How to Meet Other Parents
Making new friends can get harder as you get older. Here are some tips to help parents meet other parents.
If you want to know the secret to living a truly healthy and 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 family members and friends, but unfortunately, making new friends as an adult isn’t as easy as it was as a kid. As people get older, there are a lot of competing demands for their time, from significant others, children, jobs, pets, and parents, to bills, yard work, community involvement, and so much more.
So, where and how do busy parents meet new friends?
As a parent, you have a ready-made pool of potential friends to choose from—other parents! For most people, an essential qualification for a friend is finding someone who likes to do the same things as you. This isn’t to say you can’t end up being best friends with someone you share absolutely nothing in common with, but shared interests tend to grow friendships.
Go where other 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. Instead, head to the places and explore the avenues you would normally be drawn to as a parent.
Try an app or group
There’s an app for everything nowadays, including meeting other parents. MeetUp, Moms MeetUp, Dadapp, Mom Life, Peanut, and Hello Mamas are just a few. Facebook Groups can also be a great way to find like-minded friends. Joining a support group for moms or dads is another great way to meet parents and make new friends. Just try searching “mom support groups near me” or “dad support groups near me” online.
How to break the ice
One of the toughest parts about 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 with another parent and think this is someone who has friend-potential, you should always “seal the deal” by asking for their phone number or email address. If you really hit it off with another parent, you might even consider setting up another time to get together right then and there. Yes, it can be 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.
Just like any other successful relationship, 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 for the first time and hit it off great, only to find out that you have absolutely nothing in common with this other parent during the longest three-hour coffee date of your life.
But that’s okay. Just remember, this effort 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, and that’s an investment worth making every time.