Updated on 12.19.07

Frugality and Socializing: Finding Potential Friends Who Are Not Consumerism-Oriented

Trent Hamm

At various points in my life, I’ve entered entirely new social arenas. When I left my hometown and went to college, I started over. After my first year, a good portion of my social circle either graduated, dropped out, or went to another school, so I wound up starting all over again (sans two people). After college, I only stayed friends with three people besides my wife. When I got married, when I became a parent – both were radical changes, altering my social circle.

Sure, I’ve retained a very small number of friends for many, many years, but for the most part, my social circle has changed radically during my life at various times and I’ve found myself starting over again.

Take our current situation, for example. Upon moving and having a second child, we find ourselves substantially far away from most of the people who made up our previous social circle and with very little in common with most of them, as virtually none of them are parents. While we still do see a few of these old friends occasionally, we’re now looking at a situation where we are effectively starting over in terms of looking for people to socialize with. Distance and changing lifestyles have created significant gaps for many of them.

So how do we start over again? Where can we find people to socialize with who reflect our values? What we both want to find are parents of young children who are fairly educated and intelligent and, most importantly, not obsessed with consumerism. Where can we start? Here are our best ideas.

Our own block The vast majority of people on our block are parents of young children. As soon as we moved, we planned on inviting several of the families near us over for dinner parties, but several personal events after the move (birth, mulitple close family deaths, other personal events) have stopped that from happening. We haven’t given up hope, though, and are planning a handful of dinner parties in the spring.

The local library This seems unusual at first, but it makes a lot of sense. The library provides a lot of opportunity for finding potential people to socialize with that share our values. One great place to start is by taking our children to the library’s story hour and talking to the other parents there. This is currently difficult for us, but we are looking at some degree of downshifting which would open that door for us.

Local book clubs Book clubs can be very interesting places. I participated in one about five years ago for the better part of a year (just before our previous move) and I quite enjoyed the company of most of the people there. There were all kinds of people present, from a handful of very old people to teenagers, but what they all had in common was a serious desire to learn and grow and understand in an open setting. The most interesting part was that the room was about 80% couples, many of them with children – in fact, the couples took turns functioning as daycare in the other room. There’s a lot of potential here.

Civic meetings, especially those related to the school district School board meetings and parent-teacher association meetings tend to attract people who want to be involved with the community and with the lives of their children. While you tend to find some people here with all sorts of different value sets, such meetings can be a great place to sit back and watch, participate a little, and meet some potentially interesting people.

Youth group volunteering People who invest the time to volunteer for youth groups usually have children of their own. Even better, you get the opportunity to meet a lot of parents that way, enabling you to get to know at least the parents of the kids in your youth group or team as well as the others participating in volunteer work. Again, I may have to do some filtering here, but it’s a great way to meet a lot of responsible parents.

More suggestions for finding frugal-minded people to socialize with are welcome in the comments.

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  1. Tyler says:

    I might suggest joinign (or starting) an investment club. I quite enjoyed my investment club before I moved. I met a lot of intelligent people, learned a lot about investing, and even made some money.
    I am currently searching for a new investment club to join in my city.

  2. I was in an investment club and it was extremely frustrating. People wanted to know how to make money but they didn’t want to do any readings to learn about finance, the market, etc.

    I tried and tried to get them into it, but nothing worked. I guess it wasn’t their time yet I guess.

  3. Tara says:

    Ah! This is the question that perplexes my husband and me! We don’t have kids, but all of the folks at work and church our age do…or else they are single and ‘on the prowl’.
    I look forward to reading further suggestions!

  4. LJ says:

    Those are some really great suggestions!

    I would also suggest looking to meet-ups with other parents or local playgroups..head to the local park and you are sure to find some other parents around. Because you are finding them at the park and not a high dollar kids activity center like my gym, then you can bet you will have more in common financially.

