How to make friends when you have kids
Despite the title – I don’t actually have any useful tips for making friends. I’m just here to provide some commentary on how ‘making friends’ is a minefield once you have kids. Those reading without kids can enjoy the substantially reduced complexity of finding and hanging out with people you like.
Prior to having children, your options for making friends looked like this:
Though realistically, unless you have mastered the art of stalking people who don’t want to hang out with you, your friends should really fall into this middle category:
However, making friends when you add kids into the mix is a different ballgame. Now you have several other subsets to deal with. To demonstrate, I have drafted up the complexity of making ‘family’ friends into a Venn Diagram. If you didn’t pay attention in maths and don’t know how to read a Venn diagram, I can’t help you.
It’s even more complex than the diagram
FYI this is still a simplified version. I haven’t begun to deal with the reciprocity of these subsets or whether you get on with the kid’s mom, but their dad is weird. I blame the failed reciprocity of other families on Vader. After all, who likes a heavy breather?
But in essence, there are some adults I am really fond of, but their kids are monsters. All kids, including my own, have varying degrees of savagery, some are worse than others. Then there are parents whose kids are lovely but with whom my kids can’t be bothered to pass the time of day (wrong ages / different interests). And there are a few kids who are decent playmates for my kids but whose parents I don’t connect with (cue tumbleweed).
Having ‘family’ friends makes life so much better. You can have playdates and meals together, go hiking or away on holidays together. You can do life together. It makes for really easy weekend planning and wonderful family memories.
Anyway, the upshot is IF you are lucky enough to find adults who you want to hang out with and they want to hang out with you, and those adults have kids that like your kids and your kids like their kids, and you ACTUALLY like their kids… then make a blood pact and agree to make all your life decisions as a group. You have found your community. Time to start your own commune.
We let a few ‘specials’ escape over the years and there are others that we left behind when we moved because they hadn’t yet bought into our blood pact. But there is still time.
Here’s to finding your own unicorn families.
If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go togetherAfrican proverb