Are you the type of person who thrives around people? Do you always have one social gathering or another on your schedule- playdates, girls nights, dates, double dates? Do you easily strike up conversations with friends and strangers alike?
If so, you are awesome.
Me? I could go weeks and only talk to my husband, my kids, my mom, and my sister. I’m not completely socially awkward, though. I can make friendly conversation with the cashier at Target. I smile politely at the other moms at preschool or the park. The kids and I go on playdates with friends.
But when it comes to initiating social activities, I usually don’t. I don’t mind doing things alone. And many times, I’d prefer to just stay home, anyway.
This is fine most of the time, but getting together with others is important, too.
There’s a mom in my neighborhood who recently had her second baby. They attend the same church we do and we’ve become acquaintances through some committees and ministries there. Even though we live just a few blocks from each other, we’ve never done anything outside of church.
I happened to see her pulling out of the neighborhood one day and a very foreign thought crossed my mind: “I should call her and see if she wants to go walking one night.”
This thought could not possibly have been my own. While I’m rarely the invitee (social recluses aren’t high on invitation lists for most gatherings), it’s even rarer to be the inviter.
I let the thought slide to the back of my mind and carried on normal life for a few weeks. Still, every time I turned in to the subdivision, I remembered her. Last week, I finally worked up the courage to text her. While texting has many, many disadvantages and I would normally not extend an invitation so informally, it worked for this situation.
A few hours later, she texted back. “I’d love to go walking with you! Thank you so much for asking me. I’ve been really struggling lately and I think this will be great!”
We walked about 2 miles that night. We chatted with ease. We realized we had some similar issues. We laughed. We decided to start walking together once a week. Before we went our separate ways, she thanked me again for asking her. “I really needed this,” she said again.
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own little worlds that we forget to reach out to others. Maybe you are like me and you get nervous and uncomfortable in new situations. Maybe you are too consumed by work or other priorities to even think about adding something else to the mix. Maybe you already have a gaggle of friends and you think you don’t have the time or energy to gain a new one. Maybe you’ve let a friendship fall to the back burner for one reason or another.
Obviously, life happens. But when we get so consumed with ourselves, we miss opportunities to make someone else’s life brighter, to make an acquaintance a friend, to find and/or give support and encouragement.
Is there someone you could connect with today?
Life happens when we reach out to others.
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