    Take Care

  5. That One Caveman says:

    I know this sentiment won’t be shared by everyone but in the 6 years I’ve lived here, I’ve made most of my lasting, quality friendships through church. Again, it’s another place where you’re nearly guaranteed a large population of like-minded individuals with whom you share a lot in common. Of course, that’s not why I go to church, but it’s certainly a fringe benefit.

  6. AnneTanne says:

    Although it was ‘invented’ in Canada, LETS seems to be virtually non-existent in North-America, but here in Europe it exists in several countries.

    joining a local ‘LETS’circle’ was a good starting point for us to meet like-minded people when we moved to a small village where I didn’t know anybody.

    How LETS works

  7. Tabatha says:

    I’m hoping moving to a new town will help with this, as the rural town I’m living in just isn’t overflowing with nice, educated people with children. Great ideas; I’ll definitely put them to use.

  8. Kat says:

    Maybe you could try meetup.com and see if there are any groups in your area that might interest yourself or your wife.
    I found a great one for my pug and met pug owners and a womens walking group and met a large range of interesting women.
    You could even start your own group.

  9. Sandy says:

    Because my husband and I moved several times (both inside and outside the US), I’ve found it best to be involved in groups that have similar interests. When my girls were young, La Leche League filled that niche. We moved 6 times in the course of 5 years (grad school South Carolina, int’l internship paris,back to finish up SC, job start in headquarters Ohio, international assignment Brussels, and back to headquarters, Ohio). Well, all I really had to do to form a circle of like minded individuals was make a call and go to the next meeting. Voila…like minded friends. As my girls have grown, Girl Scouts have actually filled the niche, and serving girls this way has given me a circle of, while not on the same page in every respect, friendships with intelligent, involved women. Many of these women have older girls than mine, and I learn different things that help me as the parent of a teen as she comes up against these life experiences through them. Again, during this time, my oldest started in Scouts in Brussels, then in Ohio, and on our next int’l assignment (Paris) there was a wonderful group of women who volunteered their time to help raise strong young women. And a great way to learn about the cultures in which we found ourselves. My older daughter earned her Bronze Award by serving the homeless of Paris (!) and her leader was actually Australian.
    So, that’s my suggestion…get involved with organizations that help you also as a parent…nearly every community that I’ve lived in has some sort of preschool PTA that can point you in a local direction, or have already established playgroups that you can participate in.

  10. Amanda says:

    My husband and I meet the majority of our friends through our church–there are enough people there that we are able to find others with like views on money. Other places we’ve me people are the local discount stores, the library like you mentioned, and through others we know.

    Thank you for the article, it’s great as they always are!

  11. sandycheeks says:

    I agree with Sandy in that your best bet is participating/volunteering with the activities that your chidren are involved in. Of course, this doesn’t get started until they are a bit older. Lots of organized rec activities don’t start until 5 at the earliest.

    I will disagree w/Sandy in that in my area, it is darn near impossible to get on the preschool board and there is no PTA. Playgroups tend to be exclusionary, often based geographically within a subdivision particular neighborhood or official membership in a club.

  12. sandycheeks says:

    Whoops, didn’t mean to press enter. Anyway, it’s tough with very young kids. Just when you get a group of friends, their chidren will go to a different kindergarten and you’ll start over.

    I have found it to be interesting to be involved in my local recreation council for myself as well as my kids. There are some families that we see at preschool, church and rec activities. Those are the parents I talk to the most b/c of frequency of contact.

    Good luck!

  13. Kari says:

    Great post. You mentioned “What we both want to find are parents of young children who are fairly educated and intelligent and, most importantly, not obsessed with consumerism.”

    Is the ‘parents of young children’ a must-have criteria for you? As a married person with no children (yet), educated and not consumerism obsessed, I would recommend keeping your options open. Some of my best friendships have been with couples in different life stages (they have kids, for example, or are quite a bit older/younger than myself). You both can get different perspectives, and it’s a good way to see life on the other side of the fence. Just my 2 cents.

