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How do I make friends at toddler group?

(22 Posts)
LissyGlitter Mon 03-Aug-09 13:46:22

I have just moved to a new area and know literally no-one that isn't part of DPs family. There is a really good selection of kids activities in the area, which I thought would be the ideal way to meet new people, but when I go everyone just sits with thier friends and ignores everyone else. I have tried asking people how old thier child is, admiring thier prams, etc, but they just answer my question then go back to gossiping with thier friends.

I have a 2 1/2 yo DD and am pregnant with another DD, due in November. I'm a SAHM, so don't have work or uni to make friends at (I will be going back to uni part time next year)

We are planning a late housewarming party and it looks like we will be just inviting the ILs friends and neighbours (we live three doors down from them so the neighbours are the same, only DP grew up in that house, so obviously the neighbours know the ILs much better than they know me! They are all lovely, but mostly pensioners and I would love some friends more on my wavelength)

I've seen a monthly poetry reading group that I've been considering going to, but that's only monthly and it's a bus and metro ride away in the nearest big city. I'm also considering a "musical bumps" group that would seem to be pg yoga and music mixed together, but I have to wait for a new set of classes to start. But what if they are just the same, with people already knowing each other?

Does anyone have any good ways of making friends without coming across as a complete stalker? At what point do you ask for someones phone number/email/full name for facebook?

MovingOutOfBlighty Mon 03-Aug-09 13:51:13

I have had to move twice in the past couple of years.

So I am very good at speed friendships! Just smile alot, ask people questions about their dcs (no one can resist discussing that!) and don't worry if they don't defrost on first meeting - I think English people can be very 'touch me not' in the first instance.

If there is 'chemistry' with the mum, I think it is fine to ask for a number straight away.

I also try and just be myself and not necessarily on best behaviour. If you are too nicey nicey then you attract no fun dullards. Admit to being a crap mum about certain things!

piscesmoon Mon 03-Aug-09 14:07:48

I used to find it helpful to go to several groups because you tend to see the same people and can then say 'did I see you at xxx group?'-at the same time I would explain that I was new to the area and ask their advice.
The real lifeline was the NCT coffee mornings-they were held in people's houses and so they can't ignore you-they have to let you in and then introduce you to others. It is in someone's lounge and so you are a bit cramped-they haven't got hall space-and they have to include you in the conversation.

EffiePerine Mon 03-Aug-09 14:09:23

We moved recently and it took a while before I felt the other mums were being properly friendly rather than polite - maybe a month or so? And only at the smaller playgroups. If you have any Sure Start activities in your area I'd recommend them as they tend to be run very well and you can always talk to the coordinator! Whereas at 'private' groups you never know who's running the thing and they don't talk to you anyway grin.

Persevere and you'll get there, people in a small town seem very wary about getting friendly too early. We moved in April and I'm just now at the stage where I feel I can ask people for coffee without looking like a loon!

LissyGlitter Mon 03-Aug-09 14:37:26

I recently joined the NCT with the intention of going to an antenatal class (I never got to any with DD as she came too early, and I'm after a VBAC this time so it's not like I know it all) but the only ones on offer were either the one that we fell under the "area" for, which would take more than an hour to get to on the bus and would be impossible if DP was doing a late shift or the one in the big city in the other direction which would take around half an hour depending on bus timetables. So I reckon the coffee mornings would be the same sort of thing. I will go to the website now and investigate though!

LissyGlitter Mon 03-Aug-09 14:38:25

The one in the big city would probably be oversubscribed, I meant to say.

nappyaddict Mon 03-Aug-09 16:06:42

I find the best way to work your way into a conversation is to compliment their child. So something like oh that's a gorgeous dress, where did you get it from. Then when they answer, before they go back to their other conversation say something back. So something like oh next i really love their stuff too or whatever. Or you could ask them where they live, what other groups or classes they go to, if there's any good parks in the area etc.

mamaolivia Tue 04-Aug-09 00:40:48

I was working FT in a different area to where my 3.4 dd was a baby so didn't know anyone with kids in my town. I am quite shy and was a bit worried about metting others but once on mat leave started going to various toddler groups with dd. Made a point of going to the same ones every week as see the same faces. Found being heavily preg made a big difference as it is an easy conversation starter (found lots of mums came and taleked to me about it). Also, got talking to other women at the groups who were obviosuly due at the same time as me. Have found that a great way to meet a whole group of women. Also got to know others by talking to mums when my daughter played with their children. If the children get on wel and have become friends have suggested playdates (though only after 3 or so times of meeting) is a good way to get to know the mums then.
I kept saying to myself 0 be yurself and not let knowing lots of people be the be all and end all. You will get to know people in time, but good friendships take time to develop so it's best to relax and don't put yourself under too much pressure as you won't be yourself xx

leavinglondon12 Mon 17-Aug-09 18:18:58

LissyGlitter where are you based? I am in the same position. Maybe we can link up if in close proximity.

screamingabdab Mon 17-Aug-09 18:29:13

I also found the whole making new friends bit surprisingly hard. Some groups are definitely more cliquey than others, so I'd try several if i were you.

