By Shellie Miller-Farrugia
This is a shout out to those of us who talk to strangers in the grocery line; The ones who are annoyingly pleasant despite challenging circumstances. We are the ones who insist that you go first at the four-way stop. Some of us even bring your trash cans in off the street because we know that life gets too busy, so why not help a neighbor out?
Many of us binged TV during the lockdowns. My family enjoyed a show on the history channel, Alone, which pits 10 isolated contestants against each other in remote locations where they cannot see or interact with each other or anyone else. Supplied with cameras to document their experiences, they have no contact except for medical emergencies. It’s nothing like Survivor, where everyone talks with each other. Aside from the ones who tap out because of dangerous physical injuries, many of the contestants leave because they desperately miss their families and any kind of human interaction.
Lockdowns, mandates, and life for the last two years has been uncomfortable. It’s been especially tough for those of us who just love and want to talk to everyone. From an outgoing person’s perspective, it’s been rough for those of us who hug the kid who puts our groceries in the car, enjoy a brief conversation with the UPS guy, and interact with our neighbors who are also out walking their dogs! I missed the smiling faces at the deli counter. I missed the politeness of saying to random strangers, “Hi! How are you today?“ After a short time, I realized that many people wearing masks tended to ignore each other, so I greeted absolutely everyone I saw with a kind salutation. Sometimes they would look at me oddly, but mostly they would answer my kindness with one of their own. We are social creatures! We are not meant to stay inside, isolated from the world for an undetermined amount of time.
Parkland mom, Erica Epstein, recently decided to take action and invite a group of ladies in Coral Springs and Parkland to socialize and meet new friends. She told me, “As a Marriage and Family Therapist in Boca Raton, I work daily with teens and women. One of the most common concerns I hear from them is, especially since Covid, is feeling lonely and isolated. I, too, have experienced those feelings. That is why I decided to be proactive and create a Facebook group for local women in my age group to come together, meet new friends, and socialize. I want to do my part to bring us women together.”
About 50 ladies from 35 to 55 years old gathered at a local restaurant to meet, share about their families, their careers, and find common ground. The banter was fun as ladies visited from one table to the next. At the end of the evening, we shared our phone numbers, made future plans with the women we connected with, and look forward to the next informal get together.
Parkland resident Carol Baran attended the group and said, “Being new to the area, I was interested in meeting new friends & socializing. I met several new people and had a great night out at our first event! I can’t wait till we get together again.” Parkland resident and mother, Belkys Hutton, also attended, and had a terrific time. “I really enjoyed meeting women of all ages, some long-term South Floridians and some new to our state. Building female friendships within your community is important, no matter what stage you are in life.“
If you’re interested in joining the ladies Facebook group, search for
Women (35-55) seeking Friendships (Coral Springs, Parkland, Boca Raton)