  14. m says:

    This is something I’ve long wondered about and you are one of the few I’ve seen put it into words: the fact that as a parent you aren’t really (or don’t seem to be based on the comments in this post) socializing with non-parents.

    Do things really change so much, do *you* really change so much, and do you really have that little in common with your fellow human but non parent counterparts that you feel compelled to find only parents as new friends and acquaintances? Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why a parent would want other parent friends; I just don’t understand why one would want *only*, or maybe even mostly, that.

    I guess if many other parents feel similarly, then that explains why many friendships end when one friend has children and the other doesn’t. I don’t think it needs to be that way but it often is. I don’t understand why people who meet the other criteria but don’t have kids wouldn’t be equally good or nearly as good to be friends with as parents would be. I just think friendship transcends things like parental status, careers, etc. but I suppose it is different for everyone. (And I know this was somewhat off topic, but I am just really interested in this topic and understanding other perspectives on it better.)

    Anyhow as for your actual topic and comment about suggestions:

    *I have found Meetup (the web site) to be a great way to meet people.
    *Another way is simply through your blog, I’ve met a few people in my area through blogging and I think it’s a great way to meet like minded people. You could organize a meetup (which I’m hoping to do in the Bay Area by the way, so any local readers, please get in touch!) with local bloggers as well as your readers and you’d know you at least have an interest in pf in common.
    *On meetup you could join or start a group that is either focused on pf, or at least has some connection to it.
    *Craigslist group and friends sections are also good.
    As are the usuals:
    *taking a class,
    *joining a group in your community,
    *creating or joining a parents’ group,
    *starting some sort of community oriented project having to do with pf, children, education, etc.
    *getting involved in your kids’ schools (if they’re old enough, I don’t know their ages)
    *getting involved in your kids’ extracurricular activities
    *a local gym or YMCA
    *since you like food, maybe a group where you get together for a homemade meal and switch off who hosts each month
    *a hiking or other outdoor activity group
    *teach a class
    *volunteer in an area of your inerest
    *go to a seminar on a topic you like
    *events at local universities or community centers
    *trade services with another professional, whom you may become friends with
    *put an ad online on craigslist or elsewhere
    *join a political group that shares your intersts and views
    *church or other spiritual organization

    There are just so many ideas I could go on and on!

  15. Toby says:

    @ m: Yes, being a parent is a world of difference from being a DINK. You have no idea how much your life will change once you are blessed with a little one. I know I had no idea. It’s nothing like the brochures. ;)

    Your perspective and priorities change. Spontaneity is suddenly nearly impossible. You have that extra little person to worry about. You can’t decide to go out to dinner and a movie on a Wednesday night because a friend calls you Wednesday afternoon.

    But for most people it is the most rewarding thing they every do in their lives. I know I am happier now then I ever was before the little one came along.

  16. Steve W says:

    I too have a small circle of old friends, but most of them have moved far away (Denver, Portland, Nashville, Tampa, Cleveland, Atlanta…)

    After many years and many tries, my wife and I found a very small, progressive church where, for the first time, we are surrounded by people “like us” (well-educated, liberal, young, socially active, family-and-community oriented, actually embody Christian values of spiritual goodness and inclusiveness). Its made a huge difference for us.

  17. BB says:

    Toby, I have to agree with M. here. I think you’re being a little bit condescending, though clearly not intentionally so.

    I am in my early forties, and nearly all of my old friends have children. Some of them are nearing middle school; some are babies. I am still close friends with all of them.

    Yes, at the beginning you may have to gently remind your friends that you cannot be spontaneous. But the relationships I have with my friends’ kids (great for them, and for me) far transcend any early awkwardness that may transpire at the beginning.

    You can do what my friends do and mainly invite people over for dinner. This saves everyone money, allows mom or dad to put the kids down at the appropriate time, and retains a bit of grownup time which can be great for parents and friends alike.

    I”m just saying, don’t dismiss your old friends so cavalierly because you’re sure they don’t understand. Some of us do. And the ones that don’t come around are surely not worth the time anyhow.

