Playground strategy

The picture is the spot on my elementary school playground where I hid at recess, because I was craving alone time. Last month, I went back to the playground, thinking it would be heartbreaking or something. But really, the corner still felt cozy.

I am bad at making friends so I worry that I will not do enough to enable my sons to make friends. I shouldn’t worry because I know I could leave my son in a playground full of kids and he’d make a friend while I’m hiding in the corner.

But then I realized that kids don’t exchange phone numbers. And moms don’t just give out phone numbers to strangers who like how their children play together. So I started sitting with the moms, trying to charm them, but it’s a lot of work for me. I’d get the phone number but I couldn’t cope with follow-through. Being charming twice in one week is too much.

So now I don’t talk to the moms, but I try to figure out where they go. This is easier with homeschool parents because they put their path on a mailing list. I try to just show up so much that my son is familiar, and he is the charming type, so they like him, and eventually he scores a phone number. And I can still hide in a corner.

6 replies
  1. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    I’m trying to figure out the meaning of the STOP sign in this photo. My guess is don’t enter here. I hope your bring a chair with you!

  2. TR
    TR says:

    LOL that spot looks cozy. In high school I had a park that was near school I would walk to. It was very peacfull and I didn’t have to talk to anyone

  3. Lori
    Lori says:

    the easiest way to deal with this (in my experience) is to organize the activity. if you want a regular playdate (or something that would work well for your kid(s) specifically, like art or chess or legos or whatever), put it up on your local hs’ers yahoo group and ask ppl to recommend a few times that would work for them. then weed out the people you don’t like and make it work with the one(s) you do.

    hs’ers love when other people organize something, they are historically not great with follow-through or reliability (they show up, they don’t show up), and you can use this to create a laid-back situation YOU prefer, when YOU prefer, with the people YOU prefer. it’s easier than hit-or-missing it with other people’s activities.

  4. Laura
    Laura says:

    This reminds me of my two boys. One is shy and the other is extremely outgoing. On Halloween, the outgoing one carries two buckets and trick or treats for both of them. His little brother gets to put on a costume, but he doesn’t have to talk. What do you do, though, if you don’t have an extrovert in the family to carry the social load? How do you become a part of a supportive homeschooling group?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      That’s a great point, Laura. You make me grateful for having an extrovert son – he pulls me out of my comfort zone, but the reward is that I’m meeting lots of homeschool parents that I’d never meet on my own.


  5. Maggie
    Maggie says:

    Your story sounds so familiar to me. It turns out, my husband and I (who are still each other’s best friend and not sure whether that is lame, or a boasting point) found out long after we were married, that we are both INTJ’s on the Myers-Briggs. I have been taking a break from trying to find friends for now, because like you described, it’s a strain trying to be charming with women I feel I have absolutely nothing in common with, save our being mothers and having kids who don’t go to school.

    It doesn’t help that I am a science geek in an area where religious homeschoolers are the majority and all the ‘cool’ people live over an hour away.

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