We are leaning into our Cultivate Community Challenge and going deeper with Part II. Right now is the perfect time to look around at the people in your life and work on fostering deeper friendships. Friendships take work and time! But, taking time to nurture friendships is work with outsized rewards. And, it is vital to our well-being and our family’s well-being too. It makes us a more well-rounded person. When life and parenting seem overwhelming, it is essential to have the support of dependable, deep friendships. I once heard that at any given time either we (or our friends) are in a crisis, are coming out of one, or about to be in a crisis. Sounds pretty true to me! Life is wild and banding together with gal pals is essential.
Have you made that call, texted that friend, or opened your home? If not, today is your day! Or have you gotten your ticket to our Galentine’s Moms’ Night Out event at Kendra Scott in Bethesda, MD yet? Get your ticket now! You won’t want to miss it!
3 Ways to Create Deeper Community with Friends
1. Schedule regular hangouts with friends.
- Host a weekly dinner. My midwife shared that she has a standing Friday invitation for a community potluck meal. She said the cast of characters changes from week to week, but she averages around the same number and it has really helped a large group socialize regularly. It has created such a sense of community and all of the parents and kids have a blast. Hosting every week is probably too much for most of us, but maybe once a month or quarter is an option that helps regularize your community hangouts. I think this was a brilliant idea!
- Host a party. If a weekly hang out isn’t your thing, consider hosting a party. When we invite people into our homes, we are also inviting them into our hearts. We are communicating that we value them and want to spend time together. What fun! Also, as mentioned in my previous post, no home is perfect! What makes a home is the people that are living there which is what we are all trying to foster.
- Become involved in your local faith community. Joining a church, synagogue, mosque, yoga studio, gym, etc. is a wonderful, personal, easy way to join a community of people with like-minded values. Joining is simple, but takes time which is one thing we are all strapped for. But, once you commit, you’ll be grateful for the meaningful friendships, opportunities to serve and get involved, and for the deep community you are creating for your family and kiddo(s). As I heard once, there is no perfect church because it is filled with people. This is so true! So instead of shopping over and over again, pick a place and dive in.
- Join a bi-monthly group, host craft group, or book club. Forming a club based on shared interests helps feed interests outside of our home life. Be sure to check out our Community & Conversation Groups to find people near you and also these fun support groups around our area. Be inspired to create the group that you desire!
- Join the Turquoise Table Movement. As mentioned, when we invite people into our homes, we are also inviting them into our hearts. We are communicating that we value them and want to spend time together. What fun! Also, the Turquoise Table Project is beautiful and inspiring to get out and get friendly. We plan on doing the Turquoise Table Project this Spring. I will keep you posted!
2. Pay it forward by finding ways to shows your friends and community that you appreciate them.
- Make a Happy Basket for a mom friend. A Happy Basket is simply a basket of things that make you happy. Have fun with it and make a few baskets and hand-deliver them to fellow moms’ doorsteps. Then encourage them to offer a basket (or more) to their friends. Think of the last time your husband or a friend gave you a gift for no reason. It is amazing how much a simple gesture of thoughtfulness can change a mom’s day. Some ideas to include in a basket are: lotion, flowers, tea, nail polish, candle, candy, snacks, bath salts, plant, reusable water bottle, beloved book, gift card, hair accessories, etc. Again, nothing fancy or too big, but something that lets them know you care about them and went out of your way to tell them you appreciate them.
- Bring a meal to a friend who you know is particularly overwhelmed. We’ve all been there. And sometimes food simply fills the need that is there (constantly, amiright?!). Food! We all need it and our families eat daily. Bringing a meal (or baked goods) to a fellow mom is a wonderful way to build community. If you know that the mom (or a family member) is sick, very busy, overwhelmed, has a new baby, or partner is out of town, try this gesture. We all eat and enjoy free food sometimes. Creating this space to serve others with meals can be a huge blessing to moms. One time a neighbor brought me over two slices of frozen pizza that she had cooked. I was a newly breastfeeding mom and was SO grateful for that mid-day snack!
- Show your appreciation for your friendships. You can show a friend you appreciate them by writing a card, offering to help if they are doing something. It could be as simple as offering to take a family photo for them at a birthday party if they don’t have family around to take the photo! Or drop flowers off at their home, bring them some baked goods, write them a card, offer to watch their kids for a couple of hours so they can get something done. Then they can watch your kids while you get something done!
3. Nurture your close friendships.
- Form a Life Club. What is a Life Club? An intentional, carved out time to socialize with our group. Our group started organically when a few of us began regularly hanging out to talk about whatever was on our mind at the moment, like how much life insurance to carry, recipes for hurried weeknight dinners, how much we should be saving at this phase of our lives, what or enneagram number says about our personality, etc. the Enneagram, Basically, to talk about our everyday lives! This isn’t formal, we aren’t reading a book (although we do talk about books sometimes). Instead, we gather at someone’s home once a month or so to share a snack, a glass of wine, and our lives with each other. We are so comfortable with our Life Club that some of us have even worn pajama pants!
- Kids help us set-up playdates! Our kids allow us to navigate social situations with friends because kids are so natural a making friends fast. Playdates naturally occur with friends, but instead of viewing the playdate only for them, shift your thinking into how you can help the friendship become stronger. We need one another and there is no sense in being shy about it! We waited a while to carpool with friends. But since we took the plunge and have been helping with drop-offs and pick-ups it has helped solidify friendships and trust. By spending time with friends, we expose our kids to other home environments and rules. We even share the duty of pickups from school or sports with the “village” mentality.
- Plan a girls’ weekend away or at least a Mom’s Night Out. Need we say more. Even if it is just one night, get away to refresh your mind and heart. Going away helps us realize just how blessed we are with the family we have.
What ways do you deepen friendships with friends? We’d love to hear!