The Ultimate Guide to Make Dad Friends and Find Your Dad Group
Are you the first of your buds to have kids, feeling like it’s hard to connect with your friends after becoming a dad? It can seem like only other dads can truly understand the joys and frustrations of fatherhood.
While online and local “mom groups” where mothers meet up, do activities and vent about the ups and downs of parenthood are becoming more popular, what about groups for dads?
Being a new dad, single dad, or stay-at-home dad (SAHD) can be as equally isolating as being a mom. It’s important dads have spaces to bond with adult friends and find a supportive community.
If you are looking to make new friends, but don’t know where to start, we detail the best ways to make dad friends in order to make fatherhood a bit more fun.
Challenges Making Friends as a Dad
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 94% of married fathers work and over 88% of fathers with other marital statuses are employed, as of 2022. What this means is that most of your day is spent away from your kids which can make it hard to find dad friends.
Stay-at-home dads also struggle to make dad friends because the majority of parents who choose to put their careers on hold to care for their kids are women. This can make opportunities to meet other dads difficult.
Not only that but just like in any relationship, you want to share common interests with the other person. Just because you and another dad have kids who are the same age doesn’t mean that you will actually get along. So how do you meet other fathers in your area and is it really that important to have dad friends?
Why Dads Need Dad Friends
For the fathers who are leaning on their old friends who have been around for ages, you may need a little reality check. While those friendships still exist, if these individuals are still single or without little ones in tow, their social lives do not mesh together the way they once did.
You may think that sharing stories about poop fiascos, your child’s first steps, or their struggles with breastfeeding are normal, but these are typically not conversations that people without kids enjoy or even understand. Without the ability to share these moments with others, life can feel a bit restricted and stresses can bottle up.
The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) notes that “social support from people who share similar experiences can have a positive impact on parenting experiences, and subsequently on mental health and wellbeing.” This makes friendships with fellow dads who are in the same stage of life and feeling the same pressures extremely important.
How Can Dads Meet Other Dads?
Even though the instance of stay-at-home dads is on the rise, it can still feel as if you are surrounded by moms at playdates, school events, and doctor’s appointments.
The good news is that if you want to make dad friends, the opportunities are there. You just need to know where to look. Some places to try to make friends as a parent include community spots where kids frequent and in online groups. You can also reach out to family and friends to see if they can make introductions.
10+ Ways for Dads to Make Friends
Meeting potential friends can seem like an impossibility, but it doesn’t have to be! When you put yourself in the right situations, meeting other dads can be easier than you think! Here are the top 11 ways to meet other local dads and start friendships that have the potential to last a lifetime!
Sign Your Kids Up for Extracurriculars
One of the easiest ways to find common ground with other dads is to enroll your child in sports, music lessons, and other extracurriculars that will give you opportunities to interact with other parents. Most of the time, this ensures that your kids are the same age, share similar interests and that you and their parents might do the same.
Best of all, if you do this early and your child ends up loving the sport or pastime, you could potentially make other parent friends who will be at the same events through your child’s high school years!
Start a Convo During School Pick Up or Drop Off
For the parents who are prompt for school drop offs and pick ups, there is always a bit of lag time. Take advantage of this narrow social window, get out of the car, and start up a conversation with the other parents who are waiting around. Who knows—maybe you will meet your new best friend!
Take Your Kids to the Park
Parks are another great place to meet up with other parents while simultaneously seeing if your kids interact well together! For the best success, try visiting parks that are near your home at various times of the day and consider experimenting with different parks in your area to give you an array of other dads to meet.
Introduce Yourself to Parents Around Town
No matter if you are at the grocery store, the doctor’s office, or your favorite lunch spot, if you see another parent with kids who appear to be the same age, make an introduction. Worst case scenario, they think you are weird and you experience an awkward moment with someone you will likely never see again. In the case scenario, you start a conversation with your new best dad friend!
Organize Kid-Friendly and Adult-Friendly Field Trips
Playgrounds are not the only place to find dad friends in your area! Museums, zoos, aquariums, amusement parks, community pools, play gyms, and community centers are all fantastic spots where kids and other parents frequent.
Make the most of your weekends by showing your kids a good time and getting some face time with other dads in your region.
Join a Church Group
If you are a faith-based person, attending church is another wonderful spot to meet other local dads. Put your kids in Sunday school and attend a bible study. Many churches offer different parenting ministries for individuals and couples from different walks of life. Some of these include single parents, blended families, first-time moms and dads, and expectant parents.
