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I'm an introvert, and nobody in my acquaintance would argue otherwise. It's obvious. A man at work has sarcastically given me the nickname "Chatterbox." I tend to have outgoing friends, because they are the ones that pursued me. I don't pursue people, because I am quiet and I wait to see if I can trust them. I want to have more friends, but people looking in don't know that I want them. I have things to say, but I don't say them until you ask me or there is a definite pause in the conversation.
All of these things are struggles I deal with, and always have. It's to this I speak:
Meeting New People is Hard
The hardest thing about being introverted is meeting people. I find that I love having close friends, but there seems to be a disconnect when I consider what it takes to actually make a close friend. I especially see this as a problem having moved to a completely different area than where I grew up. Relationships don't just happen when you are an adult. It takes being a little uncomfortable with a stranger for a while, and over time, you gain history, trust, and deeper friendship. Maybe I could just see who I was made to sit next to in school and gradually get to know them, but adulthood changes the ballgame. I actually have to act mature, even when I'd rather cower in memories of relationships I wish were still available to me. Relationships take a lot of work, and apathy doesn't make friends. While we aren't going to just gel with anyone, we'll never know if we don't at least attempt to get to know them.
We Must Talk
I'm afraid we introverts often kick ourselves in the foot by refusing to go out of our comfort zone to talk with people we don't know well. We give ourselves the excuse of being a rare species, and hide behind the word "introvert." While I tend to despise small talk, I have to admit that it is often small talk that leads into deeper discussions. I would say that I was single to near-30 in part because of my refusal to talk freely. Thankfully, my husband worked with my introverted tendencies while we were dating, and patiently stuck in there while I tried to open up to him. To be honest, I still have to make myself talk about what happened in my day when I'd rather just be silent. My husband must know what's on my mind, in general, in order for us to be one, and he's learned to ask, "What are you thinking?"
Fear of Being Hurt
Quietness is a safe haven. Is it that we are afraid of being hurt if we extend ourselves to people that haven't proven themselves friendly to us yet? I think so. Maybe most of us introverts have been hurt in the past from someone we opened ourselves up to. I don't know. I'd say it's probably true for me, at least in part. It seems like protection to keep everything precious bottled up where no one can touch it. But that isn't how God intended for relationships to work. While it's true we shouldn't "cast our pearls before swine," we should be generous givers of ourselves. That's the only way we can bear each other's burdens.
Maybe now is a good time for a New Year's resolution: I resolve to open myself up to embarrassment, pain, and awkward situations for the cause of loving others and being loved. By God's grace, I won't give in to tendencies that harm me, while also embracing the unique person that God has made me.