• Making Friends

Making new friends one at a time

Published: February 18, 2014 | Last Updated: February 18, 2014 By | 7 Replies Continue Reading
One of the keys to making new friends is focusing on people one at a time


Hi Irene,

Since moving to a new town five years ago, I have made no real good friends. At work, I have always tried to put myself out there by being the birthday girl, always decorating people’s desks for their birthday.

I thought I had a lot of friends at work, especially after working there for three years but I’ve been very disappointed because when I invite people to go out to watch a movie, or take our kids to the park, something always comes up. Of all the friends I invited to my baby shower and my daughter’s first birthday, no one showed up.

I found myself inviting less people to other parties because I was embarrassed and didn’t want to feel that again. I feel very lonely and I’m not sure where to start again with making friendships. I am not sure why people don’t seem to want to be friends with me. I feel like I am a good person and I listen and care about others. My question is where would be some good places to make friends?

Signed, Becca


Hi Becca,

As a working mom with a young child, it sounds like you have a lot on your plate. Although you feel lonely—realistically, you only have limited time available right now to make new friends.

One thing that struck me about your letter is that it focuses on birthdays, parties and group get-togethers (admittedly, you may simply be using them as a litmus test to determine whether you have friends). However, one suggestion might be to narrow your focus so that you concentrate on striking up friendships one at a time.

When you’re in a group, whether it’s a mommy & me group, a lunch bunch at your office, or chatting on the playground with other young moms, get a sense of the women there and focus your energies on one person at a time.

Show your interest by asking questions, paying a compliment or engaging in small talk—-being careful not to come on too strongly, which can easily happen if you are feeling very lonely.

Try to determine what you have in common. Do you have the same stresses on the job? Do you have kids the same age? Have they recently moved into the neighborhood, too? Then invite one of them for a walk or cup of coffee. If she turns you down, don’t take it personally. She may really not have the time or may have more friends than she needs right now. You might also ask your husband to babysit so you can get out one evening per week to take a class that appeals to you or so you can get to a class at the gym.

I can’t say that there is any quick fix to your problem but if you continue to seek out friendships with people who share your interests, one of them is likely to stick. The best places to find friends are places where you want or need to be.

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene

Tags: , , , ,


Comments (7)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Samantha says:

    Trying to hard decorating people’s desk for their birthday that’s kinda weird

  2. caraK says:

    I have found that it is always easy to find people to share a cup of coffee. I have learned that these are often acquaintances not friends. also, joining clubs or outings where people share an interest does not necessarily lead to friendship days, because people are there to work on the interest mostly, and not to make friends. also volunteer work rarely leads to friendship, from my observations and experiences, because I found that people who volunteer to help others use their volunteering work as a substitute for having close friendship relationships in their lives. of course these are generalizations, but I’m writing my experience here so that if other women have tried to join clubs or do volunteer work with hopes of making close friends, but it didn’t work out that way, that they can know that it is not an unusual experience. when I talk about friends or finding friends, I mean having a good close friend with whom you can share your life, as well as can learn about her life. a friend to celebrate good times with, and really be there for each other during challenging times. My newbie sense is that this blog is about making close friends within our busy lives. I only began reading it yesterday, but I seem to see so many women here who are longing for that sort of possibly called old fashioned friendship between women. that is very reassuring to me to know that there are others wanting the same thing I do. I also agree with a previous post that has observed that women who are very into social media like Facebook are not interested in these old fashioned friendships, as a generalization. Facebook etc take up a whole lot of time. many people I have met over the last two or three years are saying that Facebook is another substitute for real close friendship. where I live, many people define friendship those people who are their drinking buddies. I’ve been recently checking out the Meetup opportunities where we live, and was disappointed to find how many have some version of alcohol consumption related to them. drinking is so prevalent around here, but I don’t drink, except for coffee or tea. but that’s another way people define friends, but I see it as a substitue for a real friendship. of course these are generalizations. Irene, I beg your pardon for possibly disagreeing with you here, but so far I have not seen anyone on your blog who appears so desperate for friends that they would come on too strong when meeting new people… but I’ve only been on your blog for less than a day!!. if anything, in my brief time here, I have noticed quite a few women posting who appear to be NOT interested in friendship at all. this really surprises me. they make me ask, why are they even reading a friendship blog? but for those of us who are interested in having MORE friends, or mostly CLOSER friends, friends who believe in giving to others, I do not think there is ever a danger of coming on too strongly, as I believe you cautioned, Irene. we all have our way of socializing, and what we need to be is MORE confident in whatever way is our own. just think how stupid and aggressive men are or can be when they’re trying to initiate a relationship with a woman!! Plus, they will attract other people who are strong like they are, and a good match will be made. the problem comes in when we pretend to be something we are not, like constantly agreeing with someone, when in truth you do not agree at all. that’s when you would be in danger of starting a new friendship which can never be a good match for you. I doubt most of us women have the capacity to err on the coming on too strong side because most of us have been taught to be very meek. I say more power to those women who CAN come on “too strong” because even if I don’t choose to accept their offer of a friendship, chances are I will never forget them, and that’s a good thing!! yesterday St Patrick’s Day I read one of your guest posts here. she talked about how super friendly she is, and explained her method of sending out lots of emails inviting people to things. I believe she started a business in Chicago helping people to make friends. I’m sorry today I don’t remember her name. but I remember her method,and I’m trying to figure out how I can adapt it in my own quest for a best friend. the question at the core is, where do we women find other women who want old fashioned friendships? will I find the answer to that question here on the friendship blog?

