Looking for deeper connection - Mom's group edition
May 6, 2021 3:59 AM   Subscribe

Help me enjoy the company of the group of Mom's on my street more, pls

After a year of forced teleworking, elimination of in-person contact with co-workers I realize I'm craving deeper personal connection with the people in my "bubble". We've lived on our street for only one year - moved in just as the pandemic hit, the majority of people we interact with are those families with children the same age as ours - about five families. All are pretty nice, I am the only working mom in the group. I'll add that I'm an older mom - by between 5-10 years older than they are. We have fun times sitting around socializing watching the kids play but its always very surfacey chit chat. I want a deeper connection. I also want to feel liked more and that I fit in more. What are ways to transition our friendships from surfacey chit chat to something a little bit more substantive or deeper. Oh and we have a book club where we read deep books, which can be fun but it always resorts to surfacey chit chat. Also, tips on navigating mom's groups and the drama that can often ensue would be appreciated as well.
posted by dmbfan93 to Human Relations (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How many of you interact at a time? In my experience it's easier to have a more meaningful conversation if there are fewer people.
posted by Zumbador at 4:06 AM on May 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

Hanging out while your kids play says, “I want my kid to be friends with your kid.” Asking them to go out and grab a glass of wine, go for a walk or *insert child free activity of your choice* says “I want to be friends with you.” Try taking the kids out of the equation and spend time with them one on one to hopefully forge a closer relationship.
posted by Jubey at 4:37 AM on May 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

My advice is don’t force a group of people into a box. I belong to two moms groups. One, a relict from my 15 year old’s baby days, did go deeper - after sharing when big issues happened organically in our lives.

One, the neighborhood one, is still light chit chat. I like both, but am relieved about the second because...a) we’re also the PTA kind of group and have to get along at least to grade 6 grad and b) we don’t have as much in common as group a, for me, because I am older and they just haven’t gone through the round of divorce/aging parents/pre teen mental health stuff yet.

I’d look for the next most deep person the group and see if you can do something individually, see where it goes.
posted by warriorqueen at 4:39 AM on May 6, 2021 [6 favorites]

What happens when you start conversations that are a little bit deeper or more personal? If they don't respond positively, they might not be interested in that kind of relationship.

Remembering and following up on the things going on in their lives makes it more obvious that you care about them at more than a surface level.

If you think they might be less close with you because your age and work make you different from them, it might help if you find ways to reinforce your similarities. "It's so great that we found a neighborhood with other parents," etc.

Asking for small favors, like borrowing a mower or holding a ladder while you clean gutters, can be surprisingly helpful; it makes some people feel more like you're all on the same team.
posted by metasarah at 8:02 AM on May 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

Is there one person you particularly enjoy seeing or chatting with? Or two? Maybe ask that person to go for a walk with the kiddos sometime, like after work. Sometimes it's easier to develop a deeper connection outside of the big group. Also there's a lot to be said for being... extra friendly? I mean in a sincere way. Make sure to say hello warmly to these folks when you see them outside of the group and in the group. I also thinking asking for mini favors (like borrowing an egg) is great too. It could be someone else in the group is craving a deeper connection too. They might be intimidated/feel judged because you work, or you might feel slightly envious of their time not working for pay (see the question from the future stay-at-home-mom in this Slate column).

Also, what if you go first? I would keep it to something neutral within the group (like, don't go too deep about your kid or work or spouse if you're partnered), but showing a tiny bit of vulnerability might encourage someone else to share as well). Also, yeah, drama around mom groups? I would try to leave that framing behind and just think of this as a group of women neighbors.
posted by bluedaisy at 8:24 AM on May 6, 2021 [5 favorites]

There is a whole book on how to take relationships to a deeper level of connection, called Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships. The focus on friendships with friends, co-workers etc, not romantic relationships.
posted by metahawk at 10:17 AM on May 6, 2021

Just wondering, what happens if you bring up a problem you're having, or need advice on? I've found that in mother's groups where we share a lot more of the issues we're having tend to feel closer. It doesn't need to be super deep stuff. Kind of like, "I can't get my daughter to stop crawling into bed with me in the middle of the night. Does yours do that?"

Another idea: what if you shifted to an article club, rather than book club? There are always parenting articles that come out, or stuff on NY Times that could spark some good discussions.
posted by biscuits at 10:55 AM on May 6, 2021 [2 favorites]

« Older F&*king Pregnancy Tests, How Do They Work?   |   How do you know where you are in your cycle after... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.