Ep 60 - 4 Ways to Make Friends as a Sober Woman in her 40's
Hannah: [00:00:00] Welcome to Happily Ever After the podcast where we talk about life's big stories from breakups and breakdowns to icky secrets and happy endings. It's the stuff that makes us human. I'm your host Hannah Harvey. I'm a writer and a parenting blogger at mumsdays.com. That's M U M S D A Y S dot com.. I'd be really grateful if you could subscribe in new review because it basically means more people can find the podcast.
And I also really love hearing from you. So please do contact me through Instagram @mumsdays with any of your stories really, and, and you know how you relate to the episode, or even questions that you may want answering. You can find all the details from this episode in the show notes.
Hello and welcome to Happily Ever After With me, Hannah, and today I'm joined by Katie.
Hannah: Hi Katie. So Katie helps me [00:01:00] with Podcasty things and with my socials, and she's often a guest on here. So there are many, many episodes where you can listen back to me and Katie chatting about stuff.
Katie: Yeah, all
kinds of different things.
Hannah: Mm-hmm. So, When I said to Katie, let's have a little chat today.
Uh, please tell the audience the title you suggested.
Katie: I can't remember what it was now. So it's um, four, four ways that I've made friends as. Sober woman in her forties. Is that what I said?
Hannah: That was it. And what was my reaction, Katie?
Katie: Well, yeah, and you were
like, oh, that sounds really boring. But the only thing that had varied from the title that you'd suggested was the fact that I added in the word sober, which is interesting.
'cause I don't think you're boring. Because you're sober.
Hannah: Well thank you. So when I was thinking through earlier about what my points are, if I were to have four [00:02:00] points about making friends, In your forties as a sober woman. Um, I was like, oh, well, number one has to be that you accept who you actually are.
Katie: Yes. Good.
And it's okay to still be working on that, you know?
Hannah: Yeah. But I was like, holy shit, I'm in my forties and I'm sober and I've got kids and I'm single. My immediate reaction is like, oh my God, when did that happen? And I think probably my perception of that when I was growing up was like, that's really old and there's no way I am ever gonna be sober.
So yeah, it was like lots of different things coming in there that I'm like, oh my God, is that who I am now? As if that's a bad thing. [00:03:00]
Katie: Yeah. I know and it's like not at all and nobody else sees it as that, I'm sure. Although I can understand that you've got like hangups about whether it's whether you're still interesting even though that you don't drink.
You've talked about that before, you
Hannah: Yes. So when I talk about when I first wanted to quit drinking, one of the big reasons I didn't want to is because I thought it would make me really boring and I'd have no friends. Um, when actually I'd say probably the opposite is true.
Hannah: Not that I have loads of friends, but just that I don't think I'm actually that boring.
And, um, but it's still niggles, it's still in there that little, 'cause it's all like brain connections, isn't it? Going on all the time. And that brain, brain connection is strong and it's still there and it's still telling me, oh, you're a bit boring 'cause you don't drink.
Katie: It's interesting what's going on in the background that we don't realize, isn't it?
Hannah: [00:04:00] Yeah. So I was chatting to somebody else about it. I sent a link to, uh, a new, one of my dipping friends saying, look what Katie suggested we do. How boring do I sound? And he was like, you don't? And he said something like, um, 10% of what our brains compute is reality, and the other 90% is all just made up shit.
That our brain is telling us. So, you know, we'll all have our own perceptions about what we think we should be or what other people think about us. And actually they're completely different.
Hannah: Um, most of the time people probably aren't even thinking about us, like, do what you wanna do 'cause I'm too busy worrying about this other thing.
Um, And yeah, when they, when they do think of us, they don't necessarily think the things that we think.
Hannah: So yeah, I
Katie: it's really easy to get wrapped up in your own narrative in your [00:05:00] head, isn't it?
It's kind of silly and I think really, so number one in all of this is just accept who you are now.
And, um, I think part of it for me that is helpful is that.
The way I am making friends is by just showing up. So one of the big ones for me is showing up online.
Hannah: Um, it may surprise you to know I'm not inundated with like thousands of message messages and new friends, but the ones who are connecting are connecting with me because they get what I'm talking about and where I'm coming from and they're, they're interested and they, yeah.
If I wasn't sharing, I wouldn't be having those connections with those people.
Katie: Mm-hmm. Absolutely.
Hannah: Including old friends.
Katie: Oh, right.
