New Friends in New Places

moving to australia

Alli and her two minxes in their new home

When I was given the ‘go ahead’ to write a guest blog on Tizzie’s site I had to stop and really think about what topic I was going to address. I mean, I’m not an expert on sleeping, feeding and all things baby. But there was something else that can be equally as challenging (that both Tizzie and I have experienced) and that’s picking up sticks and moving all the way across the world.

I moved back to Oz in September, 2010 after living overseas for 10 years. Some of you may feel that having already lived here before I was one up in the relocation stakes but I have to say that although I could drive places without a map, pretty much everything else was new. Plus, I had left a singleton and returned a mother of two, so was completely unaware of resources for parents in Australia. To give you an idea of how much had changed I left for OS with a Discman and a film camera; coming back my camera had gone digital and I had acquired an ipod!

The first word that comes to mind when relocating is challenging, the second is isolating. Although I had friends when I left they had now scattered to the four corners of Melbourne and life had moved on. Dinner was now fish fingers at 5pm and drinks were those found in a sippy cup. I needed to make new friends but had missed mothers’ groups and there’s not really time to strike up a conversation when doing drop-off at the childcare centre.  

I decided the first thing I would do was be ballsy. My desire to make friends outweighed the embarrassment of approaching mums and I became a master at starting up conversations on the tram, in supermarkets and at immunisation sessions (you can talk about their/your kids – the ultimate ice breaker!). If someone seemed nice I would let them know I was new in town and would they mind catching up for coffee sometime?

I also enrolled my daughter in activities and classes and made it a mission to meet mums while my daughter sang and danced.  Playgroups were also fab for getting that initial contact.

Lastly, I asked my daughter who she played with at nursery and left messages for their mums to bring their daughter’s around for a playdate. Even if I didn’t manage to make any lifelong friends out of it, my daughter did, and this was of equal importance to me.

So, how did I go? Well, I’ve managed to develop one friendship and have learnt loads about meeting people that may be helpful to you in your travels. 

  1. It will take a hell of a lot longer to form a friendship later in life as you just don’t have the time to put in you used to – and you have kids distracting you both all of the time!
  2. Everyone is busy and although people may have the best of intentions, you will get let down a lot. Don’t take it personally.
  3. Take the lead! If you sit back and wait for the phone to ring there is every chance you will have lonely days.
  4. Develop a hobby or interest so you have something to do with your spare time if no one’s calling that day.
  5. Remember it won’t happen overnight. Look at me. I’m from Melbourne and have been back four months now and still feel like I’m not settled. I expect it will take a year.

I hope this helps with your relocation and if you’re moving to Melbourne and need a friend, look me up!

Cheers, Alli x

Alli Price is founder of Motivating Mum, a website and events service offering support and advice to mums in business, or those wanting to be. Now in the UK and Australia, she also consults with businesses wanting to franchise, distribute or relocate from one of these countries to the other.


  1. January 14th, 2011 at 1:39 am karen kemp says:

    I love this article im a single mum. I had an unexpected birth. Didn’t knw i was pregnant till phoebe arrived. Since iv had phoebe iv had lost my confidence i lost most of my friends.And i didnt have the courage to attend mothers group.

    I have a close friend and we make sure we catch up once a fortnight so our little girls can play and for us to have a chat. I live in a country town.

    The struggles i find that most of the mums have partners and i feel that i will be singled out because im a single mum. I find fathers day xmas day hard coz phoebe doesn’t have a day.

    I knw i have my familys support but its not the same then having a partner to share moments with phoebe.

    Thanx for ur tips


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  3. January 14th, 2011 at 4:17 am Brooke rowntree says:

    Good job alli!
    My best friend has just endured a 36 hour flight from brazil to Melbourne by herself with her 2.5 year old and 10 month old boys! She has been in brazil for 12 months and has found it hard with the language barrier (having to learn Portuguese) and having to make new friends!
    I agree that it’s very different making friends as you get older and it’s really difficult to maintain friendships you already have!
    Welcome back to Melbourne! What a great place to be 🙂

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  5. January 14th, 2011 at 4:36 am Emily says:

    A very timely reminder , especially with military families moving to new locations at the moment. We should all try to keep our eyes and ears peeled for people who are looking for some companionship, all you have to give up is the time to have a cup of coffee.

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  7. January 14th, 2011 at 4:52 am Alli Price says:

    Hi ladies, am so gald you liked my little blog – it’s good to see I’m not the only one that struggles with this. Karen, maybe this is a good reminder that there are probably a lot of mums out there single or married (I have a partner) that feel like this – they just don’t look like they’re feeling it.

    I don’t know about anyone else but if I had a friend that was a single mum I would go out of my way to include her, not leave her out – so get out there and start saying hi! x

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  9. January 14th, 2011 at 11:26 am alicia says:

    As a mum of 1 (2yo & relocating to NSW) from VIC later in the year, the scariest thing is making new friends. You have given me confidence to get out there and make it happen. I’m as nervous as hell but……………..

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  11. January 14th, 2011 at 11:49 am Zara says:

    What a great story! With a husband in the Defence Services we move around every couple of years and I never realised how isolating it was until I had kids.

    I too, threw myself out there having also missed the mothers group and have met lots of mums through Playgroup, Kindergym and in shops! There are some I only meet once in a while or bump into (country town!), some I see weekly at Playgroup and some I see every couple of days!

