I’ve been noticing a lack of consistency in friendships lately. I see people on a regular basis, but I don’t always see the same people on a regular basis. I feel like I spend more time catching up with people instead of sharing life with them. I do have regular community, but the people in that community rotate in and out, so it’s not consistent who I will see see week in and week out. Or it’s a large group of people, and I have a difficult time of connecting with all of the noise.
The older that I have gotten, the harder it is to maintain consistency in these friendships as I don’t have any roommates, and I’m single, so trying to have a few consistent people in my life has been a huge challenge. Having those roots really does help me to be able to reach out to others and grow personally. It’s not like how it was in college with easy access to friendships and space to develop them.
Honestly, I’m not sure how to develop this consistency. I know that I can be intentional on my end, but I know that can be a tiring process if I am am the one that does most or all of the initiation. Friendships are hard as adults, and sometimes you have to buckle down and keep at it.
I love hugs from friends and family. There is something very comforting and healing that comes with positive touch. Having endorphins released, decreasing stress and anxiety. Connecting with others in a physical way.
Today’s society makes it difficult to express affection to others. American’s typically have a huge personal bubble, and if you aren’t romantically involved, your chances of affection decrease. I am very aware that not all American’s are like this, but I have come across this time and time again.
This can be acutely noticeable if I don’t have regular physical contact. I start feeling anxious and disconnected. Sometimes I have a hard time asking for affection, but I am fortunate that I have people in my life that I can reach out to. It is incredibly healing to be touched by those that love you.
What does it mean to be intentional? Merriam-Webster states: “done in a way that is planned or intended.” I know that for myself, it can be very difficult being intentional in doing things when there are no immediate consequences. Such as picking up the phone or emailing someone that you haven’t talked to in a while. Or having a conversation that involves more than just asking about one’s week.
Why is it so difficult to be intentional with your relationships? To be purposeful about what you talk about; creating a space to be vulnerable and honest with others and yourself. Or even being intentional about spending time with one’s self, carving out time to just think and process.
Are we afraid of what we might discover? I find for myself that I have a hard time connecting to others and myself if I am not intentional about it. I know that if I don’t make a conscious effort, I miss out on deep and meaningful relationships.
Having relationships with purpose can be incredibly life giving. You have to opportunity to know others and be known. It’s always a choice; a beautiful and messy choice.
I had the opportunity to attend Emerald City Comic-Con two weekends ago. It was a lot of fun, but I totally had to build in time to recharge the next day. There was an expected amount of 80,000 people to attend over the 4 days, which was pretty insane. People watching was fantastic with all of the various cos-play going on.
I loved wandering around and looking at all of the art. There were a lot of neat pieces, and I love supporting the artists. It was hard deciding what I wanted for my walls with so many choices. It’s pretty amazing how much effort some people took to dress up as their favorite characters. You could feel creativity ooze throughout the whole place.
I even had a fan girl moment when I met one of my favorite web comic artists. Dave Kellett who writes Sheldon and Drive. I was really excited when I got a free sketch in one of his books.
Overall it was an awesome experience. Even with it being over-stimulating at times, I would do it again. It was made even better by going with friends who I could nerd out with. What more can a girl ask for.
When I hear the phrase, “the more the merrier,” I usually cringe. It took me awhile to figure out why, but in understanding how my introverted brain works explains my response. I function much better in smaller groups. And when I’m deciding to attend a gathering, having an idea of how many people will attend, and how many people that I know attending, helps me determine if I will have the energy to deal with a large number of people. Even planning my time so I can participate in certain events, and still have time to recover, or make sure that I have the energy to attend. It’s not that I don’t like people, in fact, if I spend too much time by myself, I get a little weird and get stuck in my head. But when it’s an open-ended type of invitation, with “the more the merrier” type of attitude, I tend to balk and run away and hide.
These larger events are almost painful to me as I get overstimulated with crowds and lots of noise. And it’s kind of difficult to explain to someone who doesn’t have that experience. I would much rather spend an evening having dinner with one other person, or a small group where everyone feels like they are part of the conversation. It’s hard getting to really know people in these larger groups when you can’t hear what anyone is saying. I’ve often felt my loneliest in a room full of people, or at meal with a bunch of people talking around me.
If I do spend time with lots of people, I always try and make sure that I have an escape plan where I can have a little bit of time to myself, or am able to leave if I run out of energy. I also try and plan small group and one-on-one activities because I do need those connections with people. In fact, a good conversation with a friend can be just about as energizing as having some alone time, and if I am lacking connections with people, I feel off and unsettled.
I was talking with some fellow introverts about the phrase, “the more the merrier,” and we all have pretty similar responses. We can be pretty social, but please give us fair warning when inviting us to an event, especially when you’ve inviting a large group of people. Even if we need to say no, the invite is always appreciated.
While I was getting ready to post on my blog after a long hiatus, I was feeling nervous about putting myself out there for everyone to see. You know that feeling when you post something on Facebook and hoping that you get comments and “likes” and nobody says anything? I’m very bad at self-promotion, especially when it involves things from my head and heart. But there is a fear that pops up that no one will read what I’ve written, regardless if I know it’s not true.
That fear can be crippling. There is a point where you need to learn to step out of the shadows and learn how to not have fear rule your life. To have the courage to lean in and be open with others. Even if it scares the shit out of you.
A couple of years ago, I read a book by Brené Brown called Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Below is the Ted Talk that she gave. It’s fantastic.
The book talks about how when we learn to step into that fear, the fear of not being known, and become vulnerable, that is when we can step out of that fear. Once we embrace the messiness, the easier it is to step out of the shadows. It’s not easy, and is a lifelong process. I know that I’m still learning and I still have to remind myself that I’m worthy to be known. Some days are definitely better than others, but ultimately I know that I am worthy to be known.
It has been quite awhile since I have dusted off my blog. A lot of life has happened, I was thinking the other day with the beginning of Lent, how I am not very good at sitting down and reflecting consistently. I think and reflect, but it can be very fragmented and I get easily distracted by the noise of life.
Reflecting over the past several months, I am realizing that I’m feeling more connected with people after a season of feeling somewhat a drift. Being part of a vibrant community has helped a lot and developing closer relationships with others has helped me to grow. Relationships are good, but they can be noisy.
I pray that in this season of Lent, that I am able to sit and be still. To listen and renew. To take this time and be refreshed and reflect on my soul.