due toBeing a parent is complicated. As much as you love your little nugget(s) and wouldn’t trade being their mama for the world, the whole experience can be kind of isolating for some people. Prior to becoming a parent, you may have had an active social life — being forced to decide which of the multiple invitations you received for the evening is worthy of your time. Maybe you had a core friend group who got together regularly (at least before the pandemic), or, if nothing else, had a constant group text going about day-to-day news and drama. But once you have a kid, the dynamic can change. Before kids you were sending dirty jokes and boob puns, now you’re sharing best jokes for kids and maternity clothing tips. Hey, life comes at you fast.
Knowing you have all the responsibilities of parenthood, perhaps your friends don’t want to bother you by asking you to go out — or make you feel bad about missing a hang-out — understanding that it’s unlikely you’d be able to get away for the night. But even if they have the best of intentions, it can still leave you, as a parent, feeling left out and thinking, “I have no friends anymore,” even though you know that’s not true.
On top of that, there are several other perfectly normal scenarios that may have you feeling friendless, including moving to a new town, finding that you have less in common with an older group of friends that you previously realized, or (and this is just off the top of our heads) living through a global pandemic for more than a year and barely keeping your life intact, let alone your friendships. At any rate, the “I have no friends” blues are probably a lot more common than you might think. So many of us have been there, and we assure you: this is a safe space and no one is judging you. Here are a few things to keep in mind the next time you think “I have no friends anymore.”
Is it normal to not have friends?
As we’ve already discussed, it’s completely normal to feel as though you have no friends anymore — regardless of whether or not you’re a parent. (But given everything that’s involved with parenting, it can bring you to this conclusion especially quickly.) There are so many things to do, and so many hours in the day, and unfortunately, if something has to go, it’s probably going to be after-work happy hour drinks with the girls. Of course you value your friendships, but things change when you have a tiny human who relies on you completely for literally everything.
Not to mention the fact that circumstances over the past year have been another level of bizarre. At least prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, you had more chances to get out of the house and see people — whether it was friends, co-workers, or even family members. But for the safety of your family, that wasn’t an option for a very long time. People who typically work out of an office, but shifted to working from home no longer had the daily distractions of quick chats with their co-workers at the copy machine.
Now that society is slowly starting to reopen, it absolutely makes sense that you might be feeling as though you have no friends, given the absence of in-person socialization. But don’t forget that there are soooo many others out there who feel the same way.
Do we really need friends?
In a perfect world, yes: everyone would have at least one person — a pal and a confidant, if you will — they could trust and depend on, while also genuinely enjoying their company, and miraculously, having matching schedules. But that’s not how the world works. Maybe you have work “friends” or people from your mom group that you’re certainly friendly with, and have enough in common with that you can see how the relationship could be worthwhile. That’s great, but it’s also perfectly normal to acknowledge that you probably would never have chosen to be friends with this person in your mom group under other circumstances and that the only thing you have in common is that you both have a kid.
It can be tricky when people people people fall into the category of “friends of convenience.” You may end up spending a lot of time together — including your very precious, very limited social time, that you would have previously spent with your actual friends. But you’re exhausted, and it’s easier to go to the park with another parent from your child’s daycare than try to make new plans with old friends. If this happens, it makes sense if you think to yourself “I have no friends anymore,” because the people you’re spending most, if not all, of your social time with likely aren’t the same people you considered friends during your pre-parent days.
Is it OK to be a loner?
Each person has a unique life, and sometimes we go through some of it without connecting with many people. (And that’s OK.) In fact, sometimes being by ourselves can actually be beneficial to our health and happiness. Some people find more joy and satisfaction in leading solitary lives. For example, it’s not uncommon for introverts to spend time alone, and not due to any negative reasons, but because it makes them comfortable.
How can I make friends?
Just keep in mind that your friends from your “old life” are still there, and still care about you (unless something major has happened, but that’s a different story). And if you’re in a situation where you’re new to an area and haven’t met many people yet, be sure to give it time — that is, if that’s even something you want to do right now. And if it’s not, that’s OK too! Making friends is a lot of work, and not everyone has the time and energy to dedicate to the endeavor.
If you are genuinely interested in making friends, there are plenty of articles and resources out there that will walk you through the process — not to mention some that explain why making friends as an adult can be so hard. Either way, take everything at your own pace. Even though there is no shortage of images in pop culture of female friend groups with unbreakable ties (even when one or more of the members is a parent), you shouldn’t feel pressured to have the same thing. Pay attention to what you need in the moment, and go from there.
Making Friends as an Adult
There’s nothing wrong with going through life with little to no friends. But, if you’re interested in expanding your friend group or connecting with a new person, here are a few tips to get you going. Being an adult is tricky, but it doesn’t mean making new friends is impossible.
- Give your coworkers a shot. Sometimes you can have a lot in common with the people you work with.
- Go to the events you usually turn down and don’t be afraid to go alone. Accepting invitations is the first step to putting yourself out there.
- Knock on your neighbor’s door. Everyone loves a good neighbor, and it never hurts to be on good terms with your own.
- To keep friends, it’s important to make time for them. So, each month, try to plan something fun with a buddy.
- Start a new hobby or join a local club. Picking up jogging may lead you to a group of friendly hikers. Or consider volunteering at a community garden or joining a sports club. Trying a new activity is also a chance to meet new people.