Have you ever watched your children make friends with other children at the park. Or in the shops. Or the library. Or anywhere there happens to be another child of about the same age!
They make it seem so easy.
I think as we get older we start to over-complicate things. We worry too much about what other people think, if they’ll like us. So we hold back. We hesitate before striking up a conversation. We so badly want to be liked that we get anxious and stressed about it.
But there is something we can try to get people to think more warmly about us, making it easier to relax and just be ourselves and hopefully start a real friendship.
Try chatting to a new friend, or potential new friend, in a situation where they have a nice hot cup of tea or coffee in their hands.
Lets say you’re at a playgroup with your baby, then you can offer to fetch a cup of tea for you and the mum sitting next to you, while the babies have a stretch on the play mats.
Why? Well, the theory is that holding warm drinks in our hands makes us think more warmly about the person we’re interacting with at the time.
It’s all down to something called haptic sensations, which is when touching objects with certain qualities makes us feel the associated emotions.
So if there’s a mum that you see on the school run every day that you think you would get on with, but are too nervous to start a conversation with during the morning rush, try saying hello at the next fundraiser coffee morning when she has a cup of hot coffee in her hands.
If you’ve already taken the first steps in a new friendship, and have arranged a playdate with another parent at your house then you can really use this theory of haptic sensations to your advantage.
When they arrive at your house, and the children are happily playing, sit them down on a sofa with a soft, snuggly thrown on it, or with a lovely tactile cushion. And then hand them a mug of something hot to drink.
The warmth of the drink will help them warm to you even more, and the soft fabrics around them will help them feel more relaxed and at ease.
Once you start thinking about this you can see there are various times that this could come in handy:
- If you’re meeting someone for a first date, arrange to do it at a coffee shop.
- If your partner’s parents are coming over and you want them to warm to you, offer them a nice cup of tea when they arrive.
- If you want to ask your boss at work for something, try picking up a coffee for them on your way into the office that you can give them before you start your pitch!
I know this might not always be a practical option, unless you want to start carrying around a flask of coffee with you to hand out warm drinks to people you want to make friends with.
But there are so many situations that do involve tea and coffee when you’re a parent, so it’s really worth knowing this theory, even if it just means that you feel a bit more relaxed approaching people knowing they’ll be more likely to warm to you while holding a warm drink!
How many of your parent friends did you meet over a cup of tea or coffee at a playgroup?