4 Tips for Relating to Others As the Only Single Parent in Your Friend Group
This is a guest post.
Being a single parent is challenging in many ways, especially if your kids are young. You barely have time to keep up with yourself, so finding time for your friends can be difficult.
When you’re the only single mom in your social group, you can feel isolated and find it hard to relate. So here are some tips on relating to others and making friends as a single mom.
Find Other Commonalities
It can be hard to connect with your friends when you’re on different tracks in life, like when you’re the only single mom in your social group. As your friends discuss marital issues and juggle work with their kids, you can experience many different emotions.
You may feel jealous that they have free time since they have live-in help with parenting, for example. Although these feelings are entirely normal, try not to project them onto your friends and cause issues with your friendship. Instead, focus on your other commonalities, like what made you become friends in the first place. Be grateful for your friends no matter your differences, and find common ground.
Related: 7 Reasons Why You Can’t Make Friends and Find Community
Nurturing your friendships can improve your sense of purpose and enrich your life. Value your friends and don’t take them for granted no matter how much you relate in the present. Relationships evolve, so don’t try to force something that simply isn’t there. There’s no shame in needing to find some new friends that can relate to this season of your life.
Discover New Connections
Friendships are meaningful, especially as a parent. They provide you with an outlet outside of your family unit and help you keep your identity when it’s so easy to get lost in the role of parenting. Single parenting is difficult to understand if you haven’t experienced it firsthand, so don’t get discouraged. So many other moms feel the same way you do, so you might need to find one another.
That being said, you want to ensure you are the type of friend you’d like to have. This phase might make you more sensitive than usual since you feel more vulnerable than ever, and that’s completely OK. Don’t react too quickly or assume the worst when your friends don’t know how to relate to your new life. Give them grace as they try to be there for you the only way they know how.
Learn how to make friends as a single mom by putting yourself out there and extending the friendship you want to receive to other single moms like you. You can host playdates, join an exercise class or talk with other moms and your child’s events. There are likely other parents in the same boat as you — don’t feel like you’re alone in your struggles.
Related: 7 Ways to Make Amazing Friendships as a Single Mom
Honestly and Openly Communicate
Ensure your friends know how you feel about how they treat you. For example, if one of them is always trying to set you up with someone and you aren’t interested, express how you feel and why you feel that way. Good friends respect each other’s boundaries and encourage and uplift one another.
If your married friends don’t understand how you feel, they might never change how they treat you. So you want to ensure you’re all on the same page, just like you want to keep the lines of communication open with your children. Kids experience the effects of separation and divorce just as profoundly as their parents sometimes.
They can feel abandoned by one of their parents after separating, which can cause trauma and lead to behavioral issues or post-traumatic stress disorder. If you aren’t finding solace in your friend group, there are support groups to join and churches to attend where you can gain the support you need.
Give Yourself Grace
Give yourself grace in finding your new routine, and have patience with yourself. Being a parent is complicated no matter what, so give yourself time to find your balance. Don’t be hard on yourself through the process. Join a congregation if you aren’t already involved in one, and give yourself time to adjust.
Related: How to Meet Christian Friends and Experience Lasting Friendships
You may not find a group that suits you right away, and that’s OK. Keep trying until you find one that fits you and your needs. God works in mysterious ways, so give Him time to work on your heart and guide you to the people meant for you. Recognize where you are in your journey and give yourself grace as you navigate your evolving needs and responsibilities.
You will find your center, and your friends will understand whether you need to find new friends or take time for yourself. Whatever grace looks like for you, honor it so you can be the best version of yourself for your kids and you.
How to Make Friends as a Single Mom
Being the only single mom in your social group can be disheartening when you feel left out or like you can’t relate to them anymore. With everything else in your life-changing, you might yearn for a constant and consistent lifeline. Find that comfort in your walk with God, and let him guide your relationships. You will find your footing and return better than ever — it just takes time, patience, and virtue. You’ve got this, mom!
Beth is the content manager and Managing Editor at Body+Mind. She writes about parenting, fitness, mental health, and nutrition. You can find Beth on Twitter @bodymindmag.