You’ll know you’ve truly become socially adept when you finally manage to make small talk with that most challenging and unforgiving of characters: a small child you hardly know.
“It can be easy to imagine we possess reasonable social skills, because we know how to maintain a conversation with strangers and – every now and then – manage to make a whole table laugh.
But there’s a test far sterner than this, surprising in its ability to trip us up: the challenge of having a pleasant time with a child we don’t know. Theoretically speaking, this should be so easy. We were all once kids. We know a great deal more than they do and – as far as they’re concerned – hold all the cards: if we felt like it, we could buy 26 packets of biscuits and go to bed whenever we wanted…”