My husband and I moved to our area almost 2 years ago. We live out in the country, and we love it out here. The only issue we have is that we seem to be “outsiders” to most people. Around here, most are born/raised here, and families are pretty set in their routines/ways. We have 5 children, 5 and under. Our parish is pretty small, and there is a very small handful of families of our size there. We’d love to branch out and meet new people, but we still feel “new”. It’s sort of hard to describe. Everyone knows everyone, and although everyone is nice on Sunday, it never goes past “See you next week!” This summer we definitely plan to have a party since we have a pool and make our own wine, but I just don’t like the fact that I need a “reason” to invite others over. I need to get over this. Any advice that you can give, I’d really appreciate it. We moved here from a military base, where everyone seemed welcoming and inviting (and personal). We had many friends, but here are a bit lonely. Thanks!
I know where you are coming from. You have your hands full with five such young children, but I am sure you would like the company of other parents. Are there committees at the church that you could volunteer for? Can you identify someone at Mass that has been friendly, even if it is just smiling, and say you would like to help. If there are committees at this church, kind of see who the movers and shakers are, and then volunteer to help. Sometimes people don’t mean not to be inclusive, but they get so busy with their own things that they forget to reach out to others.
I know something about Tennessee. I would like to know what part of TN you are in as each of the three sections of the state are very different.
We’re located directly between Nashville and Jackson. In the middle of no where! It’s a beautiful area, I just hope to meet more people soon! And not just as aquaintences, but other families that we can get to know better. Our parish is very small, and we only have about 2 events a year. The last one I think was last May, so we should be due for another one soon. I’ll keep my eye out for those planners!
The suggestions given so far are excellent; you might also consider simply inviting one of the other few families to join your family in some sort of activity…
are you homeschooling your children or are some of your older children in school or pre-school? I know a lot of people dislike pre-schools and drop-in centers, but I used to volunteer in one as a literacy program co-ordinator for the little ones, and I notice a lot of parents would meet up through those programs.
I noticed the same thing as a Sparks(precursor to Brownies, precursor to Girl Guides) Junior Leader; parents would come to some of the events and would get to know each other as well as each other’s children.
I also recall seeing my stepmother get together with her girlfriends who were moms, and leaving all the dad’s to look after the kids for an evening while they had a girl’s night out, and then they’d take their turn watching the kids together so that all the dad’s could have a boy’s night out.
it seemed to be a very healthy thing, as the friends bonded through watching their children together, through talking and having ‘adult’ time together, and just through the common experiences they were sharing as parents - and as mom’s or dad’s in particular.
Maybe you could bring your older children to some sort of class - my little brothers are in skiing, I don’t know if you’d have skiing in Tennessee (doubt it), but maybe something similar - or to a drop in where the parents are required to stay with the children while there - and that way you can interact with other families as a family. See which children your children gravitate towards, and find out a little bit about the parents - and then, depending on your feelings at that point - persue a friendship with that family or not as you decide.
let us know when, if and how things start to get better for you! I know that it is never fun to be lonely, so I’ll keep you and your family in my prayers.
You might want to bring it up to the priest, if you can’t find the couple of people who are the real key to the social network. I’m thinking the town will work like this, most will have their few close friends, but there are those two or three women who really know everyone. Chances are if someone needs help they’ll all pitch in, but tend to usually keep to their few closer friends, but are friends with everyone else. Of course, you’ll have the couple odd families, that don’t get along with other people, and you have your familes that’ll stir up trouble. It’s almost like a huge extended family.
You more than likely just need to get the ice broken a bit. It’s hard to talk to someone, when you don’t know what’ll offend them. It’s hard too because you cannot bring up things that happened 20 years ago that you did together. On the other hand once you get the feel for the relationships, atleast you can tell those stories you’ve told thousands of times to your friends, and are not so old and stale to another. Then after awhile you’ll think, yeah you’ve told me that 20 times.
That reminds me of my friend, who’s father was in the air force. She was in high school in Dayton OH her freshman year with a 1000+ in her class. The father retired, but wanted to move to this one little town, if you could call it that, the mother and father remembered from before. She ended up in a high school of 17 her sophmore year, a bit of a culture shock.
You keep saying you’re newcomers, live out in the country or in the middle of nowhere, are busy with 5 little kids and in the same breath express surprise you haven’t met many people. You’re kidding, right?!
You’re going to need to extend yourself here if you hope to change anything because clearly the locals have not been beating a path to your door. They likely already have friends–so you’ll have to take the initiative. Start by inviting just a few families with young kids of their own over. It sounds like you have plenty of (outdoor) space. Have a few simple activities for the kids in mind (scavenger hunt, hang a tire swing, a chest of dress-up clothes, simple games of tag, Twister, capture the flag, etc…); plan a simple, do-ahead meal so you can focus on your guests (a pot of homemade soup or chili, BBQ, etc.) and invite the guests to bring dessert to share. It could be a hoot and nice way to start some new friendships. Good luck!
Thanks you guys! I guess I’m just used to the military and everyone “looking” for a friend. I do have friends at the army post, but it’s an hour and a half away. I get together with them about once a month for lunch, but since we’re further away, no one comes out here (yet - this summer I hope more join us!)
And I don’t mean really that I’m “lonely”. We have some great neighbors. However, they are older and their kids are grown and have moved away. I have very close friends that I keep in contact on the phone/email, and we take trips throughout the year to visit friends who live further away from us. It would just be nice to have friends in closer proximity to us. We knew it would be a challenge when we decided to move here.
My older three kids are in soccer, and my oldest also plays teeball. Also, my 2 older ones are in a Moms Day Out program twice a week (4hrs a day). I’ve met a few moms from there, we say hi when we see each other at Walmart and stop to chat. I guess I’m just going to have to invite them over next time for dinner! It will be easier when it’s summertime and there is more to do outside, but dinner works for me, too.
Thanks for all your suggestions. I can’t wait for the kids to get a little older. I sort of look at them as my way to branch out a little more