Here at The Welcoming Table, we're all about building friendships and community through simple meals and get-togethers in your home. Because let's face it: friendship as an adult is hard. As a kid, it was easy. It's almost like friendships were built into life. You went to school together, played together, did extra-curricular activities together, and spent the night at each other's houses. But as an adult, trying to build friendships can be lonely.
Why is that?
I decided to ask 25 mom bloggers that very question and for their best tips on overcoming the challenges of adult friendships. I figured that they might have some wisdom or, at the very least, could help us all feel a little more normal in our difficulties in making adult friends.
I asked them,
"What do you think is the biggest challenge to building friendships as an adult and what can you do to overcome that challenge?"
Here is what they had to say.
Table of Contents
The Challenge of Busyness
Jessica | The Mom Creative
Challenge: One of the biggest challenges for women to establish and cultivate adult friendship is making time for friends. Women are pulled in so many directions that they often sacrifice their own needs, including the need for community.
Solution: I encourage women to put time with friends on their calendars and DON'T CANCEL ON YOURSELF. We all need this time with others.
Stephanie | Six Pack Mom
CHALLENGE: One of the biggest challenges to building friendships as adults is simply the busyness of life with a spouse & kids. Maintaining your own family unit is so time-consuming that it can be tough to work out times to dedicate to investing in your friendship, especially if the person also has their own family to manage.
SOLUTION: To overcome that challenge, we simply need to make our friendships a priority. That can often seem unrealistic in the midst of such a busy, fast-paced life as a mom, but the reality is, friendships are VITAL. We need to keep that part of "me" that isn't mom, wife, etc, and great friends bring out that best part of us. Making it a habit to check in with our friends on a scheduled basis -- even if it's simply texts/phone calls in busier phases -- goes a long way to feeling connected.
Kimberlee | The Peaceful Mom
Challenge: My biggest challenge in building adult friendships is finding time to connect with everyone's busy schedules.
Solution: I've made an intentional effort to prioritize my friendships with other women by blocking out at least one day a month to physically visit with a friend, and I stay in touch via texts and calls on a weekly basis with my closest friends.
Susan | 5 Minutes for Mom
Challenge: I think one of the hardest parts of making friends as an adult is finding time to socialize in new settings.
Solution: One of the best ways to overcome this challenge is to combine socializing with another self-care activity such as exercising. If you join a walking or running group, you can make friends while getting the exercise you need.
April | Mom Life Keeping It Real
Challenge: I find it hard making time for friends. Seems like everyone is always busy with kids activities and family events.
Solution: I like to find at least one day a month to have a girls day, with no kids, just friends.
Tracie | Penny Pinchin' Mom
Challenge: I think that sometimes the challenge in finding adult friendships is seeking them out! We are all so busy running here and there that we don't stop to forge relationships. We drop the kids off and run or we stay in our own bubble and don't talk.
Solution: We need to be more present. Talk to the parents at soccer or dance. Take time to get to know them. And, if your kids are not involved in those activities you need to get involved with your PTA. Your kids are the perfect way to make lasting friendships.
Lena | What Mommy Does
Challenge: As an adult (especially as a parent), it's hard to build new friendships because life is just so busy and your immediate family usually takes precedence over friendships. Friendships take time to nurture and build up and sometimes you just don't have that kind of flexibility in your schedule.
Solution: I will say that I find it easiest to make friends with others who have kids the same age as mine. That way at least your kids' stage of life is the same (even if you are not the same age), you have common struggles, and your kids can play together.
Carly | Mommy on Purpose
Challenge: One of the biggest problems for me making friends as an adult is finding time in my life to go out and see other people. I have small kids, and it's terribly difficult to get out of the house sometimes.
Solution: One of the best ways for me to overcome that is the Marco Polo app, which is like a video text messaging app. Some of my best friends and I only hang out on Marco Polo, which gives me an opportunity to still be social without having to worry about finding childcare.
Suzi | Start a Mom Blog
Challenge: The biggest challenge in building friendships as an adult, especially as a parent, is that you're constantly busy or distracted. I'll go to a mommy play date but I can barely chat with anyone since I'm constantly running behind my kids. Or even to arrange a coffee date with another mom takes weeks of planning. When you do get a day free to do what you want, you spend it cleaning, organizing and catching up on errands.
Solution: I'm accepting that right now, my kiddos are my best little friends.
Amylee | Productive Mama
Challenge: Time is the biggest challenge -- at least when you're a parent. You put a lot of time and effort into your children's friendships and interests that yours can get lost. And you know your peers are also super busy with their families. As such, we tend to have friendships of proximity: people we enjoy well enough that we happen to see because our paths cross. But what about quality friendships that take more effort?
