Watching my son run rampant through playgroup over the weekend, I marveled at his confidence. When he wants to play, he plays. When he wants to interact, he interacts. He’s not above sticking his face in your face when he wants to see you smile at him. When he wants some attention, he gets it!
Nice to meet you. Let's be besties.
You guys look awesome. Let's hang out.
Friendships don’t come so easily to me. I’m shy, easily embarrassed, and a chronic social-avoider. While my son dances around with a silent but obvious Look at me, look at me!, I shrink into the corner whispering Please don’t look at me…
And my best friend? That’s how she rolls too. I’m frequently amazed that we ever met, let alone spoke and formed a bond. But we did (thank ye gods). It took a few years to happen. Years that included an introduction or seven, followed by two-sided ignoring, because isn't that what people do?
But she reached out one day. And we started eating. And climbing. And then came the day when she said "Hey, you know this thing we do? We should do it more often." And we did.
I don't actually know how else to make friends. I'm not even sure that what we did can be called "making friends" - I'm pretty sure we mutually (silently, of course) agreed we already were and mutually (silently) agreed to behave as such. It was an ever-so-friendly invasion into each other's lives. But not too friendly. That would be revealing too much.
I don't know when the line was crossed, but I do remember my absolute terror about it.
OMG. I think she's my best friend! I can't just say it, what if I scare her away? What if she only kinda likes me, but I really like her, omg how embarrassing.
Clearly, I am a 13 year old girl at heart. (And don't feel too bad for me. Turns out she likes me too.)
But you know, maybe it's not so abnormal. I think back to the desperate look in the eye of a mom who handed me her "mommy card" and said she'd love to arrange playdates (I'm ashamed to say I never called her.) The tentative "well we're free if you ever want to meet up..." outreaches online. Maybe it's not just me (and not just her). Maybe everyone else struggles with the same fear of rejection, fear of looking stupid, and inability to think of one single solitary thing to say.
I'm thankful for my bestie, Megan, for reaching out and letting me grab on.
I'm also thankful for my kid, the world's greatest icebreaker and conversation-starter. In the absence of anything else to say, there's this: