Friday, December 14, 2018

Introvert Problems?

I'm odd.

I'm an introvert. But... also really friendly. I have adopted my dad's ability to strike up a conversation with anyone in the line at the grocery store. And also, talking to people beyond that initial small talk makes me a little nervous. I have a job where I lead workshops with 20+ people that I adore. And small group conversation in which I am a participant is just about the worst thing you can do to me.

I have this big open courtyard where I'm super-open and will let anyone into... and yet my inner walls can be very high and I'm super-picky about who I'll let past them. And if I ever do, I have to work really hard to NOT kick people back out from fear.

I don't make real friends easily. And I'm even worse at maintaining them... I think, partly, because I have a deeply rooted fear of that moment of panic when you're talking to someone, and you've sort of finished the line of conversation you were just on, and you're scrambling for what the next one is going to be. I don't know if everyone else panics in that moment, but I panic. I feel very very inept and pretty sure that whoever I'm with is never going to want to hang out with me again.

I've been out a couple times over the last couple months with old friends where I just... didn't feel that... and it's hard to communicate the relief and gratitude I felt for it.

Several weeks back, I went out with an old friend that I've known for 10 years. We met because of mutual interest in a musical group... lol Well.  She owns it, I follow it. I guess that's mutual interest. Sort of.  Anyway, we began a friendship... half one of friendship, half one of mentoring. She's been terribly kind to me over the years in ways I will always appreciate, and I love her.  But... we hadn't seen each other for three or four years, and when we decided to meet for coffee, I felt that old fear flare up.  "What if we run out of things to talk about in 10 minutes? What if I can't think of what to say? I'm bad at this. What if it's weird? What if it's a total disaster?"

Which... ended up being ridiculous. I worried about filling an hour over coffee. But, our coffee date turned into a coffee... and then across the street for drinks... and then down the block for dinner with her son.  Like 7 hours? Not seeing each other for 3 years gave us tons to catch up on and talk about... lives, our kids, our love lives, work, gossip, lessons and regrets, hopes, plans for the future, the literal whole 9 yards.

I walked back to my car with a full and happy heart.... but also a grateful one. All those things I had worried about just weren't a thing.

Last week, my husband and I met a couple for brunch who are some of our dearest of friends. These ones I didn't even worry about...  We used to live in Southern California, and we had the most awesomest of friend groups when we lived there. They were from that time. We went to college with Fred, we worked in youth ministry at a great church together, and he has been like a brother. When he (finally!) found a woman he loved, I was totally nervous about whether we would get along. But we ended up totally clicking and I adore her!  They moved to Vancouver a year ago, and we have been (badly) trying to get together ever since. But, mission finally accomplished!

Perfect day. Full heart. Embarrassed that it took us so long!

Maybe I just need to worry about all that less. Avoid people less. Be less odd.

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