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Our Favourite Ways to Maintain a Strong Relationship with your Friends

Tinies Relationship Special: The only people in your life that you can pick and choose are your friends. Whether they're old or new, your relationship with them may change when you have babies. But your new addition doesn't have to mean losing contact, more that your relationship could change

 

"Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver, and the other gold." So goes the quote, but different stages of your life and even different circumstances have you spending more time with different people.

Having children can really change the dynamic of many of your friendships, especially if they don't have children themselves. Meeting up for a spontaneous drink or shopping trip is pretty much out of the question, but that doesn't mean relationships can't continue to grow.

Keeping a friendship is a two-way street, and when you have children, your focus changes. And so does the amount of time you have to dedicate to friends. But, staying connected is possible, you just might need to change your tactics.

Flying solo

At one point all of us were single without kids. Try to remember what it was like. The only person you had to focus on and plan around was you. But there are a few things to think about.

People without kids don't want to talk about kid stuff all the timePeople without kids don't want to talk about kid stuff all the time

Of course your friends are excited about your new addition. So take the first few months and focus on your baby, that's all you can do. But at some point you need to realise that, unless they too are parents of a newborn, nobody cares about your baby's poo, especially people without children. Save the 24/7 discussion of all things baby with your partner or other new parents.

Understand they may not get how your life works now

Let's be honest, people without kids have no idea of the planning it takes just to leave the house, with or without your child. Going out requires planning and if you are leaving your child at home for the evening, you'll be asking favours left, right and centre or your night is getting expensive with a babysitter. Your time is no longer your own, but they may not get that.

Focus on your common ground

If there isn't much of that going on right now - i.e. they're talking about last night's Tinder date and you spent the night cleaning mashed peas off the ceiling. Then just be there as a friend, and listen, really listen. Even if the baby is there, and you get distracted for a second, bring your friend back to their point, so they know that you are listening. If it's really important, see if you can swing a coffee date - sans baby.

There may be jealousy

While your friends might be jealous of your new life, you may actually find you miss the freedom of non-parent singledom. Accept those feelings on both sides and move on. You're both lucky to have what you have.

Reclaim your time

Every now and then it's good for you and your child for you to go out and have fun as a person, not just a parent. Have your partner or parents watch the kids, or get a sitter and go out like the old days, although we know you'll likely have an earlier, self-imposed curfew.

Plus one but no children

This group of friends may be more sympathetic to your situation as they may be contemplating children themselves. Or they may be tired of all the baby talk!

Don't push

Just because you have a baby, it doesn't mean they should too. You never know someone's situation. They may be trying without any luck. Or they may not want kids. If they have questions, they'll ask.

Don't scare

Plus one but no children

When we're tired we tend to whinge and moan a bit more than usual. Remember to tell them about the good things too, and avoid telling them how much it hurt, how you never shower or have sex. They'll figure it out within their own time.

The whole gang

While parent friends start out as a convenience, (really who else can talk about spit-up that much?) that's not to say they can't become good, solid, life-long friends. Meeting new parent friends is like starting high school or dating, but instead of history class or a bar, you meet them at the NCT or baby singing classes.

Sure you'll only start out talking about your kids, but one day you might find yourself out for coffee, lunch or a drink without the kids and find out you have lots in common.

Friendships go through ups and downs, and the best of friends will be there when we need them. Don't take advantage, overshare or think you've been out of contact for too long. Learn when to stop talking, when to listen, and when you just need to pick up the phone and reconnect.

 
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