How Single Moms Can Expand Their Friend Network
The surprising key to expanding your friend network as a single mom is to embrace married moms. I hear all the time that single moms feel like they have nothing in common with married moms but this is how and why you need married moms in your corner. This post contains affiliate links.
Can single moms and married moms be friends?
“I’m a single mom, and I can’t make any friends because every around me is married.”
Not being able to find any friends because everyone around them is married is something I hear a lot as a stumbling block for not making friends.
On one I hand, I get it.
For a long time, I, too, considered this as a legitimate reason for not making any friends.
After a divorce or breakup, it’s common to lose most of your friends, and usually by the time you’re in your 30s and beyond, most people are married.
Related: How to Find an amazing Community as a Single Parent
As a single mom, we feel like we’re living a different life than everyone else. We have different issues. We’re dealing with co-parenting problems, custody battles, child support, weekends alone with no kids, maybe dating. So many new factors that it can feel like we don’t relate to married moms at all.
It can be especially difficult for single mothers to listen to married moms complain about their spouse or talk about how great their spouse is, depending on how quickly it is after the breakup for the single mom. Or worse yet, listening to a married mom say she feels like a “single mom.”
So, it’s not surprising single moms feel like we need only other single moms when looking to find friends.
The problem with this way of thinking is that we’re seriously limiting our friend pool.
Making friends isn’t easy: Married or Single
The friend game is challenging enough as an adult.
As much as you may want to have a new BFF, making friends isn’t your number one priority, either. Your children will come before your potential new friend. If work calls, you’re going to go into work. You have bills now, after all.
Making friends as an adult is a whole new ball game at 30 or 40 than it was at 14 when we didn’t have any responsibilities aside from getting on the school bus each day.
The key to making friends as an adult has so much less to do with what we have in common with one another than it coming down to consistency, positivity, and vulnerability.
See Shasta Nelson’s book “Frientimacy” or “Friendships Don’t Just Happen” for more on this topic, or watch her Ted Talk.
I dare you to test this theory out and see if you can find a hole in it. I think about small groups at church and believe this is why they thrive so well and produce life-giving friendships. Small groups at church contain all three of these:
- Consistency: You meet every week with the same group of people over a long time period.
- Vulnerability: Talking through in-depth topics each week about your faith in a small group of people opens doors for each member to share past and current wounds.
- Positivity: Members are encouraged to cheer each other on and press through the tough times and help each other.
As an adult, where else do you get these three things?
- At work, we get consistency but usually not the other two.
- At the gym, you might get positivity, and sometimes you will consistently see the same people, but there’s no time for vulnerability.
- At church on the weekends, there’s no time to be vulnerable with the people next to you, and you might not consistently sit in the same place next to the same people.
Expand your Definition of Friend
Over the past few years, I’ve expanded my definition of a “friend” and joined multiple women’s groups that included any marital status and age.
What I found surprised me.
Some married women aren’t fulfilled in their marriage and have children who’ve left the nest and have more time for friendships than I have.
Some married women are on their second marriage after years being a single parent and have more to teach me about single motherhood than I would have guessed from the outside looking in.
Related: 7 ways to make amazing friendships as a single mom
There are still some married women who will cancel on me because their husbands will prefer they not go out that night, and my friend won’t want to upset their husbands and would instead find it easier to let me down.
Yikes, that still hurts.
But when I cast my net out wide, and I have other women to fall back on, it doesn’t hurt as much as it would have a year ago when I was afraid to take a risk and put all my hopes into one person.
If you’re only looking for friends that are single moms, then what are going to do if you find a guy in a year and want to get married? Does that mean you can’t be friends with a single mom anymore?
Of course not, so why are you counting out all the other married moms now if you might be one in the future?
Another friendship caveat to avoid is age
Although we’re primarily discussing married moms and single moms here, when looking for friendships, we often don’t even realize when we disregard a potential friendship based upon age.
Related: How to meet Christian friends and experience lasting friendships
Either because we assume someone is “too old” or if you meet someone so young you think of her like your daughter, you’d be surprised what amazing friendships you can have with women that are 10 or 20 years your junior or senior.
If you’re having a difficult time wrapping your mind around it, consider them your mentor or mentee at first, but eventually, you’ll find the wisdom flowing both ways.
Further Reading to Expand your friend network
Are you convinced yet that married moms make great friends even when you’re a single mom?
In addition to the books mentioned above, here are some resources to help you branch out and take the next step. As already mentioned, making friends as an adult is hard and it’s work. But the payoff is worth it.