I am fairly extroverted, but putting myself out there is still something I find to be fairly frightening. Rejection is a very real fear for me... And I know it is for these children, too. However, the possible rewards to be gained from putting oneself out there seems more obvious to these kids than me. Take one particular interaction I observed last week between two children.
TUS: A, are you my friend?
AS: No. I'm Melinda's friend.
TUS frowned as he took this in then said, "Well, I am your friend even if you are not my friend."
AS nodded, "Okay."
For the time being, this worked for them both so I kept my own thoughts on friendship to myself. Before long, though, TUS was following AS around asking if she was his friend yet. At this point I interjected- unable to keep quiet or miss the chance to offer some thoughts on friendship due to my extroverted nature. I said, "I don't know about you, A, but I have lots of friends. Did you know both Lillie and Briana are my friends?" AS contemplated this as LC chimed in, "Yeah, and I'm Minna's friend!" I nodded, "For some people, having more people to love makes them able to love everyone more. I'm like that." TUS spoke up at this point, "Yeah! I love A and I love L and I love my mom and I love my dad..." His list went on for a bit. AS nodded and walked off so TUS and I began to read a book.
After a few minutes AS returned. She sat next to TUS and spoke with certainty, "I'm your friend, T."