    I have been close to some of my friends for nearly 25 years (when we started college together), and it saddens me to think that fifteen years of friendship might have been thrown down the drain had they not thought to see whether I might understand their new lifestyle.

  18. MVP says:

    I don’t have kids yet, so I can see m’s point. But I have plenty of friends with kids, and boy have our relationships changed since their youngsters came along! Most of them, I rarely see anymore – I guess because they’re so busy with their kids. But frankly, they’re just not up for doing things like they once were, or they just can’t get away. I don’t take it personally since I’m sure I’ll be the same once we have kids. I liken it to when I got married. I was hurt at first when the single folks no longer asked me to go bar-hopping with the girls. But then I realized I really didn’t care to do that stuff anymore, and we started hanging out more with other couples. Sorry to ramble, that’s just my perspective…

  19. MVP says:

    Also, I just want to add that I think it’s really important for us to surround ourselves with others who challenge and inspire us, who are going in the same general life direction and who have similar goals. Too often, we try to hang onto old friendships that just don’t work anymore due to normal life changes. It’s okay to seek new social avenues, even if it’s a little scary at first.

  20. Steve W says:

    m@: here’s why parents tend to affiliate with other parents — when you socialize with other parents, your kids are also socializing with theirs, which directs the kids attention onto each other and not back on the adults, leaving the adults free to interact with each another. You’re always “killing two birds with one stone” when you socialize with other parents whose kids are the same gender/age as yours.

    Having children really does dominate & change your life (for better or worse). Happiness studies (yes, they exist), however, show no significant difference in happiness b/t couples with or without children.

  21. Kristen says:

    Thank you for this post. I’m about to move and have a great group of friends that share similar values for living a simple life with kids. Luckily my husband is going to work for a company that promotes living within your means, so we may be able to find like minded co-workers that may become friends.

  22. valletta says:

    Well, as a childfree adult with lots of friends and acquaintances of all parental status, I would respectfully suggest broadening the circle based on interests, not on parental status.

    Some of my fondest memories as a child are of the wonderful parties my parents had with all kinds of people. Variety is great for children’s ultimate goal of becoming well rounded adults :)

    I see far too many parents of my generation “smother” their children by giving up their friends and interests for those of the child alone. Must make the empty nest syndrome hell! FWIW :)

  23. Kathy says:

    Other ideas – volunteer at your child’s school or the library. Most libraries need volunteers to help with used book sales and other activities. Also try the book discussion groups at your library

  24. SJ says:

    Having been parents for 2.5 yrs now – we still have friends without kids, and friends with kids – but the type of socializing we do with each is a little different – we tend to hang out as a family with other folks with kids, and on our own with other friends, unless we are having them over to our house. However, my husband and I each make time to see friends on our own each month (which is actually really good for each of us, giving us our own time with our friends AND our own time with our son). In my case it is often my bookclub or a women in science association where I am on the board- both of those include friends with and without kids. What is harder is the spontaneous dinners out or movies on weeknights – things need to be planned in advance to make sure we have childcare (or that one of us will be home)
    the other thing I do sometimes (with both mom and non-mom friends) is meet for lunch during work hours if we work near each other.

    As for meeting new people, a few ideas I haven’t seen mentioned yet:t
    the local farmer’s market
    events at local stores (for example, the independent bookstore near us has a chess night, a knitting night, etc)
    parents groups or email lists
    getting involved with church/temple in your area

  25. valletta says:

    I hit send before I added suggestions!
    Here’s a few:

    – book club (one person can babysit all the kids while the adults get together to discuss the book)
    – dinner club (same as above; make it frugal by picking a theme and a budget, say Mexican dinner for 6 under $50, etc.
    – block parties (we have about 4 per year, fun for everyone, kids keep themselves occupied, new adults have a venue to meet everyone) Everyone brings a dish and their own bbq to the street.
    – garden parties (these are really fun because they beautify the whole neighborhood) I had a bulb party one year where we ordered tulips, daffodils and iris bulbs in bulk and then shared them with the whole street. Cost about $20 per person and the bulbs still come up every year! (used vanengelen.com for bulbs!)
    Cheap entertainment and landscaping at the same time

  26. corey says:

    I’m thinking that the neighborhood would be the best bet for this. I’ve found that the local library is an unfortunate haven for transients and crazy home school moms. Some of the PTA moms are a bit too out there for me as well. Maybe I’m volunteering with the wrong groups, or perhaps I should just start a book club.

