4.18.2006

Mean People Suck

What is with people these days?

Is it too much to ask for eye contact, a smile, a simple thank you? I don't get it. In the grocery store, at the mall, the pizza delivery guy ~ no one likes to say hello anymore?

No where have I noticed this more than at the playground. Scratch that. Anywhere I go with J, I am surprised by the lack of warmth or common courtesy I see.

My daughter is the most talkative toddler you will ever meet. She has absolutely no problem going up to people on the street and saying hello. She loves babies and other kids and always wants to chat. I think it's great, but some people are not so receptive. Children will run away or stare blankly at my daughter as if it's a foreign concept to simply smile back. They look scared or nervous and I just don't get it.

Mostly I feel bad for J. She is super sweet and will continue to talk, but most kids don't hang around to listen to what she has to say. I get no response from parents either. If a child were to come up to J, I would probably initiate the conversation by asking the little person what his/her name is, maybe ask what they're doing, or comment on their cute shoes ~ something to acknowledge that this child is in my presence.

I would not, however, stand there in an awkward silence.

I try my best not to walk around in a fog. I am very aware of my surroundings and like to think that I am a friendly person. I think that comes with being a mom ... or does it? How do you react when another child approaches your son/daughter? Do you smile, say hello, or just keep on walking?


At her age, I'm sure J doesn't quite understand the complexities of human behavior, but I worry that she is hurt, or will be hurt, when other children don't return her kind gestures. It hurts my feelings.

21 comments:

Rebecca said...

That is really sad.

My husband and I walk together everyday and try to smile at everyone we pass on the sidewalk. Most people we find are responsive, but a few just ignore us. But ignoring a child, I think, demonstrates a real problem.

It makes me wish you were here ... and I don't even know you. Maybe that means there is something wrong with me?

Denise said...

I always hated that when I lived in big cities...now I don't ahve to worry about it. Small town life does have it's rewards. It's great!

Cityslicker Mom said...

oh my god, i was just going to blog about that! I took my boys to the park and it was just me and another mother--long story short, she barely o eye contact even though i was sort of engaging and her kid was playing with mine. i even smiled and she didnt even return the smile! I dont know what was up with that, but sometimes you just never know what other people are thinking or going through.

Juliabohemian said...

If your daughter is the smiling and talking type, she will likely be resilient enough to withstand a few unfriendly people.

I will strike up a conversation with anyone about any subject. Sometimes people look at me like "why are you talking to me? I don't know you."

It hasn't stopped me yet.

ninepounddictator said...

Oh, she's just a kid. I finally understand that at such a young age, they don't really play at all together....

a tip? well, at least it works form me. I bring a lot of toys and cups and stuff and I'll say to my daughter, "Why don't you give one of your toys to that liitlle boy over there." and once a kid hands somethign to another kid, the parents are much nicer to you....

Trust me, a lo more meaner things happen in playgrounds....like the paretns who dump their kid wit hyourse an go of fand talk on their cell ohone and expect you to watch their kid!

mommy on the verge said...

I get the same thing sometimes. My oldest daughter is very talkative and I always smile at the person she is talking to, and sometimes I get the cold shoulder. CAN'T TALK TO SOMEONE I DON'T KNOW FOR GOD SAKES, I WILL BE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING!

Pattie said...

Well, I always talk to children when they approach. My older two tend to be a little shy with others, and it may come off as standoffish. I try to break the ice by suggesting a game they can do together. It seems to work.
Unfortunately, your experience won't be the last time. There will be friendly people and there will be jerks at the playgrounds.It is hurtful to see when your child gets their feelings hurt. I would just keep fostering her social personality.

Sandra said...

Stacy I had the same problem when Jasmine was 2 and 3 years old. I would take her to the park to play and she would see other kids. She would run up to them and try to play along and they would either scatter or flat out tell her that she can't play with them. She would come running back to me crying because they hurt her feelings.

