The Very Weird World of Playground Chats
Going to the playground with my daughter is always fun. She has a great time running around, picking up dirt, sliding down the slide and petting friendly dogs and becoming best friends with kids she’s never met before.
That’s all great, until the parents have to look up from their kids and exchange pleasantries.
It starts with “How old is she?” and continues on with the usual small talk about the weather, where in the neighbourhood you’re from and, how long I’ve lived in Vancouver (my accent gives me away as a foreigner).
This is a minefield of potential embarrassment. If I’m talking to a Mum, she might think I’m being friendly to flirt (which, of course I’m not). So do I just ignore her and continue looking directly at my daughter and nowhere else? I don’t want to seem rude or standoffish. Should I introduce myself?
What if it’s a Dad? Sure we might get along and our kids are clearly having a great time together. We’re now on a first name basis, but how do you even arrange meeting up again? Are we best friends now? Do you even get new friends after university or is that your lot?
Perhaps I should get a business card that just says ‘Dad’ and my number. Let’s have coffee, but we have to bring the kids so it’s not weird. Or is it weird now because we only talk to fellow parents and haven’t had a conversation about non-child related topics for years?
Husna ShaikhMarch 22, 2018 at 8:42 am
Wish I could help! But I suffer from the same issue. I haven’t been able to successfully arrange a play date/coffee with someone I met at the playground. Maybe we should all wear name tags at the playground with our names and our kids names and our phone numbers- some thing like Hi my name is Husna, Zara’s Mom. Call or text at blah blah number to arrange play date. This way no awkward asking!!
Michael KwanMarch 22, 2018 at 12:32 pm
This is all too familiar. I don’t engage in idle chit-chat too often, but when I do, I tend to feel pretty awkward about it. More often than not, they seem flabbergasted that I’m (usually) there alone with my daughter. “Engaged” dads like us, sadly, are still the exception, but something about “be the change” you want to see in the world, right?
Michael KwanMarch 22, 2018 at 12:35 pm
I actually posted on IG about this last summer: