I find it absolutely ironic that the one major thing our parents told us not to do (talk to strangers) is one of the hardest things for people to accomplish. Well, it is for me at the very least. I can be described as an introvert cloaked in an extrovert’s clothing. Meaning, I look like I’m totally outgoing and will act as such, but really I’m just a neurotic weirdo who silently has anxiety attacks when thrown into unknown social situations. When I was a “slave to the man” I had to interact with tons of people. Extroversion was a muscle that I had flexed quite a bit. Now that I’m on Bum Island, most of the time it’s just my fur-child and I.
Quick exercise science question: what happens to a muscle when you don’t use it? You lose it. Same goes for my learned extroversion. Granted I have made more friends in the past 7 weeks than I have all of last year, but the little things tend to freak me out. Grocery shopping while it’s crowded or calling customer service people for example. Recently, I’ve discovered that doing the simplest tasks involving massive amounts of people terrify the hell out of me. Seriously, I’m getting an anxiety just thinking about it. Yesterday, I had to go to the grocery store at night. It went more smoothly than the last time, however I could sense my apprehension as I entered the store. Maybe it’s because I’m not around a lot of people as I used to be but, crowds can get a little overwhelming. Now, I’m not agoraphobic, in fact, I love walking around my neighborhood with my dog. The weather has been nothing short of superb, so I’m trying to enjoy it while it lasts. I also frequent the Starbucks near my house to write and to people watch. I absolutely love people, though I’ve been known to observe people instead of interacting with them. I am trying to find a happy medium between the two.
Since my whole declaration of getting out of my comfort zone, I have made progress. I chatted up a cutie at the coffee shop (my execution was laughable, but progress is progress). Also I’ve been really getting into eating healthier and exercising regularly. