Sunday, May 30, 2010

Why Do Kids Make Friends So Easily?

143.365_three_girls_swing

We went to the big playground last weekend, and I swear weren't there 5 minutes, before the girls had two new friends. They played together for over an hour; laughing, giggling and holding hands as they went from slide to slide and bridge to bridge. When it was time to go home, they hugged and said goodbye.

This isn't the first time I've seen something like this with my kids. I remember way back when we first moved to Tyndall AFB Florida in the mid 90s. Justin was about 5 years old when we moved into base housing. The day the movers came, and we got to the house, he immediately started walking up and down the street, knocking on doors. Whenever someone would answer, he'd say "I'm Justin, I'm new here, do you have any kids that might want to play with me?" Simple and effective. Justin always had plenty of friends.

Contrast this with most adults ...

Even just at the playground, while the girls were skipping around with their newfound friends, I was sitting at a little round table at the center of the park reading the paper. Several parents came into the playground with their kids, started to approach the table, and then turned around when they saw me there. One guy, I even offered "hey there's plenty of room here, I don't mind", still insisted on sitting over on one of the little bridges.

I'm not very scary looking, and I don't think I smelled too bad that day. And while it still might be tempting to be a little self conscious, I suspect the problem was probably not just me. It seems that we adults can sometimes be a little reluctant to interact with people we don't already know.

Why?

What happens to us, between the time that we're 5 or 6 years old, when making new friends was a pleasurable experience; and adulthood where we become suspicious if someone we don't know, so much as looks in our direction for too long?

Was high school that traumatic?

Or maybe the world is just a scarier place the longer you live, and the more you know?

Unfortunately, I don't really have a good answer to this question ...

But I just can't shake the thought that maybe the world would be a much better place if more of us acted like 6 year olds every once in a while ;-)

[todd-sig]

5 comments:

  1. A great topic of discussion. I like it! Here's my share of opinion.

    Kids, being kids, are simply at the state of getting to know the world. They are not aware of the darker sides of life but that makes them great companies. They are more willing to make new friends, they are more willing to speak to unknown people and why is that? I would reckon that it's because all they seek for in their early ages is fun, fun, fun.

    Adults, on the other hand, are way too knowledgable about the dark alleys and gloomy paths in life. Hence, reluctance to trust and make new friends becomes part and parcel of life. Plus, adults, unlike kids, tend to judge others. That's what we always do. Judge, judge, judge. If only we could suspend judgment, perhaps making new friends could be alot easier.

    Anyways, great post right there...

    Cheers!
    .-= SHZ´s last blog ..How Much Pain for Beauty? =-.

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  2. Hi Shz,

    Good to see you again! ... and thanks for sharing your insights :-)

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  3. Odd - I've always found American's very easy to talk to - when I've travelled in your country solo I've generally not had a problem getting people to talk to me - were you the only Dad there?
    .-= Lis Sowerbutts´s last blog ..Passive Income Online – Where Has Lis Been? =-.

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  4. I agree with SHZ that most of it is about judging. Kids don't judge. But adults do. All the time - without thinking about it. One glimpse at a person is enough an we rapidly think about him/her and thereby judge him/her. That's the problem. We tend to think "Oh, she looks arrogant. I won't talk to her". Like this, we will never discover that she is not arrogant at all but only shy and insecure (what looks like arrogance very often). So we again missed a good friend-to-be.

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  5. Yeah that's so true. Maybe we should all be brought back to childhood so the world would be a peaceful place.

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