We recently moved from South Wales to Essex (one of my 3+1 most stressful things to do), my main worry was leaving all my friends that we had made in South Wales whilst pregnant.
So I started my effort before we even had the keys to our new house, the internet is a great tool for meeting people. I joined lots of Facebook groups for local mums and thanks to blogging I knew quite a few local bloggers in the area too.
We moved on the Saturday and by the Monday I had my first mummy date with a lovely lady called Nicola who has 2 little boys that aren’t yet at school. We met on a Facebook group, she literally lives round the corner from me, She took me to the local baby friendly cafe, showed me a super quick route to walk there which I just wouldn’t have known about if it weren’t for her and we had lunch and then we went on a tour of the town, she showed me where all the shops were and showed me a lovely butchers that do some yummy things.
Without her I wouldn’t have had a clue about anything! That day out walking round was really invaluable.
I had also decided to look for swimming lessons for Arabella, I inquired with Water Babies and my eyes watered when I saw the price, for a normal family on maternity leave its just not affordable so I asked on the local Facebook group (there is beginning to be a theme here! haha!) if anyone knew any alternatives and we were pointed in the direction of Nurture Babies. So I sent and email and had a prompt reply that a term was £76 and I could start that week, so we booked on an off we went!
I got there stupidly early, I’m rubbish at driving round our new area, I get lost all the time and didn’t want to risk being late, I got there to an empty car park at a very posh hotel, I didn’t have a clue where I was meant to be going.
After a few minutes another car arrived with a couple in it, I waited for them to get out and asked them if they were here for baby swimming and they were, I told them I didn’t know where I was going and they kindly took me under there wing, she also introduced her to her friend (now my friend too!) Sarah, they were part of the same NCT group, we did our lesson together and stayed for coffee afterwards, this was the lovely Katie who has been another life saver. Shes about 10 minutes drive for me and we now meet for lunch at least once a week (sometimes with other mums, shes good at sharing her friends with me!) as well as car sharing for swimming and often drives me round pointing out nice pubs to drink wine in!! Haha.
Then another lovely local mum off a Facebook group invited me to Rhyme Time at the local library, totally free and I made another friend! We had a lovely time and joined the library so now both me and Arabella have books on tap!
I also attend local sling meets, where I met more local mums that I just randomly spoke to and others who I had already spoken to on Facebook groups (good old Facebook!).
Tomorrow I’m off to meet a fellow blogger and cloth nappy nut who I’ve spoken to for a long time on Twitter, Kelly who blogs at www.morethanjustamummy.com. We are off to our local animal adventure park, Marsh Farm (http://www.marshfarm.co.uk). I am so excited to meet Kelly and hopefully it’ll become a regular thing.
So basically my tips for making friends when moving long distance are:
1. Talk to anyone, honestly…. just open that gob and chat. It’s what has made me lots of friends.
2. Go to pretty much everything you’re invited to. Be social! I’m a wee social butterfly now!
3. Facebook, the internet! It’s an amazing tool, use it. I think some people still think its a bit odd meeting people off the internet, but me? No! I met my husband on twitter. Just sayin!!
I used to have so little self confidence, I always used to worry what people would think of me, but you know what, most people are probably just like you, wanting to make friends. So just go for it!