I don't get it. I'm like you, I'm the kind of parent that if another kid says hi to mine, I make sure they acknowledge them back and say hi too. Some parents just stand there and give me the cold shoulder, or turn away. I don't understand this bubble that a lot of people live in, it's like they can only socialize amongst themselves and their friends and God forbid anyone try to join in or come near......pretty sad.

Unfortunately this won't be the last time you deal with it. Like domesticator said, there will always be some friendly ones and some jerks.

Nancy said...

I don't get it, either. And my older daughter is the sensitive type and will come ask me why the other kids aren't talking to her. It breaks my heart, but I just try to explain maybe they're shy.

Dabbling Mum said...

It's the same way here...in South Dakota. We've been here for nine months now and my daughter, who is very friendly and wonderful, cannot get a single friend. She has some acquaintances at school, but afterschool friends just don't happen. She's invited them over, and sadly, even tried to invite herself over to their houses. She got two acceptances, the entire year. She keeps asking me to homeschool her, but that's not a reason to not attend school. Besides, she's a social butterfly who needs to spread her wings. I've been told small towns take a longggggg time for parents to warm up to new people...Who knew!

Suzanne said...

I notice this sometimes, too, especially with older (maybe age 6 or 7) kids at the park. My son is extremely friendly and says "hi" to everyone he sees; when a child just stares back at him or walks away, I try to brush it off by saying "Oh, I guess he didn't hear you." And, depending on my mood, I say it a little loudly so that the other child can hear.

Christina said...

Cordy runs up to other parents sitting on the sidelines, stops right in front of them, and then cheerfully exclaims, "Hi!" It's hard for most of them to resist the cute toddler, so she's generally my ice breaker. :)

There are a lot of unfriendly people out there, and it's sad. You'd think we parents especially should stick together!

Tamara said...

I guess there really isn't a lot of emphasis anymore on forming good social skills - sad that we've grown so distant as a culture that even the kids don't know how to acknowledge each other. This is good encouragement for me to teach my kids to do better - this goes on my list!

Meg said...

I know exactly what you mean, but I have noticed one thing: the farther south you go in this country, the more friendly people tend to be. Now, living in Oklahoma we're pretty southern, but just driving down to Texas you see a huge difference mile by mile. People actually wave as they pass you on the road!

Of course this is just my theory, so I don't want a bunch of hate comments left on my blog!

sunshine scribe said...

I agree 110%. I have felt exactly what you expressed and it makes my heart ache for my son. Why don't people just be kind?!? It is much easier really.

Naomi said...

That is a GREAT picture of her! You really do have to wonder where the world is headed when you BUMP in to complete strangers and they don't even notice, much less when something that beautiful is trying to bring some sunshine in!

rhonda said...

It's so funny, around my way the people in the city are more friendly than in suburbia.

Mean people DO suck :)

Mrs. Chicky said...

Why is it that we either run into the most anti-social people on earth or the over-friendly ones (do you know which ones I mean)? The nice, normally friendly people are hard to find these days. Hell, these days I would just like a head nod in my direction from my snobby neighbors!

something blue said...

My daughter is the type that has to say hello to all other children and animals. There are some children that will say hi back but I think the majority are taught not to talk to strangers. It's a sad world we live in when fear rules.

Jamie said...

I walk at a park near work...many people will NOT MAKE EYE contact with me on the trail. It drives me nuts. My 3-year-old is extremely talkative (can't imagine where she gets that from...ha!) The other night we were walking in our neighborhood and she was waving wildly and saving "Hi!" to some teenagers who obviously thought they were too "cool" to reciprocate and my daughter was confused by it. Your daughter is a cutie BTW!

Nicole said...

I know how you feel. My daughter, however, is one of the ones that stares blankly at someone who tries to talk to her. She's very shy w/strangers. However, I do try to help out w/her end of the conversation and try to get it going. I don't want the other kid to feel bad. I think that's how they learn, right?