“I like people who shake other people up and make them feel uncomfortable.” – Jim Morrison
I recently started taking classes at a new school. I don’t know a soul in any of my classes. I feel uncomfortable around strangers and I do not like meeting new people. I find there is a level of insecurity within me; hopefully I don’t come off as desperate, or lonely, or a nerd, or a jerk. I know there are many other kids in classes that are new and feel the same way. My least favorite thing to do is eat lunch alone. All the people sitting by themselves have their smart phones, tablets, and laptops out. It is a great way to mask loneliness by acting as if you’re busy or to important to make small talk with strangers.
I force myself to meet the people who sit in proximity with me. As we approach the halfway point of the semester I realize the benefits of forcing myself out of my comfort zone. Before one of my classes yesterday I was talking with a group of students that comprised of three rows. Approximately ten students in the conversation and even though I do not know all of their names or have formally met them we have a familiarity with each other. I have exchanged numbers with a few classmates to discuss homework and help each other out studying for mid terms. In the sea of lonely people we have started to create bonds.
As I write this, I am sitting on a patio of a restaurant. I realize that school is the easiest place to meet people and make friends, but pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to meet people can happen anywhere. When I was trying to find a seat on this patio, there were no open tables. I could have stood around and waited for one to open or taken my food, left the restaurant, and sat at a park bench (as I usually do). I scanned the patio and found someone sitting alone and asked to sit down. I made small talk, exchanged pleasantries, and got on with this writing. When my table companion left I sat and wrote alone for a few minutes. I was hoping that someone else would be brave and sit down before I finished and they did. A couple sat and shared the table with me. It is not like we are going to exchange numbers and hang out later because we shared a table, but at least I did not eat alone.
Affirmation: The unfamiliar and different is where I grow the most. I evolve in those times that something is new to me.
Call to Action: Share something you did today that felt uncomfortable, and was something new to you. It can be something big or small, but please share it with the CYLF community.