I made a new friend today; an Aussie woman who owns an art gallery in a small English village. We hit it off instantly. Three hours later, my daughter and I were sitting in her car with her family, touring the stunning Cotswold countryside. We ended up staying at their place overnight, eating risotto, sharing stories and exploring English castles the next day. And it had all happened because of a simple “hello”.
Talking to people has never been an issue for me (some say I never stop) ;-) I love the contact with others and am genuinely interested in engaging with people and their lives. I have always taken the attitude that a new friend could be just around the corner, we just have to be open to the prospect.
Most of my very close friends are in fact, those that I have made since becoming a single mum. They come from all walks of life. One of my closest friends used to work in my local pharmacy. With a young child, I would be up there weekly. The discounts were great, but without a doubt the best bargain I received was her wonderful, deep friendship. Another friend used to be my bank manager who turned to me for advice as she became a single mum. She’s now my laugh-out-loud movie mate (we both love Meryl Streep!). She has the best laugh (my friend, not Meryl)! I met another one of my single mum friends on a self improvement course and we've been motivating each other through our ups and downs ever since. She's my sanity check. I'm sure I'd be crazy by now without her.Then through dancing I met my ‘lift my spirits’ friend and she's always up for a night out or a healthy long walk by the water. Another is my daughter’s singing teacher, but she is a gift to us both and lifts us as high as the notes she sings. Friendship is everywhere to be found, if we are open to the possibilities.
Being a single mother requires enormous strength and it astounds me just how much we need to bring to our lives to make it move forward. It also surprises me just how much we have inside of us that we don’t realize we ever had. Thank goodness we can eventually find that strength and use it. But what we also need are strong friendships. We don’t need many. But we do need one or two friends we can turn to and who can offer us a shoulder, a laugh or a hug. It’s essential.
If you feel alone, then head outside. You’ll never find a new friend staying at home. I know. I tried and it didn’t work. But head out your front door and you will find new faces to meet, or maybe old ones you never spent the time to say hi to before. There is a world of people out there ready to be your friend. But you have to take the first step and say hello to make it happen. You’ll be surprised at how many people want to talk and engage but also feel too shy to start the ball rolling. Someone needs to start the conversation. Why not make it you?