Since I was often the "new girl" (I switched schools every year up until 6th grade), I had a specific strategy for making friends. On the first day of school, I would choose another new girl to pair up with, or I would see who was the person with the least friends and I'd stick to them. I always had someone to hang out with, but I often ended up in very mismatched friendships. Since I often had little in common with the other girl(s), it was not a give-and-take, but mostly just giving so they'd like me and I wouldn't be alone. In high school, I was in the same place long enough to actually find a great group of friends. But I also seem to have a knack for picking friends who do not write, e-mail, or call. So as soon we part ways (I still move a lot), the friendship ends.
I miss being part of a group of friends, but I've been re-examining my friend-making stategy. Befriending the most needy person usually guarantees that I won't be rejected, but I'd really like form a new strategy that results in give-and-take relationships. I'm looking for mutual benefits, and someone who will stay in touch. As an adult, I feel much more shy than I did in school, and find that I have to really put myself out there to find friends since there aren't as many natural opportunities for getting to know people as there are in school. Adults are busier with jobs and family, so it's harder to just hang out several times and see if you hit it off with someone.
Raccoon is also shy, and very clingy at the moment. He tries to interact once or twice, but more often falls back to me because the child either does not understand him (English/Spanish issue) or is not ready for that kind of imaginative play. I have signed up for a class at Gymboree, and hopefully he'll be the youngest so that the older kids (by 6-8 months) will do more of the play he's looking for. I'm definitely looking for some feedback/payoff for him, so that he realizes that playing with other kids can be just as fun as playing with mommy.