you could grow into casual friends? The step is to say something like "I love it when we have a chance to talk. Do you want to get together at the park/ beach/zoo/ whatever so we can talk more?"  or "You have the sweetest kids. My kids enjoy playing with them so much.  Do you want to blah blah blah"   When you figure out a pick up line that works for you, you can use it over and over. 

 

Eventually, one of your casual friends will gradually grow into a really close friend. There's no reason to rush this. It's much better to base a friendship in FUN than on need. It's also good to know some one for awhile, to find out what kind of person they really are before deciding to trust them.

 

As far as talking to people but being quiet, it's actually a virtue. Most people LOVE to talk. You just get them started, ask an occasional question, and they'll be happy as a calm and think of you as a great listener. Rather than trying to think of something to say, think of questions to ask. There are books about it.

 

In the mean time, have a pizza delivered if you need food, and find a therapist if you need someone to talk to. I'm not being snarky when I say that. If your primary energy when you meet people is one of NEED, then emotionally healthy people won't be attracked to you.

 

I learned about the levels of friendship from a therapist. He said that if I had 5 acquaintances, 3 casual friends, and one close friend, that my life would probably seem full of people to me, that that was about the max. number most people can really keep up with anyway.

 

Peace

 

 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#5 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 12:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naturallyspeaking View Post

Thank you ilovesunshine for your post.  Good that you mentioned about small talk and joke.  I'm not good at small talk so I don't know how to break ice when I meet people for the first time.  I ask a question and if the other person just answers with yes/no, then I get stumped, no elaboration, no further discussion from me and I feel that closes the doors for further chit chat unless the other person opens another door of discussion (but it seems this doesn't happen often)...  I need to learn the people skill or personality make over or something.

I was so extroverted while in school up to high school but since I moved to the US as a foreigner I guess I feel less confident speaking English to Americans and that way made me into introverted somewhat.

 

No problem! In my experience, when you get the yes/no answer from someone on asking them a question it can mean several things:

 

a) they are shy and do not know how to respond or how to elaborate on an answer

b) they may not have understood the question fully for whatever reason and have answered yes/no to be polite (hard of hearing or didn't understand your accent - I got this alot when I first arrived in the UK and I don't think I had much of an aussie accent)

c) they are distracted and are not giving you their full attention (eyes on the toddler for example)

d) they are not interested in the conversation and are not polite or socially aware enough to pretend that they are

 

If it is d) don't take it personally. Some people click as friends and some don't. Bear in mind that cultural differences can play a part as well. I found alot of people unbearably rude when I first came over. It was quite strange to me to realise that an english speaking country could seem so foreign. And I lived in both Australia and South Africa as a teenager, and had a wide variety of friends from different backgrounds, countries and religions in highschool. I don't know why I expected things to be the same here as in Australia, but they really weren't. I don't know how long you have been living in the US, but I sympathise! Being an expat is hard.

 

If you want to pm me, you are more than welcome to :)

 

Also, I think Linda on the move gave some great advice. Thanks Linda!

 

Chantelle

 

 


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#6 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 07:49 PM
 
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I agree with much of what Linda wrote particularly about coming to a friendship from a healthy place and the idea of categories of friendships. I also think Ilovemysunshine had some good thoughts about making friends when you are in a newer country.

 

I do think that you need to put yourself out there. Are there acquaintances that you find interesting and easier to talk to or things you know you have in common?  I'd suggest trying to arrange playdates or outings with one or two families (sometimes it is easier to have 3 people in a conversation to keep things flowing) and then following up or suggesting making more plans.

It may also be easier for you to connect with people if there is some structure already to your time together but still time to let conversations develop - perhaps a bookclub, knitting night, volunteering at something that allows for chatting etc.

I also think that you make friends by being one. Email after someone you like to thank them for the talk they gave at a meeting, or to ask for a recipe of something they mentioned. Offer a ride or a meal or a book to someone who may need it. Homeschoolers are also interested in learning experiences for their kids. Perhaps you could invite a few other homeschoolers over for cultural celebration from your country of origin.

 

I also think it all just takes time and repeated contact.  We have been in the same co-op with a group of families for 4 years. Some of these women are now my closest friends. But they wouldn't have been if I hadn't seen them every week.

 

Good luck!

Karen

 


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Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#7 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 09:21 PM
 
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Are there a couple of the homeschooling moms that you could work on befriending? Invite someone over for a playdate with the kids, out to coffee on the weekend (sans kids), to a movie...


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#8 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 11:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naturallyspeaking View Post

 I'm not good at small talk so I don't know how to break ice when I meet people for the first time.  I ask a question and if the other person just answers with yes/no, then I get stumped,..... since I moved to the US as a foreigner I guess I feel less confident speaking English to Americans and that way made me into introverted somewhat.


hug2.gif  Oh, I didn't realize you weren't from here and English wasn't your first language!  You write really well in English!

 

That really does make it harder. I lived in a different country for a while and didn't speak the language well. I am really, really nice to foreigners now!  (not that I was rude before, but now I go out of my way to be nice) It was much harder and lonelier than I had realized before I had that experience.

 

Basic conversation skills:

 

"Free information" - anything you can tell about a person by looking, such as if they are wearing a T-shirt from a vacation, or they are carrying a book and you can see the title, or working on a cross stitch. All most anything will work. For example, if you are waiting during a child's dance lesson, you know all the other moms have kids in dance. 

 

"Open ended questions" -  questions that don't have yes no answers. Try to notice some free information, and then form questions about it. For example, the person is wearing a Colorado t-Shirt. You can ask them if they went there, or if it was a gift. Then, based on what they say, ask a follow up question, trying to make it more detailed, less a yes no thing.   Knowing that a mom has a child in dance, you could ask how long the child has been taking lesson, what she likes about it, etc. This is easier to do if you focus on being genuinly interested in the other person rather than thinking about yourself, thinking about how nervous you are, your accent, etc. Just focus on the person in front of you, on getting to know nice things about them.

 

Stay positive. Even though some people are negative themselves, they still enjoy other people who are mostly positive. Truly noticing what is good in a situation causes people to want to be around you. Seeing what is good about the person you are talking to causes them to want to spend time with you.  

 

Making friends is a skill that can be learned. thumb.gif


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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