The Importance of Relationships
Do you want to know how to live a truly healthy, happy life? Harvard knows the answer
In one of the longest-running studies on adult development ever undertaken, the number one predictor of happiness wasn’t good health, good genes, or good jobs. It was relationships.
Relationships include both our family and our friends, unfortunately, making new friends as an adult isn’t as easy as it was when we were kids. We have a lot of competing demands for our time as we get older—significant others, children, jobs, pets, parents, bills, yard work, and so much more.
Where and How Do You Meet New Friends?
As a parent, you have an immediate icebreaker and a ready-made pool of potential friends to choose from—other parents!
First, for most of us, an essential qualification for a friend is finding someone who likes to do the same things we do; this isn’t to say you can’t end up being best friends with someone who you share absolutely nothing in common with, but shared interests tend to grow friendships.
Go Where the Parents Go
Think about the things you enjoy doing with your kids and look for parents to strike up a conversation with at these events–sports, music, extracurricular activities, the gym, playgrounds, local events–anything that you think would attract a parent who has similar interests to yours.
So, if the thought of joining the PTA makes your stomach turn, then joining the PTA to meet other parents probably isn’t the way to go. There’s a good chance you may not have similar interests to these parents.
Try an App
There’s an app for everything nowadays, including meeting other parents. MeetUp, Moms MeetUp, Mom Life, Peanut, and Hello Mamas are just a few. Facebook Groups also can be a great way to find like-minded friends.
How to Break the Ice
One of the toughest parts of meeting anyone new is figuring out how to break the ice. What do you even say?
Here are a few tried and true parent pick-up lines that can get a conversation started:
- “How old is your child?”
- “I’m sure you’re tired of hearing this, but your child is so handsome/beautiful.”
- “I love that stroller you are using. Where did you get it?”
- “Your child did a great job today!”
Basically, be nice! Complimenting the other parent’s child is usually a safe bet for an icebreaker.
How to Seal the Deal
If you have a great conversation and you think this is someone who has friend-potential, you should always “seal the deal” by asking for their phone number or email address. Or set up another time to get together.
Yes, it’s a little awkward, and if you see each other every week at soccer practice, you may not have to do it right away, but at some point, one of you will have to make the first move.
You’ve got to make time for friendships, and you must accept that making new friends won’t always work out. Yes, you may meet someone at the park the first time and hit it off great, only to find out during the longest three-hour coffee date of your life that you have absolutely nothing in common with this other person.
It’s ok. It isn’t a total waste of time. You put yourself out there, and that’s a success! Having close relationships will help you live a longer, healthier, happier life—that’s an investment worth making every time.