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my 4 year old gets so upset when friends bring their children to play

I am worried about my 4 year old. He has always been a shy boy, preferring to play alone, but he is very self contained and can play alone quite happily. He's slowly beginning to make friends at school and prefers other quiet children.
He gets very very upset when my friends bring their children to play or we go out together for the day.He will often take himself upstairs and sit alone for the duration of their visit and cries if i try to get him to come and play(he will happily wave them off when they are leaving though).
Presently my frind is staying with us over the Christmas period and she has a 17month old boy. The first 2 days of their stay he was fine, but today he was getting almost hysterical as the toddler wanted to play with him and was following him everywhere. He tends to only get like this when its my friend children, but he is not a clingy boy, so its not an attention thing, but its definately related to my frinds.
Its getting very hard to know what to do now as my friend are reluctant to visit as they don't want to upset my son. I've tried to talk to him about this, asking why he gets upset (I don't like them), or if he'll try to play for a little time (it soon ends in tears). With the children his own age we've tried to play games together, which he will do, but when I then suggest they go and play a game alone, he doesn't want to.
If anyone has had a similar experience or can offer advise, I would appreciate it as my friend is here for another week and I don't want a tearful child, but a happy one.

Re: my 4 year old gets so upset when friends bring their children to play

My best advice is to not make a big deal when another child comes over and just "ignore" your son going up to his room. If you say things like "Oh look who's here" or "why don't you two go play..." it may make your son feel pushed or pressured which will eventually make him feel self concious. If you ignore it and try to give the visiting child something to do to occupy themselves, then maybe eventually (days, weeks, months later) your son will eventually be curious and want to play too. Your story made me remember how I felt when I was little. I wasn't shy or unwilling to play with guests but I felt VERY self concious when my mom watched me play or even subtlilly pushed a friendship. I just imagine your son maybe going and playing next to that child and then eventually interacting with them if you are not the least bit involved.

Also, I remember reading something when my daughter was about that age that 3-4 year olds will play side by side but not really engage eachother until a year or so later. Something tells me it will all fall in place for you and your son.

Re: Re: my 4 year old gets so upset when friends bring their children to play

Thanks for your advice mariene, I will try and let him be when friends are over and see how he responds. I am aware there is a long process ahead of my son with his socialisation, I just hope he makes good friends along the way. Cheers.