How to Meet New Friends after Divorce
- It can be hard to make new friends as an adult
- How to find new friends
- Tips for initiating new friendships
Life after divorce can be a lonely time. Friendships that sustained you for years may now become “lost” in the push and pull of marital allegiances. Some friends may feel awkward and unsure of how to approach and support you. While you may crave support, you may also need time to be alone with the process, and some friendships may feel intrusive.
Regardless of why friendships sometimes end during divorce. But once you get to the other side, you will want to feel alive and connected again – and there may never be a time in your life when friendships can be more healing than after your divorce.
It can be hard to make new friends as an adult
As we get older, our circle of friends tends to grow smaller. With maturity, friendships come and go as a natural progression. For adults, making new friends can also be more difficult. We no longer have the same social frameworks we had as children and younger adults that forced us to interact and forge new relationships.
Studies show that friendships are critical for our health and well-being. But, as adults, we have busy schedules and responsibilities that can get in the way of focused friend-making. While it’s possible to kindle work-based friendships or make friends with other parents at soccer practice, these may not be the soul-nourishing friendships that sustain us through a big life change like divorce.
Research shows that for most married individuals, the first line of support is their spouse or partner. But what happens when that relationship ends and your new reality sets in? You may be feeling particularly vulnerable and downright “rusty” at friend-making right now.
How to find new friends
During your divorce, you likely had multiple matters on your plate, and making friends was probably not high on your priority list. But now, post-divorce, you may have hit that wall of isolation head-on.
While counting on support from family members may have been your first go-to, this can present its own challenges. Family has a way of pushing all our buttons and not providing the no-strings validation you might need after a major life challenge like divorce. Unlike family, you can choose friends who support you without those invariable “family strings.” But where can you find friendships with people who help banish your negative emotions while sharing your values and ideals?
Perhaps the most obvious way to find like-minded friends is to look in places where people with similar interests hang out. Hobbies and outside interests provide the perfect jumping-off point for developing friendships, whether it’s a book group or a sporting event.
No matter what you enjoy, whether it’s yoga, music, or something else, you’re bound to find people gathered around that interest. Do you love dogs and animal rescue? Take your dog to the local dog park. How about trivia night at a local watering hole?
There are also local organizations, some focused on post-divorce and single life, designed for people who seek friendship and connection. Can’t find one? Start your own, or find a local special-interest group through a platform like meetup.com.
When you’re a parent, you have a built-in camaraderie with other parents. Who else but other parents can understand the joys and tribulations of parenting? With a little nurturing, these people can be a natural source of emotional support. And you will invariably find that many people hanging out at your local playground are divorced parents, just like you.
There are also larger organized groups with local chapters specifically designed for parents, including MOPS (mothers of preschoolers), Mocha Moms, and City Dads Group.
Technology can be a double-edged sword, but when it comes to connection, it can make the difference between feeling connected and feeling isolated. The obvious social media channels like Instagram and Facebook can be extremely helpful in finding others with similar interests.
Friendship networking apps such as Bumble BFF, Yubo, and LMK offer ways to reach out to others looking for friendship. While friendship apps can have similar features to dating apps in their video, chat, and privacy capabilities, they are specifically designed for people seeking platonic friendships and connections.
Acquaintances are people you may know – or know of peripherally – with whom you have not had the opportunity or time to develop a friendship. Deepening the acquaintances you already have can make a perfect segue into a lasting friendship with someone you already know or admire.
Tips for initiating new friendships
As adults, we may have fallen out of practice making and developing new friendships, and it may feel awkward at first.
Initiate a short get-together
When you recognize someone who may have the makings of a supportive and fun friendship, making the initial move can be the hardest. Invite that person to a short-term, non-committal activity like a walk or coffee.
Share small personal details
Because small talk is limiting, sharing small details about yourself without being overwhelming can open the door to a more heartfelt conversation. Ask questions, and let them talk about themselves or the subject that drew you to them initially. These small encounters will let you know whether this person is someone you want to spend more time with or not.
What if the other person isn’t interested?
Divorce can make us sensitive to all kinds of rejection. Us humans are busy, which is why adults have a difficult time cultivating friendships. Just because your new potential friend doesn't seem interested doesn’t mean that is necessarily the case. They may truly be too busy to carve out time in their schedule. Or, they may be sensing some incompatibility. Either way, as a newly divorced person, you can’t waste precious time taking things personally. You have a life of promise to live.
Are you going through the divorce process? Making your way through divorce recovery? You’re not alone. Hello Divorce exists to support all the moving parts of divorced life. Whether you’re looking for skilled legal advice or a supportive connection, we are here to help.