Lifestyle

Social Anxiety – 7 Tips For Making Mum Friends

Social Anxiety: 7 Tips For Making Mum Friends

 

I am not a social butterfly. I’m not shy, but I’m introverted and happy in my own company a lot of the time. I also suffer from social anxiety. If I were to go to a party, I would probably spend most of my time in the kitchen wondering how long I had to stay to make it socially acceptable to leave again. So you may be wondering why this blog post is worth reading – what advice do I have to offer?

The fact is, I’ve faced and overcome some anxieties in developing and expanding my friendship circle. I thought I would share what I’ve learned along the way, in the hope that I can help a few others avoid the loneliness I felt at times.

When I first had the boys, life turned upside down. I had to learn how to be a mum, how to keep my head above water. But eventually, when I found my feet, there came a new confidence. Something about being a mum has given me a little perspective on my anxiety. Now that the boys are my priority, it’s easier to do things I am apprehensive about, for their benefit.

Baby Expressions

Baby groups and classes can be a great place to meet people, but if you have social anxiety it can seem like a really daunting task. You may ask yourself questions like ‘Will I go in the right door?’ ‘Will people stare at me because I’m new?’ ‘What if no one talks to me?’ ‘What if the baby cries the whole time?’

I know what it’s like to feel that way, but I also know that the alternative – staying in and never trying to meet anyone, would have been a whole lot worse. So here’s what you do:

See if there’s ‘niche’ you fit into where you might meet like-minded mums.

For example, if you love the outdoors, why not look for a ‘mums and buggies’ walk near you? For me, my niche was having twins, so my local twins club was naturally somewhere I gravitated towards. Having more than just ‘being a mum’ in common might mean it’s more likely that you hit it off with someone. But at the same time…

Don’t let a differentiation in parenting styles put you off

If you struggle to strike up conversation, try to remember that there is usually common ground somewhere. Steer away from any topics that could become controversial, keep it light. Remarking on the cuteness of someone’s baby is bound to be a safe bet.

You might not ‘click’ with everyone you meet. You may only swap details with a few. But see every exchange as a learning experience and give yourself a pat on the back for putting yourself out there.

Give groups/classes a few weeks before you decided if it’s something you want to do regularly.

The first time around, you’ll probably feel nervous. The second time, at least you’ll know a bit about how everything works. After the third or fourth time you’ll probably recognise a few faces to say hello to, maybe you’ll even start feeling more comfortable. By which time another ‘newbie’ will come along and you can be that link person who makes them feel at ease.

Offer up your help

‘Do you need a hand stacking the chairs?’ ‘Can I help making the tea and coffee?’ The people running the group may be glad of a helping hand. It’ll give you a chance to break the ice and feel more a part of the group, too.

Look for others on their own

When you have social anxiety, it’s easy to walk in and feel like all the other women there have known each other since they were babies themselves. Baby classes and play groups may at times have a reputation for being cliquey. Groups can be hard to break into – it’s easier to approach someone on their own and start up a conversation that way.

Don’t assume that all the other mums are handling motherhood with ease

A common characteristic of anxiety is ‘black or white thinking’. To you, it may look like everyone else is oozing with confidence. However, chances are that one or more of those other mums are waiting for someone else to make the first move. Maybe their smiles hide the fact they just really want to blurt out ‘God this is so hard at times isn’t it?’ or ‘What I wouldn’t give for a good night’s sleep’ to someone who gets it.

Be yourself

It’s a cliché, I know. But as things move along your comfort level will grow and you eliminate the worry of exposing the ‘real’ you at a later date.

 

 

So put on a smile,

get out there

and remember this –

 every mum was a new mum once.

 

Here are some links you may find useful

Find baby groups in your area with Hoop

Try the Mush app (basically Tinder for mums!)

Find your #mumtribe at Meet Other Mums 

 

Have you struggled with social anxiety? Do you have any tips on how to make mum friends? 

Lead photograph copyright: highwaystarz / 123RF Stock Photo

 

Dear Bear and Beany
Pink Pear Bear

You Might Also Like

25 Comments

  • Reply
    Samantha Buckley
    January 19, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Fab post!
    I am due in two weeks time and this was one of the things I am worried about, none of my friends have children yet and I don’t want to feel excluded because I have a baby!

    Since reading this post I have been looking at groups in my local area to make new friends 😊

    P.S: Love your photos!

    http://www.bespokebuckley.com
    #sharingthebloglove

    • Reply
      twolittlemisters
      January 19, 2017 at 8:13 pm

      Hi Samantha,

      Thank you! Such exciting times ahead for you – no rush to get out there but whenever you feel ready, go for it! My local GP surgery ran a postnatal group too, might be worth looking into?

  • Reply
    Samsam
    January 19, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    great tips, thanks for sharing them with mothers who might struggle with making mum friends #sharingthebloglove

  • Reply
    Natalie Williams
    January 19, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    I love this post! This is me all over, I talked myself into going to a new group this week as I avoid them at all costs. But it’s not doing me or my son any good. I’m a second time mum but find it more daunting to go to groups this time round.

    • Reply
      twolittlemisters
      January 19, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      Hi Natalie,

      Thank you! How did you get on at the group? Hope it went well, hopefully your confidence will grow the more you do it. I’m sure it takes some time to adjust to having two!

