Every July 1st when the Medical New Year rolls around, many medical families move to different places in the country for training.

This makes it super rough for making friends!

You can’t NOT have friends, though. We all are hardwired for relationships. If we don’t have that, our alarm system goes off and loneliness is our body’s response.

But why is it that we feel lonely even when in a crowded city?!

Loneliness is more than being alone. It’s about not having CONNECTION with others. The cure to loneliness is to connect with others who you can talk to about anything — and vice versa.

Here’s the key: the quality of friendship is more important than the number of friends.

Challenges to overcoming loneliness

A common question I get is, “Where do I find awesome friends who get me and I get them?!?”

Girl, let me tell you, it’s hard. There are several barriers I have noticed in my own experience:

  • People may already have their own support network built.
  • Different schedules between working moms and SAHMs make it hard to meet up.
  • You live across town.
  • Your kids are different ages.

While all of this makes it hard, there are ways to overcome it.

5 ways to make friends wherever you live

  1. Join people who are in the same situation as you. If you’re in the same boat, you all get it and you can connect about your every day wins and struggles. If you’re a writer, seek out other writers. If you’re into marathon running, seek out other runners.
  2. Be vulnerable and ask for help. If somebody offers to help, the correct thing is it accept it. For example, it was hard for me to accept meals from strangers when I gave birth to my kids. But if we want to make it normal to be able to ask for help, we need to accept help.
  3. Offer to help. It helps to be specific because “Let me know you if you need anything” isn’t going to get as many takes as, “If you ever need me to pick up anything at the groceries, let me know. Your house is on the way.” Or, “If you need a winter snowsuit for your baby, I have one I can give to you.”
  4. Cast a positive vibe. You will attract people by your thoughtfulness and kindness. People will avoid you if they sense you are critical or going to judge them.
  5. Open up. It takes courage to tell others how you are REALLY feeling. But don’t be afraid to. It’s through this honestly that you connect deeply with others who probably feel the same way.

Resources

Groups that meet regularly for book club or support are an example of an opportunity to meet friends. When you are going around (maybe in a circle or in turns) sharing your thoughts, then you have that chance to develop those deep connections.

Look into your faith group, Side By Side, AMA Alliance, spousal groups, and women conferences.

In summary

Moving and being away from family and friends during the medical journey is one of the biggest challenges you ever face.

In each of the places you live, you need to have people around you who you get what you’re going through and whom you can share your struggles and achievements with.

So, if you see another woman alone, that’s your new friend. Find the courage to reach out to people and say “hi.”

Help them, invest in them, and let them invest in you.