Friday, January 9, 2015

Socially Awkward

That’s me. I am not good at meeting new people. Being extremely shy & self-conscious, I am very intimidated approaching people or making small talk. If approached by another, I am okay to engage but I get so nervous I sometimes say ridiculous things in an effort at small talk. With those patient enough to give me a chance, I do chill out. Since having Elena, I find I’m put into situations that make me anxious more & more frequently. We have never been invited to a kid’s party where I didn’t already know everyone there…but I am dreading that first time.

Elena has become friends with a girl in her gymnastics class. They’ve been in the same class the last 2 years. V seems to share Elena’s admiration & they squeal with delight when they see each other. They hold hands through most of their class. I know her mom from being in the class last year & now this year we’ll chat in the viewing room while the girls are in class. I’m past my anxious, nervous stage with her & it feels comfortable chatting with her.

During the 2 week break at Christmas, Elena has been talking constantly about V, saying she missed her. She’s to have V come to our house & us to go to hers. She’s asked me to ask V’s mom to allow V to visit. I think it’s adorable & am glad Elena has developed her first friendship.

However, I am nervous sick at the thought of asking V’s mom if she’d like to arrange a playdate. I’m not sure what I’m afraid of, that she’ll say no, maybe. I know I have to ask, for Elena’s sake but because I’m so nervous about it I’m afraid it’ll come out all awkward & weird.

I know it sounds simple but for me, it’s just not. So I’m asking for advice. How do you approach these situations? From the other point of view, do you think it’d be weird for me to initiate a playdate? I’m afraid to make things awkward at gymnastics.

I know it is important that I overcome my discomfort & do this for Elena. How would I explain to her if I was too afraid to ask? There is no other kid that Elena has expressed this much interest in, not at school, not swimming, nowhere. I have to at least ask.
I’m just so scared. Help, please?


  1. No, from what you have described, it would not be wierd at all, and just bite the bullet and ask :) Preface it by talking about how much fun Elena has with V :)

  2. I am so horrible with things like this, too. Seriously, give me an audience of 200 people and I can do an off the cuff talk about diabetes no problem. But ask me to arrange a playdate with someone I don't know well? I'm sunk. lol

    So no good advice from me, just commiseration. (Though I do like jay's suggestion of prefacing with how much fun Elena has with V!)

  3. It most certainly would not be weird. Not at all. I agree with Jay and Shannon...preface it with Elena has so much fun with V. A couple of things to keep in mind to help you along the process...if V's parents are married weekends might be a tough 'sell' because that can sometimes be family time. If V's parents are divorced weekends might be a tough 'sell' because she'll be shuttling back and forth. It would be good to know what day this gymnastics class is. Is it before or after lunch time? If it's after, maybe suggest y'all go to the playground the next weekend after gymnastics for 30 minutes for the girls to play. i.e. 'Elena sure missed V over the break. They are so cute together?' Mom will murmur or agree wholeheartedly. You: 'We should really get them together sometime where they can just enjoy each other.' Mom will concur, murmur ... you'll be able to tell if she's on board I promise. You: 'Well, hmmm, do y'all want to go to the playground down the street next weekend after class for a bit?' Or whatever you decide would be fun. BUT you need to have a suggestion of what to do with a date and time. I know ppl have said to me many times, man we should get the boys together, and i always agree and I mean it. But nothing ever happens because we all get too busy and we forget. Then I see the person again and we both say "I cannot believe we didn't get these boys together"

    Have a pen and sticky note pad in your purse to give her your number or have your phone available to take hers and put it in your phone.

    And follow up. One time. If she can't do the next weekend, then text her during the week and suggest something else. Then leave it be.

    And if nothing comes to fruition, it is not about you or Elena. Some ppl are just super busy, are shy like you say you are and some just don't want to expand their social circle, and all that's ok. For the first 3-4 years of Tate's life I just could not expand my social circle. I had so many friends of my own I was just trying to keep up with that I didn't have time to invest in other friendships even to keep him entertained. Thankfully I have great friends with kids, though older, who Tate adores. Now that we're in more of a groove I'm expanding my social circle for him, not expecting/needing new friends for me. It's work and a step outside my comfort zone.

    And after this first step for you the next will be a teeny tiny bit easier. I promise :)

  4. Do you have the moms mobile number? Sometimes a quick text is the easiest way to start a conversation ๐Ÿ˜ƒ.

  5. I personally am terrified of rejection and hate initiating that first contact. If I were you, I would take a two step approach: first, casually mention that the girls are such good friends, they should get together for a play date sometime. See how she reacts. I'm sure she'll say, "yeah!" Then a few days or a week or whatever later, ask for a specific date, like, "hey, are you guys free next Saturday to come over for a play date?" That's how I'd approach it.

  6. I'd make up a quick script (perhaps so you don't babble like I do in social situations) a reply for either way it goes and then just do it. The more I think on things like this the harder it seems and the more nervous I get. You got it. She'll love it!

