5 Tips For Remaining Friends With Non-Parents
As a new parent, you may have been prepared for sleepless nights and temper tantrums, but one thing you may never be prepared for is the impact becoming a parent has on your friendships with non-parents. While you feel guilty for not attending birthday parties or lunches, your friends may feel blown off. While you wish they understood how busy you are, your friends may wish you would prioritise them more.
These types of conflicts are often what can drive friendships between parents and non-parents apart, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Plenty of friendships can make it through this life stage, but it takes a little bit of planning and a whole lot of understanding. While effort must come from both ends, here are some tips you can follow as the new parent to maintain your friendships with non-parents.
1. Don’t make assumptions about your friends
When we become overwhelmed, it’s easy to make assumptions as an excuse to not hang out with our friends. You may think to yourself, “they don’t want to be around my baby anyway” or “they just don’t understand how tired I am” when in reality, your friends may really want to be a part of your child’s life or will be able to empathise with you and be a shoulder to lean on.
2. Childless friends will have to come to you – you should make up for it
Since you may be constrained to feeding schedules and nappy changes, it will probably be best to make regular hangouts at your house with friends. While this means your friends will have to do the driving and planning, you should try to make up for it as best you can (think buying the snacks they pick up on the way over or cooking something quick for dinner).
3. Don’t only talk about your kids – but don’t never talk about your kids
While having a baby is a huge change in your life, allow your friends to talk about things that are important in their lives. Whether they’re completing a course at university, adopting a dog or cat, or dating someone new, actively listen and ask questions. But also, don’t feel like you can’t talk about your baby – your true friends will want to know about your child, your successes, and your struggles.
Talking about your shared interests and other topics that you had before kids is also healthy for you as a new parent. It can be tough to remember who you were before children sometimes, but connecting with childless friends can remind you that you were your own person before becoming a mum or dad.
4. Embrace texting like never before
Yes, phone calls and FaceTime’s will most likely be interrupted at some point by kids, so sometimes it really is just better to always text. Actively make plans or just stay involved in group chats by shooting quick texts. Also, make sure to check your phone every once in a while to not accidentally ignore one of your friends trying to tell you something important.
5. Accept that some friendships won’t last
The hard truth is some friendships just won’t last into this new chapter of your life. You have a completely new schedule and set of interests and goals than some of your childless friends, and that may make you distant from one another. Once your kids are old enough for a babysitter or your friends have kids of their own, you may be able to reconnect. Otherwise, just prioritise the friends who have stuck by your side or eventually reach out for new friends.