Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dear LDS Relief Society, I don't have kids, but I'd still like to be friends

By For the Deseret News

Dear Angela,
I’m happily married, but I don’t have children, yet. This fact seems to be very unsettling to the other women in my ward Relief Society (women’s group). They all bond very quickly and seemingly easily because of their children while I’m kind of this odd woman out because I’m in a different phase of life. I love making new friends, but I’m finding this “no kids” thing a real obstacle. I guess my real issue is that I want to feel like I “belong” in Relief Society, but nobody is interested in being my friend! I want to change how my Relief Society views me, and I want to make friends. Any suggestions?
Detroit Lady
Dear Detroit Lady,
I get this type of question a lot from women in Relief Society. Some say, “I’m a widow, so people seem to be uncomfortable talking to me,” or “I’m the only single one, so people seem uncomfortable talking to me” and “I’m a new convert, so people seem uncomfortable talking to me,” etc., etc.
There are times I’ve even felt like, “I’m the only black girl in this room and so people seem to be uncomfortable talking to me ….” It seems like we all have our own version of this struggle.
Luckily, there are things you can do. What I’ve worked on recently is finding ways to speak to people individually and outside of church. It’s nearly impossible to develop deep, meaningful relationships by just making eye contact over a shared hymn book or during the 5-10 minutes in between classes.
But if there is someone that you’ve thought, “Yeah, I want to know this person better,” then make plans for some type of activity during the week. It should be kid friendly, and not a lot of fuss, just a way for you to spend some time seeing that your new friend is more than her kids, and that you are more than your “no kids.” You know what I mean?
Trying to “change your Relief Society’s” views is a big (and, I think, probably really frustrating) task, but getting to know these unique women on an individual basis sounds like it could be really rewarding and a lot of fun.
Will you let us know how it goes?

Readers: Do you have a difficult time making friends at church? Is it hard to make friends with someone who doesn't have kids when you do?

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