    • Kat says:

      This is an excellent comment! I totally agree with the impossibility of coming on ‘too strong’. Ive recently moved cities yet again, 3rd time in one year and hopefully this is it for a while. Part of settling in is taking the time to develop good friendships.

      When thinking about how to go about it, Ive eealized I need to come on MORE strongly. I do have a number of really good friends who Ive had for years, in various places around the world… And the one thing in common is THEY came on strong! My best friend in particular did most of the contacting and initiating in the beginning and im so thankful for it.

      Now I am actively trying to make a big effort, even pushing myself to what I feel is too strong. Why? Because up until now I have been meek, passive, and am enternally grateful to the pushy friends I have, and now its my turn!

      Whats the worst that could happen? Someone says no? From all my experience every time ive been asked for a coffee or to “hang out” or whatever Im FLATTERED not ince did I think it was a bit much.

      The times I said no were also when I henuinely couldnt, not that I didnt like the person etc.

      So I believe we all do need to push our comfort zones and realize that for friendships to build, there needs to be at least one ‘friendlier’ party. Take some risks, and I know even from the short time Ive been doing it, it hets easier and even fun 🙂

      As an aside, I also find it strnage there are women on this blog not wanting friendships, why are you here?

  3. Brandy says:

    You know ! The same thing happened to me. I’m always the one going out my way to please my friends. When their birthdays come around, I always show them support. Guess what when my birthday comes around , they show no support. It’s always an excuse why they can’t come. I always come up with the ideas and throw parties and the ones I thought was really good friends never show up. Excuse after excuse. I’m tired of being around friends like this. I have backed away from these friends and I don’t hang out with them like that anymore. It feels better. One of the ladies still call me every now and then. I just feel she wants to make sure I’m still around just incase she may need me. I really just want her to stop calling me period. What I realized is that people will not treat you the way you treat them.

  4. Amy F says:

    Like the above advice, I’ve made individual friends with in groups and from group activities by focusing on getting to know one or two like minded folks. Rather than inviting a new friend to a party, where she might only know you and feel uncomfortable, try inviting her for coffee or lunch. Activities with kids are also good excuses for getting together.
    What about your children’s friends’ moms? Sometimes acquaintances of convenience can turn into deeper friendships. If your local library or book store has book clubs, you might meet a friend there. I’ve had luck meeting women volunteering, since we share similar values in spending time helping others or animals.
    Good luck.

  5. Sandra says:

    Over the years, I’ve found that joining group activities — where a common interest is shared — is a great place to develop individual new friends. Is there a neighborhood book or Mom’s group near your home? (Or can you start one?) I got to know my neighbors when we banded together to start a Neighborhood Watch group … after that, we started other, more “fun” groups together.

    Sometimes it helps to form a circle of some kind, and see what “grows” from there. Though I am not especially religious, I joined a local church (they had a great kids program at one time) and helped form a Sunday evening women’s group. It was very helpful, and some deep friendships grew from that circle of women.

    For all the talk about “social media,” in recent years I’ve found that people seem to have a harder time connecting in person if they are over-connected online. It’s as if people are losing the art of three-dimensional social skills. Good luck to you, and I hope you keep trying!

Leave a Reply