We’ve heard it many ways. Treat others how you want to be treated. You get what you give. Your vibe attracts your tribe. Build a longer table, not a taller fence (my favorite).
It all boils down to kindness. Be kind.
Reach out to the lonely. Get rid of the “you can’t sit with us” notion and invite people to your table. If you see someone obviously put out, include them. You don’t necessarily have to buy them anything either, “donating” a small chunk of your time will go farther than you would think.
In school, I was never the popular one. I did “float” through every clique, including the popular crowd. I got people together who otherwise would never hang out. I was the glue so to speak. I would go to a party and sort of melt into the background. I love to people watch, always have. I’d notice friendships blossoming, relationships sparking, and it was awesome to see.
But I was also very lonely.
Come lunch time, Phys Ed, or any group activity in the classroom, I was faced with the “reality” that I was alone. In retrospect, I could have reached out to anyone. I could have included myself and I’m sure I would’ve been welcomed with open arms.
As an adult however, social situations become even more awkward and difficult (or is that just me?). We’re no longer forced to make connections and we can hide behind the “I’m super busy” excuse if we don’t want to see anyone. Partner that with kids, and you can hole up for years. In today’s technology-filled world, we’re moving farther and farther apart from each other. For me, it’s very disheartening to see. I have friends who get physically sick when they’re forced to be on the phone.
Growing up, I was one of those people. I couldn’t call my doctor, my school, much less a friend to see if they wanted to come over. I’m much better at that now that I’m older.
I choose to believe we are internally wired to crave interaction. I’m talking more than a quick, “Hi! How are you? Nice day, isn’t it?” We crave deep, meaningful interaction. We care about others and we want to be cared for as well. I don’t know about you but I consider myself an introverted extrovert. Whether I’m writing, watching a movie, taking a drive, or working out. I generally gravitate towards doing activities alone.
On the other side of the coin, I love entertaining. I love to get people gathered together. This is where my happiness lies. Y’all, I rarely entertain. Why? As simple as it sounds to be kind and include others, on the same note it’s so difficult! I’ve never really cared what others thought about me. What I wear, what I drive, how my house is styled. That stuff doesn’t bother me.
What does scare me? Rejection.
It’s the worst! I avoid rejection like the plague, even if that means I don’t do anything. I get sweaty nervous, it’s disgusting. I mean let’s face it; you place yourself in a vulnerable position when you extend an invitation. With acceptance, rejection is near. There’s the chance they’ll be busy or even the simple fact they just won’t want to attend/hang out.
Here’s what I have to say about that. It’s taken me 26 years to not take the decisions of others personally. I still struggle with it daily. The decision the opposite party makes is their choice.
It is not a direct reflection of you as a person, sweetheart.
Simple as that.
They’re just as human and independent as you are. Don’t take it personally. Respect the decision they’ve made, even if it’s not the one you wanted. Keep that chin up and try, try again. People need what you have to offer them. You’ve got so many wonderful qualities about you, keep on letting them shine through.