Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 185: Playground paranoia

"Well, I haven't met a new friend yet."
This is what my niece Grace said after spending 15 minutes with me at the playground. The playground didn't have many children due to inclement weather so the pickin's were slim, but she was still confident that she'd meet a new friend to play with shortly.

I watched her approach children. She seems slightly shy, then she says anything she can to start up a conversation. If a kid fell, she'd help him up. If another kid has a shovel, she offers to help make a sand castle—anything to get the party started. Soon they were off and running as if they've known each other all along.

When I was a little girl, playgrounds terrified me. I didn't know how to make friends or know what to say when children approached me. The whole playground friend making affair was FAIL FAIL FAIL time and time again. I usually ended up lagging behind my sister and her friends, or I played on the slide or swing, both of which are solitary games by nature. As long as I stayed on the slide or the swing, it was okay that I was alone.

My niece amazes me in her friend making ability. I found myself studying her for tips. How does she approach other children so she doesn't appear weird? How do the other children respond? How is she not afraid?

Now don't get the wrong idea. I actually do have friends. How they appeared in my life is a bit of a mystery to me but it probably included armpit sweat and a few nervous laughs on my part and some extroverted efforts on their parts.

Watching Grace make her moves at the playground got me thinking that it's always good to have more friends, especially if I decide to travel around the world on my own one day. I'm gonna need peeps.

She also took this photo of herself with my iPhone. She's both advanced and super cute.


  1. Kids approaching kids with shovels usually works out. Adults approaching adults with shovels, not so much.

  2. Oooh meeting friends while traveling is the scariest of all. It's funny how people can be so outgoing in certain circumstances and so shy in others. I'm totally guilty of this.

  3. I suspect your niece is growing into her name quite beautifully.

  4. I too have studied her friend making skills. It always starts with her standing quite close to the children just watching and approaching carefully. She most often offers to help them or comments on something they have, "I like your shovel", or "You're fast on the slide", and always followed with smiles. She constantly smiles at them and then giggles a little. Fool proof... friend made.


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