How to meet like-minded parents and make new friends as an adult with these suggestions
Being a new parent comes with the unfamiliar territory and unexpected emotions. Suddenly, you’re never alone, but at the same time, you may often feel lonely. Having a little person who consumes your whole world and requires a ton of your time and attention can feel incredible – but also oddly isolating.
Adult conversation is often absent for large portions of your day, and your child-free friends don’t fully understand the transition you’re experiencing. You may even find yourself missing your work life while you’re on maternity or paternity leave, or as you settle into your role as a stay-at-home parent.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, but that’s also true when it comes to supporting a parent. Making new friends as an adult can be difficult, but there are other parents in the same boat. And once you find your parenting village, you’ll gain confidence and contentment.
Learn how to find a community of like-minded parents for advice, companionship, and playdates.
Join a local parenting group
Your best bet for building new friendships is to seek out a local, already established group of people who host events and activities nearby. Ask other parents or your pediatrician, check the online community groups on Facebook, read regional parenting magazines, or do a search on sites like Meetup.com for leads.
Make the first move
It’s important to remember that you’re not the only one feeling like an outsider. Making friends as an adult can be surprisingly difficult. When you meet friends through work, there’s more opportunity to build a connection through shared projects, and close-quarters foster familiarity. When you lack the common ground of a shared daily space, someone has to be brave enough to make the first move.
If you find someone that you’re interested in getting to know, ask them if they want to connect on social media, meet for coffee, or join you for a stroller walk around the park. Keep your invitation low pressure, and remember that they’re probably on the search for friendship as well, so they’ll most likely feel flattered to be asked.
Join an online parenting community
Sometimes it’s just hard to get out of the house, particularly with a new baby. If you’re painfully shy or limited in your ability to join playgroups, try testing the waters with online communities like Babycenter or Cafe Mom.
Online friendships can be incredibly valuable when you’re feeling isolated and need advice or companionship. In some cases, people may even feel more confident planning and typing their communication as opposed to engaging in unfamiliar face-to-face interaction. There’s nothing wrong with this form of communication, and in fact, it often leads to lasting, real-life friendships.
To find “your people” online, you can search for parents who have children in the same age range, who practice a similar parenting style as you, or who share common interests and actively participate in parenting communities to find the right fit.
Being a parent is wonderful, meaningful, and fulfilling, but the job can often leave you feeling like a new, unfamiliar version of yourself. To help make the adjustment period a little less rocky, find moms or dads who can identify with the transition and who are experiencing similar trials. These newfound connections will lead to lasting friendships that can enhance your life and bring extra joy to your days.
The Virginia Infant & Toddler Specialist Network helps improve the quality of care for infants and toddlers through extensive resources, services, and education for caregivers. Learn more about how we can help you improve the standard of care.