  27. beth says:

    These are some great suggestions. Trent, I think a dinner party is nice but perhaps a bit ambitious and/or potentially stressful if your neighbors don’t feel like they can reciprocate (not good enough cooks, or whatever). Maybe starting small will be a way to ramp up to dinner parties – like having them over for ice cream or pie or something that isn’t super impressive/hard to match. PLUS the easier it is to do, the sooner and more often it can be done.

    I’ve had lots of friends have kids, and though we try to stay close, it does change things. That’s not good or bad, it just is what it is. It does tend to leave some gaps in a single person’s life though!

  28. Jeanne says:

    When we moved across the country, I found the local moms invaluable.

    As for our neighborhood, we do easy get togethers: ice cream socials, coffee and muffins, 4th of july everyone bring 2 dishes. I always thought I would do a “soup night” (google the term) for our neighbors. I have a fear of small children and messy soup, though

  29. vh says:

    Man! I’m going to print out and save all these great ideas. Whenever I get free from my job, I’m going to try some of them.

    I’ve tried Meetup.com, but the trouble is, when you have a f/t job and you need to use your weekend for “survival chores” (shopping, errands, yardwork, cleaning, repair work, etc. etc. etc. ad naus.) and you’re too tired to move at night, it’s hard to go to a group consistently. Ditto the church choir–half a day on Sunday equals a quarter of the time you need to keep your head above water, and rehearsing until late on Wednesday evening is kinda iffy when you’re so tired you can’t speak, much less sing.

    Interestingly, the older you get, the harder it is to make new friends–especially friends who are closer than just passing acquaintances. I’ve heard other old crones and buzzards say the same thing. I believe that past the age of about 50 or 55, people’s social lives are pretty solidly established. They have their spouses, their adult children & young grandchildren, and a small social circle, and no newcomers are sought. Past a certain age, you can meet people who will vaguely recall your name, but if you come across someone who really wants to be a FRIEND, you’re very lucky.

  30. Mario Jauregui says:

    meetup.com sounds good I haven’t ventured that yet will try today as of Jan 01, 2008 all bars in chicago will be smoke-free yiiippeeee! And I would like to start heading out again knowing mine or my wife’s life is in danger not to mention our clothes will smell nicer when we get home. Also I wish there was a meeting place or forum for thrifty types like myself! MAJ

  31. LC says:

    I definitely agree with volunteering with a youth group even if you don’t have kids. We were in a new part of town and had virutally no friends our own age. We started helping out with our church’s youth group and nearly all the other helpers were similar to us (25-30 with no kids), so it was a great way to get to know people.

  32. Ryan says:

    Most of the friends that we make are through our church. It helps that we have weekly fellowship meetings in one of our houses as well. We end up doing a lot outside of the church activities together as well.

  33. sandycheeks says:

    I felt similarly before I had kids. I got the following in an eamil recently and I think a lot(most, all?)of moms can relate. DINK’s may think it’s funny, but they don’t realize the amount of truth in it. So I seek as friends people who are likely to understand the pressures and demands I experience at this stage of my life.
    Dear Santa,
    I’ve been a good mom all year. I’ve fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor’s office more than my doctor and sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground. I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son’s red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I’ll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.

    Here are my Christmas wishes:
    I’d like a pair of legs that don’t ache (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don’t hurt or flap in the breeze, but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.

