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I am having this struggle to, making friends. I have had opportunities to practice the skills since I've moved around a bit, but I always feel like I am fumbling.

Here is what I am realizing. I know how to meet up with people. I know how to hang out for an hour or two every once in a while and have a good time. I think people enjoy themselves when hanging out with me.

The skills I seem to be missing are how to take it to a deeper level, how to really connect with folks and form bonds that would make it so much less weird for us to call each other just to chat or for us to consider one another close friends more than buddies and to do things together a little more often.

I'm learning I am not alone in this. Since I work in a family ministry setting, I get to know folks pretty well. I've discovered that a great number of us are lonely, some of us with social lives of some sort and some of us with none. Many of us get together with others on occassion but still feel a alone most days. I myself just the other day sat on my couch with phone in hand thinking that I have been pestering my mother recently with frequent phone calls because I just don't have any close friends in my area who I am regularly getting together with or calling.

My best friend in the whole wide world lives on the opposite coast. We could talk about anything when I lived out there, but now between the time difference, opposing work schedules, and the fact that both of us frequently have to bow out in the middle of phone conversations because our kids start going crazy, we hardly talk at all.

I have a model I am familiar with for something that helps people make connections with one another beyond just the "getting together every now and then" thing. It is helpful for both people who have the skills to make friends (but who enjoy a ripe opportunity to do so) as well as those who don't. But it is something I have only faciliated in a congregational setting, in the scope of a ministry. It's called a "small group ministry," or "covenant group."

I am trying now to envision what it might look like in secular relationships. So at the risk of sounding crazy, let me just throw it out there and see if anyone else might be interested in this kind of thing. What can it hurt to just explore the idea?

It works like this (I'm in Worcester by the way). A group of people make a commitment to get together regularly for a semi-structured relationship-building time together, usually conversationally-based. Generally:

*The ideal size is about 8 people. Anywhere between 6-10 people can work. Having more than six really facilitates that illusive thing called "community." Over ten or eleven tends to be unwieldy and people have less of a chance for making strong connections.

*The group is designed with the goal of creating opportunities deeper friendships among group members. This can't be manufactured of course, but if everyone comes to the table wanting something like that, it does help to ensure the opportunities are there.

*The group makes a commitment to get together on a regular basis, whether it is once every couple of weeks or once a month. Groups make a commitment to do this over a six month or year long period (thus if get together are monthly, there are anywhere from 6-12 get togethers). The one year period has been shown most effective in helping people develop real friendships with others, but sometimes a six month period is all folks can manage in terms of a commitment. The commitment is important because it is harder to build community when folks are popping in and out and because making deeper friendships require spending time together.

*The group has some kind of facilitated discussion topics during their get togethers. Discussions can start with the reading of a few quotes, or a book or essay the group has read together, or simply from a series of planned questions. Since we're all obviously interested in parenting (especially from the NFL/AP bent), this could make for some interesting disucssions. Of course there are lots of other interesting topics, like self-care and personal growth topics. The important part is that the discussion topics are designed to make for an interesting and meaningful discussion that goes a bit deeper than the "surface level" conversations that many folks experience at playgroups, etc.

*The group is not and does not function as a therapy group and folks do not problem solve for one another. It is more an opportunity for sharing around topics of common interest.

*The group usually makes some agreements when it first starts meeting about how it is going function and how group members are expected to behave (some group "norming" as it were). This helps people feel safer and more comfortable in the group setting, and helps the group stay healthy in its functioning.

*The discussion portion of the group might run about an hour, and then there might just be social time for another half hour. Or, some groups just find the discussion the most meaningful stuff, and just stick to that.

*With a group of parents, I would anticipate something like a monthly hour and a half long child-free (self care) get together, and then an occassional whole family activity or playgroup time.

*Group members are of course encouraged to get together with one another outside of the group. As folks get to know one another better, some folks might find that they "click" and may find themselves calling one another to chat, etc. etc. This is largely the point, though the discussions along the way can be interesting and a time for personal growth too.

Alright, I really just took a risk to throw this out there. I don't know if I sound off my rocker, but if we had a group of six+ folks interested in a central MA group like this, I'd be willing to facilitate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
OK -- I don't know why I can't figure out how to mulit quote but...

Unfortunately I'm not able to sneak out at lunch time to meet up as I travel all over NE for my job....so.....I am simply just not around. That would have been a great start though...so, thanks!

