On Making Friends

07
26

I haven’t always been extroverted. I actually was very shy as a little girl, and it wasn’t until I moved to Greenville, NC that I felt like I really came out of my shell. That may make it sound like I was hiding before the move, which I wasn’t, but I think the push of independence and being totally alone in a brand new state was what I needed to really figure myself out.

While I’ll occasionally chat with old friends from high school, I really don’t have much contact with anyone from that time of my life. Moving across the country is one of the reasons why, and I’m also a pretty different person from who I was in high school.

So since about age 19, I was in charge of finding new friends on my own.

A lot of my friends as an adult have been found through my church. Between our small group or other mutual connections, that has consistently been where I’ve found some incredibly special and deep friendships.

Beyond that, I’ve met wonderful people through the gym I used to go to, through my kids’ preschool and elementary school, and even where I live! We moved away from a great group of people that we would spend time with while playing outside with our kids multiple times a week. The closeness of just being able to step outside made it easy to build relationships with our neighbors.

As a mom, the easiest no-brainer way to get to know another mom is to set up a park playdate with our kids. It gives the kids something do to so I can actually chat with the mom a bit, and it’s also a nice, neutral place to meet.

Whether it’s a mutual friend or a mom I met through one of my kids’ activities, park playdates are usually where I set up the first hang out.

My extroverted nature really reared its head when I had two babies. Luke and David are only 14 months apart in age, so I needed to find close friends that understood that I was kind of on house arrest due to frequent and rarely overlapping naps! So, I shared a post in my neighborhood’s Facebook group introducing myself and mentioned that I’d love to see if there was anyone who wanted to walk regularly in the morning with me and the kids. I picked a time and location to meet and set it up on a repeat schedule.

Tuesday mornings we would all meet at a small common area in the neighborhood and walk with our strollers and sometimes a few dogs. It was great! My strategy of setting it up as a regular meeting also gave anyone who was nervous about coming at first a week to build up the courage to meet a bunch of strangers from the neighborhood for a walk!

If I didn’t have children and was trying to meet some new friends, I’d explore the activities I’m already doing to see if there is someone there that I meshed with. If it’s someone from your gym, see if he or she wants to do an outdoor walk or another physical activity in a different place. It builds on the common interest that you already have (fitness) but also gives you something new to do together that may foster an opportunity for more conversation.

Another place to meet people is through volunteer opportunities, book clubs, local classes (like a cooking class!), and other organizations where you start off with a common thread. I think that is one of the things that make adult friendships easier, in fact, because you typically are building off of, at the very least, a mutual interest. Friends from school are likely people you just happen to be near at that time. But don’t get me wrong, that can mean great relationships too!

3 Things I Do with a New Friend

One. jot down a few notes about the person so you can remember a few important details (kid’s names, ages, school OR some of their hobbies or things they love) for when you see them again.

Two. share a few different options for setting up the next hang out or playdate (if kids are involved). I have a few friends that I’d happily do a playdate with and also happily go on a walk without kids–and it’s nice to spend time with them in both of those settings!

Three. be willing to host if necessary! In my experience, it’s as simple as asking “do you want to come over and have a drink on the porch?” and people will show up! Your home doesn’t need to be immaculate, you simply need to provide a place and time to bring people together.

There are also a few things I always try to remember with adult friendships:

Set realistic expectations and be willing to give. Be flexible, be forgiving, help out when you can, call them randomly to check-in. Ideally, this goes both ways. There are times when I see my friends often, and there are times when I go weeks or months between seeing some of them. Setting realistic expectations is one of the best ways to foster healthy friendships!

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Comments (22)

  1. Teressa says
    Posted July 26, 2021

    Is Kate *really* going do to a Triathlon? Or is she doing this? https://ramblinroseevents.com

    • Kate says
      Posted July 26, 2021

      Hey Teressa! That is the one. Just so you know: it’s a sprint triathlon.

      • Jennifer says
        Posted July 26, 2021

        Are these the correct distances for a sprint triathlon? I can’t say that I’m 100% familiar, but I though the run portion of a sprint is 3.1? Sounds fun though!

        • Kate says
          Posted July 26, 2021

          Hi Jennifer, technically the Ramblin’ Rose organization just calls their events “triathlon”, not even sprint, but in an effort to not confuse people and since it was very similar to the distance of a sprint triathlon (versus an actual triathlon) I am referring to it as a sprint triathlon.

    • Inese says
      Posted July 27, 2021

      Well, according to Wikipedia “A triathlon is an endurance multisport race consisting of swimming, cycling, and running over various distances.” So that would mean that Kate will indeed be doing a triathlon. Whichever distance she choses, it will still be more than those who have never done it at all (like myself).
      Kate, wishing you best of luck for your participation! May you reach the goals you have set for yourself.

