Come here often?
Mind if I sit down?
Can I buy you a drink?
Though I am past the days of pickup lines like this, I have recently found myself figuring out how to navigate pickup lines of a different sort.
Oh, your son is so cute! How old is he?
What’s his name?
Do you guys live around here?
Oh, they may not sound like much. Just smalltalk. But they are also often the awkward-but-necessary beginnings to a new mom friendship. The end result may be different (a playdate instead of a hot date), but the aim is the same. Get a name and phone number and hopefully see them again.
Making new mom friends is HARD. Kids (and dogs) are a gateway to conversation, sure, but no matter how you slice it, it’s still a challenge to a) find someone you connect with, b) get a read on if they feel the same way, c) exchange digits without seeming freakishly over-eager or like you are actually hitting on them and d) make an actual date to get together again.
I’ll be the first to admit it. I’m not big on smalltalk. I smile and nod and know how to go through basic introductions, but I am much, much better at conversations with substance. When I meet someone new, I often forget to ask those seemingly normal questions that help you learn the basics. For whatever reason, I tend to skip over those things and launch right into a real conversation. Benjamin, however, is awesome at this. He asks question after question and all of a sudden an hour has passed and we know tons of little facts about each other. Maybe I’ve gotten even worse at this since we got married, since I haven’t had to do it much. I don’t know. All I know is that I wish I was better at turning chitchat into friendships.
Last summer when I was walking around our new neighborhood, wrestling the dog and the baby stroller, another mom, also being pulled in 2 directions with her dog and her baby stroller, approached me. Our dogs immediately hit it off and were galloping around together and wrestling each other to the ground. She and I chatted for a bit and immediately we knew that we would be fast friends. Real friends. She suggested we meet in the same time, same place the following week. We did, and the rest is history. We’ve gotten together at least once a week since then and have become great friends! While that seemed so easy and natural, that is the only time that’s ever happened for me.
Yesterday at Music Together class, a mom who I have smiled at and sat next to for a few weeks started up some of those mom pickup lines. Owen is SO cute. How old is he? Do you guys live nearby? We chatted a little and then Owen ran out the door and I had to chase him down. Then it was time for the next class to start and in a hurricane of coats and hats and mittens and shoes, we were headed home.
I didn’t realize it until I got in the car, but I think she was hitting on me!
Goal for next class: More chatting. And turn that chatting into a phone number. And then turn that phone number into a playdate. Ok, ok, maybe not all at once. I’m still new at this.
What are your strategies for making other mom friends? Do you actively chat people up who you think you will connect with, in an effort to make a relationship? How do you turn smalltalk into playdates?