Doing Hard Things (Tip #5)
As an introvert, new situations are sometimes difficult for me. I don’t enjoy small talk, and I’m happy to stay in my cozy, normal box. Sometimes, however, meeting new people is necessary. Sticking your hand out and saying, “Hello,” can be a difficult thing in itself, but meeting new people is a good way to persevere through other hard things.
For example, someone did a pretty good job of cracking my heart during college. The fact that this person and I lived in the same apartment building magnified the negative situation. This building was so well made that, without even trying, I knew when he came and went. When he slammed his door, my apartment shuddered. I could look out my window and watch him drive downtown. I knew for sanity’s sake I had to spend more time away from my apartment which meant widening my circle of friends. I had to meet new people.
Thus began my Operation Chatty Cathy. I forced myself to greet people at the bus stop, in the checkout line at the book store, between classes. Here’s the epiphany that knocked me in the head: people were just waiting—and usually seemed grateful—for someone to speak to them. No one ignored me or insulted me—fears that had kept me silent before. I got out of the apartment, met lots of interesting people, and made some new friends, too.
God made us to be social creatures, and friends are referenced many times in the Bible. My children have been away to camps, started summer jobs, and survived living away from home. Our advice is always, “stick out your hand and say, ‘Hello.’” Friends can lighten the load of a challenge, can brighten a sad patch, and help move the focus from self to others—always a good thing.
How has a friend of yours helped carry your load?