13 May 2009

Protocol

I need help. I’m still pretty new to this parenting thing and I’m even newer to the sport of socializing with other parents. I just don’t know how to do it.

Finn started playing T-Ball a few weeks ago. He LOVES it. He’s a natural. And he’s making all kinds of new friends. He has no fear of walking up to someone – anyone – and starting a conversation. He’s a natural at that too!

I’m sure most kids are like this when they’re young. At some point in our lives though, we become self conscious and, for a lot of people, talking to strangers and meeting new people becomes scary. OK, at least that happened to me.

I’ve come out of my shell a bit in my old age and I’m not as scared any more to strike up a conversation with someone I don’t know. Perhaps it’s that I have kids now and I feel like I have something to talk about. I’ve never been good at small talk but when there’s a common thread like my children involved, it’s a lot easier.

Now back to T-Ball. The first day was a Skills and Drills day. Basically just a chance to get together, meet the teammates and see what this thing called T-Ball was all about. All the parents were milling about and I took the opportunity to chat with a few of them. We exchanged our stories and our names and enjoyed a little barbeque with the kids after they were done with their drills. Fun!

Fast forward to the first game Two.Days.Later. I emphasize the time frame because really? I’m that forgettable? How can someone who I just had lunch with not recognize me less than 48 HOURS LATER? When I said hello to one of the mothers she barely acknowledged me. Same with another. I was so excited to meet some new people and my bubble was thoroughly burst.

So tell me: Am I naïve to think that a casual conversation and a common thread could lead to a (gasp) friendship? Do people not interact with other parents at these events? I don’t know what the proper protocol is in situations like these and I’m feeling very self conscious again…

14 comments:

Kelly said...

Ugh! Been there.

Give it time. You are probably like me and just a tad bit introverted and therefore hypersensitive to the body language of other people. People who aren't looking for new friends can sometimes seem closed off. They just aren't in the same frame of mind as you. Once they see what a fantastically awesome lady you are, they will warm up.;)

Cookie said...

Yikes! That's a tough one. I must admit that I'm not really friends with most parents on my sons' baseball teams. I don't even know half of their names! But I bet more than a few of them are prolly embarassed because they can't remember your name. Dont' take it too personally. I accidenteally snubbed a neighbor at the grocery store. I didn't recognize. She wasn't smiling and waving from her garage. She had a cart full of groceries! It was like a disguise. She smiled and said "hi, how are you?" I smiled and kept on walking. Till i got to the end of the aisle. Then it hit me. I was and still am so embarassed!

natasha the exile on Mom Street said...

Hmmm. I haven't become friends with any of the moms in G's preschool class this year. I had hoped to, but it just didn't seem to work out.

It's such a tough situation, but hopefully if you keep being friendly they'll warm up. Also, don't be afraid to reintroduce yourself/ ask for a reintroduction. People often forget names and are too embarrassed to admit it. I've found that if *I* admit to having forgotten (even when it's not true) it makes them much more comfortable.

If they're still standoffish, f 'em.

The Sour Kraut said...

I'm guessing they have older children. Parents are much more open to new friendships with their oldest. Once they establish these friendships, the enthusiasm just isn't there.

I agree with the above comments. Reintroduce yourself and keep trying. They'll come around. One of my very best friends is a woman who I couldn't seem to get to know. I didn't give up and now we're good buddies. She is just very reserved.

carsick said...

I may be out of line here. I really hope so. Sometimes it's like being back in school and very clicky. I wasn't popular then or now. It's probably me. We homeschool and most of the kids we play soccer with are private school. It shouldn't matter . Definatly reintroduce yourself. (Bring popcicles for the end of a game a couple of times and ALL the kids will know you and then the parents will to) Hee hee

noble pig said...

No just reintroduce. Depending on these peoples lives, they could have three other kids in sports, they just haven't seen you enough. This happens to me, I think i know them...no I don't and sometimes it takes a while to set in. Keep working at it becuase you will have more fun at these games...trust me.

Cid said...

I think Sour Kraut may have a point. I found I made and have kept as friends the parents of my eldest, less so with number 2 and hardly any with number 3. I well remember the feeling of desperation when the boys were little of needing adult companionship and being hopeful that every new mother I met was going to be The One I could share horror stories and glasses of wine with.
Don't worry you will find someone to hang out with, you'll need to, T-ball is the most boring sport on the planet.

Rachel said...

I have the same problem. I'd love to make some new friends (that don't live inside my computer) but I'm awful with small talk and always feel kind of out of place somehow. But I would suggest that you keep chatting! Or if you get REALLY adventurous, see which kids Finn is fond of, then maybe invite a mom and kid out for McD's or ice cream after practice?

david mcmahon said...

It's a rough world, just occasionally. But for every person with a cold exterior, there are 20 who will genuinely welcome you.

The ration does work. Trust me.

Meaghan said...

And who said high school was tough? This adulthood/parenthood thing is definitely not for the faint of heart.

You'll connect with the people you're meant to connect with. Believe that.

Familia said...

i ran into that at our previous school and i just don't understand why people act like they don't recognize you. if you are hypersensitive, then i 'm right there with you!

Momma Bear said...

oh man I have no idea what to say but bummer,weired they'd forget so easily.

Loving your blog header description!
take care!

Kim said...

I am sure it is not you.

This time of year it seems as if time just speeds up.

I LOVE meeting new people and making new friends, but have found myself in such a hurry lately, running from this thing to that, that my mind never stops running through my "to do" list long enough to STOP, enjoy, and really take in everything around me.

Maybe they are experiencing the same thing. I know that after this week, and the beginning of summer vacation, my life (and mind) will slow down and I will have the time and energy to make new friends and meet new people. And maybe, just maybe, I will even be able to remember their names.

Jenn said...

Heart.breaking.for.you.

It's hard and it's frustrating and I wrote once that no matter what, in event like this, I'm always the girl on the swing, dragging my toe in the dirt, sitting on the outskirts, wondering what I'd done to not be in.

It's hard and I have no words of wisdom, except I'd sit with you and remember you and be your friend.