Shirley MacLaine once said, “Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends.” Who are the strangers in your life? Maybe you’ve been like me…Do you duck back inside your house the second your neighbor comes into view? Do you keep an over-watchful eye on your child at the playground to avoid the cliqueish Mommy banter that you secretly really want to be a part of? I do…My favorite move is the “busy shuffle.” Its the one where I need to seriously concentrate on my cup of coffee in the church lobby, or where I am suddenly extremely interested in the weekly bulletin. I’ve grown weary of my quick exits and all too fleeting glances.
I wrote a few weeks ago about “sitting on a rock.” This refers to the waiting we sometimes do when it comes to developing relationships. We become so self-conscious that we cheat ourselves out of friendships by waiting for people to come to us. The thing is, usually, everyone else is sitting on their rocks too. Someone has to get up first…Is it going to be you?
I recently found out that I’m not the only one that has been sitting around waiting for the masses to discover my “wonderfulness.” I think most people struggle with confidence from time to time. They allow their self-doubt to infiltrate any social setting, preventing them from allowing people into their lives.
I decided to get off of my rock of isolation, and make the first move. I am praying daily for God’s guidance, and for the right people to respond to my gestures and invitations. As I said in my previous post, I won’t have a friendship where I’m the only “giver,” but I am willing to be the first-mover..to set things in motion..to give people a chance to get to know me. And, I know that with courage in my heart, I can accomplish anything. Okay, that last line was a quote from my daughter’s Madeline movie, but its true. A few people have responded, and I am praying that something will develop. All I know is, fear doesn’t control me anymore. I realize that if someone chooses not to get to know me, or chooses to avoid social settings, it is THEIR issue, and not mine. I can’t take it personally if they like their rock. You can’t make people like you or get over themselves enough to talk…or to come over..But, the invitation stands…I’m open…Oh, and I have a rock for sale…I don’t need it anymore.
Great post. I feel the same way. I didn’t realize how bad my social anxiety was getting until recently. I do duck back into my house when i see certain neighbors. I do avoid eye contact at the grocery store, or school functions for my daughter.
My psychologist says that my world right now is pretty small and that I “isolate” too much. Sometimes it’s just easier.
I do it, too. Study my mail intently, stare at my little dogs, get so engrossed in the flower bed – that I pretend not to know people are near me. Part of what may make me seem like I’m not friendly is that I can’t recognize faces (even those of my own kids and husband) until they are very close. Other people always seem to recognize me before I can tell who they are. It is embarrassing to me.
But the other part of it is that people are too much for me sometimes. I feel as if it is safer to hide myself away than deal with all the people all the time.
You are definitely not alone. Thanks so much for sharing this. I hear comments like this from women so often – and I think many of us (myself included) feel this way.