Making a mom friend is not an easy task, and when you’re new to a community – or even just new to being a mom! – it can be even harder. Navigating new social waters at the best of times can be challenging but throw in a kid or two and it can be damn near impossible to build bonds with other people when you can’t even finish a sentence because your kid has a mouthful of dirt or your 18 month old is suddenly at the top of a six foot ladder.
In Halifax we have a reputation for being friendly but I’ve heard time and time again from new moms to the area (or even lifelong Haligonians who are new to being moms) who tell me that Halifax can be a hard place to make REAL friends.
I’m not sure if it’s because we’re a city filled with a large military/navy population and five universities so we’ve become accustomed to new people coming in, promising to be our BFFs and then getting posted to another base or graduating and leaving us high and dry; or because making new friends can be a supreme effort as parents when we are just trying to get through the day without OD’ing on coffee; or because we’ve forgotten how much fun it is to meet new people and have settled into our comfort zone of who we already know.
But never fear, there ARE ways to infiltrate the Halifax mom friend population and make some great friends – whether you’re planning to live in the area for a long time, or just a good time.
When I was pregnant with my daughter I was worried about making mom friends. All of my current friends were in different stages of life – older kids or single with no kids. So I turned to social media and joined some local parenting groups. I put myself out there by asking lots of questions while pregnant and with a newborn, and received lots of great answers (see below for why in the “Ask for Help” section) and started to build a community of online friendships with other moms in the area that I could turn to. We here at Itsy Bitsy Haligonians even have our own group, created to help build local connections among Halifax families, called Raising Haligonians – join here!
GET OUT THERE
Connecting online is a great first step but you’re not going to make real friends sitting at home or wandering the grocery store aisles. Yes, sure, it happens once in awhile but usually just in the movies. Whether you have a baby or are toting around a toddler or preschooler there are plenty of great parent-and-tot programs in the area to take advantage of to meet other parents. I recommend drop-in programs as there’s usually a regular crowd that comes that you can build a rapport with over time, as well as a constant stream of new drop-in families that you can chat to if the regular group is too cliquey. Here’s our massive list for weekday programs – be sure to bookmark this one!
Another way is to turn to those social media groups you’ve been connecting with online and suggest a meet-up with a few people, or go to one they’ve organized already. It’s no different than a blind date or an internet date and most of us have done our share of those. Yes, nerve-wracking, but ultimately worth the effort of putting yourself out there.
ASK FOR HELP
Haligonians LOVE to help people. Any tourist who visits here will have some story of asking a local about directions to a good place to eat and finding that they are personally escorted to an amazing spot, seated at the perfect table, given order recommendations and left with a rough itinerary for the rest of their visit.
Sidle over to that group of regulars at the drop-in program you’ve chosen and ask a question or post a query in an online group. Let them know you’re looking for some new places to take your kids or ask about their favourite playgrounds. Tell them you’re new to the area and could use some recommendations for a great dentist. Haligonians can’t NOT help people so they’re going to engage and suddenly you’re in the middle of the conversation and the group.
GET THEIR DIGITS
Once you’ve made contact and feel like these may be people you could be friends with, get their digits to follow up on your conversation starter – I’ve found the easiest way to do this is asking if you can add them to your Facebook or Instagram.
You can use the excuse of wanting to follow up with them about directions to that playground they mentioned or to get the contact info of the dentist they recommended as a reason for the request. It’s a pretty low-ask, low-risk way to connect with someone.
ASK THEM OUT
Now that you’ve made a connection, the rest is pretty easy. Follow up on Facebook a few days later with a friendly message about that conversation piece and suggest you meet at a playground some time with your kids. Likely they’ll say yes, and probably bring a few friends, and you’re off to the races.
PAY IT FORWARD
Now that you’ve infiltrated the Halifax mom friend scene, don’t forget to pay it forward and be sure to welcome that next lost looking mom who wanders into the drop-in playgroup that’s become your second home.