Jonathan is naturally introverted, so this probably gets on his nerves a little, but…I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE meeting & talking to new people!! I love hearing people’s “stories” & making new friends.
As a little girl, I never met a stranger. I loved talking to everyone and probably drove my parents bonkers with worry. I remember getting in trouble for always turning around in the booth when we were out to eat and interrupting other peoples’ dinner to talk to them.
In high school I had NO problem talking to people either (classmates, adults, strangers, whoever) & I even competed in interview competitions for FBLA for fun just because I loved talking to new people. I was friends with people from all different groups and cliques. Our high school’s population was very diverse and I LOVED that!
As I went off to college, I noticed that it wasn’t quite as easy to make friends (with girls especially). Fortunately I played ball in college & was able to have immediate friendships in my teammates (being involved in athletics creates a really cool opportunity for some unique bonds) , but outside of that, it was a little tougher. Girls were very “cliquish,” & even when I tried to smile & be friendly, some girls just seemed to not be having it. (Maybe it was like that in high school too and I was just oblivious to it? Or maybe because most of us grew up together?) That was a new experience for me and I didn’t like it, so I always made a point (to the best of my knowledge anyway) to make people feel included and never leave anyone out. And to smile…a lot.
For years I’ve been serving in the youth & worked specifically with the young ladies, but lately have been feeling more of a tug on my heart to serve in women’s ministry. It’s been cool to watch that transition and how the Lord has placed women in my life to work with and to minister to. Women are definitely complex and complicated creatures. Half the time I don’t even understand what’s going on with me!! So as I’ve been praying through this, I’ve been more aware of my interactions with other ladies and I have SO enjoyed all the new friendships God has blessed me with lately. YAY for new friends!!
And then God taught me a great lesson the other day, so I wanted to share. It’s not some brilliant epiphany or anything, but it was definitely a good reminder for me.
One day this week my mom knew I was really needing so gym time in my life, so she watched the baby for me for an hour so I could go work out. I went to a new class. It was a 10:00 am class, and it was obvious most of the ladies were regulars and knew each other and were friends. Normally I would just smile and introduce myself and talk to everyone. And I’m not sure if it was because I was exhausted from not getting much sleep or what, but for some reason I felt very self conscious and just kept to myself. It was surprising to me how intimidated I felt to break into their circle and introduce myself. Afterwards, I was like “Seriously, Danielle? What the heck?” They all stood in a little circle and talked & laughed- but I didn’t talk to anyone & they didn’t talk to me. They probably looked at me and assumed I am snobby or stuck up (I’ve had people tell me many times they assumed I was snobby till they got to know me- I don’t mean to come off that way)…but in reality I just felt self-conscious & a little intimidated.
And this was SUCH a great reminder for me on so many levels.
It was a GREAT reminder that so many times we judge people before getting to know them. And so many times we assume things about somebody without reasoning…For example, assuming someone is stuck up or rude when they are actually just shy or maybe a little self-conscious or insecure. It was also a great reminder of what it feels like to be the “outsider” or the “new girl.” I haven’t felt that way in a long time, and it didn’t feel good. It was a lesson I definitely needed to encourage me to be more mindful of reaching out to others and making them feel welcome.
I don’t know why I am not as outgoing as I was when I was younger, but I know I need to work on getting out of my comfort zone again. Some of my best friends in life have come from me breaking the ice with a stranger…so it’s definitely worth it.
I know confidence can be tough, especially for women…but I also know that insecurity can cause a LOT of unnecessary issues.
Here are a few older posts on insecurity….