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I’ve accepted that friendships ebb and flow rather than fighting for them all to remain constant.
I’ve realised it’s OK for friends to drift out of my life for a time – I know we will gravitate towards each other when it feels right.
And yet I found myself rewording a ‘witty’ email suggesting we meet. I spent that week wondering if my email was too much. By the time our babies arrived, we were real, proper friends.
Eventually, for the first time in daylight, we met and chatted. Post-giving birth, it’s a depressing truth that wine helped ease the early awkward small talk that greets all new friendships.
And yet I knew I needed to persevere if I was going to survive maternity leave with my sanity in check.
(As someone who has spent all day every day with a non-verbal baby, I can understand why the Jo Cox Loneliness commission recently found that 52% of parents have had a problem with loneliness.) So I did something I felt pretty awkward about – I emailed a friend of a friend who I’d heard was also pregnant.
Once you leave the security of school and university, only the workplace throws you together with like- minded people – and you don’t always want to take office friendships home.
Instead, they met a matured, educated woman with a baby, a job and a great Isabel Marant coat. I used to write off all posh people or anyone who worked in finance – too immature to see past superficial elements.
‘Major life events such as ending a relationship or giving birth can limit our ability to focus on much beyond that,’ says Suzanne Degges-White, a psychologist specialising in friendship.
‘Old friends still have value to us, but when we’re deep in the throes ofa significant life event, we really want to hear from those who’ve walked the same path or are there on the path with us at that moment.’ It’s not easy to make new friends as an adult, though.
‘In today’s world, it’s almost easier to find a date than it is to find a friend.’ It’s true that premeditated friend-making as an adult is every bit as excruciating as dating; something I discovered when I got pregnant three years ago.
I was the first person in my friendship group to become pregnant, so I knew I needed some mum friends.