Nellie & I head home tonight, so this will be my final guest blogger. It’s been a blast hosting such an awesome variety of writer’s here, and I hope you all have enjoyed them, too!
My last guest blogger is Jessica of Mommyhood NEXT RIGHT. Today she’s got a helpful guide on how to make parent friends at the park – which is great, because I’m socially awkward and probably come across as a creeper to other parents.
Growing up, I’ll be the first to admit that I was mostly shy…or, no, I was antisocial. I spoke a lot when spoken to but hardly initiated conversations. I avoided unnecessary eye contact on public transportation, pressed “close,” “close,” close” to avoid riding in elevators with strangers who could possibly, dreadfully, say something like “Hi.” *gasp, and would use my often dead cell phone to feign being “popular” in large social crowds.
This all sounds so pathetic now, but that’s how I was. Really.
But since, becoming a mom, I’ve changed. I’ve become a more social person. I say “Hi” now to random strangers, random strangers who are usually pushing strollers. And I am not as quick to press the “close” button on the elevator at the doctor’s office. Oh, and most importantly, I’m now a professional at meeting and becoming friends with moms and dads at parks.
How did I go from fake cell phone calls to making parent friends at parks? I know you want to know, so I’ll save the awkwardness, and just come out with it. Here’s my step-by-step guide for making friends with parents at the park.
(Disclaimer: The steps listed below are intended to guide you to parent friendships. While many do have success with these steps, individual results may vary.
Step #1. Make eye contact. Yes, eye contact. Stare. But don’t stare too long, or too intently. Smize (smile with your eyes), show teeth when you smile and relax your body. Breathe. And smile. And…look away. Now.
Step #2. Position yourself close to your wanna-be friend. If he or she is at the slides and your child has just run to the slides, that’s your chance. Slowly walk over to your suitor, not too close, but not too far away and stand…for about two minutes. Don’t stare at your potential friend. Just watch your child.
Step #3. (When your child begins playing with your child) Initiate small talk. Common “safe” topics: children’s ages, weather, park architecture, and stroller admiration. Common “unsafe” topics: religion, politics, other moms and dads nearby.
Step#4. Keep talking. From small talk, move into parenting woes and talk of local things to do. Look for connections and make connections.
Step #5. When either you or your potential friend is packing up to leave the park, ask for their number and/or email address.
Step #6. Call or email the same day. Between kids and spouses, things are forgotten. So to keep your existence fresh in their mind, contact them the same day or at least within the same week as the first meeting. No later. No sooner. (Usually)
Step #7. Meet with your potential friend and be yourself…awesome.
You’ve made a new parent friend. Congratulations!