I am making a goal of the month, try to reach out to people. Mike and I got up early this morning and did an hour's worth of Bible study discussion by our Christmas tree in our PJs. The topic was "Creating Peace in Your Community." A lot of the discussion questions centered around how you were raised... was it in a family where strangers of all sorts were welcomed, or were your parents more of the sort to encourage you to stick to your own kind? My parents were probably more towards the latter, never verbalizing this (you will only play with middle class white Catholic kids), but also didn't really set an example for welcoming people, either. We never had strangers over for dinner and my mom wasn't big on throwing parties. I wonder if this had sort of an "anti-socializing" effect on me. In retrospect, on paper, I am very blessed to have been "on the inside" my whole life. I grew up safe, cared for, with a religion that was pretty dominant in my city, and white in homogenous Iowa. But, I really never felt like I fit in. Why is that?
When I was little, I would hide in between my mother's legs and was so shy that I always felt socially awkward. Even now, I have trouble with this. Why is so hard to accept the fact that other people might want to get to know me? I know I will never be a social butterfly, but I do desparately want to meet people and engage them, but at parties/pregnancy yoga/with our neighbors, my main instinct is to smile and then want to run and hide and get out of there ASAP. It takes me forever to warm up to people and it is usually by their efforts, not mine, I am afraid. I am much better communicating with strangers via email or chatboard than I am in person. Why is this? I have always relied on an "in" to make friends and am terrible about making that first step. How do you do that, anyway, social butterflies? I know everyone feels awkward in those social situations, but some seem to do better than others. I'd appreciate any tips. Even thinking back to my beloved girlfriends from Marquette, I never did any work in making friends with them... they came up to me and invited me out. Why am I never on the "giving" end? I know I will never be "perfect" but it really is something I want to work on.
More importantly, how do I raise a child that is self-assured socially when I am still struggling with this at age 31? Is it "do I as I say, not as I do?" I hope I can be a good example.