    I’d also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

    If you’re hauling big ticket items this year I’d like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music, a television that doesn’t broadcast any programs containing talking animals, and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

    On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, “Yes, Mommy” to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don’t fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.

    I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting “Don’t eat in the living room” and “Take your hands off your brother,” because my voice seems to be just out of my children’s hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

    If it’s too late to find any of these products, I’d settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

    If you don’t mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

    Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is calling and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in and dry off so you don’t catch cold.

    Help yourself to cookies on the table but don’t eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

    Yours Always,

    P.S. One more thing…you can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young enough to believe in Santa.

  34. 3bean says:

    I’ve met great people through a Supper Club. we get together 1x / month for dinner. The host and theme change each month. Host prepares entree, the others supply the side dishes.

  35. krylenko says:

    Is it really common parlance now to refer to individuals as DINKs? Because I for one find that pretty condescending — both the term itself and the implication that no one without kids could *possibly* understand the changes kids bring.

    I don’t have kids, but you know what? I’ve spent enough time around family and friends who do to understand something of what it’s like. Sure, I don’t have the full picture, but it’s not impossible to understand that I need to plan ahead to see friends with kids, or that I may be asked to babysit at the last minute.

    And I agree with the other posters who recommend a varied social circle. Growing up, I always knew people my age, younger folks, older folks, couples married and not, widowers, divorcees, families with one child and families with 7 or more. It’s a lot more interesting (and I dare say healthy) than just focusing on “like-minded” people or those in the same stage of life.

  36. sunshine says:

    Off topic, but, um, is anyone else wondering what Sandy does for a living? Where do I sign up?

  37. DivaJean says:

    If you *really* want to meet folks for blackbelt frugality, set up a eeting at a local library or church.

    Our church, a few years back, had a Sunday morning discussion group (when little ones were in Sunday School)- we watched videos like PBS’s series on Affluenza and discussed books like Tightwad Gazette. Good friendships and excellent discourse came of the discussions.

    I have heard of library and civic groups formed in a similar manner for those not afilliated with a church. Our libraries have a very open door policy in allowing for groups to use rooms for meetings. You just have to register and work out a time when other established groups are not meeting, then do your own signage, flyers, ads in Pennysaver, Craigslist BB notes, what have you to get the word out. (Putting on my geek hat, a few years back. we started a Trekkie group in this manner).

  38. DivaJean says:

    That would be a meeting- not an eeting.

  39. rebecca says:

    yahoo groups and meetup.com are both good places to find groups of like minded people. I’ve made some great friends through our local homeschooling yahoo groups who share similiar values (I’m sure it would work with other topics/hobbies as well.) And I just started going to a crochet/knit group through meetup where I met some nice people — don’t know if it will grow to more than acquaintances since I’ve only gone once.

    If you’re interested in finding people with similiar financial views you could search for a local simplicity circle or chapter of The Compact.

  40. Petunia says:

    I am enjoying your site so much.
    My church, which happens to be Unitarian Universalist, is involved in a Green Sanctuary program and also has a Covenant Group based around the notion of Simplicity Circle, Voluntary Simplicity, all that.
    Some churches are good sources of like-minded friendship and support. Any organization that has the environment in mind has anti-consumerism in mind too.

  41. Tim says:

    yup, the best place to meet people with the same values is to simply do activities that you value.

  42. Jillian says:

    I have a similar problem to Tara. My husband I stopped going to church partly because of all the subtle (and not-so-subtle) pressure to start having kids. I have one close friend with a six month old son and another with a 10 year old, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to make friends with any other parents.

    It’s not just that I don’t like kids, I have more of a problem with the parents who keep saying “wait until you have kids, and then you’ll see what it’s like”. After having told them a dozen times that I don’t plan to have kids just to “see what it’s like” it becomes pretty clear that there’s never going to be a friendship there.

  43. bkbuds says:

    It’ll take some shopping around. In that, it’s no different than looking for a sound investment. This is an emotional investment, one that could be draining if you pick wrongly.

