I’ve always been impressed by Joan’s ability to pick up pals wherever she goes. She started this when she was very young, and every time we went to a park or a playground she would make a new BFF.
They would develop these fast and fantastic friendships that brought them both so much joy, all in a matter of moments.
Racing around, laughing and cheering each other on. It was so sweet to watch. So many times when she was really young, Joan would run over to me and give me updates and I would ask who her new friend was. Nearly always Joan would say ‘I don’t know!’ but the beauty of it was it didn’t matter. Most kids have so few inhibitions when they are so little that they are able to make lovely bonds with other children without even knowing their names.
Joan continues to be this social butterfly. Once, while we were at Newbridge Farm with two school pals and all their siblings, Joan met another kid and brought them into the fold. The little child seemed so happy, as it appeared that they were on their own and in search of friends. Although they played with the others, it was so cute to see them sticking to Joan and she really minded them, checking in to see if they were okay. Joan has always been so great at introductions!
There was another time we were at a park with one of her school pals, and Joan brought over a family of sisters to play. The five of them got along so well and seemed so sad parting ways.
Just the other day we made a pit stop while on a longish drive and she even managed to make a pal there! The two of them played in the play area and again the little girl seemed sad to see Joan go. The length of this sweet friendship was approximately 12 minutes but they packed in a lot of laughs, giggles and chasing in that time.
I often wonder if this skill of Joan’s, and her want to make friends, comes from being an only child. She obviously at times craves time with those other than her boring parents, and if we are out and about anywhere she is on the lookout for some junior company.
I love how she isn’t shy about striking up conversations and going over to other kids, even if they are with their family or other kids. She just melts into this pack of happy, hyper kids making up imaginary worlds and games.
Often I have been out with friends and their kids, and they joke that Joan is going to be a politician. Out there, meeting and greeting, making introductions, getting the other kids on board with her plans. I laugh when they say it, but also wonder longterm how this side of Joan’s personality will play out when she is older. And hope she keeps up with her confidence and love of meeting new people.
I think having confidence is a great skill for any little person to have. I adore it when through my Weekend Breakfast show I meet the chatty kids — they make for great radio! I also love it when the shy or quieter kids bravely come on the show. In all these cases you just know that there are loving and encouraging parents behind it all.
To teach our little people openness to making new friends, as well as the skills they need to maintain and support their friendships, is really one of the most important things we can help our kids with. It will lead them in so many new directions.
Teach them so much about compromise, how to be kind and to feel part of something special. I am proud of Joan for a lot of things, but how easily she makes new friends is definitely up there.