So, as we sidle on over to fall weather, put on some of that berry-stained gloss lipstick that your toddler has been sucking on, throw your hair up into a messy ponytail (after spraying it with dry shampoo because, you know, you haven’t showered in two days), throw on your favorite pair of jeans (nothing too tight, you want to be comfortable when you meet your new best friend), and leave your self-doubt and anxiety behind. Your MOTYs are here to share with you the seven surefire ways to make new friends as a kick-ass MOTY adult.
1. Break up with Netflix!
Yes, y’all. In order to make new friends, you have to leave the comfort of your couch. I know how much Remi Malek’s face calls to you each and every night, but for your own good, you have to let it go. Your relationship with Netflix is toxic: Mr. Robot gives, gives, gives and all you do is take, take, take. This isn’t a relationship, it’s a toxic mess! Slam your laptop shut, throw your ratty blanket off, and get ready to leave the house.
2. Dress to impress.
Remember how much time you used to spend getting yourself ready to go on dates with silly boys? Remember blasting the Dixie Chicks/Britney Spears/Pat Benatar CDs while you did so? Get that mojo back, ladies! You have to put your best foot forward when thinking about meeting new people. Make an effort to look better than your daily look of stained gray t-shirts and yoga leggings. I know that I always gravitate toward women who seem to look like they’ve got their shit together.
Kids have it easy. They are constantly surrounded by children their own age, making it easy to pick a friend or two out of a pool of 30 kids in their class or all the kids in the playground. As grown-ass women, we need to look for our own “playgrounds.” Do you like reading books? You should. Join a local bookclub through your library or local bookstore. Are you a yoga devotee? Find your bliss on the mat and a friend on the mat next to you. Want to become a polyglot? Sign up for adult language courses at your local community college and whisper jokes to the woman across the aisle from you about how horrible your accent is.
4. Use your children.
Kids just take, take, take. They fit the Merriam-Webster’s definition for “parasite” to a T. So, don’t feel bad about using them for your own ends once in a while. Take them to the park and check out the mother of the kid your child is playing with on the slide. Does she look as flustered and sleep-deprived as you? Does she have coffee (or maybe poop, who knows) stains on the front of her shirt? If so, walk over and offer her the croissant that you picked up on your way to the park just for this specific possibility. Or make it a point to stay and linger at school events, instead of rushing out of there in a state of mild anxiety from all of the horrible middle-school flashbacks you keep having. You may just meet your platonic soul mate while you both try to one-up each other with horror stories about your kids, your partners, your old Catholic teachers, etc.
Facebook has to be more useful than just mindlessly scrolling through endless Minions memes and impassioned pleas to believe this or that. Instead of passively taking in all that Facebook has to offer, why don’t you milk it for what it’s worth? Reach out to your friends, ask them to “hook you up” with other like-minded friends. One of my closest friends who I met in grad school is now close to two of my friends from college and one of my friends that I met through my college roommate. And I now have almost daily conversations with a woman who is married to a guy with whom I went to elementary school. I've never met her in real life, but I consider her a friend already.
Be open to invitations.
As MOTYs, we rarely have any down time to ourselves. Being lazy is a luxury we don’t have, so I completely understand when you want to chill TFO and just stay at home. But mama, you know better. You know that having the kids at home by yourself all day long (hello, summer) sucks. So, take that mom up on her invitation to go the rock climbing gym on Saturday or to have a picnic at the park with a family in your neighborhood on Sunday. One of my very best friends I met while she was breastfeeding her son on her porch in my neighborhood. She waved, I waved, I walked over, we got to talking, and we’ve been friends for almost 6 years now.
Just sitting there waiting for your daughter’s soccer practice to end? Get off your damn phone and look up. There’s bound to be countless parents looking at their phones as well. Wait for one of them to look up for a second, catch their eye, smile, and walk over. Introduce yourself. Chat about inane things, wait for that spark to happen. If it didn’t, it was nice to have some human interaction. If it did, then you might have made a friend for life (or at least a friend who is open to coming over for play dates as an excuse to day drink).
I know it seems like a lot of work, but believe me, it's worth it.
I just received a text message from one of my closest friends in Japan. She wrote,“I’m so lucky to meet you. I was able to make a friend (a best friend) with this age!”
Yes, fellow MOTYs, I cried me some good old-fashioned, feel-good happy tears when I received that. Worth all of the time, effort, and anxiety with making new friends.