I am a horrible judge of character. I basically like everyone on sight and invite them into my home and give them my stuff immediately. I ended up with a lot of jovial troublemakers in my circle, which was all fine and dandy when I was on my own. Then I had kids.
And for three years, I couldn’t make a friend to save my life.
I wondered often what had happened to me. I didn’t remember hating people so much. Since when was I the type to stew in the corner finding possible reasons not to talk to people, especially other moms? I had gone from eagerly making conversation and talking a mile a minute to brushing off small talk attempts by those probably as apprehensive as myself. Why?
Then it hit me. It’s not that I hate people. It’s that I know I can’t trust my instincts, and I don’t want to make a mistake and force my family through an erratic friendship filled with trepidation and woe. So instead of working to improve my judgement, I simply shut down that area of my life. Good plan. Except that three years is an awful long time to go without amiable contact (well, I have a few friends, but that’s because they’re amazing, and they didn’t give up on me even through my cold shoulder), and not only that, it’s bad for the kids. There’s no need to live in a bubble, even if you’re like me and can’t suss out the bad from the good right away.
If you want to make friends, you have to give people a shot. A guarded shot, but a shot nonetheless. So, how do you strike up a conversation with a would-be friend and keep it going without everything getting wonky?