Hannah: Do you know what I mean? Like
Katie: Have old friends been reaching out?
Hannah: Yeah. Like literally yesterday, somebody I haven't seen since I lived in Singapore when I was [00:06:00] 21, messaged me and was like, oh, I hope I bump into you in the North Sea sometime soon.
And I'm like, well, let's make it happen.
Katie: Oh, how nice. Hmm. Love that.
Hannah: Isn't that funny.. Yeah, so I think so long as you keep, 'cause I think social media's a weird one, isn't it? Like we don't wanna,
there's part of you that's like, I don't wanna be on it at all. But then there's so much good that can come from it when you do just show up and talk about what you're doing in an honest and authentic way. Not in a. Look how fabulous my life is all the time. 'cause that's kind of annoying.
Hannah: But there
Katie: Only takes one person to make a connection to you from everything that you've put out and then it's worth it, isn't it?
Hannah: Yeah, I really think so. So I think being who you are and being authentic in it is the key. And there will be people that look at stuff and. I had, I love her. This lady at Ruben's school [00:07:00] came running up to me and she was like, oh, here's Hannah. All she does is stay on the beach all day. And I was like, yeah.
So some stuff will come across as like you don't do anything else other than what you've put online. And my brother said, you know, your life looks like an Instagram filter. And I was like, well, I don't use filters so
Katie: well, and also you are not gonna be posting like, um, you know, pictures of you putting the kids' shoes on and like brushing your teeth and like making,
Hannah: we have totally done that in the
Katie: we have
actually done that.
I couldn't think of anything that we hadn't done. But my point is, you don't post the boring stuff, do you?
don't po post boring stuff, but you can post the, oh, I've been struggling with this thing stuff. Um, and however much you share or not is totally up to you, but I just think being honest, sharing your story, um, is one of the best ways to connect with people and make new friends.[00:08:00]
Mm-hmm. There's your quote for the reel. Yeah,
Katie: I like it. Good.
Hannah: You are welcome. So my next one is, um, It's to do with, I guess like the biggest, 'cause I think over the last six months, this is the most I've ever tried to do lots of new different things and to actively find new friends. Um, so what I've been trying to do is align the new things that I'm doing with.
Positive changes in my life. So like, wanting to get fit. I'm wearing my wellness journey, uh, t-shirt today because, um, there were,
so I went on this retreat in April and two parts of me was like, ah, I really feel guilty for having this time off. But the other part of me was like, A, I've just turned 40. This is a birthday present to myself.[00:09:00]
B I really wanna get fit. C I'll be meeting a whole bunch of new people. D I'll be getting a bangin' tan. E I'll be going with Josie, who I love. Can I think of an F?
Katie: Is there an F?
Hannah: Um, I think F is just doing something out of your comfort zone and being like, Even though I don't know these other people, I'm gonna trust that it's gonna be okay and that I will be able to keep up because I was worried.
It's like a big fitness camp and I'm not that fit. And everybody would be, you know, doing burpees at breakfast, which there were, but you know, I was able to do it too. So, so things like that where you're like, I will align what I'm gonna do. It might be slightly out of my comfort zone, but it's things that I wanna get better at.
Um, and yeah, not letting it put me off that I'm maybe not as good as everybody [00:10:00] else.
Hannah: And I know, um, Leanne who came on the trip was in a similar boat to me, so she'd heard Josie on the podcast and was like, oh, I think I'll go with them from down south. Didn't know anybody. And then just turned up, you know, with a whole bunch of Geordie's in Spain, um,
Katie: good on her!
Hannah: Yeah, I've now got a whole bunch of new friends that she can come visit.
Katie: Yeah. And it kind of comes back to that, not worrying too much about what other people think of you because mm-hmm. They're actually too busy worrying about what you think of them.
Katie: You can just, you can go on a trip 'cause every with strangers because everybody's gonna be nervous in that same way, aren't
Hannah: Yes. And doing that kind of immersive experience has meant that I've met some, like. Wonderful friends. So I've already introduced Jo, um, on the podcast. She was on the podcast a little while ago.
Hannah: Um, and just keepers, you know.
Hannah: People that you know you're gonna keep in touch with 'cause you just had such a great [00:11:00] time.
Hannah: And if I hadn't, if I'd succumbed to that whole thing of like, oh, I shouldn't be going, I would've missed out on all that.
Katie: I know. I'm pleased you didn't.
Hannah: Thank you Katie.
