Friendship is tough for me. I like women. I like having friends. I like having friends that are women. I just struggle spending a lot of time with women – even those that I consider friends. Sounds awful. It is a little awful. But I am an introvert – socially bizarre and covetous of alone time. There are those people that are refueled by spending quality time with others. I am the opposite. I am scared to death of quality time – and people. Now, I have my girl squad. My few friends that know I’m a kook, completely accept my need to cave-dwell (but don’t let me live there) and love me no matter what. They get me. They don’t give up on me when I go AWOL. They strap on their hip boots, grab a flashlight and a piece of pie (just not apple, please) and head into the deep dark cave where I dwell. They coax me out with the one thing that binds us together as women. The symbol and true meaning of unconditional love. The one thing that will get me to do absolutely anything – the pie (and don’t bring cheesecake. Cheesecake is not pie).
I am most afraid other girls will not “get me” or worse, they do get me and see through my cool, hip exterior and straight into my glaring insecurity. It’s the people who don’t truly love me and will most likely not see my socially inept solitude-loving quirkiness as part of my charm that I am most concerned about. My fear is that they meet me and expect more than I can give and when I finally look up from my sensible and comfortable flats, I see the door swing closed and hear a resounding, “See ya later, sucker!” Okay, that is a bit dramatic but it is totally how it happens in my head.
The biggest issue I have with women, especially meeting new women, is my inability to end a conversation well. We will be heading down the right path and it begins to look like we might have a friendship match and then fear hits as we approach the conversation wrap up and sign off.
New friend: “So, it was great meeting you. We will have to get toge…”
While she is talking, true terror hits like a wicked hot flash and I begin fidgeting, waiting for my moment to bust in with my standard introvert “Okay bye.” I’m so concerned that my sign off is going to be lame that I practice it in my head over and over while she is executing her flawless wrap up. Meanwhile I look like I’m getting ready to jump into a round of double dutch. My “okay bye” routinely comes out as a rapid fire “okah-bah” and I abruptly turn and walk away shaking my head and singing to myself, “another one bites the dust…” I know this leaves my conversation mate wondering if I had a mini-stroke or if I am just that awkward. Trust me, I’m just that awkward. In a perfect world I would interact with people once a week, maybe twice, probably as much as I go #2. In a perfect world.
But then there is this:
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Bam! Smacked me right between the eyes. Because in reality my introverted-ness – is that a word? My introvertability? Oh, better. My Introvertabilty is my crutch and my excuse to not have to be who God created me to be. He created us to “Love our neighbor as we love ourselves,” Mark 12:31, and I honestly think I am winning in the “love ourselves” department, but failing miserably in the “love my neighbor.” I said it myself “My fear is that they meet me and expect more than I can give…” More than I can give? It’s amazing how I limit myself when it suits me. My selfish ambition is to self protect. Protect myself from getting hurt. Protect myself from having to give too much of myself, or worse, be expected to actually guide people towards Christ. But God did not make any differentiations as to who was to serve him. We are all to serve God and love his people. And he has equipped us with more than we will ever need to do the job.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witness in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Act 1:8
Yeah, he means all of us. Even us socially awkward introverts.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
Or in my case, so, whether you eat pie or cave dwell or embarrass yourself in front of new friends, do it all to the glory of God.
The cave dwelling introvert