MemberSeptember 27, 2019 at 11:25 pm
Why do children appear to make friends so easily?
MemberSeptember 27, 2019 at 11:54 pm
So I was at a lovely, quiet park the other day, when this mom showed up with a screaming, upset three-year-old. She was yelling and crying about something unintelligible, and she was not stopping.
A few minutes later, another mom showed up with her three-year-old son. Apparently he knew the screaming child from preschool or something, because he said to her, “”Hey, Mandy! What’s wrong?””
And she told him what was wrong.
If they were adults, I imagine Mandy might have seen her classmate/coworker/etc. show up and quickly tried to act like everything was all cool, and her friend would have pretended he didn’t see her crying and nothing was wrong.
Kids don’t worry about appearing vulnerable. They don’t play games to get ahead. They are direct, rather than indirect. If they see you crying, they ask you why. And if they ask, you answer.
In psychology, we say there are three requirements to making a new friend.
1. Proximity (this is due to factors like convenience, the mere exposure effect, the chances of actually meeting each other, etc.)
2. Repeated, unplanned interactions (like at school, day care, play dates, extracurricular activities, church, parents’ friends’ kids, etc.)
3. A setting that allows or encourages people to open up and confide in each other.
Kids have wilder emotions than adults, and they’re less able (or motivated) to control them. Which leads to screaming fits that can last for hours… but also friendships that can last for minutes, weeks or years.
It’s also probably worth noting that kids also think less about what they’re putting into and getting out of friendships. Perhaps because their friendships require no effort on their part. Almost every interaction they have with other kids is arranged by parents, who also provide entertainment, transportation, research and funding. Just in terms of logistics, there’s nothing really complicated about child friendships.
MemberOctober 27, 2019 at 6:26 am
Children make friends more easily because they have a very limited idea about what makes a friend. They are not mature enough to understand the depth that is needed for true friendship. When someone gets up in the middle of the night to bring you home because you’re too drunk to drive, when they sit up with you for 24 hours because your wife has just died, when you need a person you can trust with your life in a firefight in Afghanistan, then you understand the power of a true friend.
Children look for those who like playing the same sport, who let them throw the ball, who have them sleep over. These are all important things that are part of adult friendship, but they are not enough. When we are children, friendship is simple and does not need to be deep. Children do not work at their friendships like adults do. I am not discounting childhood friendships, but how many childhood friendships have lasted through the years? Very few, and they have grown tremendously from their simple beginnings.
MemberOctober 31, 2019 at 8:27 am
On the contrary, I think children are the extremely difficult to befriend.
If an adult goes and smiles at them they rarely return the smile. That is because they do not know you and hence do not trust you. They will turn away from you and hide their face in their mother’s embrace.
Even if you offer the child a candy they may take it but their parents will have to ask them to thank you for it. They are not open to making a new friend on their own.
It takes a lot to win a child’s trust and keep him engaged in what you have to say or show. That is why it is so difficult to be a playschool teacher. It is easier to teach in tenth grade than in kindergarten.
As for friendships among children, I still think it isn’t easy for them. Children can be selfish and have to be taught to share their toys and goodies else they fight, push each other and pull the others’ hair. They’re too young to know what they like and cannot make conversation like grown-ups.
If two of them like the same superhero cartoon, they discus what they saw in the last episode and try to emulate. Even then, one will try to dominate and be the hero while the other, reluctantly has to be the villain.
If they like different things chances are that one will bully the other into thinking his choice is inferior. Kids are too young to discus differences in opinion in a healthy manner.
I am extremely fond of children and have spent a lot of time with them but theirs’ is an impressionable age. They succumb to peer pressure and could be mean to a friend if the class bully demands it.
Adults have to prepare them to face friends who may be mean to them. Kids who are overweight have to be assured that they are beautiful, no matter how their friends taunt them. Kids who do not have the most expensive toys have to be assured that it does not make them any less interesting.
Children can be mean but with guidance they can grow into mature adults, who can make friends without judging each other.
MemberNovember 4, 2019 at 1:57 am
Answers so far are great, but ignore some obvious reasons –
1.) Children’s lives are largely on the schedule of their parents
2.) As a result, the children are left in common places with large numbers of each other (school, daycare)
3.) They are not expected to work together to make money
4.) They have a common experience of being at the whim of their parents, teachers, etc. which builds comraderie
5.) They haven’t had the chance to develop alcohol or drug addictions
6.) Most of them haven’t been seriously fucked over in their lives, or been in a position to seriously fuck someone over.
These could all also be reasons why it is easier to make friends in college than in the working world, with the exception of the last two. You are simply exposed to more people without money coming between you. You are bound to find some you like.
MemberJanuary 15, 2020 at 9:13 pm
It’s the same reason why it’s easier to strike a random conversation at a backpacker’s hostel on the other side of the planet. Nobody knows who you are. Hell, you don’t know who you are. There’s nobody around to tell you. You’ve got nothing to be afraid of. You can offend anybody you like. You can walk away from any situation.
I think that the main reason it’s harder to find friendship when you’re older is that we ask a lot more of each other. A child’s friendship might be adorable to witness, but it’s typically happenstance. People are just more plastic at that age.
Not a big fan of the over-romanticization of children. They’re just little humans, that’s all. They can be way more vicious than we like to pretend.
I’m sure my answer doesn’t cover the entire picture, but I’m sure the “kids don’t judge” story doesn’t either.
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