Oh, and the other thing about aligning with your interests is don't rule things out as well. So you might be like, oh, that is definitely not my cup of tea.
So quite a few of my friends, about three or four people had said to me, you need to do dip club, because at the time I was talking about
Katie: even me, I think
Hannah: yes, you yourself included. And I was like, oh, I wanna hang out with more sober people. Just to see, I dunno why. 'cause yeah, part of me is like, but we'll all be boring together.
I'm like, I've got to move away from that.
Hannah: So, yeah, I was like, okay. Love the idea of meeting sober people. Do not [00:12:00] love the idea of getting in the North Sea. What happened next, Katie?
Katie: I know. Yeah. Well, how many days have you been in, in a row
Hannah: I think today was 87 and I went in at 5:00 AM to watch the sunrise and it was unreal.
Katie: Yeah, that sounds beautiful. It doesn't surprise me that you, you, that you loved it. It's like totally your sort of thing. I dunno why you were so, um, against it for so long.
Hannah: I do
not know either. When I was a kid, I was in the water all the time and then, Just completely stopped.
Hannah: But do you know what else it makes me think of is the fact that this year was the year of play.
Hannah: Do you remember? So maybe inadvertently I was like, oh fuck it. I'll just give it a go and we'll do it in the name of play.
Katie: Yeah, totally. And like that does open you up to new opportunities, doesn't it? Because everything's just having a go.
Hannah: Yeah. I. [00:13:00] But it's daunting.
Katie: Yeah, course.
Hannah: Like that is not your cup of tea, is it?
To go to a big club like that on your
Katie: I would say yeah, but I
would probably do it.
Hannah: Would you?
I'd have to be
feeling really like,
Hannah: would you? 'cause I've not seen you go.
Katie: Yeah. Well I dunno. Like if I wanted to, if I was in the mood to make some new friends, then yeah, I would, I'd, I'd get myself to go.
I would. Um, and like you can push yourself to do things that are outside of your comfort zone. It's good to do that sort of thing. And because I'm sure if I went I would not regret it.
Hannah: Yes. Well, you know that 'cause you love getting in to sea.
Hannah: Um. Yeah, it was. So my next one is to grip, sorry. Pick your group activity based on your personality.
Hannah: And also the size. So I loved going to Dip Club, but I literally was like, oh [00:14:00] my God, I don't know anybody. And everybody's already in groups. They all know each other. Mm-hmm. So the first time I arrived, I literally just made a beeline for the people that run it and just sort of stood awkwardly next to them.
Katie: That's what I would have done as
Hannah: And hope that someone talks to me.
Katie: Yeah, but
they do. So like, I think part of this is having faith in like human kindness, you know, like you can, especially in the north, you can chat, you can make, make a conversation with anybody. You know, you don't necessarily have to be some outgoing personality to do things like that.
Katie: Like, it's okay. Just stand awkwardly next to the organizers for a bit. That's okay.
Hannah: I'm just gonna
stand here. Uh, I keep standing here, but the other good thing about the whole being on Instagram thing is that once you've been a few times, you then start seeing all the regulars and talking to them, so.
Hannah: Even though it is a big group, I have made some really [00:15:00] lovely friends through Dip Club.
Hannah: And that's often like actually behind the scenes. So when you get home, um, people have seen me dipping and then. Been chatting to me and the other way around.
Hannah: So yeah, you just have to sort of be a bit brave and show up, I think, but also be mindful that there are options.
So the club that I've actually started going to a lot more, because the last time I went to Dip Club, I was like, the waves were massive. There was like a thousand people there, and I just felt really anxious and overwhelmed. So I was a bit like, oh, I'm not sure I can actually handle all this. Human energy combined with water, energy.
Hannah: Um, and I've now found a smaller group who I feel like you can connect more on one, one-to-one basis, which is my favorite.
Katie: Yeah. And I guess had you not gone to the first one, you wouldn't have like found alternatives and worked out what was good, you [00:16:00] know?
Katie: So I guess it is a bit about experimentation, isn't it?
Katie: And what's the worst that can happen? You know, you turn up and go, I don't like it here. And then you leave.
Hannah: Yeah, exactly.
But at least you've had your walk and you've been in the sea and Well, assuming that's your thing. It was funny the other day when I was down there, I was like, there was all of us coming up from the beach in our dry robes looking like drowned rats.
