Moms, do you ever wonder why it is so difficult to make friends as you get older?
We had a conversation with friendship mentor and coach, Emily Siegel.
A little background on Emily :
She is a talented podcast host, corporate mom of two adorable little boys, and lover of all-things Broadway musicals. As the leader of The Connected Mom Life Community, she helps busy moms create the circle of friends they crave. Because she firmly believes we weren’t made to mom alone, and she’s on a mission to see that we stop trying.
Why is it so difficult to meet and establish friendships as a Grownup?
Oh goodness, SO MANY reasons. When we’re younger, we are consistently with the same people day after day at school or in extracurricular activities and so we naturally form connections. As adults, especially moms, it’s so much harder to find consistent interactions. Toss in the demands of a career and a family, and it can feel especially hard. Plus, there’s the awkwardness of not really knowing “the rules” of making friends as adults if you want to cut to the chase and skip months of attending the same yoga class. Pile on different parenting approaches or political persuasions and it can feel really hard!
What are some important highlights to keep in mind when meeting new people?
There’s the usuals like be open-minded, smile, say hi, put your phone away, etc. But really, I think the most important thing is to be mindful of the thoughts you’re bringing with you to any new interaction. Many of the moms I work with often have some fears around meeting new people – there’s a fear of judgment, rejection, not being cool enough, and the thoughts go on and on. Middle school really did a number on us! The reality though is that most of us are craving more connection (really, the research says that is true of 75% of us!) The problem is, many of us are just playing it cool, laying low, and then confirming all of our crazy thoughts when we don’t make a connection. I often challenge moms to go into new connection opportunities and pretend that everyone wants to be their best friend – they just need to get to know you! And while it’s not likely that everyone will become your best friend, it is amazing how this mindset can help you show up with your best energy, ultimately attracting new people to you.
With old friends that we have not seen in a while, what is are great ideas to maintain a healthy relationship going and keeping it strong?
I think a mutual understanding and respect of each other’s capacity in any given season is huge. An acknowledgement that connection may look different than it used to can be huge for tempering any resentment about unsaid expectations. Logistically, I love to schedule consistent times to connect to avoid the constant planning of a phone call or zoom date, too. It’s just on the calendar each month and can be moved as needed. I personally love the voice-talk app Voxer and talk to most of my long-distance friends weekly at times that are convenient for me – no planning required! It’s a great way to still feel in the thick of someone’s life too, and not just catching up on the highlights each month.
When is it time to let the friendship fade away? Especially if you have the main one always reaching out and trying to stay in touch?
First let me just say, it’s totally normal for friendships to fade away. It doesn’t mean anything went wrong either. As our seasons change (as we move!) it’s totally normal for friendships to shift too. If you’re feeling like you’re always pulling the weight in a friendship, it’s a great to assess its future. Is her lack of staying in touch just because she’s bad at staying in touch? Or do you get the sense she’s not as invested as you? How does this friend make you feel when you’re together? Reflecting on these questions can be a great indicator of how much joy this friendship is providing you and can let you know if you’re ready to not invest as much.
Here is Emily’s information :