    Start with events that are low-cost or free. Your town probably has a million events for kids. Check their Parks & Rec programs. Find “Mommy & Me” classes through your city or the YMCA–Dads are also welcome and so are babies.

    Many communities also have MOMS clubs. They’re usually strictly for Mommies and only from that specific town, but they have many great events and tend to draw smart women who just want to share a cup of coffee and conversation.

    All you or your wife needs is one good friend. It’ll spread from there, virally as in all the best networking.

    Most importantly, go low key. Don’t overinvolve yourself in the community just yet. What are your babies going to get out of a school board meeting or charity function?

    Go places where they’re welcome, and you’ll eventually find what–and who–you’re looking for.

    Best of luck.

  44. 3bean says:

    Interesting DINK discussion. I find the term condescending, too. I guess I belong to a DINK couple, although I feel like I understand the kids thing–I’m a nearly 30 year old graduate student and spend much of my ‘free’ time babysitting to help augmnet my paltry stipend. I’ve made about $2000 babysitting in the past year.

  45. KarenFLA says:

    I have met other parents through school, neighbors and soccer, scouts, work, etc. I also invited over children from the daycare center for a weekend day and got to know the other parents that way. I have become friendly with neighbors of various ages, some of whom are grandparents. We take walks together after work for exercise and trade plants from our gardens. Our neighborhood has a women’s club and some activities are during the day and some are at night so working women can attend. the group has pot luck dinners for couples, a pot luck holiday lunch, a toddler mother’s group that gets together with the kids at the playground, a bridge group, bunko, etc. We usually have a program every month from Sept-May. Sometimes we get a doctor in to talk about health issues, we had someone talk about organizing closets, we have book discussions, and we even had a fashion show/luncheon one Saturday.
    I haven’t tried it, but I know Craigslist has different interest groups.

  46. Sandy says:

    A friend that I had when my husband and I were “pre kids” and I were talking one time about this topic, and I’d forgotten about the conversation until this post. She basically had the same idea, saying how when you are young and single, you tend to hang out with your friends, then you meet your mate, and hope that your friends like him, then you marry, and hope that your old friends still want to hang out, as you can’t do alot of these things you used to do, and then you have a baby, and by that time, if any of those original friends are still around, they are REALLY your friends!
    Life is just like that…the only thing that is constant is….change!

  47. AnKa says:

    To the original discussion I want to add that I have recently joined a mother’s forum in a neighboring town. I have enjoyed the meetings, in particular with other working mothers, with whom I seem to have a lot more in common. It does cost a membership fee but is totally worth it (even though I took a chance on that).
    But really where I have met the most people that live near me and think like me is – on the public commuter rail! It is a small train stop, so all regulars know each other, and some acquaintances as well as some lasting friendships started there.
    Most people on this train seem to have similar values in terms of environmental conscience, and to some degree frugality, than me, which I enjoy.

    To the DINK/parents discussion I am going to vote on the side of those who say you don’t know it until you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Most parents were DINKS at some point, the reverse is not true. Even if I am willing and able to socialize with non-parents, they don’t always understand our need to eat dinner at 5:30, be home at 7:00 (with our without company), etc. I do have a lot of non-parents friends but I think there is frustration both ways, they’re frustrated by my lack of spontaneity and availability and I am frustrated by their lack of understanding and flexibility in accomodating the needs of my family.

  48. Anitra says:

    AnKa: My husband and I are DINKs (or “pre-kids”, if you like). I know I don’t understand all the issues my friends with kids have, but I think they forget that WE can’t always be terribly flexible either. There is a couple from our church who lives in the same neighborhood we just moved to. We’d love to spend time with them and get to know them, but they must be home by 7pm (as you said) to put the youngest to bed, and my husband often doesn’t even get home from work until 6:30pm. We’ve given up on it because we’re only free at night and some weekends, and they’re only free during weekdays.

    However, we are friends with many other couples in our church who have young school-age children. It seems like parents gain back some flexibility once their children are over 5 years old.

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