Parents: Your friends’ backstory

This weekend I had the privilege of meeting two separate sets of parents from my friends — one through a baby shower and one through a birthday party. These are some of my favorite social interactions to have. Naturally, I dove right in.

Consider this: I no longer have regular opportunities to meet my friends’ parents. Living in New York City, most of my friends are from somewhere else, which means that I’m rarely in the same room as their family. With most graduations and weddings behind us, I’m realizing it’s now down to a few, rare opportunities. So when I get the chance, I like to make the most of it. After all, parents unlock a whole backstory to a friend that you may never otherwise have the chance to learn.

Having your parents attend an event invites a whole new set of perspectives and possibilities. Where is your friend from, really? What’s their family like? Why do they behave the way they do? Where does all of their brilliance come from?

When I meet my friends’ parents, I like to imagine what it was like for them growing up. It’s easy to see people for how they are today; you learn so much more from knowing even a few details about their upbringing.

At each party this weekend, I spent a good amount of time chatting with mom and dad. Typically, I like to learn about their careers, their personalities, and anything fun they care to share about their beloved son or daughter. This, I’ve noticed, always tends to be welcomed all-around. For the most parent, parents love meeting friends. And, particularly if you catch them at a friends-focused party, they aren’t swarmed by other neighbors or family members, so you can really catch them for a good amount of time.

As time progresses more and more, parents are a treasure and hold coveted insights from an bygone era. If you happen to find yourself at a party or event with a few parents in attendance, push past the initial discomfort and go say hello. Ask a few more questions than you might otherwise. You’ll remember that conversation much later on, when it really counts.

GM @USV, alum of @StackOverflow and @NorthwesternU, board member at @CompSci_High and @NUalumni, co-founder of #BeyondCodingNYC

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