      • Jennifer says
        Posted July 27, 2021

        lol to Wikipedia. Hey, I am a huge proponent of exercise and movement at any level, any distance, and with any goal in mind. No shade from me. I encourage everyone to get out of their comfort zones and try something new! Fresh air and exercise is never a bad choice. 🙂

    • lindsey roy says
      Posted July 27, 2021

      Have you done a triathlon?

  2. HC says
    Posted July 26, 2021

    Thank you for writing this thoughtful post. It can be hard to make friends as an adult. Your post was a good reminder that while hard, it is not impossible.

    • Kate says
      Posted July 26, 2021

      Thanks HC!

  3. Clarissa says
    Posted July 27, 2021

    But… it isn’t a sprint tri. There are several official triathalon categories (with set distances). If you’re running. 12k road race, you certainly don’t call it a half marathon for clarity’s sake. It’s not true. Just be honest about what you’re doing; a sprint triathlon is something you aren’t.

    • Kate says
      Posted July 27, 2021

      If it would make you feel better, you can look up whatever information about the race you’d like to: https://ramblinroseevents.com/raleigh-tour-home/raleigh-race-info/

    • lindsey roy says
      Posted July 27, 2021

      You’re so knowledgeable on triathlon’s! how many have you done?

    • Kerri says
      Posted July 27, 2021

      So Clarissa, how many triathlons have you done? It seems like you are full of knowledge! Maybe you can offer some tips on training. I have completed a sprint tri and while this race may not be the exact distances that many sprints designate, a triathlon is simply an event with three different races. A sprint tri is just a triathlon with shorter distances than an Olympic or Ironman.

      Kate this post is fantastic. Friendships are vital to a happy and healthy life! I also think it’s awesome you’re trying new things. Thanks for always sharing the great information that you do. You are one of my favorite resources for hair, beauty and fashion. But what really keeps me coming back is your faith and that you openly share it with your followers. Keep up the great work!

  4. Danielle says
    Posted July 27, 2021

    I’ve followed you since the YouTube days, I don’t typically comment, just sit back and quietly enjoy! But girl you inspire me! You’ve transformed yourself all on your own, hard work and dedication. I don’t care what distances your going, any sort of a triathlon is huge, and you’re going to rock it! Thank you for being you and doing what you do and sharing it with us!

  5. Kendra says
    Posted July 27, 2021

    Yes! Agree with all of this! We lucked into some awesome neighbors who have become lifelong friends, and although I don’t go to my church-based moms groups anymore, I gained an amazing core group of four girls from that stage of my life. The best thing about my friends is that we cheer each other on no matter what, give honest and thoughtful feedback, and we never argue about the definition of a triathlon. 🙃❤️

    You go, Kate!

  6. Lisa says
    Posted July 27, 2021

    Love these ideas for making adult friends. I have made great friends doing volunteer work. Also, congratulations on training for the Ramblin Rose! Regardless of the distance, my family has enjoyed several of these three-event races here in the Charleston area. We’ve made friends training for these, too. You’re setting a great example for your children, and you should be proud of yourself! Best of luck!

  7. Kathy J says
    Posted July 27, 2021

    Kate, I love your posts!! I’ve followed you for some time now. Thank you for sharing and always encouraging others. You are a ray of sunshine!! I treasure my adult friends , and while life gets busy , it’s important to have true friends. Best of luck on your sporting event!! (I decided not to call it anything else after I saw the upset folks in comments 😂)

  8. Sarah says
    Posted July 27, 2021

    Great tips!

  9. Karen Ward says
    Posted July 27, 2021

    Love this post! I’ve always been shy. People don’t believe it because once I’ve connected with someone, I’m loud, joke around, etc. I’ve found my core group of friends through work, church and camping. I have friends that are framily. I know I can count on them for anything.

    I still find it hard sometimes to walk into a group of people even at 58!

  10. Brittany says
    Posted July 27, 2021

    This is a great post! This is something my husband and I struggle with (we don’t have kids) and we are hoping to be able to reach out to more people as things return to normal.

  11. Mary says
    Posted July 27, 2021

    Wow, these comments really illustrate why making friends can be challenging. Good luck w/ your training and your race!

  12. Anne says
    Posted August 1, 2021

    Thank you so much for this! We are getting ready for a cross country move where my husband has friends and I do not. That, coupled with working from home makes finding new friends a bit harder. Your blog is so helpful with ideas on making my own friends. Thank you for the tips!