Solution: I overcome that by "hosting" get-togethers. By hosting I don't mean I invite people over to my house for a fancy shindig. I mean I'll say "Hey -- I'll be at this location Monday night from 6-8pm. Stop by and let's catch up." I also try to check in with friends I can't see much periodically. Those five minutes you wait to pick up your kid? I text a friend. It's small and doesn't make for quality conversation, but it's enough to keep a bond that might otherwise weaken. Finally, I recognize that there are seasons in life. For me and for others. I don't take it personally when our seasons don't align.
Christina | This is Real Life, Mama
Challenge: I think the biggest challenge in building friendships as an adult is time, or lack thereof! With the stressors of life, including parenthood, you just simply do not have the time to devote to hobbies and activities where natural friendship could form. And if you have been lucky enough to meet some people you enjoy, you don't have enough time to deeply develop the friendship.
Solution: My solution is a type of multitasking. You aren't going to be able to increase the amount of time you have, but you can make friendship meetups tie in with existing activities. For example, if you go to the gym a couple mornings a week, you could invite your new friend to join you (bonus if the gym has childcare!). If you are already planning to take the kids to the beach for the day, ask a new friend to come along. I've even met friends at Target so we can run errands together.
Lina | The Caffeinated Introvert
Challenge: One of the biggest challenges in building friendships as an adult is having the time especially when you have work, family and other commitments.
Your days are already filled to the brim with all those and having the time and energy to build a friendship is sometimes not even on my radar. I just want to rest if I didn't have anything going on. I need that time to re-energize myself for the next wave of crazy busy-ness. I have a few select friends that I would say would be there for me in a heartbeat. We may lead busy lives and may go by months before seeing or talking to each other but when we do, it's like time never passed. It's hard to find friends like this anymore.
Solution: What I do to overcome this challenge is schedule time together whether it is a girls' night out or a group date with our significant others. Because we all lead busy lives, it gives us a chance to clear our schedule and really be able to enjoy each other's company. I love the group date as it gives us all time to reconnect. Our latest group date was just 2 weeks ago and we spent the day at the arboretum then dinner and drinks.
As far as finding new friends, it's a bit more challenging especially with the introvert in me. I have found that finding people that have the same interests helps. I go to my gym 3-5 times a week and usually at the same time. This has helped bring out some friendships there.
Finding Like-Minded People
Corina | Now That I Can Do
Challenge: By the time we’re adults we’ve all developed strong opinions and convictions about life and sometimes it can be hard to get past those differences when we want to make friends.
Solution: I’ve found that I can get around this by focusing on this question: “What can I learn from this person?” There is always so much that others can teach me and when I approach them with an open heart and attitude, the friendship blossoms easily!
Sarah Jean | Mom Truth Bomb
Challenge: Making and building friendships as an adult, and more specifically as a mom, can be a little tricky if you aren't the most outgoing person, which I most definitely am NOT.
Solution: Once you realize that, as a mom, you automatically have something in common with other moms, be it things your kids do that drive you crazy, activities they're involved in, experiences with teachers they've had, etc., it makes it easy to break the ice. Once you get past all the "kid" talk, you'll learn whether or not you have enough in common with them to go beyond that and become more than just 'mom' friends.
Dena | Sunshine and Rollercoasters
Challenge: The biggest challenge in building friendships as an adult is that when your life takes twists and turns, you may lose friendships that you've recently built because of different paths. For example, when I started fostering in 2012, I had a multitude of friendships and no shortage of things to do on the weekend. Now, here I am 7 years later, and most of those friends rarely get together because we are on different paths.
Solution: Recently I began joining Facebook groups to find like-minded women who might be on a similar path. It's been great because I have been able to make new friends who are not only foster/adoptive moms but are basically at the same point in their life that I am. I still have some of my old friends but its nice to have new ones too.
Janel | The Evil Mommy
Challenge: I think the biggest challenge to making friends as an adult is trying to find people you like and having the time to make connections.
Solution: My best advice to overcome it is to choose a hobby that you enjoy and look for a club centered around that. Whether it is gardening, reading or wine, there are plenty of other people out there with the same interests.
Fear of What Others Think
McKayla | Motivation for Mom
Challenge: I feel like the biggest challenge is the fear of being judged. For some reason, the way society is today makes you feel like you have to have all your ducks in a row, all the time. You’re scared to have people over if your house is dirty, you don’t want people to know the issues your family is going through, you don’t want someone judging your parenting style... Everyone is expected to be perfect, and since we aren’t, we often just avoid friendships all together.
Solution: Just acknowledge that no one else is capable of being perfect either, even if they try to put on that front. You should stop being so stressed about being judged because once you establish a friendship, you’ll soon learn they aren’t perfect either, and there’s nothing to stress about anymore.
Melinda | Unfrazzled Mama
Challenge: The biggest barrier to adult friendships is thinking too much about ourselves. We don't strike up a conversation with the other mom at the park because we're afraid she'll think we're awkward. We don't invite people into our homes because we're worried people will think it's too messy.
