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  • Writer's pictureDiana Meneses

Making Friends in a New Country as an Immigrant Mother

Updated: Feb 25

As an immigrant mother with kids, It can be challenging to meet new friends. It's easy for immigrants to get bogged down by the day-to-day challenges of moving and settling down in a new place. However, it's not impossible to find ways to meet people and make friends in your new home country. Here are some strategies that have worked well for me:

Making Friends in a New Country as an Immigrant Mother, Friends in Canada, enjoying spa, all of them giving the back to the camera, inside the whirpool

Making Friends in a New Country as an Immigrant Mother

Find people that speak your language and/or share your interests

Find people who speak your language. If they have children, so much the better! Nothing makes you feel more at home than talking in your native language. I've had success finding moms who speak my own language at playgrounds, libraries and even grocery stores!

Find out which clubs have memberships based on shared interests—some of them may be about things that interest you too! Knowing there is a group of people waiting for you somewhere can be very encouraging when starting out in a new country. If you have a hobby or something that you enjoy doing when you have time, sign up for a group activity. If there's an art class a photography club or even just a mommy and toddler playgroup in your area, give it a try! Check your local community recreation centre for great interest-based classes at an accessible price.

Acknowledge that you could feel lonely, and before you see signs of progress in your social life, you might experience periods of feeling even more lonely

This is normal! The process of establishing yourself in a new country and creating a social life is definitely not linear. It's also okay to feel sad or upset about this.

And no matter what kind of person you are (shy or extroverted), whether it's hard for people to read your intentions or not, whether they think the same way as someone else does—it's always better, to be honest about how things are going than to pretend everything is fine when it isn't. Here, it becomes imperative for you to have a support system (even if it is back home) where you can freely speak your mind.

It's normal to feel awkward during the early stages of making a friend — even if it happens naturally

Making friends is an important part of living in a new country, and it can be really hard. Everyone has their own personality, interests and quirks. But if you're an immigrant parent with kids, the task of making friends might seem even more difficult.

First of all, it's normal to feel awkward when meeting someone new — especially if it happens naturally (e.g., at school drop-off). It's also natural for people to feel shy about themselves or their lives when meeting someone else for the first time; whether they're immigrants or locals alike.

If you're feeling this way as a newcomer in Canada: don't worry! We've all been there at some point in our lives! Being nervous isn't anything unusual... just relax, breathe and carry on the conversation as best you can.

You might want to start out with people who remind you of people from your home country but don't let this be a limiting factor in who you meet and connect with

When you are new in a country, it can be very tempting to want to meet people who remind you of those from your home country. This is not a bad thing to keep in mind as you go about meeting new people and making friends. However, if this becomes the only filter through which your social life works, then it will limit your opportunities for connection and friendship.

It's important that we don't let our own biases about who will like us limit our options.

Instead of waiting for someone else to ask me to do something, I've learned to invite others instead.

Instead of waiting for someone else to ask me to do something, I've learned to invite others instead. And you can do the same thing! It's amazing how much more fun your life is when you're doing things with friends.

Invite someone over for coffee while your kids are having a playdate together. Or join a group outing at a playground or a library.. Or take up an activity that gives you time with other adults—like taking a dance class together or going to your local recreation centre. In my case, this meant getting involved with our local moms' club and starting up some new friendships that way.

In conclusion

Making friends in a new country as an immigrant mother with kids is not easy. And it’s even harder when you’re trying to do it with language barriers and children at home. However, if you have the right mindset and are willing to put in the effort to make connections, then there are many ways that you can get connected with people who share similar interests or backgrounds as yourself!


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