This post continues a discussion on the Peter Kilborn article on being Rootless in Alpharetta.
This has been a tough topic for me to write about. I’m a bit of an introvert. Talk about making deep friendships in the burbs? I’m hardly an expert. Yet can you truly set roots somewhere without a close, deep friendship to rely upon?
Shortly after moving to Alpharetta, I recall my wife lamenting that she didn’t have any true friends in the area. I was reminded of this while reading Kilborn’s article. She worked on building friendships with our neighbors but nothing really developed beyond mere acquaintances. It really troubled her back then.
Today is a different story. She’s got a pretty close friend a block down the street in whom she can confide. She’s also in a fairly tight knit group of mothers with children the same age. We discussed this the other day, remembering back to our relo days. I believe she’s overall happy with her friendships here in Alpharetta, but hasn’t found that lifelong friendship she’d hoped for.
How do you development deep connections or friendships here in the rootless burbs? The first bit of advice I’d give is to be patient. This stuff doesn’t happen overnight. Thinking back to the Kilborn article, Mrs Link was here for four years, involved in a ton of activities, yet nothing took hold.
Secondly, I believe deep friendships grow when those involved experience something significant together. My closest friends are from my college days. In my wife’s case, her mom’s group buddies were all having their first children only weeks apart.
Here are some ways I think rootless relos in the burbs can get to know folks with common interests.
Volunteer Your Time
Okay, this is the textbook answer on how to meet friends. But before you just show up at a volunteer event, do some research. Find something you are truly passionate about. Immerse yourself into the charity and find others who feel the same way.
I talked about this above. But there are a lot of organizations like this in the burbs. Find one that will pair you up with parents of children the same age. Try to get into a small group if possible. Make the most out of it by attending events as often as possible. Be supportive of the other parents and watch what happens.
Knock on Doors
Yes literally! I don’t know my neighbors nearly as well as I ought to. But if you see them out in the yard, walk over and chat. Or did you notice that the house across the street has empty diaper boxes at the street on trash day? Go over and introduce yourself! Offer to babysit or something.
Happy Hour After Work
Don’t know anyone at work? Organize a happy hour. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Find a place with a good variety of adult beverages and show up. Or better yet, organize a monthly poker night.
Don’t Be a Flake!
I’ve seen this happen so many times. You’re getting to know someone and make plans to get together. The next thing you know, the other person either cancels at the last minute or is a no show. Deep friendship should be more dependable than the weather, that’s for sure. It should be common sense, but do your best to honor your commitments, lest you remain rootless!