DEAR FFG:I am a working mom in a community of stay-at-home moms. I have a crazy schedule, so it's not always easy to meet or maintain good friendships. How do I combat the loneliness — other than by eating it away? — A Future Former Fat Girl
Dear Future FFG:I know what you mean! Right now, I am pretty much starving for my old friends, having recently relocated to another state. Did you notice I used the word "starving"? I really think that many of us hunger for other things, and food is the handiest way to fill the void.
So, a few ideas. First, don't completely count out the stay-at-home moms. I mean, many of the ones I know have even crazier schedules that those of us who work outside the home. One of my stay-at-home friends ran with my little group at 5 a.m. even after both her kids were way into elementary and high school.
Which brings me to the fact that I have always found exercise to be a great way to meet people, maybe even the best way as you're more likely to connect with soon-to-be FFGs and FFGs themselves, who can support your efforts. Even if you're not into group exercise, why don't you give it a try? Early morning classes or gym visits in particular will probably help you find other women in your same situation — either too busy to exercise at more acceptable hours or insomniacs (or both, like me).
That’s how I have met some of my very best friends in my post-college days, especially once I became an FFG and realized the importance of having healthy people around me as much as possible. I am actually dealing with this right now as I need to recreate my life in a new city — putting feelers out to find fitness companions, dusting off my "it's an adventure" attitude and being willing to invite relative strangers to go running or riding or walking with me (or hone in on their group). It is not easy, but it's doable. I can tell you all the other things you probably already know — join clubs, go to PTA meetings, ask people to go to coffee after, etc. But maybe the most important thing I can say is, make it a priority to get out there and initiate some activities with new people. Trim your schedule and put yourself and your need for new friends first on your to-do list. Friends are not luxuries in life — they are necessities. Once we remind ourselves of that and put making and fostering friendships in the right priority in our lives, we might be surprised to "find" some extra time in those crazy schedules.