I was the shy kid at school.
I am still the shy kid as an adult.
But I fight it every day.I honestly find talking to groups of people I don't know exhausting. My husband finds it exhilarating. I relish in solitude. He panics. I know that a majority of our personalities came already programmed when we were born, but I believe that you can learn the skills necessary to compensate for interactions in the real world. When I was young my parents would excuse my behavior by telling others "well, she is just shy". I began to accept it, claim it, and hide behind that label. I now mask it well, I am a careful listener, ask great questions and can chat with anyone, anytime. I had to develop this skill in order to survive with a husband much in the public eye at church. Most who have recently met me would never know how truly difficult social situations are for me. This week we attended a park day for all incoming Kindergartners at Halley's school. I took the opportunity not only to seek out others who I did not know, but to gently begin training Halley in the art of friendship and conversation. She is no where near as shy as I am, yet also not as outgoing as my husband. It is my heart's desire for her to feel comfortable in new situations as well as seek out and include those kids on the fringe. We have been talking all week about the importance of being friendly and including new friends in play. My heart soared when I witnessed her approach a girl who was playing alone, introduce herself and ask her new friend to go on the slide with her. For the rest of the day they were inseparable and even included other girls in their new little group.
If only it was that easy for adults.
It could go like this:
Me: "Hi, I'm Julie, want to go shopping?"
Stranger: "Sure. Let's be best friends."
Well, maybe not. That would actually be pretty weird.