Reaching Out – Creating Dinner & Friendships

Being a part of the No More Perfect Moms launch team I’ve spent some time thinking about moms and friendships, I’ve loved the devotional emails this past week on friendship, check them out if you get a chance and haven’t signed up yet it’s not too late.  This was from Day 16, this nailed it on the head for me!

Day 16
“I once read in Dear Abby that there are two kinds of people in this world: those that walk into a room and say, “Here I am. Come talk to me. Come ask me about me. Come make me feel comfortable.” And those that walk into a room and say, “There you are! You look interesting to get to know. Tell me about yourself.”  –Jill Savage, NO MORE PERFECT MOMS
Many of us are more comfortable waiting for others to reach out to us.  There seems to be less risk involved.  After all, we don’t know who is interested in talking with us.  We don’t want to bother anyone or make anyone feel uncomfortable.   It’s easy to assume that if someone wants to talk with us, they’d do so. Right? But…
If we take our eyes off of ourselves and reach out, we can help others feel welcome and valuable.  Most of us know how great it feels to have someone get excited to see us; it feels just as good to help others experience that feeling.
So many lifelong friendships are started by one person introducing themselves to another.  But even if it’s not the beginning of a lasting friendship, reaching out doesn’t cost us anything but a moment of our time.  And it sure beats waiting for someone else to greet us!
Challenge:  As you find yourself around people you don’t know, don’t wait for them to approach you.  Take the lead.   Be intentional.  Reach out.   A simple hello or a compliment can be just what is needed to get a friendship started…or at least brighten someone’s day.
A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17

 

Talking with women from all walks of life I often hear, “It’s hard to be a woman and have friendships.”  “I wish I had a best friend to share my life with.”  “I just don’t have time to have friends.”   Translation: women are lonely, they want that special friend to share life with and yet they feel they don’t have time for friendships or they don’t know where to start.

When I moved for the first time, I was 21 years old, newly married and I was not sad to move from my family and hometown.  Rather, I was excited, looking forward to experiencing a different town and starting a new life with my husband.  The only trouble was, I had no children, no job and therefore, found it really hard to make friends.  The first few months were harder than I thought they would be, lonely all day with nothing to do and no one to talk to.  I remember praying, Lord, I need some friends!  Looking back two years later, the Lord heard my prayer and answered abundantly.

After having my second child, I was invited to join a “Mom’s Group” that met at a woman’s house once a week.  We talked about potty training, school choices, discipline, we went through books together, we laughed, we cried, we prayed and we looked forward to getting together every week.  Eventually we decided to start meeting once a month in the evening for dinner without children and that’s how Moms Group Dinner was born.   Let me tell you, that dinner group is still going strong 10 years later!

Today I want to encourage you to start your own Dinner Group.  Why?  Because there are women who are looking to get connected with other women, they are lonely, they want some time to be refreshed and renewed and don’t you need that too?   It’s time to reach out to others instead of waiting for them to reach out to you.  Maybe someone just moved to town and they are looking to get connected, or they’ve lived here for 2 years but still don’t have that connection they are looking for.  It’s hard to find and make good  friends, we all want it but it’s not always easy like it was in grade school.

If you’ve decided it’s time to start your own dinner group, it’s fairly easy to do.   I started by creating a group on facebook, giving it a name and then start inviting women to join.  You can make it as small or large as you want, invite women from different areas in your life.   I know that some of these women know each other as I’ve invited women from my neighborhood, church, MOPS and bible study but I’m sure many do not know each other and it will be fun to watch women connect and find new friends.   Not everyone will come that you invite but I can guarantee you, many will!

The group is what you make it, you can make your own guidelines and rules but I would strongly suggest that one rule be, NO CHILDREN ALLOWED!  Ok, well who doesn’t love a newborn baby so our rule is nursing babies 8 weeks and younger can attend but you don’t have to allow any babies if you don’t want to.  This is a time for you to get away from your children and other people’s children as well. You want to enjoy your food and conversation without having to cut up someone else’s dinner and be constantly interrupted by questions and comments from the little ones.

Next, pick a time and day of the week like Thursday at 6pm.  You can be consistent, the 2nd Thursday of every month is your dinner night.  This way it’s easy to remember and people just know that’s when you are meeting so they can say sorry, I already have a dinner that night.  Or mix it  up and pick different nights every month, once again, do what works for your group.  For our group the start time is 6:30 but I know at least a few people can’t come until 8pm and that’s ok with me, I want this to be a relaxed dinner night, not a lot of expectations, loosey goosey if you will.  Come when you can, stay as long as you can and leave when you need to.  We have had some dinners last until 1 or 2 in the morning!   If you need to pick an end time, go for it, what works for me might not work for you.

You will want to pick a location for your dinner each month.  The location can change each month if people want to take turns hosting or if one person would like to consistently host you can do that as well.  Or you can even mix it up and meet at a restaurant once in a while if you have a smaller group.

The dinners usually are themed to make it easy for food planning.  Some ideas are Italian, Mexican, Soups, Sandwiches, Casseroles, grilling, etc. the possibilities are endless.  After picking a theme,  everyone that plans on coming to the dinner that month will post what they are bringing so you don’t end up with 8 desserts and 1 main dish (although that doesn’t sound like a real problem).  This way it’s also easy to see if you still need beverages or veggies, etc.   Also might be a good idea to make sure no one has an allergy so you can plan around that as well.

 

The main goal of your group is to get women together, so new connections and friendships are made and everyone leaves feeling refreshed and renewed.  Plus the food is always really good too!  There is a need for this type of gathering out there, I promise you!   I moved away from Moms Group Dinner almost two years ago and I really miss it.  Finally, last month I decided to start one here in my new hometown.  Tonight I will have over 20 women gathering for the first of many dinners and I’m so excited!  I know many of the women I invited are excited too as they’ve expressed to me over the past few weeks, thanking me for inviting them and for starting this group.  What they don’t know is that I’m so thankful to them for coming and wanting to be a part of this!  I started the group for a selfish reason, I miss my old group and the connections of women but I know out of my selfishness this will serve more than me. So what are you waiting for,  get busy creating your group, reach out and be intentional!!!

I’m linking up here:

 

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Comments

  1. says

    I love this idea! A couple friends and I get together to scrapbook. We shoot for once a month, and it’s happening next week. Likewise, it’s a great time to socialize while working on a hobby we share.

  2. says

    I have so many thoughts rushing through my head from this post. Loved it. First off, that is so incredibly true about two types of women–and sometimes I am BOTH of those women depending on the situation and the day….and it makes me remember and think about how important it is to be THAT woman who is a “greeter” and says how are you!? when you notice someone who may feel uncomfortable.

    Love your ideas on getting women together!!

  3. says

    I learned a long time ago to make the first move and go introduce myself. I find that people are usually waiting for someone to go first. A monthly dinner party is a wonderful idea to get people together. Thanks for sharing.

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