For those who have befriended me via social media anytime over the last three years, you’ve probably seen posts about my introverted nature. Whenever my mother introduced me to people as a child, adults would often say “Oh, she’s so shy!” Shy indeed….until I became comfortable around you and the motor mouth was unleashed!
I was the kid who was perfectly fine left to her own devices. My favorite activities were those that could be enjoyed alone, which unfortunately didn’t help my introverted self. Many a summer were spent reading books, drawing, playing the piano and writing.
*Sigh* Such sweet memories.
As an adult, my shyness has diminished greatly but the introverted tendencies remained. I still find myself drawn to solitary activities. However, my environment has changed. I’m no longer in classes with 20 other students who are trying to find a friend to help them navigate puberty and young life. In high school I met three girls in my Japanese class 1st semester of 9th grade. We are still friends with varying closeness. That sort of thing doesn’t happen as easily in adulthood. When it does it should definitely be celebrated.
Both of my parents are introverts who met during their younger years as a result of extroverted friends who said “Let’s hang out.” Had those extroverted friends not been around I may not be writing to you today. From my parents I learned there wasn’t anything wrong with needing to get away from the crowd to recharge.
Another thing I learned from my dad that I can still hear him say is “Be aware, Bran.” My mother and I used to catch the city bus around town as our main form of transportation (no car). I didn’t live with my dad so he felt he needed to teach me lessons whenever we got together for daddy-daughter time. “Pay attention to your surroundings at all times,” he’d tell me in his gruff baritone as we drank from juice boxes and snacked on laffy taffy (true story). He primarily meant for me to try my best to not get kidnapped on the way home from school or mugged at the bus stop, but that sage advice transformed into another meaning as I have grown older.
His advice causes me to pay attention to the well being of people around me. As I said in another post, I spend a lot of time analyzing human behavior, reading between the lines. Sometimes it’s too much and other times it’s a good thing. I often see the side of people that they believe they are hiding. Because of this awareness I sometimes notice when someone is in pain, hurting, introverted yet wanting to be included. There are shy types who are looking for someone to take them by the hand and welcome them to the party.
Then there are those who hope that someone notices their absence. If they are not there will anyone notice?
I’ve been a regular church goer for awhile now. I’ve been to big churches and smaller churches. Regardless of the size, denomination, or ethnic makeup I find that people want to feel valued. They want people to notice them. They want folks to ask how their kid’s recital went. They want folks to extend the invitation for lunch. Now they may not always take them up on it but it’s nice to be asked.
I know things aren’t always this extreme but I always think of the character in this clip from the movie “What Women Want”. I just don’t want to miss an opportunity to notice someone.
How about you? Do you find yourself absorbed in your own life that being aware of others can be difficult at times? Can you think of someone who was aware of you in a special way? Feel free to share in the comments below.