Social Outcast at Any Age

Dear Parentworks, 

I think this is my problem more than my child's but I'm starting to worry that it's affecting her friendships. Let me explain; I'm from the West Coast and my husband transferred to the East Coast. We were able to get our daughter into a very good school and she really enjoys it. But I don't seem to be able to be making friends with any of the parents. They seem rather aloof and unfriendly. And in 3 months my daughter hasn't been invited to any birthday parties or play dates. She's only 6 and hasn't really noticed yet but I'd hate to think that she's not getting invited places because I'm not making friends with the parents.

Coastal Damage

Dear Coastal,

While your loneliness is evident you may be making a large number of assumptions. So like any good detective, a good place to start is to get the facts. I suggest you begin with speaking with your daughter's teacher. Find out who she plays with at school and instead of waiting to get invited somewhere else, start with some one on one time yourselves. Invite the mom and child to go somewhere with the two of you. If the mom's too busy, just invite the child to your home which would give you some time to talk with the parent on the phone and at either pick up or drop off times when they come over. Build slowly with these relationships, allowing your daughter to play with a variety of the friends she interacts with at school. In this way you can both learn more about these children and their families and decide if you really want to get closer with them.

Another option would be to have your daughter join a class which would widen your exposure to other families. You could even join a parent group, take a class yourself or a club - any number of activities where you'll both be not only having fun but enlarging the possibilities of meeting others with shared interests.

It can be difficult to meet new people and I don't want to completely rule out your suggestion that it's a "Coast" style difference. But through focusing more on your own and your family's interests and doing things which will be fun for you in the process you may just find that the friendships will flow more naturally for both of you.