parent opinion

‘I got phone numbers every time’: How I dealt with being a new mum who needed friends.

The Coffee Club
Thanks to our brand partner, The Coffee Club

Overthinking – that’s the problem with making friends as you get older.

What if the other person doesn’t like me?

What if I’m a bit socially awkward?

What if I accidentally befriend someone who’s into unusual hobbies like bondage or anti-vaxxing?

But as a woman who became instantly Nigel No Friends after moving out of the city and into the sticks at the age of 35, with a child in tow and another on the way, I was adamant that our relocation wasn’t going to result in a long-term friendless situation.

Why? Because I’ve always loved being surrounded by friends. I’ve lived without a man, a mortgage, my family (who’ve always lived overseas) and even without a job for a brief stint in 2012, and I’ve always survived. But the thought of no close confidants makes my heart sag a little.

So, I was on a mission. A one-woman mission, let’s call it, to find some friends and stat. And this is what I did: I went to the beach with my son and my baby bump, whacked on my friendliest smile and started striking up conversation after conversation with complete, utter strangers.

Yes, gasp, strangers!

Look out for the crazy lady on the beach! Image: Supplied.

And once I started, I couldn’t stop. What was even stranger was my success rate. I was leaving with phone numbers left, right and centre.

In fact, after a few weeks my husband had named me the “beach stalker”. No one was safe from my friendly charms!

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But here’s the thing with making friends when pregnant. There’s no social lubrication in the form of shared vinos. Instead, I started meeting these fellow mums, handpicked from the beach, at The Coffee Club near my home. For those of us with babies, the babycinos (which you get with any purchase) and colour-in sheet menus keep them busy so we can just chat. Chatting with other adults - underrated!

So, how did these fellow mums fare? Well, some I loved, others I liked and some were popped on the reserve list.

Oh come on, you’ve all got a reserve list. You aren’t that into them but they’re inoffensive and will kinda do when everyone else is busy.

And now, a year on, I’ve found myself a tight circle of mum pals. They’re sanity savers. They’ve become my go-to for bouncing parenting ideas off. They’re there after a rough night of no sleep, teething and tantrums (mainly me), making it all feel a little more manageable.

But seriously, I won’t lie, making friends in your 30s is a bit like dating in your 20s. You have to be in it to win it, and really, you can make it as hard or as easy as you want it to be.

Here are a few tips to kick you off:

1. Firstly, most women - especially mums - are pretty keen to meet a new friend. No, seriously, the more mums we can fit into our inner circle the better. Essentially, parenting is all about strength in numbers!

2. Secondly, there’ll be a few who don’t want to be your friend. You might not be their jam or they might be at full capacity with life right now. Either way, don’t sweat it. It’s very rarely personal so just "thank you, next" it.

3. And lastly, ramp up the confidence, dial down the overthinking. In fact, take on a toddler’s approach to making friends. Eye each other up, look for the shared smile signalling openness to communicate, and then boulder over and get stuck into a convo.

After all, just across the beach might be the Thelma to your Louise (minus the grisly ending). Or perhaps the Woody to your Buzz. Well, you get what I’m saying.

You might be missing out on a later-life BFF just because you’re a little scared of putting yourself out there.

Go for it, be brave. And if in doubt, just smile, because who doesn’t want to chat to someone with a friendly face when they’re in the midst of this craziness that’s called parenting.

The Coffee Club

The Coffee Club has been serving Australian families great food and excellent coffee since 1989. With convenient store locations, free WIFI, vegan options and free babycinos with any purchase, The Coffee Club is your friendly local. Visit your nearest cafe today.

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