    It definitely doesn’t happen overnight and after a year of establishing myself and my family, I have managed to develop a few great friendships – so much so that we’ve created our own Mums group where we see each other every week and speak regularly throughout the week to support each other. One thing I am always mindful of, is when new mums arrive into the area, to always extend an invitation to our weekly catch up – some accept, some are too shy to come, some don’t come back and some are turning into a great friendship – for both me and my kids!

    There are times where I do worry that people may think I’m a little overbearing or too ‘in your face’ when I’m suggesting a coffee or catch up – but I’d like to thank you Alli for sharing your story and experience – it’s certainly nice to know that I’m not alone!

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  13. January 14th, 2011 at 12:56 pm Lisa says:

    Hi Alli

    Great blog. This hits home on a couple of fronts. I myself returned home to a country town after living overseas for 3 years after I finished uni. Coming back my friends had moved on and I moved back in with mum and dad, and yea those 3 years had made a huge difference, but at least I hadn’t had any kids yet, so i was to free to suit myself.

    Secondly, after the birth of my first child, I experienced a natural disaster and lost everything, including house contents and a car and then a few months later I had a miscarriage and then I moved to the city, all before my baby was 9 mnths old. I knew noone. I then had my second child a year later. Not suprisingly after all this, I ended up with PND!

    I am getting treated for it, and my life has turned around. I have started approaching other mums from kindergym, my little ones swimming classes and inviting them around for playdates! Its amazing, what seemed impossible a couple of months ago, is now really easy, and these other mums really appreciate someone approaching them. I have ended up with two really good friends for me and for the little ones.

    So thankyou for your blog, I know exactly where you are coming from! Good luck being back in Melbourne, its a great city.

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  15. January 15th, 2011 at 11:32 am Em says:

    Thanks Alli. This really hit home with me. I too have just returned to Oz after 12 years with 2 kids. This post will be one I will revisit no doubt in the weeks / months ahead. It was very tough leaving a strong social support network that I’d built up whilst away and having kids. Breaking back into a new circle of mates will be just as tough no doubt but I’m excited about the new activities and routines this may bring. I feel very lucky to be supported by my husband in this quest. However, I’m still getting used to wider family pressures and commitments (not something I should complain about though :-)). Looking forward to end of school holidays so I can get amongst it! All the best.

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  17. January 18th, 2011 at 9:54 am Jo says:

    Love the post…funny. I am form the UK and have been living in Australia for 10 years now. I arrived here with a backpack, and soon enough, we married and now have 2 kids. Now that I have a family, being away from my immediate family is the hardest thing. Neither of us are from here, so we don’t have that network to rely on when the going gets tough. However, it seems that the friends we’ve made are real friends, and we all rely upon each other like family. So therefore once you do make those friends, you keep them…
    Its not easy though – you have to bite the bullet, and join committees and all sorts of other things (even joined a choir!), and go to a playgroup etc…now I run the playgroup and welcome all those lost souls in (like I was)!!!!

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  19. January 20th, 2011 at 3:18 am Jo says:

    Hi there – great blog. I too have moved to Oz a year ago after nearly a decade away – however moving back ‘home’ with a hubby and toddler in tow is a far cry from the young kiwi chick that took off a few good years back. Ourove back was complicated with a move first to Sydney and then 9 months later to Melbourne. It’s been a crazy busy year and I am only now starting to feel settled here in Melbs. Totally agree with alli that you just have to face up to the brave new world – it’s tough going making new friends! My time in Sydney was great but pretty lonely and I was so grateful to the few fab girls that did make me feel v welcome. Some of which I introduced myself to in a park! Good luck everyone – maybe an expat/returning mums group is on the agenda?!

    Ps – having been one of the girls that has also caught up with alli here in melb – I can say she is one great lady!

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  21. January 20th, 2011 at 5:45 am Ali Davies says:

    I can so relate to your exerpeince. We moved from the UK to Ireland back in 2006.

    I think one of the biggets learnnigs is that when you are the newbie in a country, it is you that have to make all the effort.

    Making peace with that fact makes the whole thing a lot easier and less stressful.

    Hope you are settling in well.

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  23. January 21st, 2011 at 4:43 am Alli Price says:

    It’s funny isn’t it – how you write a post thinking that maybe there are one or two of us out there when there are a hell of a lot more! Just goes to show that when you look at people from the outside you can miss all sorts of stuff on the inside. And I would like to add that as well as meeting the lovely Jo Feather, and hopefully soon, Jo from Little Hip, I also got chatting to a mum at immunisations – just moved to Melb from UK – and had her round for coffee yesterday! It begins!

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  25. May 15th, 2012 at 9:39 pm Emma says:

    I’m about to move from Melbourne from Brisbane this weekend, away from everything and everyone I love with my 14 month old son and hubby. Will definitely be getting involved in some playgroups and activities asap, worked at treat back here in Brissy and met some fantastic friends (which we are very sad and sorry to be leaving).

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  27. May 16th, 2012 at 10:23 am Tizzie says:

    Good Luck with your move Emma – I am sure you will meet some wonderful new friends and I am sure will continue to keep in touch with Brisbane friends as well.

    All the Best
    Save Our Sleep

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  29. December 20th, 2012 at 8:17 pm Kristy Edwards says:

    I agree with you that new friends at new places. I have gone to the brisbane tour with my daughter and I got friendship with the lady whose room was near to me in the same hotel. x

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