Also, it's so much more time-consuming to establish a friendship when you can't talk for more than five minutes without interruption. So it takes a longer time than you would expect, as mamaolivia says.

Going for a coffee after the group is a nice, no-pressure way of taking things further.

The way I met most of my mummy friends at that stage was but helping actually run a mother-and-baby group, because we had to sort out the rota to open and close, and be welcoming to new people, which made me less self-conscious.
I'd also say that many more people than you realise are feeling awkward about making friends, and under-confident with their DCs - especially toddlers who threaten to embarrass the arse off you at any time ! So don't think everyone else feels sorted. Good Luck

screamingabdab Mon 17-Aug-09 18:30:55

Effie is right too. I found people more friendly at the local One O clock club, run by SureStart

Portofino Mon 17-Aug-09 18:36:15

Have you considered offering to set up a local group for the NCT? If you have to travel a long way to get to one, maybe there's a market for one closer to home? If you invite people to YOUR house, they'll have to talk to you wink.

I work full time but have volunteered to help out at events as they are always needing people, and that has helped a lot. Haven't found a new local best friend yet but at least i have the chance to get to know people little by little.

It is hard and I know exactly how you feel, but sometime you have to take a deep breath and charge in a bit.

wineismyfriend Mon 17-Aug-09 20:12:26

i feel in a similar position as DS starts school in september and he has been in nursery rather than the pre school attached to the school. All the other mums will have got to know wch other over the last 2 years whilse DC's were in pre-school and we will bee the nubbies.

I really want to make some new friends as i don't really have that many but don't want to come accross as a nutter and i'm worried that everyone will already have their freinds sorted and won't be interested in making any new ones sad.

acebaby Mon 17-Aug-09 20:20:07

have you considered volunteering to help at any of the groups (easier said than done with a bump and toddler in tow I know!)? That's a great way to at least find out a few of the people's names.

Even if it isn't really your thing, you might find that church run groups are a bit more welcoming.

I am in the same situation - just moved to a new area, and haven't met anyone yet. It can be lonely can't it...

Ineedsomesleep Mon 17-Aug-09 20:23:17

Portofino, I moved to a new town, (DH's hometown) 3 years ago. At the time there wasn't an NCT group in the town so I restarted it with the help of the local branch.

Haven't looked back. Made loads of friends and DH often jokes that I know more people than him.

If you don't want to start a group on your own, perhaps the local branch can put you in touch with local members who may be willing to do it with you.

screamingabdab Mon 17-Aug-09 20:35:05

acebaby I also found a church group really welcoming. I had mild PND, and they were just so lovely and warm.

And I'm an atheist grin

GirlsAreLoud Mon 17-Aug-09 20:37:33

I met a lovely friend at toddler group as she just casually suggested that we could all go out for a glass of wine then took everyone's emails and arranged it.

We were the primary pissheads that night and have been out a few times since.

I have been to other toddler groups though and chatted to people then been ignored by them in the street when I've seen them afterwards. I don't think they're being rude, just forgot who I am.

GirlsAreLoud Mon 17-Aug-09 20:38:13

Oh yes, mine was a church toddler group too, really properly friendly bunch.

MLmum Fri 21-Aug-09 10:08:32

I have a two month-old and have been a bit lazy and only been to one group so far and I had a similar experience, it put me off going again to be honest. I hardly know anyone with kids in London so it would be great to get together if anyone's interested?

mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 30-Oct-09 10:59:31

This is really intresting, I am having this dilemma with uni/nursery. Not so much the talking to people, I seem to be quite good at that but where I struggle is exchanging numbers, emails etc. Any ideas how to do this?

paisleyleaf Fri 30-Oct-09 11:03:47

I did the same as I'm doing now at the school gates, which is pretty much butting in on people's conversations until they get used to me being around.

MaMight Fri 30-Oct-09 11:04:38

A good tip is to zero in on someone with exactly the same combination of children as you (so you'd need another mum with a 2 1/2 yr old dd and about 8 months pregnant). Get chatting, say "we should get the grls together some time for a play while we put our feet up... in fact, when is good for you? Shall we do one afternoon this week? Lets swap numbers."

If everyone at a particular group is a bit unfriendly, join a different group.

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