Rain Storm

It’s overcast and a bit cooler out today, so I took Edith for a longer walk down to the bigger park. Unlike our little park, this park is usually pretty hopping with kids, and today was no exception. There were maybe seven kids playing at the playground with their moms and/or nannies supervising, two with infants, and the landscapers were also out working, and there were joggers, and ladies walking dogs, and so forth. The last time I took Edith to this park, she wasn’t really aware of any of the activity around her, but this time she was fascinated by the other children and watched them for a long time, which was cool to see.

While she gaped at the big kids, I attempted to make eye contact with the moms/nannies, aiming “I’m approachable!” grins their way like a creeper, but they weren’t into it. I am not an initiator. My entire life, I have never approached anyone first; I wait for other people to come to me. I’m not really sure why. I’ve always been like this and have never made any serious effort to change it. People close to me say it’s because I’m standoffish, and I guess, but also I think I have this deep fear of bothering other people and I’d rather just stay by myself than run the risk of being a nuisance. The result of this is that all of my friends are approachers (except for friends I made through those friends).

There are exceptions. I have occasionally made friends through issuing persistent invitations to something minor, like a drink after an improv class, and then, when those were continuously rejected, by essentially inviting myself along to things that I had not actually been asked to until my presence was just sort of accepted as inevitable. But that was when I was extremely desperate for companionship and also only after the initial introductions had been made.

Anyway, I didn’t approach any of these mom/nannies, but I did consider it, and maybe I will next time. The nice thing about children is it gives you a natural opening. All I would have to say is “how old is she?” And then they would have to answer, and boom, we’d be having a conversation whether they wanted to or not.

After awhile it began to sprinkle, which was refreshing. This was Edith’s first time being in the rain, but she did not react to it, so I’m not sure she knew it was happening. Shortly after this, we started home, but we hadn’t gotten very far before the sky completely opened up. At first, I figured we’d keep going, but it was really coming down, so we turned back for the picnic shelter at the park. Edith by this point was quite wet up to the waist from rain blowing into her buggy, but again, she didn’t really seem aware of it. When we got to the picnic shelter, all the kids, moms/nannies, landscapers, and a random jogger were congregated under it, and so of course the second we joined them, Edith began to wail. I felt everyone there simultaneously decide they hated us, but fortunately I had brought a bottle.

By the time Edith was done with that, the rain had let up, and I still hadn’t gotten up the nerve to talk to anyone, so we headed home. This ate up most of the morning and also exhausted Edith who is currently asleep and letting me write this, so a successful outing all around.

5 Comments

  1. Like you, I used to never approach people and always waited to be approached. At a certain point in my early 30s, I decided to train/coach myself to be the approacher, and created daily challenges, like “talk to every stranger you meet in the elevator.” It all turned out to be very useful when I moved to Florida 2 years ago and had zero friends. Asking women for their phone number was next level, but, gotta do what you gotta do. Post-covid I’m feeling very out of practice…

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Grant introduces me to everyone. “Hi I’m Grant Ring and this is my mom Zandy. What’s your name?” I’ve met our mail carrier, every nurse at the doctor’s office, every stranger in the grocery store, and everyone on every street we’ve ever walked on, including every neighbor. Meeting people is overrated, fwiw.

    Liked by 2 people

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