And then there was another big group of people all like in running gear and I was like, oh, it's like we're different elements. We are the water elements coming up and then here are the fire elements ready to go and do their running around on above land. And then we'll see somebody else floating off, I dunno, on air or whatever, but like you do.
-- I dunno what that was. Mind people, mind people,
Katie: mind people.
Hannah: I would say like writers and writing groups would be, The air elements.
Katie: Okay, I'm with you. [00:17:00] I'm back in the room. I
Hannah: the air elements and you do things like book binding.
So like that's the other thing. Like you sometimes you don't even have to leave the house to be part of a community like this.
Katie: Um, so. book binding. I do have to leave the house full, but that's a community of completely different people who don't do anything physical. It's all just about like craft and like making things with your hands. But then like, I've also made friends from just doing stuff on the internet.
Katie: Um, and that doesn't require you to even leave the house.
That's all just about putting you out, putting yourself out there. And going
hello, I'm here
Hannah: Yeah, like meeting Penny. Like I, um, hopefully she's gonna come on the podcast soon, but we'd kind of, we, I knew her as a blogger, like she was one of the big mummy bloggers when I started and I was like, oh, penny. And then, um, yeah, we just seemed to realign when I started talking about divorce again.
And we've ended up having [00:18:00] virtually the same divorce process, including the way that we've chosen to heal. I'd never met her in person, but we were always just kind of connecting online. And then I actually met her IRL last week.
Hannah: We couldn't talk 'cause I took my kids and it was like really tricky, but it was nice to physically see
Katie: Yeah. Yeah. It's lovely that, that you can get connection. Obviously you've gotta be careful, but, um, that you can make that sort of connection just by putting yourself out there on the internet, you
Hannah: Yeah. Like pick and choose what you share. Yeah, make sure you processed it first, maybe.
Hannah: Do you know the other thing I do a lot of?
Hannah: When I'm out walking, I talk to strangers a lot.
Katie: Yeah? Mm-hmm.
Hannah: Like I just really like bumping into people and I don't know, like you couldn't plan it kind of thing, but just if something's happening, you're like, oh. Chatting to somebody rather than ignoring them and carrying on. [00:19:00]
Katie: Yeah, it's one of the things that I like about my job, just like the small talk, like finding out that like, you know, somebody's grandson has been born today and like, um, oh, I don't know, it's somebody else's best friend's birthday, and like just the little nice bits of people's lives that you get to find out when you're working like a customer facing role is really
Hannah: Yeah, there's an energy that comes with that, which you're like, oh, I'll have some of that. Thank you. Mm-hmm.
Hannah: The meet-cute. Mm-hmm.
Got to share that little slice of happiness with them.
Hannah: Yeah, definitely. Well, one of my new, um, like really good friends who I dip with every week now, we, um, got chatting about a bin fire.
I just bumped into, I was like, is that a bin on fire? And she was walking from the other direction and she's like, yeah, the uh, the fire brigade had been called. And so we sort of like hung around and then got chatting and discovered that she likes going in the sea as [00:20:00] well. And now I was like, let's switch numbers.
And now we're getting in the sea, like every week together.
Katie: Yeah, it's, there's
nothing like a bit of, um, disaster to make friends. Not that I'm suggesting that you start fires in order to make friends, but they are a good place to hang out.
Hannah: See opportunities in the crazy,
Katie: in big fires
Hannah: because it was like, you know, a really beautiful day.
You have the church spire at the end of Long Sands at tynemouth, and it was all really picturesque and it's this massive bin fire.
Hannah: But yeah, there's, I think there's opportunities everywhere.
Hannah: Um, for making like little connections with people and just being open and like, I don't know, just, yeah. It goes back to the first one, just showing up as you are. Like, I am the kind of person that is gonna talk to you about bin fire..
Hannah: It's just the way it is.
Mm-hmm. And you know, I finally have stopped caring. [00:21:00] What the person I'm speaking to about really thinks.
Hannah: For the most part, I assume that they're happy to speak to me and I'm brightening their day.
Katie: They'll soon let you know
if they're not happy to speak to you.
Hannah: Oh, yes, they will.
Ah, so my last idea, my number four of how to make friends in your forties as a sober woman. Is that right? Um, is to organize your own fun.
Katie: Yeah. Mm-hmm.
Hannah: So I'm thinking things like, obviously I'm doing my yoga classes and um, and basically badgering everyone and anyone to just come and join in.
Hannah: Like, are you a bit lonely?
