As a lady in my mid 30’s (36 is still classed as mid thirties right?) and who has been in abusive and controlling relationships I have found myself finding new friendships and learning who I am all over again. A recently single friend and I were chatting the other day about how people of our age find new hobbies and friends which got me thinking about how others do it so I asked some blogger friends and did some research and have written about it!
I guess to start with we need to think about what constitutes a friendship for us and whether we are looking for acquaintances, friends to chat to or friends to see and spend time with. Obviously the difference will depend where you look for new friends!
Who are your friends now? How do you know them? Whilst I have a lot of friends on social media I would only consider a handful close enough friends that I would ring them if I was upset or had a major dilemma! From my experiences, those of fellow bloggers and other suggestions I have been given I thought I would compile a list of suggestions of where to make new friends.
So many people are lonely now and feel like everyone around them has lots of friends so does not want to ask how to make more friends. Or maybe you worry you will offend the friends you do have if you say you feel like you want to make some new friends? Hopefully these suggestions will help some of my readers and maybe give them a share in case anyone you know is feeling lonely?
Where can you make friends?
Make friends online – this doesn’t have to be like a “please be my friend” advert, it can be as simple as joining groups on social media linked to your hobbies, interests or lifestyle. I have made some friends I would consider friends for life through autism groups online and other friends through blogging. They may not be friends that I see often if at all but they are friends that are at the end of a text when I feel lonely and I know they feel the same.
Make friends at your child’s school – These don’t have to be best friends who you even see outside of the school gates but saying hello to other parents at drop off time or school plays etc can be a nice way of feeling like you are not so alone. A familiar face and someone who you can have a quick chat to even just about the weather makes the day feel less lonely. There are also options for parents groups run through the school sometimes. My son goes to a special needs school and monthly they have a parents group. I worried it would be a bit cliquey but it really isn’t at all. Joining the PTA (parent teachers association) and helping with fundraisers, being a volunteer on school trips or for swimming, or even being on the schools governing body are all ways to make new friends through your child’s school. School receptionists are a wealth of knowledge on these things!
Learning a skill or joining a course – It is easy to think that all these courses are in the evenings but they really are not, there are some during the day, especially run through sure start centres or even local libraries. It could be an academic course like improving your maths, a fun course for a hobby like photography or drama, or even learning a skill to use in a future career like accountancy or beauty therapy! The courses can be pricey but they aren’t always and they can even be free so worth investigating! Emma from ourfairytaleadventure.com does counselling and Spanish courses which she says has helped her meet lots of people. Mary who blogs over at http://over40andamumtoone.com joined a DSLR photography course last September and said she was surprised she made new friends as she hadn’t thought of that when she joined it was just something that interested her.
Join a local group – Have you considered your local Rock choir or drama group? Becki who blogs at www.themumfrombrum.co.uk recently moved cities and joined an Am Dram group and says it is great because “we have theatre in common instead of kids”. These groups often have a drink after the group and you will quickly get to know all the members. Hospital radio is often run by volunteers and another way of meeting new people in a fun group.
|Myself and two friends I met through some charity volunteering|
Try out a new sport – I recently wrote a post about different exercises and sports you may not have tried. Take a look here and see if anything takes your interest. There are lots of running groups that you could join if you enjoy running. In Nottinghamshire there is a group called Notts Women Runners that do beginner running sessions for women who want to run but haven’t tried yet. Other areas could have similar. Park run is a community running event every week and there are lots up and down the country so there is highly likely to be one near you, try it out and see who you meet? Eva from Www.captainbobcat.com and her husband and children all play social tennis. Eva says this is great because most areas have a tennis club so even if you move house you will find new friends at the club, this is true of most sports.
The local library – Many local libraries have a book club, or more than one for different genres. Emma from www.theminimesandme.com says this is a great way to meet new people and have some “me” time. Libraries are free to join and the book clubs are usually free too so definitely one to look into.
|Toni and me, we met when our boys were young through an online single parents group|
Meet the neighbours – This doesn’t have to be full of drama like in films and you don’t have to bake a cake or hotpot to take over like on the soaps! If you are reading this and live near me however strawberries would always be welcomed! Just saying hello and chatting is nice.Volunteering – Volunteering for a charity has made me lots of friends over the years. I used to volunteer a lot more than I am able to nowadays but have made so many friends through that from so many different walks of life. There are so many different charities out there you are bound to find something to suit you!
Craft groups – If you are not a sporty person maybe you love to sew or some other kind of craft, or would be interested in learning? Craft groups are not always easy to find but local craft shops often know about them and there are often groups on social media for crafts who may know. Nita from http://mummywishes.com enjoys craft groups because they are people who you already have something in common with as soon as you join.
Singles holidays – This is one I hadn’t thought of at all but Hayley from https://devonmama.com suggested it as one of her friends goes on them. It isn’t all about finding prospective relationships but making friends with other singles on a fun holiday. Apparently there are lots out there not just the 18-30s ones we’ve all heard of!Family – This may sound silly but family and your partners family can become close friends as well as relations if you have similar interests and choose to spend time doing things together.
Get an Allotment – Alex from www.bettertogetherhome.com says she has made so many friends through hers which would not have occurred to me at all.Slimming Groups – I have made so many friends since I joined Slimming World and find groups like this offer a great way of making new friends.
|I consider my boyfriend Stuarts sister Clare a friend.|
Church or belief group – Another great way of meeting people who have similar beliefs and values to yourself.
Women’s Insistute – Whilst this used to be more mature women there are such a mixture nowadays with women of all ages joining. It is definitely something worth looking into as even if you don’t enjoy it a few hours of your time isn’t much to give it a go!
Blogging – This is a hobby that has found me lots of new friends that I didn’t expect to find. It is a great way of virtually meeting so many people and you can have a coffee and chat with them in your pyjamas and no one knows! Sally from http://www.teddybearsandcardigans.com says she has made some amazing friends through blogging and I have to agree I have too!
|My friend Julie and I have known each other since school! This is a recent photo of us after a few too many to drink!|
What makes a friendship?
So we discussed what makes a friendship and we were all pretty much in agreement that it is someone who you can laugh with and cry with and someone who likes you for the person you are. We all agreed too on what makes us want to distance ourselves from a friend or end a friendship and Lisa from www.baremother.com summed some of my feelings up well with “I don’t want to live in anyone’s pocket, but if you’re a supportive friend, and they’re never there in return, something’s gotta give.” It is also important to many of us that a friend is loyal, supportive and trustworthy. As Laura from www.fivelittledoves.com said quite simply “The main thing for me is loyalty and trust. If you break my trust, the friendship is pretty much over.” and how true is that!
Have you ever openly ditched a friend in the way you would dump a boyfriend? A friend of mine recently received a text message from a friend she had known and been close to for over ten years saying that they couldn’t be friends anymore as she felt they no longer shared the same values! Have you ever received a message like this? Have you ever sent one? Do you think friendship can be ended like this?
To me a good friend is someone who doesn’t have to be there every day or even every week but when you do chat you can chat for ages and catch up properly. Someone who you could ring in tears and cry to but also someone you can ring when you’ve had too many to drink and talk nonsense to! My best friend Julie who I have known since school is just that, when I was at university she endured many a drunken phone call from me! Julie has always also been there when I have had relationship problems and needed a listening ear. She was the first person I told after family when I found out I was pregnant and she is my sons Godmother. Julie is a friend for life but she also knows that we all need other friends too and I know she will understand completely when I say that there have been times when despite her amazing friendship and having other friends too I still sometimes feel lonely.
If you want to read another bloggers experiences of making friends when she moves to Paris take a look at this blog post here
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