How I Overcame My Fear To Make New Friends

I found this post in the archives and thought it was worth a reboot. I often have to remind myself that making friends doesn't have to be hard, however, it does take time and intention. Choosing to risk rejection for the sake of building community and finding your people, no matter how uncomfortable it may be, is worth it. 

The first week of Pre-K was a little overwhelming. On that first day there we so many new faces. My daughter didn’t know the other kids; I didn’t know the other moms. You could tell by looking in my little girl's eyes that she felt out of place, and so did I. Emotions were raw. I was excited for her, but at the same time, the feelings I had when I was the new girl in high school rose to the surface.

I felt uncomfortable around the moms and caregivers that already knew each other. I wanted to cry. 

We had lived in our small town for a little over four years, but I hadn't had the chance to meet many people yet. I’d had my hands full with my daughter (4), a toddler (2) and a newborn. The few friends I had, lived in other towns so I wouldn’t be seeing them on the playground. I was lonely. 

My husband gave me pep talks about how important it was to socialize our daughter. He said once she made some connections, she would feel more comfortable at school. I knew he was right but what he was encouraging me to do was scary. 

It would have been so easy to hide, to stay to myself, to not risk the rejection but I craved community both for my daughter and myself.

It took everything within me, plus trusting in God, to step out of my comfort zone. I made up a set of mommy cards with my contact information and invited others to come over for lunch or to meet us at the park. I even brought meals to two other moms that had just had a baby. None of this came easy, but the desire for my daughter to make friends trumped the fear of putting myself out there.

How was I going to encourage my little girl to make new friends on the playground if I wasn’t willing to do it myself?

Telling our kids it’s easy to make friends isn’t worth a hill of beans if we don’t model it for them. << TWEET THIS

By the end of the year, I had worked my way through the entire class list, one by one, connecting with each family. Ava had at least one play date with every child in her class, even the boys. Looking back I can see where I was a little over zealous, but it was exactly what was needed to overcome my fears. It didn’t take long to become a part of our community. I was able to get to know many of the moms, the caregivers, and the kids.

I committed to making friends. I determined not to hide.

Fast forward five years and I am still friends with many of the women I met that year. Some of them are now dear friends who I can count on for anything. Those women I was nervous about making meals for, they are some of my favorite people to spend time with, and their little boys have become best buds with my son. While every friendship has not “stuck” and it’s hurt to watch families move away I am grateful for the risks I took.

There will always be new class lists, new people to meet and new risks to take but I have learned not to hide as I model community in my home, to my children and others around me.

How can you come out of hiding and connect with community?