Making New Friends after Divorce Can Be Tough
There’s no doubt that a divorce creates a massive change in your life and lifestyle. Divorce doesn’t only affect your marriage, it affects all of your relationships, especially your friendships. What happens if he gets all the cool friends? Well girl, if that’s the case, those friends were never the “cool” ones. Making new friends after divorce can be intimidating, but you deserve to have the best posse imaginable, so let’s start building one, shall we?
Getting off the Couch
I went through a time at the end of a relationship that felt like all of my friends were choosing him instead of me. They had plans, went out, they did stuff together. I sat at home watching Rent singing along way too loud and crying during “525,600 minutes.” Not the coolest time in my life.
I missed those friends, but I also knew our friendships would never be the same again. It was time to untwist my panties, turn off the sad musical and get back out into the world. There are plenty of amazing people out there, and I needed to find mine.
Making new friends after divorce presents a slew of awkward and intimidating scenarios, but luckily, I’m here to help you not feel like you suck when finding your new gal pals.
Here are my do’s and don’ts in friend making for women after divorce:
- DO BE YOURSELF! DON’T CHANGE TO TRY TO FIT IN.
I’m going to sound like your mom or your kindergarten teacher here and say this: The cool thing about being you is, you’re the only one. You have something to offer. You are unique and relatable all at once. Keeping up an act is a pain in the ass – and it’s hard to keep up, especially when you meet someone you really like and want to relax into a friendship.
- DO BE OPEN MINDED. DON’T JUDGE.
People are different, and that’s amazing and interesting. They have different perspectives, lifestyles, attitudes. This new girl might not see Ryan Gosling as the perfect hunk that you do, but you totally agree that George Clooney puts the fox in silver fox! Friends never agree on everything – and you’ll be grateful for that when the two of you run into Mr. Gosling, and he’s all yours!
- DO PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE. DON’T BE A HERMIT.
You are never going to meet someone in your living room unless you have roommates who bring lots of friends in. So the first step is to get out of the house. The next thing to remember is that conversation don’t just happen; someone has to approach another person (hopefully with a smile), open their mouth, and start one. You can find out lots of good material for starting that convo just by being observant. They could have their nails done, could be wearing a work shirt, maybe they have a good drink choice. “Your nails look fantastic – where’d you get them done?” Boom. Icebreaker. “You work at the Yardhouse? What’s that like?” Boom. “That looks good! What are you drinking?” People can talk about work, hobbies, or their families for hours.
Genuine interest is the best way to get someone talking, so ask lots of questions and really listen to what they say. Monitor the signals you’re sending and body language – RBF (Resting Bitch Face) is a convo killer, so make sure you convey that you’re open and interested. Don’t worry about being a creep; the vast majority of people really appreciate it when someone makes the effort to start up a conversation. Last but not least, stay positive – and leave the stories about your ex for another, much later time in the friendship.
- DO MAKE PLANS. DON’T BE FLAKY.
People meet, have a great time, and say “let’s hang out sometime!” – and often, that’s where it ends. Be proactive. If you have a connection with someone, make solid plans to hang out and grow your relationship. Don’t make excuses or hold yourself back. Don’t miss an opportunity – she might be your new Game of Thrones watching buddy! This requires effort, but isn’t a good friendship worth a little?
- DO BE ENTHUSIASTIC. DON’T BE A ONE-UPPER.
You’ve gotten into a conversation with someone new, high five! Be happy. Show interest in what they have to say and get pumped up about stuff together! You both know every word to Step-Brothers? DID WE JUST BECOME BEST FRIENDS!? Make sure you’re not turning everything your new friend says into something about you. It’s so easy to do, but try to refrain. Yes, find common ground, but don’t one-up. You dated the bass player from Nickelback? WELL I KISSED A BACKSTREET BOY! Yeah, don’t do that. If you do feel the need to share, make sure you’re not doing it to feel big, and word it in a way that doesn’t make them feel small.
Making new friends after divorce requires some effort. But isn’t the reward of finding new gal pals worth a little discomfort? Just think: you could be one conversation away from meeting your new bestie. You’ve got this!
When Matana went through her divorce, she was really struck by at how little there was out there as a vetted resource and guide to help women going through the divorce process. So she started a blog and it grew to thousands of followers and now it's ready to grow further with workshops and more community tools. Matana lives in NY and has 2 daughters and the best dog ever, named Oscar.
This piece was originally published on Chapter 2 Club.
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