While watching my three-year-old son play at the park the other day, it occurred to me that us adults can learn a lot from preschoolers about how to make friends. You see, three-year-olds tend to keep it simple. Making friends isn’t an overly complicated process. They are at an age where they are just starting to realize that playing with others is more fun than playing alone, so therefore they decide to find friends wherever they go.
Okay, so of course there are some kids that are more shy than others. However, I’ve noticed that the “shy kids” are glad to join in on the fun if asked, even if they are not willing to make the first move.
The way I see it, there are three key ingredients for preschoolers when finding new friends.
- Proximity – a potential friend is someone occupying the same general space.
- Similar Interests – for toddlers, this can be something small like a similar interest in running around the jungle gym or both wearing Batman shoes.
- Outward Signs of Friendliness – a potential friend usually isn’t the one throwing sand or having a meltdown because she doesn’t want to wait her turn on the swing. Kids that look like they are having fun have great potential as new friends.
Missing from this friendship recipe are those ingredients which usually impede friendship finding for adults.
- Judgement – preschoolers don’t tend to judge the way others look, dress, talk, walk, etc.
- Self-doubt – a three-year-old doesn’t think about “what if the new person doesn’t like me.”
- Over-analyzation – new friends don’t have to be your next “best friend,” but it’s better to try out a friendship then let the opportunity pass.
The lessons for adults are pretty easy. If you are looking to make new friends, try to keep it simple. Be open to meeting people in any situation. Try not to let judgement and self-doubt get in your way. You might not find your “best friend” right away, but you will never find those unique relationships if you don’t open yourself up to meeting new people in general. And just like for my son, there will be friendships that stick better than others, and that’s okay too!
Here’s How to Apply These Ideas to MeetnGreet
MeetnGreet is a great tool for finding new friends in your area, but it can be overwhelming/intimidating to some. Here are some ways to make friends on MeetnGreet like a three-year-old.
- Proximity – MnG has got that covered for you. Your connections are all located within 10 miles of your address.
- Similar Interests – check that one off your list too, because MnG uses the interests you selected on your profile to match you with people who like the same things.
- Outward Signs of Friendliness – you can easily maximize this on your own profile to make it easier for potential friends to find you. Your profile pic is a reflection of who you are. Try using a photo of you doing something you enjoy or just a pic where you are showing off your best smile. The description box on your profile is also a great please to add some details about yourself like where you are from, your favorite things to do, and that you are excited to meet new people. You can also try posting on the community forum about something that interests you. People can be more approachable when they have shared some of their personality on a post.
- No Judgement – when scoping out your connections, scroll through all of your potential friends and consider messaging a few that seem to draw in your attention. Here’s a tip, your connections are listed in order of connection score. The people higher on your list are the most similar to you in terms of location, interests, age, and life-stage.
- No Self-Doubt – you don’t have to worry about looking foolish. Everyone on MnG is there because they are interested in meeting some new people. Why wouldn’t they want a chance to get to know you:) If you don’t hear back from someone right away, don’t take it personal. Some people might not have the hang of the app yet or maybe they do not choose to frequently use the app. Keep trying to contact others!
- Don’t Overanalyze – keep calm and meet new people. Have a fun attitude going into this, and you never know who you might meet on MeetnGreet. Try meeting up with some MnGers in person. If you don’t click, no worries. If you do, how awesome is that!
*I am not an expert on child psychology or behavior, but I am a mom that has enjoyed 30+ years of making new friends wherever I go! Here’s to new friends!!