Okay, first of all, let me clarify a little from my last post. I am not a completely friendless hermit who is afraid to leave the house, although there was a point in time when i wasn't too far from that. I have recently been 'stretching my wings', so to speak, socially, by reaching out to try and develop some friendships in my life. I started online, making cyber friends on sites like flickr, and then sought out yahoo groups based on unschooling hoping to find some people who are more like me.
I have a few friends that i have had for decades, and will always have as very dear friends, but with the 'alternative' choices that we have made in our family, i haven't been able to connect with my 'old friends' about so many issues in my life, or just our day to day lifestyle. So the online friends really helped to boost me to the next level, which was attending a few local meetup groups; some organized through the yahoo group boards, and some through meetup.com. And most recently, I had a 'meetup' with an online friend, and we hit it off instantly in person as well, and i just know that we will be great friends, and am so excited about it because we share so many things in common as far as 'alternative lifestyle choices'.
But, this for me is the exception, not the rule. And it is just something i would like to CHANGE in my life.
So... I googled "overcoming social awkwardness", and the very first thing that pops up is this article about how this person has been affected, both personally and professionally, his entire life by varying "...levels of social awkwardness..." which tells me that i am not the only one with this issue.
Here is a little snippit which perfectly explains the affects social awkwardness can have on one's life:
"... from the very basics of having enough courage to talk and knowing what to say to start a conversation to understanding how to read people. From the vantage point of today, I now see how this social awkwardness has cost me in the past, causing me to lose out on promotions, lose out on at least one amazing opportunity with a startup, and fail to take advantage of at least a few opportunities to really wow a room full of people with a presentation.
Let’s face it - I’m a strong introvert and the nuances of making friends, communicating well with others, and speaking to others is sometimes a challenge for me."
BUT WAIT, THERE IS HOPE:
He goes on to explain: "Over the last several years, I’ve found a number of ways to overcome this problem. Most of these require significant practice, but the truth is that you can practice almost all of these any time that you want. If you’re socially awkward at all - and you probably know it if you are - just give some of these exercises a try.
Where did I learn these exercises? These came from countless books on public speaking and human relations. Of my more recent readings, I particularly recommend How To Win Friends And Influence People"...
(guess i was right on with that one!) "...and Never Eat Alone... both were chock full of useful tips for an introverted fellow like me.
So let’s get started."
And the first thing to do is: "SMILE AT EVERYONE YOU MEET"
and there is actually a link to an article on how to be an expert smiler at www.wikihow.com/Smile
But i prefer this brief instructional from the blog of a dear online friend of mine who is always so eloquent and inspriational:
"TRY THIS WITH THE NEXT PERSON YOU MEET: APPROACH THEM WITH A SMILE, OPEN YOUR HEART, FEEL YOUR ARMS STRETCHING WIDE. ENGAGE. LOOK BEHIND THE MASK THAT IS THEIR FACE, FEEL THE ESSENCE OF THEIR SPIRIT CONNECTING WITH YOURS. SMILE." I'm not sure if it is her quote, or just one of her favorites, but it certainly spoke to me.
So, all day today, I will be a smiling fool!
I'll let you know what happens!
oh yes, and...