A few weeks ago I had coffee with Suzy, a single, working parent. She's recently divorced and has had trouble staying on top of her responsibilities as a mother and busy, stakeholder in her business.
Suzy looked me in the eyes and complied in a defeated tone, "I have so much going on between caring for my kids, being present at work, running errands for my house, getting back in the dating game, and trying to take of myself all at the same time. Sometimes it just seems impossible and I can't do it all."
It was as if Suzy had lost hope and there was no vision for a peaceful future. I asked Suzy, "Tell me, how are you holding up? You seem to be doing it all on your own."
Suzy exclaimed, "I'm screaming inside and I might break down if I don't get any help! It used to be so easy when I was married, but now I don't even have friends who I can turn to when I really need assistance with my tasks and when I want to relax and take a break." Suzy's face began to flood with tears.
Suzy is the classic example of an overworked, single parent trying to master it all.
Does Suzy's story sound familiar? Are you trying to "handle it all" without the help of others? Has all of your responsibilities taken you away from having "me" time and finding time to socialize and make friends?
Making friends after a divorce can be difficult, especially after developing a new identity as a single parent with multiple responsibilities. When do you find the time to hang out with like minded people? Where do you find them? How do you open up and establish an honest friendship around your circumstances? How can you begin to feel like yourself again after a major life transition?
Making friends is a vital component of self-care. Just like you need to take care of your body by exercising, you need to take care of your emotions by investing time into your interpersonal relationships. People often overlook friendship-making as a component of self care. We can't afford to over look this because relationships are the one key indicator of long term happiness. When we don't make time to make new friends, we risk being unhappy, depressed, and anxious in our lives. That's not a pleasant way to live.
You can't afford the emotional debt that's incurred from being lonely and unsocialized any longer.
I want you to have close, intimate friendships that are meaningful and trustworthy. I want you to have friendships that feel good. I want you to have friendships that allow you to feel accepted. You don't have to be friends with everyone because that's a sure fire way to remain in superficial relationships.
To make friends as a single, working parent you have to remember that it's all about quality over quantity. Relationships are not about how many friends you have on social media or how many Sunday brunches you get invited to.
The biggest mistake single parents make when they're trying to make new friends is speaking about their problems and issues. They run into the "I" syndrome. Don't worry if that's you, we're all guilty of having this syndrome at some time or another.
The key is to reverse this syndrome and start taking an interest in other people. This way people start taking an interest in you. The mutual interest you develop between you and others will build into meaningful conversations which will then lead to coffee dates, parties, weekend trips, and movie nights. Soon you'll have a small group of intimate friends who text you to check in on you, and it's going to feel awesome!
Making friends as a single, working parent doesn't have to be a challenge because you won't make any excuses for doing it all alone or being too busy. You'll be surprised when you become more productive and efficient as a parent and a busy professional. This will all be possible because you made the time to prioritize your social life. Your friends will be more than happy to help you out when you need assistance with your responsibilities, and your ideal life will naturally fall into place. All we need to do is become interested in other people. We need to have the ability to open up to new relationships and allow ourselves to be vulnerable in new social situations.
I know you can do it! You got this!
Max DuBowy is the author of the Ultimate Guide to Self Care for single, working parents who are ready to break from stress and anxiety. Are you ready to be confident, make friends and love yourself unconditionally? INSTANTLY DOWNLOAD A COPY OF HIS FREE GUIDE HERE.