Monday, September 26, 2011

Dear Abby - 3


dear abby,

i just moved to a new city and I'm having trouble meeting new friends. I'm in my 30's now and I just don't know how to find women friends! Can you help?


I have to admit, this question kinda stumped me a little bit, as it made me realize my social circle isn't all that large! {not to toot my own horn,} but I have gained some new friends this year so I do have a few places to look! {meaning, most of my college friends no longer lived in town and we sought out friends who were at our same stage in life!}

Hands down, the main place I have developed my best friendships are through our church. Over the past year we have gotten really involved in a Sunday school class and a small group. Our S.S. class is listed for nearly/newly weds, though we have a good mix of newlyweds, married several years without kids and some with children. The small group is more of a newlywed group (we've been married 3 years and are kinda the old fogies in the group!) and we've help to serve in a type of facilitator role.

The thing about making friendships is that you have to put yourself out there, which can be a very scary thing. It may mean attending the women's retreat when you're not sure who's going, purposefully sitting by a new person during Sunday school, asking someone if they want to go grab coffee. Sometimes, putting yourself out there doesn't always go like you dream. Take our first encounter with our Sunday School class:

We started trying out new churches in April of 2010 and by August, we found one we wanted to stick with. Before making a solid commitment, we wanted to try out the young married class. {the one we now attend} The first class went great and they were having a social that week and invited us. Feeling adventurous, we said yes and put it on our calendar.

Thursday comes around and we head to PrimeTime, which is a family fun center with bowling, putt putt, go carts, etc. I believe we all planned on bowling that night, but something happened and it was busy so we ended up putt putting. We all pay and get out there and almost instantly, people who already know each other pair up and are out playing. It seriously seemed like everyone was playing speed putt putt. They were getting through each whole at lightening speed and immediately moving on, without stopping to talk and spend time together, you know, the whole point of a social.

Cody and I ended up playing with the S.S. teachers. While we had fun getting to know them, we both finished the round of putt putt feeling very left out and not really sure that we could be included in the class. The group ended up going to get snow cones afterward, and we got pressured into going with them. Snow cones ended up being exactly what we needed. Once everyone was in a contained area, we were able to sit down and actually have conversations with the people in the class.

If you had asked us at for an opinion of the class after we finished putt putt, I'm not sure that Cody and I would say that we'd go back. We put a little more effort into it and stepped out of our comfort zone and it's really paid off in terms of friendships. All that to say, if you attend a Sunday School class or small group and it first doesn't seem to succeed, take a chance and give it another shot.

While I'm not a mom yet so I can't verify that these will work out, MOPS, reading groups at the library, or even Chick Fil A (ours has a kids group one morning a week I believe) would be a good place to meet moms and hopefully establish some play group friends.

We live in a semi big city (120,000 people) and they have some fun options available for personal growth and potential friendships. Tryout a cooking class, join the book club through the library, go to a poem reading at the coffee shop.

Making new friends can be really hard. Even when you find a place that has potential friends there (church, reading club,cooking class) there's still the fear of putting yourself out there and it not working out. {being rejected is the phase that keeps going through my head.}  Trying to meet new people and it not working out doesn't have to be taken personally {though much easier said than done.} We've all had friendships in our life that just naturally clicked, we've had some that have taken a little work, and then there's people we know we probably don't want to be close friends with.  So if you meet someone and you don't click, keep putting yourself out there. Eventually you'll reach your snow cone stand!

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have a question for dear abby? send an email to abbyneinast{at}gmail dot com!

{please know that while we may have had a slightly rough start, we really do love our sunday school class and are super blessed by them!}



  1. At the age that Andrea and Dear Abby (I think) are in -- it is hard to make friends. Partly because everyone is busy, but partly b/c everyone is still "posing" and wondering if they are in the popular crowd and do their earrings match their shoes, etc. I'm being silly, of course, but having moved every 10 years, now, I'm finding that I care less about all of that stuff every time and seek out people that I want to be friends with -- at church, usually -- and just say: "Do you have time for lunch sometime?" Sure, it's weird asking someone on a date, but that's how you have to do it! :-)

    Also, just introduce yourself places that you go -- just to be friendly. To the checker at the grocery store, to the lady scanning your books at the library, the groomer at the pet store, etc. These people may not turn into lifelong friends, but a) they have a story to tell that you may need to/ want to hear, and b) they may be able to point you in the direction of other groups that may help you out.

