Comments about ‘Ask Angela: Dear LDS Relief Society, I don't have kids, but I'd still like to be friends’

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Published: Monday, Feb. 10 2014 11:55 a.m. MST

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Sasha Pachev
Provo, UT

If you offer to help with the kids you will make friends very fast.

desert
Potsdam, 00

Being invited to other churches of different believes, I often wonder how is it that some of them are so "touchy" in relating to everyone ?
I have seen people there of different problems being treated like they are the very best that Christ has given them. Why ?

In my search for answers, I have found that Mormonism is time troubled, stress related and priority related. That puts most families on a let us go "to church as quick as it can be" get out again. Some pleasure along will be treated with kindness, since we don't want to go without having any fun, so may be other mothers with kids can be positioned to be fun with.
Something they can relate to.Something to fill that 5 MIN space in church.

My suggestion to the question here :
Break away from standard attitudes people have, and be active in missionary work first, with missionaries, neigbors or friends just for being social to others, then learn to adopt new feelings and bring them back into the church. You will see, you will like it.

Kinderly
Riverdale, MD

I think that most women aren't deliberately excluding you. Scheduling mismatch could be a problem at times. Also, conversations constantly interrupted by children's needs. However, I think you could made a lot of headway by actively trying to make friends.

Here are some ideas:
-Pick a family with young kids and arrange to sit with them at church every week, to help out the parents.
-Invite a family over for dinner.
-Go to RS activities outside of sunday meetings. You can even go to ones planned for moms. For example, in my ward we go on fun outings with our playgroup but other people are welcome to come meet us at the park (or wherever) and hang out. We also take turns babysitting for sisters to attend the temple and are happy to have sisters without kids come, just to have a friend to go to the temple with.

Just Wanted to Say
Salt Lake City, UT

I'm really glad someone asked this question because I wanted to ask it! My husband and I have been married 2 years and have been in our ward since we got married. We tried really hard in the beginning to make friends in our new ward. However, we rent our home in an "old money" area and most people are established business people and are going on child 3+. We don't have any kids, I work and my husband is a student, and I feel super alienated in my ward because of it. I have voiced my concern in the past to various church officials, but even when I tried to reach out to others, it never went far. I tend to skip Relief Society now due to the lack of connectivity between myself and the other women -- I'd rather go to Sunday School and Sacrament where I can sit next to my husband. I work a bunch of Sundays too, so I can't exactly be consistent going anyways, so I understand what this reader is going through! Good luck!

ThornBirds
St.George, Utah

One must be a Nanny at Church to be accepted or make friends?

souptwins
Lindon, UT

Sometimes I think people envision everyone but themselves having nonstop social gatherings. Most people don't get together with friends on a weekly or even monthly basis. It's not that some are excluded, it's that life is just busy. If you have a social need, reach out and plan something. Invite who you want to invite and they will probably be grateful you took the initiative. There are times I need to take this advice as well. I've found that some of the people I connect with the most are in a completely different age group and stage in life. That's what makes it all interesting and wonderful.

Bethanymom
Murray, UT

I was super happy when some neighbors without kids suggested we combine families to do Family Home Eavening together. It has been a huge help to my family!! Plus it helps for my kids to hear from other adults their view of gospel topics.

Look around and see if you can find someone with a similar hobby. Offer to be the organizer of a book group, cooking group, etc.

Speaking as a single mother of 2 elementary school kids (1 who is special needs) sometime I just sit in Sunday School and Relief Society and just enjoy the peace and quiet. Not that I mean to be exclusive or ignore anyone. However I can see how someone not knowing the particulars of my situation would mis-interpret my actions as being uninviting.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

“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.

Here is a question. What is it about Relief Society (or is it Mormonism) that makes you "uncomfortable" any of these "conditions" ?

What makes one so rigid in their thoughts or expectations that interacting with someone who doesn't "fit the mold" is difficult or uncomfortable?

Is it really that tough?

I am not LDS, but it is very difficult to understand how anyone, let alone extremely religious people, have such an issue merely "accepting" others who don't conform to their narrowly defined expectations.

I lived in Utah for 10 years and it was clear that I was an "outsider". I am not suggesting that most of my neighbors were not nice to me. But, generally, their interactions with me were awkward.

Why is that?

Pack
Layton, Utah

As with all perceived problems, the key is usually looking inward instead of outward. Forget yourself and be responsible for reaching out to others and you will be surprised how many friends you will make along the way.

