So, I get it.
You decided to go to that social event, playgroup, or conference and now you’re nervous about it and want to back out.
What if you have no one to talk to? What if everyone else knows each other? What if you have nothing in common? What if you feel stupid? What if…?
It happens almost every time I commit to something of a social nature (aside from small gatherings where I am really close with everyone). And the thing is? I am a rather social person. I get a lot of energy after going to a party and talking with new people.
And yet. Almost every single time, I start to think, “Well, maybe I should just stay home and get something done here instead.” Or, “The weather is kinda bad and it’s so warm inside.” It’s really my nervousness about being in a new situation speaking, not my desire to stay home and be lazy. (Usually. Though sometimes my sweatpants are particularly comfortable.)
Every now and then, I do let myself be a flake and stay home, but every single time I decide to go and be social? I am so glad I did. As much as I love the internet (hiii, internet!) and all the wonderful people here, there is nothing quite like getting to spend time with folks in person. Sure, I could tweet and Facebook and text all day long, but that doesn’t fulfill my need for actual, human connection. Even when I try to convince myself that, “Eh, I don’t really need that. Not today.” it’s often because I’m being a wimp.
So this is my reminder to myself – you never regret going to that social gathering, that conference, that book club meeting, that play date. Worst case scenario: it’s awkward for a few minutes. Most likely: you have a great time, learn something, connect with someone, and are actually kinda proud of yourself for stepping outside your comfort zone.
Now I’m mom to a preschooler who’s rather shy, so I want to do my best to model courage in social situations. I’m far from a wallflower when I actually *go,* but I just need to courageous enough to try something new. To be vulnerable and put myself out there without worrying (too much) about feeling stupid or awkward. That connection isn’t only found behind the comfort and safety of my keyboard, but in the awesome community I’m lucky enough to live in.
(This kind of sounds like I’m some anxiety-ridden recluse. Not at all! I just get a little nervous almost every time I go to something where I’m not good friends with everyone else going. I go. I just get nervous.)
On that note, I think I’m finally going to sign up and go to a local WordPress meetup.
What if I feel stupid? What if I feel like a novice? What if they are all weird? What if I am incredibly awkward?
What if it’s freaking awesome and I make local connections with people with similar interests and careers? What if I finally feel like someone local gets what I do without a long explanation? What if I learn something new? What if I’m really glad I went?