I am usually pretty happy, outgoing, and can be quite social if I choose to be. While these sound like characteristics of a extrovert, I am definitely a introvert. It doesn’t always work in my favor. I need alone time. I need quiet time. I need time to recharge after being with a lot of people. But my biggest struggle with being an introvert isn’t any of those things, it is making meaningful connections and relationships with people.
I don’t think I am socially awkward. It isn’t the talking or connecting with people that is hard, it is making meaningful ones that lead to strong friendships and relationships with people.
My husband is great at this. People almost always love him. They like being his friend. He keeps friends forever and makes new ones no problem. While it is a piece of cake for him, it isn’t that easy for me. However, I am on the road to being more intentional and not being afraid to put myself out there to make those meaningful relationships and connections with people.
I have three things that are currently and have already transformed existing relationships and are helping me to build new ones with less fear. I genuinely hope they help you to create stronger relationship you currently have, develop new ones, and transform the way you interact with people wherever you fall on the spectrum.
- Read The 5 Love Languages. This book made ALL of the difference in my life. It is by Dr. Gary Chapman. I read it when I first met my now husband. I thought we had a good relationship. Sure, we fought and argued sometimes, but doesn’t every couple? Yeah. People fight. That is normal, but you know what decreased significantly after I read this book? FIGHTING. I honestly cannot think of a serious argument we have had since then. I can’t say this book will or will not do that for you, but I can say it helped me to understand, appreciate, and love my husband better. After reading this I found that my husband showed me love all day everyday, but before the book clued me in I was missing it. Yes, this book is geared towards romantic relationships but the principles can be used with your children, your family, and friends. I promise!
- Reach out. I do not do this enough. I know that. I get caught up in housework, appointments, and daily tasks. I forget to reach out. Ask how someone is doing. Wish them a happy birthday. Let them know I have been thinking about them. It isn’t that I don’t want to do these things, or that they haven’t actually been on my mind. It is that I don’t slow down to take the time to do it. With a little planning, and I mean very little, I am able to get out a birthday card. Remember they have a big interview coming up. Wish them luck. Ask how their vacation was. Let them know they are on my mind. I put reminders in my phone. It might seem like a task or chore by doing it this way to some, but it helps me to stay on top of it and to let others know I really care even though life is sometimes busy.
- Let go of fear. This one I need more help with than the rest. The book gave me practical tips and brought me to the light, reaching out is as simple as making time, but letting go of fear is easier said, than actually done. I for some reason am so afraid of rejection that probably doesn’t even exist. I am terrified to join new groups or clubs on my own. I usually wait for an invite instead of inviting others to do things with me. I am so scared of being told “I can’t come.” “I am busy.” “I have other plans.” Or worse, showing up somewhere alone and being the one who knows nobody. I am slowly saying no to fear. My word for 2018 is FEARLESS. It is my mission, because I know that beyond my fear is meaningful and strong friendships if I can just let go. I have a couple scriptures I am using to help myself, but I by no means claim this to be the thing I rock at. It’s a work in progress, but I identify the need and that is transforming in itself.
Here is my encouragement:
‘This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”’ Joshua 1:9
‘For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.’ 2 Timothy 1:7
‘For I hold you by your right hand— I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you.’ Isaiah 41:13
‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. ‘ Philippians 4:6