I grew up behind my older brother, J. Literally. When we would go to youth group outings, I would huddle behind him or if my best friend was there, I would stay close to her. She was bubbly and outgoing. Me? I never felt comfortable as just me.
I still struggle today sometimes when it is just me going and meeting someone for the first time and I don't have my kids to distract them or my extroverted hubby who knows the right time for a joke or two.
I love to talk to people once I get to know them more and I love to really connect. It really helped watching Amy Cuddy's video on body language. (Check out previous post here). I learned how to not look closed off to others so that I can start a conversation and be open when it's hard for me to instantly be a chatterbox.
When I began dating my husband at seventeen I was still that awkward, shy, uncomfortable teenager who was growing into a woman. I didn't say more than 10 words our first two months of dating. Really? yes, really. I was soaking it all in and felt comfortable hearing him talk but unable to feel comfortable voicing my opinions or thoughts. Not because of something he said or did. Because I was introverted and uncomfortable in my own skin.
I remember I used to pray for opportunities each week it seemed to grow as a person when I was teenager. I would get those opportunities but I would suddenly step back in fear. Unsure and not confident enough.
The tips I'm sharing this week are what I have learned since those awkward teenage years and even more since marriage and becoming a mother. I want these to help you and I would love to hear your tips that you have learned.
|Image from here|
First part of reaching out is making contact. As women we think the neighbor down the street, the mom at church, the lady at the local park, etc. We think they have it all together with those social skills, a clean house, well kept kids, happy husband, etc. We think they don't need a friend, they probably have too many already. But guess what? We need support, connection, contact.
As women we thrive on community, talking about helpful tips, recent struggles, what we've read lately and all the in between (except no gossip or bashing of the husbands). So to begin with, pick up your phone today. Call (although as an introvert this is the hardest one so don't stress it) or text or message on Facebook and invite her over. Yes, invite her over and don't super-clean your home, leave it comfortable and lived in.
Begin building a friendship and learn to be comfortable with someone other than your sweet husband and cute but crazy kiddos. Because guess what? She is just as nervous to make contact as you are.
This is the seventh post in a 31 day series in October about being comfortable in your own skin as an introvert.