SOME parents were understandably anxious about schools reopening. Would our kids be safe? Does the iron still work? Has Scotland’s headlice population used lockdown as an opportunity to grow strong and mobilise?

Me? I was primarily concerned about the prospect of a new group of parents I’d have to get to know.

My daughter is untroubled by social anxiety and makes friends easily.

Like a terrifying little would-be politician, she works the playground. Watching her at morning drop-off, I’m always surprised – and slightly alarmed – by her power of recall. First names, second names, important life events: she’s got it all covered.

In the weeks leading up to the grand reopening, my daughter spoke assuredly of all the new friends she was going to make.

Her strategy is simple: she asks the prospective pal their name and tells them hers. When the formalities are out of the way she closes the deal by simply asking them if they would like to be her friend.

She doesn’t confine networking to her own age group, either.

The fact that barely reaches the navel of most Primary 7 boys doesn’t stop her acquiring them as friends and allies. Though she be but little, she is fierce.

For adults, it’s not so simple. Making friends as an adult is an excruciating experience: agonising small-talk, tentative jokes and action-replays in your head of that stupid thing you wish you hadn’t said. Those that find the befriending experience a breeze are social high-achievers and you can spot them a mile off at the school gate.

In the first few weeks of the new school term, I identified such creatures among the parents of my daughter’s new classmates.

It’s easy to go all David Attenborough on fellow parents when you position yourself, as I do, at the furthest possible corner of the playground.

Before coronavirus, the other parents might have correctly surmised that I am a bit of an introvert. Now I can confidently hide my anti-social tendencies under a guise of strict adherence to public health guidance.

Huddled securely against the back wall, I see these majestic parents in all their glory.

Their magnetism is obvious as they greet everybody they see by name, up to and including the school staff. I’d say nobody likes a teacher’s pet but apparently they do.

I watch them ask after siblings and elderly parents and enquire as to how such-and-such went on Friday. Babies are kissed. Dogs are petted. The air crackles with air-borne viruses and good cheer.

Their little square of concrete becomes the hottest venue in town. And I find myself wondering (because the only conversations I have at pick-up time are in my own head) where they store all that information. I can barely manage my own life admin: how on earth am I meant to keep up the trials and tribulations of wee Susie’s clarinet lessons?

I could probably learn a thing or two from my daughter about making friends. In return, I’ll teach her everything I know about the fine art of social distancing.