Being a parent is the best! But being a parent is also really, really hard, and despite being tethered to an adorable tiny human, it gets lonely. Enter the Mom Friend--there to help you through ear infections and hunger strikes, and talk to you about Ann Patchett when you just need an adult conversation.

But unless you and your bestie had a pregnancy pact, they can be tricky to come by. Here are a few smart ways to find one.

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Try a parents’ group, but don’t expect any miracles

If your city or neighborhood already has a parents’ group (usually organized by baby age), then go ahead and join--if you make one new friend, you can consider it a success. If you can’t find one, start your own. We know women who have advertised through their local library, gym or pediatrician’s office.

RELATED: The 13 Moms in Every Moms Group

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Seek out like-minded folks

Found a sing-along you can actually sit through without ear plugs? Look around and see who else is doing the hokey-pokey. If there’s one woman who’s giving off a friend vibe--cool glasses? NPR tote bag?--introduce yourself, STAT.

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Be open to setups

When your coworker tells you about her aesthetician cousin with a one-year-old, don’t immediately roll your eyes. Agree to a blind date and see if you hit it off. (If not, maybe you’ll find your new favorite facialist.)

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And dads

Hey, it’s hard out there for a SAHD, whom some women find difficult to approach. If you see a dude struggling with his Ergo 360, offer to help and ask if he’s got any intel on the new coffee shop opening up across the street. If you're worried about giving off the wrong impression, mention that your husband has the exact same messenger bag.

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Don’t worry if your kids aren’t immediate besties

So Charlie and Ruby have nothing in common? If you and Ruby’s mama get along swimmingly, that’s enough in our book. (And chances are--the kids will figure out a way to play together eventually.)

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And don’t be afraid to cut and run

Cynthia from the playground coming on a little too strong? Bridget from story hour trying to push her crystal-healing mumbo-jumbo on you? Remember: You need to like these people outside the context of the kiddos. It’s totally OK to back off if the chemistry isn’t there.

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