EJH
Lindon, UT

There is no exclusive club in Relief Society. I have moved around a lot and have felt left out and I love Relief Society. Here is what I found out after moving all over every 1-3 years and starting over: I am the happiest and feel most satisfied with my relationships at church when I am reaching out instead of waiting for an invitation from others.
The funny thing is, others might feel the same about you as you do about them. I know there are some ladies in my ward that don't have kids yet that I would love to be friends with but I assume they don't want to hang out with me and my kids. But if they ever came and hung out, I would love it! I know I need to just reach out better.
So, just put those feelings aside and reach out. Church won't be where you form deep relationships - there just isn't time there. You have to do it out of church. But no one is thinking they don't want to be your friend because you don't have kids. They may just be as intimidated as you are.

citi1
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I think the suggestion to help with others children is a bit insensitive. My daughter can't have children because of illness that took away her ability. Helping with babies or small children is a painful reminder to her of what she has lost. She will always feel a little bit of an outsider in a family centered religion and yet she holds her head up high and continues to go anyway.

desert
Potsdam, 00

@ Blow

I kind of like your question, Why is that ?

I don't think I can find the right answer for every neighborhood in Utah, but I get your point.

For Mormons many things are so much easier to have in Utah. What I mean is, that being in Utah makes it so easy and available to everybody, that only the small Christians in that small chapel out in the lonely mountains work harder on being your neighbor, and they could be more nice because of that. Utahn are known to take things for granted.

But Mormons are not Mormons. Being a member of the church is nice and difficult at the same time. Because Mormons are unborn Christians sometimes, other times they step outside to look for others to make friends with.

Moroni 7 : ...Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth.

Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail.

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

mith
boise, ID

Having been on both sides of the issue (kids and no kids), if you don’t approach people you will likely never make friends no matter what your kid status. The fact is now that we have kids it’s hard to find time to spend with the few remaining friends we already have much less make new ones.

GZE
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

From these comments, it appears that the only way to fit in is to make other people's children the center of your life if you don't have any of your own. Is that really the only way?

CVgal
Smithfield, UT

We live in a fast growing area -- at least two new families every month. Our wise R. S. president once asked everyone to stand up who had only lived in our Ward for 18 months or less. Two-thirds of the room stood up. The new people standing were almost surprised that there were that many and didn't know that many of the others were new as well. It opened their eyes! It made for many saying, "I didn't know" and immediately got them talking to the people in the chair next to them! It makes for a different dynamic when everyone knows what their "time in the Ward" element is.

Also, if you want someone to smile at you, be the first one to smile. The same is true with introducing yourself to people -- be the first one!!

NeilT
Clearfield, UT

I am LDS, divorced, no children of my own. I can relate to your situation. In Priesthood meeting we had a new member. The quorum president suggested everyone introduce themselves. Everyone had something to say about their spouse or children. When it was my turn I didn't know what to say. I felt embarrassed and humiliated in front of my priesthood peers. The LDS church places so much emphasis on marriage and family that single adults and childless couples are often shunned. It's as if the church doesn't know what to do with us. To add insult to injury the church decided to disband all singe adult wards for members over forty five. There are women who won't date me because I have never had children even though I have been a step-dad to a teenager and took his best friend into our home. Being single has been a trial for me. I often wish that church members would be more sensitive and more inclusive, not exclusive.

CougarKay
Livermore, CA

I am a single sister serving in our Ward Relief Society in California. I just taught a lesson at the beginning of the month about "Not Fitting in." As we discussed the issue, there are so many reasons we might feel we don't fit in. In our discussion, the common thing to do was reach beyond ourselves. It may be hard when you feel you don't have things in common, but in the Gospel we all have things in common. Seek for those things you might have in common. Be the friend first to reach out and you will find friends.

SundanceKid27
OREM, UT

"you will make more friends in 2 minutes being interested in other people than you will make in two years by trying to make others interested in you."

Anj
Eagle Mountain, UT

@Sasha, We did 10 years of infertility treatments and it would have been extremely painful for me to help you with your children in order to be your friend, when I couldn't have my own.

We have value in simply just being a person. The truth is...(in my opinion) we get too wrapped up in ourselves that sometimes we forget to connect to each other. Sometimes that connection only takes a couple minutes and all of us, no matter how busy, have a couple minutes to ask a couple questions and really try to get to know someone.

Random
Redlands, CA

Simple answer: We look for those with whom we have superficial things in common, and we find them. However, after the kids grow up, or start becoming their own people, much of what we had in common disappears. Like one of the other commenters said, look for activities that you enjoy doing and find a group that enjoys that. Hiking? Biking? Reading? Quilting? Not all the activities we do must center around our children. Another suggestion is to approach individuals, not groups.

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