I would be up for a playdate with someone with multi-kids...quite frankly, sometimes I just don't think I even know what the heck I'm doing (although I am much more confident about being a mom now) and would love my DS to interact with other children and learn skills that I need to know from other mamas who this stuff comes to naturally or has learned. For example, what do you do when someone's child comes up to yours at the park and kind of pushes him -- repeatedly? See, I just don't know but this has come up...silly, that I don't know the most appropriate response, but I just don't. And really, I'm wondering how the heck you handle 4 kids -- I can barely just handle one!
You must be one heck of an organized and relaxed mama!

I live in a 2 bedroom apartment and its small, but I am more the willing to host anyone who would want to come. If its the weekend, my dh will be home unless he is working overtime. I can always kick his butt out though...


I'd be into the group thing sierra mentioned too.

I just found out our saturday playgroup is no longer being offered because of budget cuts, so this saturday is the last for us.


Let me know if anyone is interested. I know people may not feel comfortable coming to my house without knowing us, so if anyone has suggestions on a more suitable place, that works for me too. I on the other hand am probably just too darn trusting and try to believe in the good in people so I foolishly offer my house up as a meeting place. Call me silly!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Sierra View Post
I am having this struggle to, making friends. I have had opportunities to practice the skills since I've moved around a bit, but I always feel like I am fumbling.

Here is what I am realizing. I know how to meet up with people. I know how to hang out for an hour or two every once in a while and have a good time. I think people enjoy themselves when hanging out with me.

The skills I seem to be missing are how to take it to a deeper level, how to really connect with folks and form bonds that would make it so much less weird for us to call each other just to chat or for us to consider one another close friends more than buddies and to do things together a little more often.

I'm learning I am not alone in this. Since I work in a family ministry setting, I get to know folks pretty well. I've discovered that a great number of us are lonely, some of us with social lives of some sort and some of us with none. Many of us get together with others on occassion but still feel a alone most days. I myself just the other day sat on my couch with phone in hand thinking that I have been pestering my mother recently with frequent phone calls because I just don't have any close friends in my area who I am regularly getting together with or calling.

My best friend in the whole wide world lives on the opposite coast. We could talk about anything when I lived out there, but now between the time difference, opposing work schedules, and the fact that both of us frequently have to bow out in the middle of phone conversations because our kids start going crazy, we hardly talk at all.

I have a model I am familiar with for something that helps people make connections with one another beyond just the "getting together every now and then" thing. It is helpful for both people who have the skills to make friends (but who enjoy a ripe opportunity to do so) as well as those who don't. But it is something I have only faciliated in a congregational setting, in the scope of a ministry. It's called a "small group ministry," or "covenant group."

I am trying now to envision what it might look like in secular relationships. So at the risk of sounding crazy, let me just throw it out there and see if anyone else might be interested in this kind of thing. What can it hurt to just explore the idea?

It works like this (I'm in Worcester by the way). A group of people make a commitment to get together regularly for a semi-structured relationship-building time together, usually conversationally-based. Generally:

*The ideal size is about 8 people. Anywhere between 6-10 people can work. Having more than six really facilitates that illusive thing called "community." Over ten or eleven tends to be unwieldy and people have less of a chance for making strong connections.

*The group is designed with the goal of creating opportunities deeper friendships among group members. This can't be manufactured of course, but if everyone comes to the table wanting something like that, it does help to ensure the opportunities are there.

*The group makes a commitment to get together on a regular basis, whether it is once every couple of weeks or once a month. Groups make a commitment to do this over a six month or year long period (thus if get together are monthly, there are anywhere from 6-12 get togethers). The one year period has been shown most effective in helping people develop real friendships with others, but sometimes a six month period is all folks can manage in terms of a commitment. The commitment is important because it is harder to build community when folks are popping in and out and because making deeper friendships require spending time together.

*The group has some kind of facilitated discussion topics during their get togethers. Discussions can start with the reading of a few quotes, or a book or essay the group has read together, or simply from a series of planned questions. Since we're all obviously interested in parenting (especially from the NFL/AP bent), this could make for some interesting disucssions. Of course there are lots of other interesting topics, like self-care and personal growth topics. The important part is that the discussion topics are designed to make for an interesting and meaningful discussion that goes a bit deeper than the "surface level" conversations that many folks experience at playgroups, etc.

