Thursday, February 03, 2011

Girlfriends. The Mini-Series. Part Two.

I am an introvert.

Which, in and of itself, is an interesting fact. Because as I described in my first Girlfriend post, as a child, I was OUT there. My self-confidence displayed itself in boisterous behavior. I liked being with people.

Now, as an adult, I'm quite shy. Large group settings exhaust me. Home is my very favorite place to be, especially if I'm there alone and it's quiet.

Silence is my favorite sound. Even more than music (which I also love.)

So, as you can imagine, those are some issues that make friendship challenging for me.

I've found myself, over the years, trying to reach out to other women. Making lunch dates. And then, as soon as the date is set, dreading the actual date. The struggle between having time alone and giving it up to spend time with another person is a very real struggle for me. I have to consciously push through that, understanding the value of relationship to force myself to leave myself to be with another.

I've spent some time pondering if that means I'm just extremely selfish. Who likes themselves so much that they'd just rather be alone? Freak.

Another interesting fact in this whole struggle - is of course, that I am married to the world's most out-there extrovert. Asia LOVES people. He thrives on relationship. It brings an interesting dynamic into my life... one that is displayed every Sunday morning as I stand waiting for him after church... having gotten my fill of interaction in the time before service, I wait for him to touch base with the dozens of people he wants to see each week. Sometimes I get lucky and find a friend I can talk to, but mostly, I can be found leaning on the wall near the door, trying to catch his eye to give him the silent "I'm done".

And then there's this: I'm extremely comfortable being in front of large groups of people. In my work, I speak to about 500 people each week. Which again makes me feel like an awful person - uncomfortable in large groups unless I'm the center of attention. Oh dear...

But back to the girlfriend thing.

How does a person like me nurture relationships? 'Cause I haven't figured it out.

I look at friends of mine who have close girlfriends. And I'm so happy for them. I can tell it is something that is very satisfying. I observe women who have adult sisters - who know them inside and out and share secrets and laughter and years of togetherness - and I think it's a beautiful thing. I am not jealous of those relationships, but I see how well they seem to fill up a special place in those women's lives.

But (and here I go again with thinking this makes me sound like an awful person) it seems to me like more work than it's worth. Because for me, it is SO much work. And I am pretty stinkin' content with the way things have been.

Did I just say that out loud?




Wow.

I know God is working. Stretching me. Recently showing me the value of friendship. I will describe some of those gentle proddings (He's always SO gentle...) in my next post.

Thanks for being patient with me as I process and ponder and pray through these posts. I value honesty so much and I want to be real in my struggle. It's a little hard for me to admit many of these things - so I'll just take it one truth at a time, if you don't mind. Smooches to you, my bloggy friends.

5 comments:

  1. Cathy - I am so the same! I have always called it my turtle shell complex, because after so much social interaction, I absolutely have to retreat back to my own quiet space.
    It was hard at times because I got labeled as a snob a lot. But that really wasn't the case.
    And the girlfriends I do have now, often say they wouldn't label me as shy :)
    But that's because I know them.
    And I am comfortable with them.

    The only difference is my husband Mike is also an introvert. And two introverts together is pretty funny at times :) Even funnier is that I tend to be the one to push us to socialize more these days.

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  2. :)
    hugs...
    and you aren't wrong, it is hard work.

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  3. I can so relate to your post. Why is it I can stand in front of a room of 300 people and give a sermon, but I am completely nervous about meeting one guy for coffee? God has challenged me lately in that all my ministry opportunities lately have been one-on-one discipleship type teaching rather than the large group. This is so outside my comfort zone.
    Thanks for being willing to share.

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  4. Cathy - I could have written this. I too can be found hanging out after church waiting for everyone else - I "know" some of the women at church - we joined our present church when my kids were older, so it is SO much harder to make friends when you don't have the Sunday school "crowd" to talk with and meet- I am "friends" with some of them, but do we hang out and talk, interact other than a meeting here or there? nope. I have two close friends, but in sitting here thinking about what to write to you, I realized I am very , I can't think of the word I am looking for - basically I love them, and we hang out, but I am very careful how often, and even though they are what I would call a best friend,often find myself sighing and wishing I hadn't made a date when I am getting ready to meet one of them. I am much more comfortable with messaging them and "chatting", I often will walk with one friend, but the idea of sitting down to have a cup of tea, eh, not so much. So I guess what I am saying is 1 - you are not a freak 2 - I don't think your feelings are all that unusual. I find it very very hard to meet new people and "connect", and if someone new I meet does try hard to "connect" I find myself pushing away even more. Over the years of being a parent, I have some to cherish my alone time, and get very protective of it. I don't think there is anything wrong with that either. I go out socialize, and talk to people at meetings and such, but only have two "close" friends. Are you trying to force yourself to have "friends" because you think you are supposed to have them, or because you actually feel you have something missing in life and sit and wish for someone to call to go to the mall? God will put someone in your life when you need them. You can't force it. Oh how I wish we lived even on the same coast! I would be your friend and we could be dysfunctional together!

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  5. Cathy- I appreciate your honesty and transparency. Are you taking "Dear Cathy" letters yet, because I'd like you to figure out my friendships, too!!
    XO, bloggy friend.

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