How do you make new friends, without looking like a creeper?

I’m not the most social person. In fact, like Hal Ashby’s most memorable gardener (and one of Peter Sellers’ best roles), I like to watch. Not in a condescending or stalking way, but more, as a passive chronicler of my fellow Wo/Man. I took my daughter to the park the other day, a rare occurrence, indeed, in this heat, and she had the time of her life. We went, with the intention of her riding her new bike, and wound up on the playground after a small nature walk, instead.

Watching my daughter play, like she’d known the other kids at the playground her whole life, I found myself wondering how it is, that kids can be fast friends with perfect strangers, in five minutes. Vaguely, I remember that little kid language of games afoot and laughter sprinkling the air, firsthand, but I cannot recall, for the life of me, how we achieved it. I always feel rather awkward, talking to other grown-ups. I speak pretty fluent Kid, however, so maybe that’s it. Maybe, like some brand of feminine Peter Pan, I never quite grew up. But, I digress.

It usually takes a beer, or two, before I can hold a fluid conversation with another adult. That, or, actual common interests; books, philosophy, chess, quantum theory, Phineas and Ferb; that sort of thing. I’m a bit shy, naturally and, so is Kyra, for all of a few moments of tentative coyness. Next thing I know, she’s running past me, holding hands with a little boy she’s just met. Boy, am I gonna have my hands full, with the boys; they already follow her around. Meanwhile, his mom and I just stand there and watch them go. We made some obligatory small talk; she seemed like a nice girl, if kind of a jock, in her running gear; as our now inseparable children raced across the playground.

What is it, about the absolute essence of youth, that allows more people to be closer to us, faster? What do we lose, in growing up, that encumbers our enthusiasm, socially crippling us, just so? We grow hard and cynical, readily. It’s no wonder, the lines are firmly drawn on the battlefields of love and friendship, alike.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Katie Cody (@kyoskittles)
    Sep 06, 2011 @ 23:23:25

    Hi,
    I happened to come across this post by accident and I relate so much to what you are saying. It seems the older I got the harder it was to just have that easy friendship with others like when I was younger. If only people could keep whatever it was that let us become friends with or even just a easy relationship with others. Back in the day all it took was “wanna play ball”. Well I hope that you have a great day and thank you for writing this post it made my day that much better to know there was someone else out there that felt the same way I do.

    Sincerely,
    A Painfully shy girl

    Reply

    • wittyjules
      Sep 07, 2011 @ 01:28:09

      “Wanna play ball…”, Oh, how I remember those days. I’m from New England, so it was more, “wanna play hockey…we brought extra sticks.” . It’s why I write….to reach out, where I can’t, in real life. I feel ya, Katie. Thanks, for reading.

      Reply

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