  • Reply
    Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons
    January 20, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    This is such great advice for any mum who struggles with confidence in social situations. I’ve always been shy, but I definitely found that having my son forced me to push myself to go to things like baby groups and to initiate conversation with people in a way I’d never have done before. But I also found that he gave me something to talk about, something that I knew I would have in common with people to get started talking, which was always my biggest issue before, just getting started. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Reply
      twolittlemisters
      January 20, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      Yes sometimes making the first move is the hardest part. I hope you’ve found some fun groups to go to where you always feel welcome. I love that one I go to always makes me a hot chocolate as I don’t drink tea or coffee 🙂 Thank you for hosting!

  • Reply
    Laura - Dear Bear and Beany
    January 23, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    This is great advice. I think that so many people struggle with the baby groups, even the confident people. It’s like a whole new game. I really struggle with baby groups. I have only ever done groups with a set activity and then you an just chit chat and not actually have to go over to people and start a conversation. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x

  • Reply
    Sharing the Blog Love - Showcase 29 - Hot Pink Wellingtons
    January 26, 2017 at 5:32 am

    […] difficult to break the ice if you struggle with social situations. I thought Gemma’s post, Social Anxiety – 7 Tips for Making Mum Friends, was really great advice that went beyond lots of the tips I’ve read before. If you ever […]

  • Reply
    Louise | Squished Blueberries
    January 26, 2017 at 7:15 am

    I love this post. I struggle so much in social situations I just try to avoid them at all costs to be honest but I’m trying to be braver for the sake of the kids. Like you say it’s much easier for me to integrate into a home ed group where you know there is going to be some form of common ground but it’s still rather terrifying xx #sharingthebloglove

  • Reply
    Cherry - The Newby Tribe
    January 26, 2017 at 10:22 am

    There are some fantastic tips here! I struggled when I adopted my two children as I didn’t have the same experiences as other mums, and it was hard to fit into very established groups, so these ideas would have been brilliant! #sharingthebloglove

  • Reply
    catherine
    January 26, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    This is all brilliant advice. It’s such a minefield making mama friends, and really quite anxiety-inducing at times. The finding your niche is particularly important, I clung to a group of antenatal group friends for the first 3 months and i felt like such the odd one out that it made me really doubt my parenting choices – not good. Thankfully I’ve now find my tribe of open, like-minded mums and I get the support I need. #sharingthebloglove

  • Reply
    Kimberley | Oh Just My Little Blog
    January 26, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    I’m not a mum but moved to a new city a few years ago with my now husband and know how hard making friends as an adult is! x #SharingtheBlogLove

  • Reply
    Selena, The Rambler
    January 27, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    All great advice! It can be daunting to make friends for those that find it hard to be in a social setting. Your twins are adorable!! #sharingthebloglove

    • Reply
      twolittlemisters
      January 27, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      Thank you Selena!

  • Reply
    Carolina Twin Mom / Mary Peterson
    January 28, 2017 at 3:12 am

    Awesome topic! I have said before that this business of making mom friends a lot like asking someone out on a date for the first time. It feels so WEIRD. For goodness sakes, the average length of time of my girlfriendships is easily 15-20 years! But for me, I try not to rush it. It’s also a little easier to try to set up play dates with the woman’s kids. If you click (as you think you will), this is a very easy in. Great stuff here! #FabFridayPost

  • Reply
    Carolina Twin Mom / Mary Peterson
    January 28, 2017 at 3:21 am

    Forgive me, I used the wrong hashtag! #SharingtheBlogLove

  • Reply
    Louise
    January 28, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    This is brilliant advice and a great post. I am fairly outgoing but after I had my eldest son I crumbled. I found attending social groups difficult at first but in the end they were a lifeline during one of the hardest times in my life. Well done for encouraging other mums to get out there. #sharingthebloglove

    • Reply
      twolittlemisters
      January 28, 2017 at 8:19 pm

      Hi Louise, thank you so much for stopping by to comment. It’s often so hard to take that first step isn’t it? But it’s amazing what a difference it makes to your life when you find the right people to be around!

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    January 30, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    Great post and great tips! I’ve had such mixed experiences at groups, some have been so cliquey and it really puts you off. I’m so glad I kept trying though as I met another mum at the last group I went to who has become a really good friend!

    • Reply
      twolittlemisters
      January 31, 2017 at 8:48 am

      Thank you Rebecca! It can feel a bit like walking into a classroom on your first day, can’t it?! I’m glad you met a good friend 🙂

  • Reply
    Sian - The Mama Story
    January 31, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Ahhh great tips. I remember heading out to my first group with a tiny Seren 5 years ago – it was very hard and I have to say I didn’t find that first group very welcoming (bit too cliquey), but I persevered and find groups that were suited us and we made friends we still have today! It was a real life saver having an activity each day that meant we got out of the house!

  • Reply
    Dave - Dad's Turn
    February 1, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Some good tips, which probably apply to dads even more so as introverted dads can feel even more excluded from these groups. Hope you find it easier over time! #fortheloveofBLOG

  • Reply
    Dave - Dad's Turn
    February 1, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    Some good tips, which probably apply to dads even more so as introverted dads can feel even more excluded from these groups. Hope you find it easier over time! #fortheloveofBLOG Also really like the realisation that not all the parents there are completely on top of it all. So true, although you can often think that it’s rarely the case

  • Reply
    Harriet from Toby & Roo
    February 2, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Wonderful advice – I struggle so much with anxiety meeting new people! Thanks for linking up with #bigpinklink H x

  • Leave a Reply