As a single parent, meeting new people isn't always the easiest thing to do. In fact, most days, you probably have little contact with many people beyond your immediate family, your coworkers, and the cashier at your local grocery store. (And maybe the pizza delivery guy, right?) With all of the issues and challenges you face on a daily basis, it's just not easy to carve out time for jumpstarting your social life.
So it's not uncommon to be wondering "where do I start?"
After all, raising your kids on your own takes all of the energy, determination, and willpower you've got—every day. So it's easy for your responsibilities to overshadow a potential social life. But that can also be a recipe for single parent burnout.
So whether you're looking for a little 'me time' apart from your kids, or you're a single parent wanting to meet new people in order to start dating again after your divorce, making a few small changes will help you create the social life you really want.
How to Meet New People & Jumpstart Your Social Life
Begin by asking yourself the following questions and choosing one or two of the suggested activities below.
- What would I really like my social life to look like?
Spend some time envisioning what it would be like to have a fulfilling, active social life. Who would you be spending your time with? How would your children fit into this scenario? Sometimes just getting clear about your ultimate goals can help you find ways to make those dreams a reality.
- What is standing in my way?
What's the biggest obstacle right now to your having a lively, engaging social life? Is it time? Is it a lack of opportunity? Could it also be connected to your feelings about yourself? Getting clear about the obstacles you face, or even the walls you may inadvertently put up, can help you overcome them.
- Does the effort I'm making to meet new people match my desire for an active, enjoyable social life?
If it doesn't, step up the effort you're making. In this way, you can work to overcome feeling like a "lonely single parent" by changing the effort you're making. Try:
- Attending a book discussion at your local bookstore or library.
- Taking a class on a topic that interests you.
- Getting together with some old friends you haven't seen for awhile. Chances are, they will introduce you to some of their new friends!
- Hosting an informal neighborhood gathering or potluck dinner. It will give you a chance to meet some people you haven't met before.
- Are my own expectations making me feel lonely?
For example, if you believe you "should" be in a romantic relationship, you're probably setting yourself up to feel bad about not being in one. (In addition, this kind of self-pressure leaves you vulnerable to making poor decisions in relation to who you choose to date.) To move beyond these kinds to self-imposed limitations, focus on building friendships, not just romantic relationships. Try:
- Finding a "buddy" you can eat lunch with regularly at work
- Hosting an informal event with the parents of some of your child's friends. This would be a great way to get to know other families and also develop friendships of your own
Jump-starting your social life may not be easy—or comfortable. But it will definitely be worth the effort it takes to build meaningful friendships into your life and move beyond the loneliness so many single parents have experienced.