Being the New Kid (As a Mom)

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new kid

My family and I moved to the Indy area in the summer of 2022, somewhat on a whim. We had lived in Alabama close to our families for our entire lives. I had well-established friendships that spanned many years and seasons of life.

As an introvert, I wasn’t all that interested in making new friends. I was comfortable sticking with the friends I’d had for years. But all of a sudden, I was the new kid (or new mom) in town, and I knew almost no one here. A friend back in Birmingham told me to start putting myself out there, little by little, to meet people and make friends in our new city. She said to think of it like dating, which gave me knots in my stomach. I’ve been married to my husband for 18 years and have no interest in dating again. The first time we hung out, my now-husband asked if I was mad at him because I was acting standoffish, and I replied, “No, I’m just bad at flirting.” So yeah, I’m a little awkward. But you know what? He asked me out anyway, and he stuck with me all these years. I think friends are the same way—the right ones for you will stick with you and love you for who you are, quirks and all.

Making friends can be hard no matter how old you are but especially as an adult in a new city. If you’re new in town or are just looking to make friends, here are some things I’ve found helpful:

Find a group/club to join.

You may need to try a few different ones until you find the right fit. I also suggest trying a group more than once even if you don’t feel a deep connection right away—it’s probably going to take more than one time to know if you’ve found your people. Book clubs have been my lifeline. The Indianapolis Moms Book Club is my favorite night of every month. I lucked out and knew the first time I went that this was something I wanted—or even needed—in my life. It’s marked on the calendar, and I get a sitter if my husband won’t be home. I enjoy spending time with other women who are in similar seasons of life, and I know I have at least one shared interest with every person there so it doesn’t feel so awkward and scary.

Initiate!

Ask someone you’d like to get to know to meet for coffee. If you see a friendly neighbor outside when you’re walking, ask if they’d like to join you sometime. If you try out a group and notice you have a lot in common with someone, reach out. The worst that can happen is they say no, or they say yes and it’s awkward, but you’re no worse off than you were before. Just keep showing up and asking until you find your people. Just like dating, maybe you’ll only have one coffee date, or maybe you’ll find a lifelong friend or a friend for this season.

Plan playdates or even a regular group get-together with moms and kids.

Kids are always a great reason to get together, and you and your kiddo may both find a new friend. Ask a mom in your kid’s class to meet for a park playdate. This is an easy way to connect with other moms and families in your community. I’m hoping to start a mother-daughter book club with my oldest, who is an avid reader. She’s a little reluctant, but I’ve been able to relate to her in this season as we’re both “the new kids in town.”

Connect with coworkers.

If you’re running out to grab lunch or coffee, ask a coworker if they’d like to join you or if you can grab them something while you’re out. If you’re a remote worker like me, try out a coworking space. There are lots of fun coworking options in the Indy area.

Remember, there’s no timeline.

When we hit the one-year mark of living here, I felt a little sad and thought I should have made more friends by that point. But there’s no timeline on this. I still have my amazing friends back in Birmingham, and we text, talk frequently on the phone, and plan trips to see each other. And in the meantime, I just keep putting myself out there, little by little, day by day.

You’ve got this, friend! If you’re interested in joining us at the next Indianapolis Moms Book Club, check out our Facebook group for more info. We’d love to see you there!

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