I am the first to admit that I am an Introvert. Some people may think of introverts as shy, but that is not exactly the truth. An introvert recharges oneself by being alone, while an extrovert gets energized being around people.
I have been an introvert my whole life. I like small groups as opposed to large ones. I can get almost a claustrophobic like feeling when I’m in big groups. It’s not that I don’t like people. I do, but as an introvert, I can feel overwhelmed and extremely drained after being around too many people.
I started reading Micheal Hyatt’s book ‘Your Best Year Ever’ this month with my church Life Group. We all took his Lifescore quiz. Not surprisingly, one of my low scores was Social; I scored a 5 out of a possible 12. I already knew this about myself and before I even took the quiz, I had already planned to work on being more social (not a resolution, but a promise).
My answer: Being social does not mean I have to go out in big groups. Instead, I can be more social by being more intentional about planning a lunch with a friend. Or by having a few people over for dinner. It does not mean that I have to go to 6th Street in Downtown Austin on Friday or Saturday night.
Over the past 18 months, I’ve learned that just because you are an introvert does not mean you don’t want to be around people. I live by myself and find that I actually need to be around other people – just in moderation.
[A short side note for those of you who aren’t around me much, I had to have surgery in December for an infection and currently I am unable to drive. I am having to rely on friends and family to take me to doctor’s appointments and physical therapy.]
I have found that I have really enjoyed the conversations in the car going to and from appointments. This is my social time.
I also learned that I don’t have to leave my house to be social. And, no that does not mean Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat. It means I can have friends come to my house and just hang out. We can order a pizza and catch up or watch a cheesy Hallmark movie.
As I was thinking about how to improve my social skills this morning (especially as an introvert), I realized that some of my friendships were like my house. I used to be the person that would not let someone come over if the house wasn’t spic and span. I was putting on a happy face, clean house style, for friends to come over. But in a true relationship/friendship, you have to be willing to share the messy stuff (even if the messy stuff is just the dishes from lunch still on the kitchen counter). Just like a dirty house, I can’t hide my imperfections from true friends if I want to have real relationships.
I am fortunate to have many friends who have seen my imperfections and brokenness and still want to come over to sit on the couch, eat pizza and maybe share a bottle of wine.
Cheers to this Introvert learning to be more social in 2018.