  7. If it were me, I would maybe start with, "you know, it was so cute over the break...I could tell Elena really missed V - she talked about her all the time and even asked if she could come over sometime for a playdate!

    Is that something you might be comfortable doing some time?"

    That way, it is you just recounted E's desire and excitement, and it takes the pressure off of you a bit.

    It is hard for me to imagine that the other mom wouldn't see the same excitement in her daughter and be happy to allow them to spend more time together!

    Good luck! :)

    Tara K.

  8. You could say, "The girls really love playing together...I was wondering if you'd like to get together sometime outside of gymnastics." She might respond by suggesting a playdate at a park or her own house - then you wouldn't have to host and it would be way less pressure. Or if she seems enthusiastic but doesn't offer to have you over, you could follow up with "So what days are good for you? Do you want to come over to our place on Saturday morning?" Anyway, good luck and don't overthink it. Whether you end up getting together or not, if she's a reasonable person it won't make things awkward at gymnastics - and it might be a really good experience for all of you.

  9. I'm as awkward in social situations. I tell ya what, playdates have been the worst for me! Its so weird to initiate stuff and then I initiate or join a playdate and then cancel or find a reason not to go. I will say that I have found joining a mom group (there are usually lots on Meetup and Facebook) in the area. If you can find a good one, you can find a few people you click with and then go from there. Miss Punky has a great friend she's made since the girls were little bitty - and her mom is pretty much as awkward as me! So, it works. Sometimes, that helps. Hope you get it figured out!!

  10. The thing with play dates that catches me into my social insecurities is the idea of hosting it at my house. I hate hosting and wondering if it will be fun, what food I should have, what will the parent think of my housekeeping, etc. To make it easier, I tend to make plans via text (I always misunderstand people on the phone), and stick to public places that are way more fun than my house. I would go with a casual comment at the next class, "Elena and V have so much fun together, we should get together sometime outside of class. Who you like to meet at the zoo someday?" That way it is your idea, and you are specific with a location, but you can enjoy yourself because you don't have to play hostess....and if conversations are awkward on the play date, you can always interact with the girls about all the animals! (We went to the zoo for our first meetup with my son's half siblings and it ended up feeling very comfortable.)

  11. The posters above have some great suggestions, so I don't have much more to add. Let us know how it goes.

  12. Having met you, you sure didn't come off as socially awkward in the least bit! More like fun and thoughtful. So don't beat yourself up. I think you probably know that I'm super extroverted so my advice may not be any good for you. But here's some thoughts. First off, even for the super extrovert like myself, first "dates" with other moms can be awkward-- some of my best friends I look back and remember us not knowing exactly what to say/etc on our first get togethers. If at your house, it could help to have a 3rd person there to make it less "awkward date" -- 3 moms and 3 kids with some platime before a super easy lunch (prepared ahead pbjs and turkey sandwiches with fruit or something) always worked great for me. Another thought - are there any great indoor open-play places where you live? There's a great one in Boise where kids have slides, obstacle course and tons of toys, and moms can get a latte and sit on couches to chat. Would be ideal for a first playdate. Anyways, agree on the having a couple specific times to suggest (like "we are totally open the next 2 weekends"). You can do it! Keep us posted ;-)

  13. I'd blame your kid! Say something like, "I love watching the girls together! Elena really missed your daughter over the break and has been asking for a play date with your kid [insert child's name]. Would you guys like to grab pizza/snack/go to park after gymnastics next week?"

    I think it's easier if it's a public forum, and I feel like it flows nicely if the girls have already warmed up to each other during class. And naming a specific venue and time makes it more likely to happen versus suggesting "getting together some time."

    If she's interested but can't make it then, hopefully she makes a counter suggestion. If not, I think you can make a second suggestion.

    Then the ball is in her court.

    Remember, this is NOT ABOUT YOU. I'm an introvert too, though in some ways becoming less of one. But I this is my mantra. The other person is not thinking about you. You are not that interesting! The other person is focused on herself. As we all are.

  14. I'm socially awkward and shy too, so the idea of initiating playdates also kind of frightens me. I'm afraid I've got no advice, I just know I would feel the same in your situation. However, everyone else has shared some great suggestions, so good luck, I'm sure it will go well!

  15. Oh, I thought that I was the only one! I had to initiate a playdate a few weeks ago. I procrastinated for as long as I could. It's easiest (but still not really comfortable) to do it via email. In the end I had to remember that I was doing this for my son who dearly wanted to see his school friend over break. It worked out and my reward was the smile on my son's face when his friend arrived. Hopefully this sort of thing will get easier for both of us.

  16. I haven't been in this situation yet, but if I were to really look at myself, I think I'm shy upfront too. I've noticed I'm not as outgoing with the preschool moms as I thought I'd be, mainly at drop off, but I think it's because many of them were together last year too and already knew each other. I would still initiate something for the girls though - maybe even go out somewhere so it's neutral ground and you don't have to be the host.


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