Host a Living Room Watch Party
Is there a must-see sports event, award show, or must-see television finale coming up? Parents rarely have time to binge-watch TV, so throwing a watch party for everyone will let you all enjoy it together!
Make snacks, add some simple decorations (your kids can even help with these), and have your partner invite a few of her friends and their kids over as well to make it a family activity. If all goes well, you can make this a monthly tradition with a different couple/parent playing host each time!
Go for a Walk With Your Dog
Dogs have a way of making everyone friendlier, so take your pup to the dog park and see if anyone wants to chat! Start the interaction by complimenting their dog and see where the conversation takes you. Better yet, look for dog-friendly bars and restaurants. This can make breaking the ice even easier and give you the chance to make dad friends with similar interests.
Join a Dads Only Facebook Group
Making friends as a busy dad can be tough, but social media has made things a little easier. All you have to do is log onto Facebook and search for “dad groups,” “stay-at-home dad groups,” and “dad groups near me.” These online friend groups can provide easy opportunities to talk with other fathers from all over the world or right in your community.
While this may seem a bit impersonal, in moments of struggle and frustration, having the ability to vent and ask for advice on an open forum of other dads can make all the difference in the world.
However, it is important to note that some of these online groups can be toxic at times. Every parent is different and your parenting style will vary from others. That is okay. If you find that certain members of the group are making it difficult to enjoy this virtual space, then find another group that provides more inclusivity.
Start Your Own Social Media Dad Group
Creating your own social media group can seem like a difficult task, but it is actually easier than you think! First, determine what the purpose of your group will be.
Are you hoping to just have other dads to talk to online, or do you want to set up get-togethers with other dads in your local community? Determining your main goal will ensure that this is a successful venture.
Next, talk to your wife, your brother or sister, your coworkers, and other people in your life who have kids. Do they have mom friends with husbands or dad friends? If so, ask for their information and share an invite to your group.
Most parents are in the exact same predicament that you are in—they are searching for friends who are in the same stage of life. This means that they will likely be eager to give the group a try.
Finally, set up regular events where you have the chance to actually talk with these other dads face-to-face. Host a barbecue at your house, meet up at a local park with your kids, start a fantasy football league, or schedule a watch party at your favorite bar. You may have fifty people show up or just five. Either way, it is a chance to meet other dads and see if you mesh well together.
Is There a Dad Friend App?
Moms always seem to have it easier when it comes to groups and apps for meeting other mothers. But what about the dads out there? Is there an app for meeting other fathers? Turns out there are a few, but some of these applications get mixed reviews.
Dadapp is advertised as a platform that “helps you find, connect, and meet with like-minded dads nearby.” It is available in the Google Play store. However, looking at reviews reveals that not everyone seems to enjoy this platform. With only 1.5 stars and 84 reviews, this seems like more of a good idea that didn’t have the required follow-through.
Dad Community Dadditude is a platform that provides dads with parenting guides, advice, and opportunities to ask questions and share insights. It has 4.9 stars and 92 ratings and is available in the Apple and Google Play stores. Unfortunately, though, this does not provide the opportunity for in-person interactions, but it can still provide a lot of benefits.
Groups for Stay-at-Home Dads (SAHDS)
For the dads who have dedicated their lives to staying at home with their kids, one solid spot for finding a local dad community is The National At-Home-Dad Network! This organization has an entire page on their website dedicated to helping dads find dad groups in their area.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Many of these groups are tailored towards stay-at-home dads, but every parent knows that inclusivity is important, so don’t be afraid to reach out even if you are a working father!
Dad Friends Are Well Worth The Effort
Finding friends is hard. Meeting dad friends is harder. The good news is that if you can make a connection, it is well worth the effort. Solidarity is key to surviving parenthood. When you can share your experiences and feel seen and heard, it can boost your mental health and make these stressful moments easier to handle. In fact, you may just laugh about them!
National Childbirth Trust (2022, January).Worried about a parent friend's mental health: How to help. www.nct.org.uk. Retrieved September 3, 2023, from https://www.nct.org.uk/life-parent/how-you-might-be-feeling/worried-about-parent-friends-mental-health-how-help
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (2023, April 19).EMPLOYMENT CHARACTERISTICS OF FAMILIES — 2022. www.bls.gov. Retrieved September 1, 2023, from https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/famee.pdf
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