Social interactions and friendships are shared experiences that involve the interests, thoughts, and emotions of two people. Experience sharing is one of the first social skills infants develop. Besides attachment to a parent, experience sharing is perhaps the most critical social skill necessary for healthy relationships.
Even prior to their first birthday, infants experience share. They point out objects for their parents to see and watch for their parents’ reaction. When the parent smiles, the baby smiles too. They are both engaged in the shared experienced of enjoying the object. When the toddler begins to walk, he advances his experience sharing by bringing objects to his parent so that they both can delight in them. As he moves through toddler years, he seeks to experience share with other family members, preschool teachers, and classmates.
As he gains more skills, language, interests, and talents, he seeks to share these with others so they each can enjoy them. He also becomes interested in what others have to share with him and takes delight in their happiness. As he grows older, experience sharing continues to form the basis of all his friendships and will do so throughout his life. Those he can experience share with the most will become his closest friends.