Solution: When we forget about ourselves and start showing a genuine interest in others and invite them into our lives (imperfect though they may be), you start to see real relationships develop
Other Friendship Challenges
June | The Experienced Mama
Challenge: The biggest challenge in building adult friendships is finding people who truly want and need friendship. We relocated long-distance 2.5 years ago, and I learned first hand how difficult it is to build adult friendships. When you are the one needing friends, finding people who also need friends is extremely challenging. If there is no need on the other person’s part, building a relationship will be difficult. Finding someone who needs a friend, and that same person being someone who you can actually connect with (similar interests) is rare.
Solution: My biggest encouragement is to look online. Find Facebook groups for people who share common interests - I’m in homeschooling and blogging groups - and don’t be afraid to reach out directly to people. I’ve made two new close adult friends this way! One of those friends happened to live in my city. The other is only an online friend, but we talk about every day via Facebook messenger and occasionally on the phone.
Don't be afraid to reach out and to keep trying with different people You never know what will come of it!
Scarlet | Family Focus Blog
Challenge: As a parent, not only do most people have to contend with the time constraints of jobs, they also have a lot of strong connections that already depend on them. They have a spouse and children that need both their time and lots of emotional energy. Having some energy left over for oneself is essential and extroverts can often refuel during special time with friends. Introverts may need to refuel before they even feel like spending time with friends.
Solution: Overcoming these challenges involves knowing yourself well enough to know what you need and respecting your own needs and prioritizing them right up there with the needs of your family, not way below. We can not pour from an empty pitcher, and becoming isolated from friends can leave us without an essential support group to help us recharge and meet life's challenges.
Ashley | Mothering with Purpose
Challenge: I’d say the biggest challenge in building friendships as an adult is being so wrapped up in our daily lives that we forget to intentionally cultivate the relationships we’ve given. When we don’t naturally run into our friends or see each other regularly or actually get to have meaningful discussions, our relationships struggle.
Solution: We have to purposefully go out of our way to schedule and plan time to be with our friends. That’s the key in my opinion!
Julie | Brighter Mom
Challenge: The older we get, the more grounded our feet become. Our routines, our choices, our lifestyle, and our values have deep roots. Even though we crave friendship, our settled in lives make it a challenge to add one more commitment.
Solution: I have found instead of traditional ways of meeting people. step out of your comfort zone. Join a meetup, talk to a neighbor, join Facebook groups, or befriend moms in playdate groups. It may not be the tight friendships you had from college or your younger years, but even an hour or so having adult conversation feeds your soul for the remaining 23 hours of the day.
Suchot | The Curious Frugal
Challenge: The biggest challenge in building friendships as an adult is always having kids in tow! I work part-time and the rest of the time take care of my three-year-old. We do lots of play dates and have lots of fun with friends, and I wouldn't change that time together. But sometimes you want to finish a whole conversation instead of stopping and starting over and over because of little ones in the mix.
Solution: When I realized I wasn't really having solo friend time I started making an effort to make evening plans occasionally with friends. Having girl time with my closest friends does take effort but it always fills me up.
Amy | Mom Fuel Empire
Challenge: I think the biggest challenge in building friendships as an adult is a mixture of not being able to find like-minded friends and not knowing how to communicate with adult friends.
Solution: I think a good way to overcome this is to have realistic expectations about adult friendships and learn how to communicate openly and honestly with your adult friends. You might have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince....
Elizabeth | Love Our Littles
Challenge: The biggest challenge for me building friendships as an adult has been becoming a stay at home mom, which has removed the built-in ability of meeting and making friends easily at the workplace.
Solution: However, I’ve been somewhat able to overcome this by using social media and reaching out to other mom bloggers in my niche. Which has opened up a whole new world of virtual friendships I would have otherwise never known!
Christina | Mom in the Six
Challenge: As an adult, you've slowly had your circle of friends become smaller and smaller, either by choice or circumstances. This smaller circle of friends fits in your schedule and provides what you need. So opening yourself up to new friends isn't a priority. Until you become a mom. Then the need for other moms in your life becomes enormously important -- not just for you, but for your children, too. A mom with a tribe is a happier mom, a more educated mom, and a more supported mom.
Solution: The easiest way to make mom friends is to get out of the house! It's easy for moms to become shut-ins when they have a baby, but go to the park, a baby and me class, or a mom group. Ask questions when you see another mom with a baby toy, outfit, or pacifier that you like. Open yourself up again and expand that circle now that you're in a new stage of adulthood.
Whether your biggest challenge in building friendships is busyness, finding like-minded people, insecurities, or just life responsibilities, I hope that you got as much from these mom bloggers as I did. More than anything, I hope that you can see that you're not alone. Most everyone I know struggles with friendship as an adult.
But with these great tips and ideas, you can take steps to build better friendships with the people around you. Pick 1-2 and put them into practice in your own life. You'll be glad you did.
Which blogger's tip spoke the most to you? Which do you think you'll try? Share with me in the comments below!
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