Making Friends With Your Kids’ Friends’ Parents
BY ETAN MUSKAT
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Cathy Yeulet © 123RF.COM
Jan 11, 2017
It’s no secret that it’s harder to maintain friendships when you have young kids. Your single friends are out on the town, your couple friends are meeting up with other couples to talk about whether or not to have kids — and so the hunt begins for the elusive gold standard: friends with kids who you like, and whose kids your kids like.
And that’s not an easy thing.
There are many pitfalls; you like your friends, but your kids are like oil and water. Or they fight. Or they ignore each other, or stare at each other indifferently and go about their separate business.
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Or your kid makes friends with another kid, and you endure endless afternoons of forced chit-chat and vague truisms. “Yeah, feels like winters have been milder-or-colder lately.” “Yeah, houses are expensive.” Or worst of all: [shrug] “Kids.”
Or maybe you meet people you like, but through no fault of your own, you cannot stand their kids!
Next thing you know, you’re planning play dates and park visits that you actually want to go to!
But on rare occasion your child, having internalized some impossibly complex algorithm — the kind they use for dating apps and search engine optimization — will connect with a child whose parents are an unmistakably perfect match for yourselves. They play at school, and then upon pickup you chat with the parents and find that you not only have common interests and outlooks, you actually like them? Or the park bench small talk while you watch the kids in the playground turns to actual conversations. Next thing you know, you’re planning play dates and park visits that you actually want to go to!
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Recently, my daughter connected with another kid in her class whose parents turned out to not only be “our kind of people," but bizarro versions of my partner and myself. It is difficult to say whether this was the result of blind luck, or the profound insights of a three-year-old for complementary values in another child — a result of the sympathy in worldview between that child’s parents and her own? Whatever the case, we have new friends thanks to her.
It’s an inspiring reminder of how able most young kids are to make new friends, something that may become more difficult as those young people grow into adults, as it did for us. And hopefully, this inspiration helps us keep our minds and hearts open.