Give me Shelter

Maybe I shelter myself. When given the choice between going somewhere and doing something, potentially interacting with and meeting new people and you know, not doing that, I really have to push myself and be in a certain frame of mind to do the going and the doing, the interacting and the meeting. And when I choose instead to stay home and do dishes, clean the kitchen, the living room, do laundry, pay bills, I feel like maybe, even though the house looks awesome, maybe I should have done more. At least gone outside.

I like my neighborhood. The houses are nice, and the people have friendly and curious dogs. But it’s not always easy to take those first steps outside. Even if it’s sunny and seventy degrees. Because people sometimes shout out the windows of their cars. Because sometimes there are zits on my face and the fewer people I encounter in that state, the better. (Though, by the way, the new cleanser seems to be working pretty well so far. I’m still red, but less sore.)

But maybe it would be better to push myself a little more. Smile and say hello more. Meet some neighbors outside the frustrated context of needing to shovel our car out of a mountain of ice. I often lament the fact that I don’t know a lot of people here in Virginia. But even when I do that, I know that it’s pretty much my fault. I can’t blame strangers for not coming up to me and talking, most people don’t just do that. I don’t just do that, so I don’t expect someone else to just do that. It is not an easy thing to do, though. People have their own schedules to keep. Their own comfort zones to maintain. But I’ve been reading The Tipping Point, and the section about connectors really spoke to me. Connectors are people who just know everyone. They make things happen by knowing how to talk to and how to approach many different people in many different social circles. They are the ones through whom you might make friends or gain business referrals. They have an interest in people’s lives and know how to engage others.

I’m not a connector. Though I have had my foot in many circles at different points throughout my life, I don’t do what connectors do. I have trouble calling people out of the blue. I have trouble even taking a first step. But if I push myself to just do a little bit more, get that first foot out the door, maybe I can get better at it. Get comfortable with my Virginia surroundings, with my neighbors, maybe even make a few friends.

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