Come and hang out with us. Yeah. Do you need to unwind at the end of a busy week? Come do here we, yeah, and then we might get in the sea, so bring your swimming costume. And people are like, no, thank you. Some [00:22:00] people are, some people are up for it. So, yeah. And I'm just thinking about, so Craig, who runs, um, the Dip club that I'm been going in, sorry, I'll start that again.
My 5:00 AM Sunrise Dip Club has been organized by this guy called Craig, um, who I'm gonna have on the podcast soon. But his story is he got into cold water therapy as a way to handle his gambling addiction.
Hannah: And it, it, he, yeah, he was starting to do lots of positive things, um, like running more and doing the cold water dipping and things like that.
Um, and wanting to share that with his, like gambling group. So it's like a core of them. And then they've all. Just spreading the word and that kind of thing, and it's just such a lovely, inclusive group.
Hannah: so it's a nice, if I'm just thinking along the lines of if you are a little group of say three or four, to be mindful of maybe opening it up to other [00:23:00] people so it's a bit more inclusive.
You might get the odd weirdo, but that's all right. Yeah. Love a weirdo.
Katie: Yeah, we do. We, I would describe us as weirdos perhaps.
Hannah: Well, that's why I love 'em.
Katie: Might end up with one of us at your group.
Hannah: Open it up to us , we'll come.
Katie: I've always been an organizer and so like. You'd be surprised. And so I've often organized things that are open to whoever coming and you'd be surprised how receptive people are to coming to something if you've put it together, you
Hannah: Yeah. It's a little bit like I do fee. I have the fear when I do stuff like that, that I'll put it out there and I'll get completely ignored.
Hannah: Um, I don't think
Katie: people are
normally up for things provided like it's, um, you, you talking to the right people about it and they are up for it.
Hannah: Yeah. [00:24:00] And remembering to keep talking about it because people need to see something like seven or eight times in order to actually act and do.
Hannah: So, yes. How did, how was that?
Katie: Good. Yes.
I feel fully clued up on how to make friends in my forties Now,
Hannah: as a sober woman.
Katie: As a sober woman, yeah.
Hannah: Do you have any to add?
Katie: I mean, like,
we've kind of covered the way that I make friends. It's funny because I, I have a slightly different perspective on all of this in that like, the last thing that I wanna do at the minute is make more friends.
I've got to keep up with, like, I just don't feel like I've got the physical or mental capacity to like, take on more friendships at the minute, which I think a lot of people will sympathize with, you know?
Katie: Um, but I have definitely been in this space where I wanted to make friends and do more things before, and.
I honestly just think it's about putting yourself out there, whether that's on the internet, joining things [00:25:00] like going to clubs, um, speaking to people like if you, if you build it, they will come. You know, is that the saying? You know?
Hannah: I hope so.
Hannah: It feels right.
Katie: Yeah. If you put yourself out there, then you, I think it's, you can make friends.
It's totally doable.
Hannah: Totally doable.
On a, um, an a side note, a friend of mine who, um, 'cause this isn't just for like single people with nowt else going on.
Hannah: This is, um, like a friend of mine's married, she's got kids, but she was looking for new friends, um, and she tried out Bumble friends.
Katie: Yes. That's interesting.
Um, I've always wanted to see how they worked because like, and actually I had a friend that went on one, like a Bumble friend date, um, and found it to be too intense at the end.
Hannah: Yeah. I think.
Katie: But I think that just depends on who you meet.
Hannah: I think that has been the issue. It's a bit like [00:26:00] one-on-one, like you are literally dating, like I'd rather.
Do a group setting personally and see who you gel with. Like give it a few weeks and then see who you're like, oh, they seem my cup of tea.
Hannah: Yeah. But if, um, if anybody's out there listening and you've been on Bumble friends and you've had an experience of it, then we'd love to hear from you. Yeah.
'cause I'm fascinated
by that. And if you wanna join our weird club, you just d ms. Anytime.
Welcome to the club.
Well, thanks love.
Katie: Yeah. Thank you.
Hannah: See you next time.
Katie: See you later.
Hannah: All right then. Thank you so much for listening, and I'll see you again next time for another episode of Happily Ever After With me.
Hannah, it would be amazing if you could leave a review and subscribe, and of course, if you've got a friend who might enjoy this episode, please do pass it on. For anything else, you can get in touch with me through Instagram @mumsdays or by my website, [00:27:00] uh mumsdays.com. And did you know that I've got a newsletter?
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