The older I get, the more I value relationships that aren’t one-sided. I grew up an only child and spent a lot of time alone. I often tell my husband that for me being alone is easy, not always fun, but easy. It’s actually a state I’ve grown to miss having children and all. It’s cultivating, strong relationships with people that I find difficult. The thing is that I’m an amazing friend. When I tell people that I’m introverted, they usually laugh. It’s because I consider myself a situational introvert. If I’m in a room full of people, I can go very unnoticed but if I’m with a group that knows me, I have fun for sure. My closest friends wouldn’t say I’m introverted at all. It’s because, with them, I’ve thrown the chips and let them lay where they fall. I believe in being yourself and allowing the people who love you to love you as your genuine self.
This is why I cherish relationships. If I’ve allowed myself to step outside my comfort zone and be myself, I’ve accomplished something. As an introvert, I’ve worked very hard to be who I am today. I’ve had to learn to make some changes, learn to initiate conversations, and be as open as I can with people I don’t know. It’s how I’ve grown to be transparent, unpredictable, and impulsive if that makes any sense. If I think too long about something, I can talk myself out of it. It’s truly a gift and a curse.
I love meeting new people and learning who they are. That’s non-characteristic of an introvert but it’s true for me. I, in no way, have it all figured out but I take personal growth very seriously. I acknowledge my faults and try to build on them. And I don’t think people are meant to live fully in solitude.
To begin to come out of my shell and cultivate relationships, I started doing a few things.
The first thing I did was stop rejecting invites. Who else does this? I did this a lot in college and ended up just staying in my apartment alone. I feel that I missed many opportunities for close friendships during that time in my life. I know that when people invite you out and you constantly reject them, they eventually stop asking. Learn to take the invite even when you don’t feel like it. It’s commonly that you have a good time after all.
Another thing I did was start being engaging on social media. Social media is easy for me. I’m not big on phone calls but great with text. I love sending messages via the web or through text messages. I didn’t grow up using the phone frequently, so it’s just one of those things that’s stuck with me. Frequently, I just put myself out there and see who vibes with me and who doesn’t. No one person is for everyone, right?
Next, I started setting healthy boundaries. I’m big on boundaries and feel they’re necessary in every relationship. I communicate my expectations with friends and family so that we always have mutual understanding. If I’m invited somewhere and I prefer to drive myself, that has to be ok. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries.
I also started stepping outside my comfort zone. Anyone knows that, while it’s easy to do what’s comfortable, it isn’t always best. For the most part, I’m learning to push through with things even in my times of discomfort. I usually look forward to alone time after a day that has required me to exert a large amount of energy. I’m cranky if I don’t give myself time to recharge. Take the time to recharge. You earned it.
I have a big heart and always put the people I care about first. I cherish relationships because of this. Don’t let being an introvert make you feel that you always need to be alone. Just because you weren’t most popular or voted the friendliest, it doesn’t mean that no one will find your relationship valuable. Take the necessary steps to break out of your shell, even if for just short periods of time, and build some amazing relationships. Everyone deserves authentic, non-toxic relationships.
Share ways you cultivate relationships in the comments.