Take a breath, my little introvert!

I loved reading this post by Dani of eat my street.  Her seven point plan for making friends as an introvert really resonated with me. Being an introvert can make finding friends a bit tricky sometimes, not because of shyness – although that may be in there – but because the prospect of falling into a gregarious, group environment can be intimidating and make us a little fearful. The introvert may hold back and not venture out into friend making territory (gosh, sounded a bit David Attenborough there!). This is a bit sad because then we can end up a little lonely. An introvert still needs friends! It’s just that we need time away from them to recharge and stay our friendly, sparkly selves! And so, in the spirit of introvert camaraderie,  I thought I’d share a piece I wrote last weekend for Pip Lincolne‘s fabulous online storytelling course.

image

‘Do you think they’ll come?’ I asked my husband.

‘Of course! Why wouldn’t they?’

I had agonised over the invitation for way too long. Somehow this reserved, wallflower, non-party girl had volunteered to be on the kindergarten social committee and I felt way outside my comfort zone! So why did I do it?

When you are at school and work, social contact is like a smorgasbord. Every day you head to the same place, the same people show up and you pick and choose who you want to spend time with. You don’t have to make the effort to find friends, they’re just laid out for you. The world of the stay-at-home mum is different. There’s no one but you and the baby or toddler. Whilst I might be an introvert and love to have the space of my own time in my own home, I also like having some buddies. I’m not a recluse! So I had to take steps to create social contact by myself. Scary! When the call came out that a volunteer for Blue Group was needed, my reserve collided with my conscience and sense of responsibility. I took a breath and made the call to the ‘President of the Social Committee’!   Now, here I was, organising my very own social function!

Well, they did come! It was lovely and friendly and everyone was very grateful that I had been so kind to invite them to my home so we could all have a cuppa and get to know each other. Wow! They thought I was the bees knees! With everyone gone and my house mine once more, a little swell of pride fluttered in my heart. I had done it! I had stepped outside my comfort zone and created something people liked! Pat on the back, me! (Added bonus, one of the mums was a dentist and I was on the search for a new one. She has provided us with stellar care for the last 15 years!)

So with that little bit of confidence, I started to put my hand up for a few more things. I tackled enrolment officer (that’s a great way to get to know people!), parent committees, class reps, ball committees (how did THAT happen??) and then spread my wings a bit further into community volunteer programs, all the while gathering more people into my circle. I found babysitters, fellow taxi drivers, friends to laugh with, friends to cry with. Then the circles started overlapping and it seemed wherever I went the six degrees (or less!) of separation kicked in. It made making conversation and more buddies so much easier! My deep breath had delivered me the oxygen of friendship.

A few years ago, when I was doing a yoga course, our teacher told us that when you are ice-skating, it feels really safe skating around holding on to the edge of the rink. But the rink is large, with lots to explore. If you want to experience that, you have to let go of the safety of the rail. That’s something I try to keep in mind. I’m so pleased I let go of the rail. It has enabled me to write this today and has made my life so much richer. If you’re thinking about doing something, don’t let your introvert fears hold you back. Take a breath and go for it. The worst thing that will happen is you’ll fall and get a wet bum but everyone else is so busy skating they won’t even notice!

*********

How about you?  Have you had to step out of your comfort zone to break the confines of introversion?

13 thoughts on “Take a breath, my little introvert!

  1. What a lovely piece. For me,signing up to do an online course really felt like stepping onto the rink and then starting a blog was like going out into the middle and I agree most people are too busy to notice but then there are also some lovely skaters who will give you a hand up if you do fall. p.s what a cozy image 🙂

    Like

  2. Oh yes I do! It is such hard work, but I crave connection just as much as I crave solitude. Your post definitely had me back in my earliest years of mothering… the years of uncertainty and identity crisis. I loved this piece very much.

    Like

    1. Thanks for your comment, Rschel. It is tricky sometimes but necessary to push ourselves a little bit. Like you, I crave solitude but too much is confining so stepping outside the comfort zone is needed in the search to find like minded souls.

      Like

  3. I really enjoyed reading this piece, Carolyn. A beautiful story, well told. Good on you for stepping up to that committee even though it was scary. I’m not sure if I’m an introvert, but I do find meeting new people somewhat angst-inducing. Showing up at a party where I only know one person, I’ll make a bee-line for them and I’m not brilliant at the ‘Hi! I’m Isabel! This is who I am. Who are you?’ I admire people with gregarious social skills. I have to psych myself up before social events sometimes…easier to stay at home in your PJs and read of Anne of Green Gables, but sometimes you gotta get out there, be brave and make new friends! Good on you x

    Like

    1. Yep, make a bee-line for the familiar face and then usually end up in the corner of a room hesitant to take the bold step of approaching an already nattering group of party goers!

      Like

  4. I enjoyed reading this Carolyn. Thanks for sharing! I love your advice to “not let your introvert fears hold you back.” I would have missed out on meeting some amazing people if I never stepped out of my comfort zone. I hope you are enjoying Pip’s course? Dani xx

    Like

    1. Thanks Dani! Yes, I’ve met so many lovely, supportive people by just taking a breath and diving in! I’m enjoying Pip’s course and meeting even more wonderful people. Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  5. Lovely post Carolyn! Enrolling in Inspiration Information was my “social committee” moment. This was followed by organising the catch up, and volunteering to take on Brown Owls Melbourne. It is amazing how venturing out of your comfort zone (even if online to begin with) can bring wonderful things!

    Like

    1. That catch up was ace Deanna! And we all thought you were marvellous for doing it too! So pleased we’ve all taken that step out of our comfort zone. And look at you now with your Etsy shop!!

      Like

  6. oh goodness I feellike this all the time! people assume Im all confident and an extrovert because of my work – and sure I can turn it on at work but in my personal life, I like to bury my head under the doona and stay there most of the time. i dread social invitations and dread even more organising one – for the same fear as you – no one coming. I ummed and ahhed for ages whther or not to join a playgroup for my little one, I did it but I felt like a new girl on her first day of school – very scary!! A gorgeously written post carolyn… and may I say your pictures are stunning!

    Like

    1. Thanks so much Shereen for your lovely words! I backed out of my first day at Mothers’ group! Made it to the second one and still have a friend from there 18 years later! i completely ‘get’ hoe people would think you are very self confident with the job you have. And I can imagine then why you’d want to stay home with the Donna over your head! Well done for taking this step into blog world!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s