He's only 3 1/2 but I'll let him ring the neighbours doorbell to see if their son can come out to play. Sometimes they dont even answer & they are home - kid looking out window! All the other neighbours seem to become close fast friends (this seems repetitive as we have a high changeover of families in our neighbourhood.
I'm very shy & somewhat socially awkward. My husband is probably the same. Plus I think I'm a bit unique? I play the ukulele,am trying to wean my 3 1/2 year old, openly nursing my 16 month old in public, not really into brands/fashion, family bed, pretty much a non-drinker...
Is it just me or I am doing something wrong? Any tips would be really helpful.
When DS was little we made our best friends at the library story time. I never had good luck with 'neighbors'. We also found playmates at the park. Now we find people via yahoo/google groups and meetup.com.
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Some families don't like unscheduled playdates from kids knocking on their door... They can really derail your plans for the day! I tended to not encourage ds to knock on people's doors but would keep a look out and go outside when other kids were out. Or hope they would come out if we were out. But we don't actually have many kids nearby so this was just one family a few doors down.
Once we decided to homeschool, I joined some homeschool specific yahoo groups and that is how we meet people. When he was younger, I'd take him to the playground during peak hours for his age group (the time would change with their ages, toddlers/preschoolers in the morning, kindergarteners after noon, and older kids after 3pm). We didn't really make friends at the playground because we don't have a neighborhood one where we would see the same kids. But ds would find kids to play with and that was good enough when he was very young.
I always have that feeling that everyone else is fast friends too! I think the problem is that the people I'm drawn to are introverts like me, so it's hard for both of us to come out of our shells to socialize.
Over time, I've learned that I have to put in a lot of effort and almost feel like I'm embarrassing myself to make friends and get DD the socializing she wants to do. If I acted within my comfort zone the socializing just wouldn't happen.
I don't know how you're extending offers for playdates, but it never works for me unless I get the other person to commit to a date, time and place at the moment I propose it. Then, if you have the playdate and feel pretty comfortable with the mom, call her up just to chat or text her something cute your kid said about the playdate. This is where I get super uncomfortable, but I'm pretty sure this is how normal people make friends.
The knocking on doors thing might get more popular when your DS is a little older. My DD has been acquainted with the girls in the neighborhood for a few years, but this past summer (she's 5), the door knocking and seeking each other out to play really took off.
Can you say more about how are you making the invites? Here is an example of an invite I'm likely to accept - say a mom that is an acquaintance emails or sends me a fb message, hey, Jack had a great time playing with Sam the other day at Evie's birthday party. He has been asking when we can play with Sam again. Would you be up for meeting at the park on Tuesday or Wens at 11, maybe we could have a picnic too? Let me know, my cell is #. Or with your neighbors something like, hey we are about to roast some marshmallows in our backyard, would you like to come over? We have plenty for everyone!
Those things are low commitment, neutral location and express your interest in a friendly way.
Where are you when he is ringing door bells? I think he is too young for that. What would you do if they invited him in? Honestly I might ignore a child at the door, especially if it was meal time which can vary widely for families.
Other ways to find local friends - AP or LLL meetings, meetup groups, sign up for a class like soccer skills or cooking for kids at your local park district.
We have had good luck making friends through our children's activities. We had them in a music/movement class for awhile and we met some fun people. We also met another nice family through a gymnastics class. While we did not find LOTS of people to connect with, there was always at least one family that seemed like a good fit for our family.
Stacy G. York
Mother of 2 Kiddos, Wife, LCSW