Suggestions on Creating and Maintaining Friendshipson June 11th, 2011
Creating friendships can be like creating a helpful habit: It out may take awhile, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll do it without even realizing it. I know that developing new friendships or keeping old ones can be incredibly challenging as a widow…mainly because we’re still trying to figure out who we are. But if you set some small goals in front of you…you could develop a life that’s less lonely. Once you create the foundation, you’ll always know it’s there.
- Make a list of people and call one of those people once a day. They don’t have to be local and they don’t have to be your best friend (in fact, many of us will say that the people we are closest to now are not the people we were best friends with before this happened). Reach out to someone once a day. And I’m betting after awhile they’ll start reaching back.
- Set an “outing” goal in front of yourself and make it happen. If you really feel the need to get out, make it once a week. If you’re more of a homebody…once a month. This doesn’t even have to be with someone. Find an activity that you might be able to do on your own, but where you might talk to new people. Book Clubs are usually free. Painting classes and cooking classes are fun even when you stink at it. Weight Watchers is a perfect social group for when your cooking improves.
- When calling is too much…email. Let people know that you’re not 100% right now, but that you’re thinking of them. Some of my closest friendships developed because when I was too tired or just grieving too much to be social, I would email in the middle of the night. Again…this could be someone you know, or you could even do some searching around for someone new on www.theWiddahood.com.
- I know that some people aren’t as comfortable at entertaining in their own homes as I am, but it’s a really great thing when you become a widow because most of us feel the most comfortable on our own turf. I have a friend who has become close in the last few years who, every once in awhile, puts on her sweats, packs a bag, and comes over just to hang out. And as I started to have people over in small groups…they started inviting me to their gatherings as well. Everyone likes to reciprocate so this is a great way to get things moving in a social direction. It doesn’t have to be big or elaborate…again…it’s all about making the effort and inviting them.
- Always remember (especially with friendships that are trying to weather this storm): They don’t know what you want. Communicate and be specific. If you need to get out and would like to go to their house…tell them. I have friends who will say, “If I pick up dinner, can I come over?” and I’m always happy to have them (especially if they bring me food). If you need to be alone…tell them, don’t just ignore them. If you are honestly so busy trying to get things done because your “to do” list has doubled now that you’re taking on everything…let them know. And if you need help with things, recognize the strengths that your friends have and ask for support. Everyone likes to feel helpful and if it’s doing something they’re good at…all the better.