Tic Tac Toe And The Art Of Making Friends

Once upon a time yours truly was also an innocent little kid, while I cease to be kid I try to cling to my innocence, though not very successfully.  As we grow one of the things that we lose is our ability to make new friends.

Tic Tac Toe And The Art Of Making Friends

One of the biggest reason social networks are successful are because we all take joy in connecting with old friends and it helps us making friends without meeting them or knowing them. Nothing wrong with it I am all for old boys or girls reunion, but what about making new friends in the real world and not just virtual world?

And when I say friends I do not mean online friends whom we have never met. I checked my friend list and realized I have not made any new friends in ages, may be something is wrong with me?  And I am not even talking about thick 2:45 am friends, just people with whom you want to get together and chit chat without any agenda.

In most social gatherings unless you are a hard core networker who likes to shove your business card under every throat who nods at you, we grownups rarely go beyond pleasantries. Then it is either Mausam ka Haal discussion in the AC hall or we drift away making some lame excuse.

Recently on another train trip I saw kids in the train compartment do just the opposite. In one of my earlier posts I wrote about the memorable train journeys, that we cherish as a family, this one proved to be another wonderful journey to remember. Besides the fun we had I will remember it for the way kids make new friends out of complete strangers.

We have decided to not carry any electronic devices except for an MP3 player and our cell phones during the train ride. But we had a few board games, including a wooden Tic Tac Toe.  A very simple game, but instead of using paper and pen we were playing with the wooden board.  2 sisters of more or less same age as our daughters were sitting a few births away from us. Every time they passed in front of us they were looking at us. Initially our daughters did not notice them as they were engrossed in their own games, but soon the kids noticed each other. Now began the game of glances and smiles at each other across the narrow pathway in the train compartment.

Suddenly our younger one said “ I think I want to play with those girls now”, then she looked at her mom for approval.

“OK, go head”, came the approval from their mother, without waiting for a vote from me. The kiddo assembled the Tic Tac Toe and slowly walked up to them with a shy smile on her face.

“Would you play Tic Tac Toe with me?”

The elder one of the two sisters agreed immediately while the younger one hid her face behind a comic.

Now the scene was interesting the elder one of the other sisters and our younger one started playing the game. Soon the other 2 girl’s one ours and one the sister of the new player could not resist and joined the party.

Tic Tac Toe made of wood

They did not even exchange names for the first half hour or so and only later remembered to introduce each other.

Soon the 4 girls were laughing together, exchanging names, schools etc. Tic Tac Toe was forgotten, a game of telling names of places started and so on. I was silently watching all this and clicked a few pictures with my cell phone in the mean time.

kids playing tic tac toe in Train

The girls even had dinner together and were separated only at bed time. The new found friends got down in the middle of night at Nagpur from where they had to change train to their home town in Chhattisgarh.

This whole interaction and making of friends effortlessly made me ponder how easy it is for kids to connect over just a simple game and smiles. The kids were not trying to network for some deal, or like us bloggers you comment on my blog and I will comment on your blog kind of deal, or Facebook photographers, “You like my Photo, I will like your photo”

What do you say? Do you still have the art of making friends without influencing people? If yes please help me learn it again, till then I will try to learn from my daughters.

Sasha and Prasad Np are proud parents of 2 girls whom they fondly call Princess and Pinkette. He wears many hats after taking a break from being corner office critter for a long time. He is now an entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, traveler and a potential investor in start-ups with unique concepts especially if they are in travel related business. He blogs at Desi Traveler, and can be reached at Facebook and Twitter.

  • Arun

    Excellent article Prasad.

    I used to ask this question to myself as why I am not able to make any new friends anymore which was not the case when I was young. And I thought I am the only soul is having this issue.

    One reason for this is when we loose our innocence, we tend to put lots of self imposed rules around us which is a deterrent factor in making new friends.

    Thanks for posting this, indeed enjoyed reading this.

    • Thanks Arun… indeed social norms do tend to bound us and stop our free flowing nature…glad that you liked the post…

  • Annapurni V

    Kids do have the ‘kala’ to make friends out of strangers. I wish we adults also manage to retain that kala after we grow up. Nicely written.