Come Out and Play!!

By Barbara Gobbi

When it comes to making friends, kids are a natural.  A typical conversation with my kids: “Mom I have a new best friend!”  “That’s great! What’s their name?”  “I don’t know but they like Pokemon too!” How can they have a BEST friend when they don’t even know their name? Because names aren’t important to every child. What IS important is that they found someone with common interests that they can play with, and they will play outside all day until the streetlights come on.

If only it were so easy for adults. We have a harder time making friends. As we get older and our parents are no longer shooing us outside to play with the neighborhood children, we have a tendency to stay indoors.

Is it because we’re so busy all the time? Because we have over-scheduled ourselves and now try to squeeze everything in, we’ve neglected social interaction and friendships.

Perhaps we’ve just become anti-social. Gone are the days when we would walk over to the neighbor’s house for a “coffee klatch” and catch up over a cup of Joe. Now we talk to our neighbors on Facebook or by text message.

Ten years ago, we moved into our house just one month before Hurricane Wilma hit. Being without power for 10 days gave the residents of our cul-de-sac a chance to come out of their homes and get to know each other. As we all quickly cleaned out our freezers before everything would become inedible, our neighbors fired up their grills on the driveways. Next came the tables and chairs, and before you knew it, we had a 10-day potluck block party. I was blessed to have a Texas BBQ master as my new next door neighbor!

When you’re new to an area, how do you meet new people without the unfortunate side effects of a hurricane? And if you’ve been cooped up indoors, it’s time to stop being a hermit!

  • Don’t wait for the warning. Get to know your neighbors and organize a potluck block party.
  • Use your kids as an introduction. Join mommy and me groups or, if your kids are a little bit older and enrolled in sports or activities, you will have lots of sideline time to strike up a conversation with the other parents.
  • Look to your church or house of worship for organized activities.

This summer instead of staying indoors on social networks, get out and network socially. And stay out until the street lights come on!

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