*The group is not and does not function as a therapy group and folks do not problem solve for one another. It is more an opportunity for sharing around topics of common interest.

*The group usually makes some agreements when it first starts meeting about how it is going function and how group members are expected to behave (some group "norming" as it were). This helps people feel safer and more comfortable in the group setting, and helps the group stay healthy in its functioning.

*The discussion portion of the group might run about an hour, and then there might just be social time for another half hour. Or, some groups just find the discussion the most meaningful stuff, and just stick to that.

*With a group of parents, I would anticipate something like a monthly hour and a half long child-free (self care) get together, and then an occassional whole family activity or playgroup time.

*Group members are of course encouraged to get together with one another outside of the group. As folks get to know one another better, some folks might find that they "click" and may find themselves calling one another to chat, etc. etc. This is largely the point, though the discussions along the way can be interesting and a time for personal growth too.

Alright, I really just took a risk to throw this out there. I don't know if I sound off my rocker, but if we had a group of six+ folks interested in a central MA group like this, I'd be willing to facilitate.
Sienna.
I'm definately interested -have participatated in like groups -pre child .I like the format which you've taken the time to put forth Thanks,
We live in Metrowest -our daughter is 3.8 y/o.
got allotta balls in the air at the moment but I'll definately be tuning in & checking thread developments.
-Be
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by veganf View Post
I was absolutely including anyone and everyone in the area at MDC, that's why I asked "Anybody else?" when I suggested that area. I may have 4 kids, but I'm dying to get out for an hour or two without them, however I don't give a darn if other people bring their kids along or not. I'm also up for playdates with kids, it's just harder to negotiate everyone's schedules with numerous kids. And I thought it might be fun to have a casual meal out to chat with other mamas instead of running after little ones all over a park or what-have-you...I find it's harder to get to know people that way. Heck I'd invite everyone over for a playdate if our house weren't such a boy-torn hurricane zone since the newest baby arrived.
Any other ideas to get us friend-seeking mamas together, put 'em out there. I know the Millbury exit near Grafton, but otherwise I'm not too familiar out Worcester way, so if someone wants to organize something there
.
A playdate at Dean park in Shrewsbury might be doable, but I know some people might not want to brave the cooler weather...but I'd love to do it on a weekend.
Just trying to brainstorm some ideas to get people together.
veganf

Lunch sometime at Big Fresh sounds good ...
Also we frequent parks in this weather-we live in your neck of the woods -4 kids -we can hang w/ that!
What's Dean's park like?How far from Framingham Ctr.?
W/E work well for us...dd has swimming on Sat a.m out by 10:00.
Our only time restriction is that dd takes a nap @ 12:30-1:00 and we would be interested in meeting in the a.m on w/e and some notice would be helpfull.
Looking forward to meeting up w/ you ,your brood & others!

-Be
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by being View Post
I'm definately interested -have participatated in like groups -pre child.
First, I am so relieved no one thought my idea was terrible. I felt very shy about suggesting it
. Second, the above post makes three people who are interested. With me, that is four.

Wow! Are there two-four more folks who would be interested? If so, we could actually take this idea and run with it.

~Sierra
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Staceyhsmom1 View Post
hey lemon juice, and all, me too!
my youngest is almost 6 and I'm no longer in the moms clubs and playgroups and not yet into all the homeschooling groups, I don't do bars and what not so it's hard!
I'm up for a meet up :)
Stacey, where are you located? We are in RI, near Prov. If you are near you should meet up with us! I just went to the RI playgroup today and my boys had a lot of fun. Or you can come to the homeschool group we belong to. There are a few kids that age and the older kids play really well w/ the younger ones and vice versa. It's a great group, I really enjoy it (only wish we met more often!) We even do mama nights, tomorrow is pottery painting! I can't wait!
:

Let me know...I'd love to meet w/ you soon!
 

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Hey Logan's Mom.
You've gotten a lot of great advice and offers of friendship.

I also wanted to throw out there the website Meetup. I have had a lot of success going to playdates this way. I didn't start doing it to meet a best friend, but rather find some women in my town with kids my kids ages to hang out with, and to simply get out of the house. I found most of the women very friendly and open. Of course there will be people that you don't mesh with, but that's with anything.