    Seriously? My best friends in my last town? Exercise class.

  2. Abby, I think that this is really good advice. I echo your idea about church being a good place to meet people and I also echo your advice not to base your final decision on the first impression. Give it another chance. After that, you may find that it really isn't the place for you and, if that's the case, try something different. We moved across the country last year, not knowing *anyone*. Although it has been a process I really do feel like I have a good sense of community now but that definitely required me to "put myself out there" somewhat. Good luck, Andrea! You are fabulous - who wouldn't want to be your friend??

  3. Hi Andrea,

    I moved 2 years ago to a new town. I am a young mom and I needed mommy friends fast! Of course we sought out a church family, and met lots of friends there. I also tried a local playgroup (many cities have them listed online!) and a MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers) group. Lots of cities have a chapter and they usually meet a church. I seriously though, found many of my close friends at the gym. Lots of people my age went to the gym and so I met a lot of people that I knew I at least had workingout in common with! Also - you might ask your husband to invite some co-workers of his and their families over. Its nice to have couple friends, where all members of your families can get together. Hope this helps! Best of luck, if we lived in the same town we would be fast friends :)

  4. great advice, abby! i know we need to church shop and find a place that is perfect for us. I have signed up for a parenting class in mid-October at my childhood church, and I'm excited about meeting other parents there.

    commenters, thanks for the advice! you all have given me tons to think about!

  5. As I read the letter, I wondered if you were reading my mind Abby and giving me a fictitious name. As you know, but I know that some of your other readers don't know, we returned to the town where I graduated from high school 16 years ago. My parents still live here and we are currently on an "extended visit" in their home. My sister, brother-in-law, and 3 year old niece live a mile away. None of the friends I went to high school with are still around. The three churches we have visited have not been a fit. There is one more to try out, but I'm not having a good feeling about it. The town only has about 28,000 people in it. OMG! There's not even a Starbucks, just a little kiosk in the hospital that sells a few of the Starbucks drinks. I've been searching for a knitting group, but the nearest one is an hour away. I just heard about a guild for all fiber arts that meets once a month that I'm going to try. I went to a water aerobics group this morning and I was the youngest there by at least 30 years if not more. I am desperate to find some friends but feeling that it might never happen. Russ is starting a job a week from today so we're here for the foreseeable future. Hoping to find out own place to live. But I need friends and a church that we fit at, that it's ok that I'm an ordained minister, that believe what we believe. The youth minister's wife from the church my dad pastors (yes, that's another fun aspect to all this) is coming over to cook gluten free with me. She's a possibility even with the 10+ year age gap between us. But that's the only possibility. I'm an extrovert and like to be around people, but I need people other than my family. Abby, I'm so sorry! I just vomited all over your blog. But all this is inside of me and just needed to come out. I hope it makes some kind of sense.

  6. Thanks for chiming in ladies! I love all of the tips and suggestions you've shared.

    Sarah made a good point - Cody and I laughed so much through our developing friendships because it did feel like dating all over again!!!

    C.C. - I knew things would be hard with y'alls move but I'm sorry to hear how much you're struggling. I guess the one thing I forgot to mention is the hardest part - TIME. We started attending PDBC in August, but it was probably January-ish before we really felt connected and like we finally had deeper friendships. I know the waiting part is hard, but keep plugging along, trying out new places and eventually it will come. I'll pray for the church search... maybe yall can find a place you fit and then start leading a small group to get some of the theological discussion and interaction you can't always find in a small town. And, since they don't have a knitting club, sounds like you would be a perfect leader for it! You might be surprised who comes out of the woodwork!

  7. Thank you for your words Abby. I felt your prayers and continue to ask you to pray. I did get together with the youth minister's wife yesterday and we baked gluten-free Cappuccino bars and talked and laughed and talked some more. She wants to get together again soon, maybe even weekly - sometimes to cook, sometimes not. I made a friend! Now to find a church home!


Thanks for commenting- I love hearing from readers!