questionswhere do you make real-world friends?

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i have NO personal experience making friends

my sister informs me that she met her's at the playground watching the two year old run around and trying to herd the others there into not allowing beatings. then she decided that while someone else was home at nights to watch the kid she would take two hours a week and join a take-care-of-myself group and met people that way.

good luck. human contact can be a good thing.

vote-for16vote-against

I take it that you're single. This makes it a bit more difficult. When you say you are working on your Master's Degree, you imply that you are also doing this from home. Do you not interact with anyone in your program at your school? Library visits? I'm having trouble envisioning this.

What's the degree field? I am not asking idly. It would be helpful in making further suggestions.

Is your toddler approaching an age where Nursery School would be appropriate? In California, there are parent participating nursery schools in many areas.

http://www.ccppns.org/

I belonged to one of these when my daughter was at that age (probably before you were born). It was nice, and I made some very close friendships (although that was not my purpose for doing it). I don't know about other states, but I'll bet that there are similar organizations.

vote-for18vote-against

You might try meetup.com. I don't know about your area, but in mine, there are always many events to participate in. I moved here just a few years ago, and some of my greatest friends now are those I met through my knitting meetup.

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Thanks for the suggestions so far! I will have to look into the sites you have mentioned :)
@shrdlu: I am married, but my husband goes out of town for school every so often. He's taking his degree thru Penn State, mostly online, but has to do various exams and things on campus. We live in Va, so when he has to be at school he's usually gone a week or so. When he was in the Marines, it was very different--I had a huge network of wives and gf's! Sadly we are now scattered throughout the country. I am taking my Master's in Teaching predominantly online too, thru Liberty University. So no brick and mortar library visits here, tho I spend lots of time in their virtual stacks!

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They still make real people!? The Internet has been lying to me for the past decade!

I honestly have no idea how anyone meets and makes friends these days, aside from the usual school/work route. I've found the older I've become, the fewer new "real-world" friends I've made. I suppose one could take the Fight Club approach and join various support groups -- maybe something like WAA (Woot Addicts Anonymous)?

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Step outside ---> Throw a rock at a stranger while they aren't looking ---> Run over and 'see if they are ok' ---> ??? ---> BECOME FRIENDS!

Foolproof plan! Works everytime! Try it! Bonus points if they see you throw the rock! Exclamation point!

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After moving a couple years ago to a new town with no connections at all, I actually met someone a few months later on OKCupid who was specifically looking for friends and thought my profile meshed with her circle of friends (she was listed as 'seeing someone', as she was, and is, living with her boyfriend).

Tricky bit is being female on any dating site is apparently sort of a minefield of unpleasantness, but the Matching and Friend percentages may help, and stressing that you're happily married with a kid may weed out some of the creeps.

vote-for18vote-against

Do STUFF. Stuff that is outside of your normal schedule.

Do you have hobbies? (Woot doesn't count as a hobby for this!) Meeting with a group that's interested in the same things is a great way to get to know new people. I'm a grad student myself (PhD, a real death sentence) in a VERY undergraduate oriented town. I've gotten to know people by finding groups that do things that I'm into (outdoors-adventure type activities), as well as just having a conversation with every person I find remotely interesting.

Take your daughter to ANYTHING you think might be good for her. The public library where I grew up used to have a LOT of youth-based events, and I'm sure the parents got a chance to network and know each other while their kids were engaged in making GOOD memories.

Every person you ever meet is a PERSON, and there's bound to be something interesting about them. If you can concentrate on finding that thing, you'll be just fine.

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Most of the people I have become friends with since college are from work. Maybe someone from your classes? Or throw out a general location and maybe a woot friend can become a real friend...

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Met a lot of my friends at church.

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@aafalke: If you are pursuing a degree in teaching, I'd expect you'd want to gain accreditation, and then to teach. This is not a bad thing to do when you have a child, or children, because you can mesh your schedule to theirs. I'd be looking for professional associations for teachers in your area, since that can be useful now, and later on, when you are looking for work.

You might also consider volunteering at a local school, or the library. Yes, some of that is doable even when you are hauling around a toddler. You might also investigate whether your local church has young adult groups, or perhaps playgroups.

Have a garage sale. Have two. This is an excellent way to meet your neighbors, and you may discover that someone fun lives just a block or two away.

Good luck.

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WHAT? We aren't real? Who's spreading that nasty rumor!

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I agree with taking the daughter out to local places. Do you have a zoo or children's museum? Here families are allowed to use the school playgound in the summer and after school. Some of the parks have craft or nature programs for kids of all ages.

Do you have a sitter for your daughter to go out on your own? The newspaper or local website might have community events you would be interested in. Go and do not be shy! Wear your wedding ring and talk about your family early in conversations to avoid the relationship issues. Volunteer locally doing something you like. Stop in the Salvation Army or library or hospital. They can use an hour of your time and you will find people with a common interest to begin a conversation.

Go Penn State! (I live near the Behrend campus.) Also, for the record, I AM real even if all my friends are here.

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Volunteering is usually great (you will, at least, have that cause in common). Also, because of your family situation, yard-saling is a great way to meet people. People who yard-sale are a fairly regular group and you will run into the same people over a period of a few sale days.

vote-for11vote-against

Do you have a local Park District? Sign your daughter up for a class and you are bound to meet other moms who are probably in the same situation as you. Lots of adult friendships are made between parents of kids who are friends and do things together.

Once my kids started school, it was amazing how many new people I met just from walking the kids to and from school every day. And many of them lived right on my block! I know she's too young for school, but get outside and play with your daughter as much as you can and I bet you will meet neighbors doing the same thing.

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Thank you everybody!! I will definitely take your suggestions to heart. Unfortunately my area doesn't have a children's museum OR zoo OR aquarium (sucks, I know!!), but I will be putting more effort into going to parks and out and about. School is out for the summer in this county, so I will be looking for those community groups and classes. The volunteering idea is great--I've wanted for years to get in with the local USO and help out, and this is a perfect opportunity. My daughter is SO outgoing, she will love meeting new people, and she's great for breaking the ice. It's up to me to follow through!

@shrdlu: you make a good point about the professional organizations. I had to do an assignment last week about some in the state, so I have a better understanding of what they do and how to get involved, and I am planning to join soon.

Thanks again, everybody, I knew the wooterverse would come through for me!! :)

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This just popped up in my newsfeed:
"How to Build Community."
(some may apply, some may not.)

Turn off your TV.
Leave your house
Know your neighbors.
Greet people.
Sit on your stoop.
Help a lost dog.
Support neighborhood schools.
Talk to the mail carrier.
Help carry something heavy.
Hire young people for odd jobs.
Bake extra and share.
Share your skills.
Take back the night.
Turn up the music.
Turn down the music.
Know that no one is silent though many are not heard.
Work to change this.