People without kids often choose to live in city centers. Services and cultural activities are concentrated downtown, and living in close proximity can create more frequent encounters. Go to free author events at your local bookstore.
Community classes are another option. While many parents are great at preparing quick, nutritious meals, most adults at a recent nutrition/cooking class sponsored by the local naturopathic college had no kids. Try yoga. Or community gardening.
Every year, I post a flipchart showing what I want to achieve by the end of the year. Back when I lived in a rural area, one bullet point said, “Make three to four new friends who don’t have kids.”
I now live (without a dog) in a high-rise in the inner city. My building has lots of singles and couples of all ages, many of whom have dogs they walk multiple times a day.
There’s even a dating site for people without kids.1 I stumbled on this site just as I quit online dating, so I can’t weigh in on how well it works. But I love the idea.
I’ve always marveled at how easily many of my parent friends create community through their children. There are school events, PTA, and sports. The kids find each other, then so do their parents. Many of these relationships last lifetimes.
There is no faster way to lose a listener that to talk at them, rather than to them or about them. Successful communicators sense immediately when the other partner is no longer able to take more in and acknowledge this.
To create a communication process that deepens and becomes richer over time, both partners must live in the minds and hearts of each other in every phrase they share. If you slap a child, you should simultaneously feel the slap on your own face at the same time.
Partners who trust one another know that the other is always tuned in, monitoring how the other is receiving that communication and including that awareness in what they say. No one is perfect, and sometimes hurt and anger block that desire to feel the effect of a behavior on the other, but that absence of mutual experience must be acknowledged.
That doesn’t mean the license to rehash the past to try to get a different outcome in the present. But it does mean talking about what precedes the current communication task and where both partners want to end up at the end of sharing something together.