find your people.

We all need people in this world we can relate to, who gets what we’re facing, and helps us feel less alone and more normal. While I have fantastic friends, I don’t have any single parent friends. More specifically, single parents to really really young kids.

When I first moved to Denver feeling sheepish over my first divorce (a marriage that solely ever was due to a delayed rebellious phase I went through in my early 20s), it happened at a time my friends were either knee deep in starting their happy families or they were not even yet engaged. I didn’t know a single person who got it. And I was embarrassed and lonely. So, I sought out a Meet Up group. It was a group for those who had married young, divorced young . . . without kids. Lucky for me, that group was started and organized by my now bestest friend, April. And it is one of my very favorite stories to tell . . . about the time I showed up alone to meet some strangers at a karaoke bar and I got up and sang some Ace of Base.

A few months after my separation from S, I was talking to April and telling her I just wish I knew other single parents. While I am not alone, I feel so alone. I don’t know a single, single person in my shoes. So, April asked why I didn’t start a Meet Up group to find my people? If it’s a group of people I’m looking for, chances are others are looking, too. And well . . . why not?

And so, I did.

I started it right before Christmas. And what do you know . . . the holidays found a lot of lonely, single parents sitting around and I got a surge of members.

We had our first adult-only event at brunch one Sunday morning. It was fun and everyone seemed to genuinely enjoy themselves. I threw a couple more events on the calendar . . . a parents’ night out and a kids play date to the zoo. Well, weather intervened with both and we had to reschedule.

Finally, weather didn’t interfere and I hosted my second event, an adults-only dinner last weekend. And the event left me realizing why I might not make such a great meet up organizer. Because, it’s worse than herding cats, gathering up a group of strangers. And it plays to every single pet peeve I have.

First, over half the people changed their RSVPs the 24 hours leading up to the event . . . some mere hours, minutes before the start. Second, I was left sitting alone for over an hour at a restaurant, holding a table and waiting for people to show. The ones who did were 45 minutes late. And, third, others didn’t show at all without even a peep as to why.

The night was overall okay. There are a couple girls I really like with young toddlers who have many of the same feelings as I do, who are facing the same obstacles. But, I left feeling really tired and drained. It’s exhausting work trying to connect with others and makes new friends. Sometimes it works and comes together easily – like in the case of meeting April – and in others, it feels forced.

After the mishap I sent an email announcement to all members and implemented group guidelines. It likely won’t impact behavior that much, but if it even changes one or two people’s behavior to prevent them from acting in an inconsiderate manner, well, I’ll take it. (I picture a lot of people reading my email and rolling their eyes, probably thinking to themselves I sound like a control freak and get why I’m single.)

I do believe in the purpose of the group. And I know successful meet-up groups happen over time. I’m going to stick with it a while longer and not be a poor sport over one disappointing event . . . but it certainly does make me thankful for my friends. New ones are NOT easy to make!!!


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