I did a quick look with your zip and found about 15 groups. Get out there girl!!

fwiw - I am not outgoing and this meetup thing was completely out of my comfort zone. I mustered the confidence and went to the park! Now I have organized one of my own :)

I hope you find what you're looking for
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Lemon Juice View Post
Stacey, where are you located? We are in RI, near Prov. If you are near you should meet up with us! I just went to the RI playgroup today and my boys had a lot of fun. Or you can come to the homeschool group we belong to. There are a few kids that age and the older kids play really well w/ the younger ones and vice versa. It's a great group, I really enjoy it (only wish we met more often!) We even do mama nights, tomorrow is pottery painting! I can't wait!
:

Let me know...I'd love to meet w/ you soon!
I belong to SOS, actually, I started it years ago when I hs'd my ds, then stepped down when my dd was born and am getting more and more involved now. What hs group are you referring to? PM me if you like. :) I woul dlove to meet up! Tho I am pretty busy this and next week....next week I am making gingerbread for a gingerbread contest/craft fair I'm sponsoring for our hs group, I can fwd you the info too.

this is so cool!

I have thoughts about making friends too, I find I can make friends easy enough, and even take chances with some to see if they make it to a different level, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's really hard not to take things personally sometimes, but each person is on their own path and has their own agenda.

Personally, I grew up with a small family and no extended family and my children are too. Friendship means alot to me, I cherish it, and I do have a few super close friends, I've 'outgrown' or lost a few too, and other friends who were close but not too deep have gone different ways, moved, etc.

the best group of women I ever had the honor of knowing, discussing, playing with was about 6-8 of us from a homeschooling group, all different age kids, we started a book group, we haven't met in a couple of years, some have moved, some new ones came aboard, all sorts of changes, but the core of us was that we homeschooled, it was wonderful while it lasted. I am still close(but not too close) with one of them. But within this group there was awkwardness, shyness, some wanted to form close friendships, some just enjoyed what it was, I craved deeper friendships, but was cautious and none even transpired.

friendship is such a journey. :)
 

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Originally Posted by Sierra View Post
P.S. I probably missed this somewhere...what and where is Big Fresh?
First my apologies Sierra now I'm addressing you by your proper name =off to a better start...


veganf said Big Fresh was near Walmart wedged b/w rte. 9 & Rte 30 -I believe I've passed it many times although have never eaten there...

From Yahoo =

Big Fresh Cafe'
341 Cochituate Road -Rte 30
Framingham , Ma. 01701

Checked out website -serves nutritious veg & non veg entrees .
Scene /offerings appeal to me...organic ,economical..

Others can check out menu online

VEGANF:

So sorry can't figure out quote function at the moment

Is this the place???

hth-Sierra
looking forward to meeting up w/ some other mamas/kids etc
-Be
 

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Lots to catch up on here! Don't have time to respond to everything I'd like too...
But I'm up for a regularly scheduled group...kind of reminds me of gaming groups where I often met friends pre-kids, LOL.

Anybody free today or tomorrow? (sat or sun)
Name a time & place...I can be there, probably without kids even!

PP, yes, that's Big Fresh...plenty of veg options, "natural" meat & seafood, as much local food as available, etc. Funky cool place, very popular weekdays at lunchtime!

- Krista
 

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I've gotta gotta gotta go to Stop & Shop first thing this morning, we're seriously low on food, otherwise I'd love to. And Ryan has a book fair at school next door at 10am.
And there's a sale at Children's Orchard I want to hit later.
Are you free for lunch? teatime? dinner?
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by veganf View Post
Anybody? Today? Tomorrow? Inside, outside, upside down??

veganf
tommorrow -with dd @ 10:00a.m we live local -it's gonna be cold & some snow is forcasted but I don't think that's supposed to happen until p.m ...
Any ideas on location ? We could do outdoors
/ your boys-What's that playground like in Shrewsberry? Any indoor venues you know of?
Let me know !!!
-Be and dd=3.8 y

Update-crap it is gonna snow -1 slushy ,yucky mush throughout day and cold not great for playing at a park...
Whattaya think?figure something else or sometime else or in some sunny parallel universe???-smiling...
Let us know ...
-Be
 

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My boys were out at 7:30am playing already this morning. Snow is great! (if you don't have to go far)
But I'll take a "snow check", LOL.
 
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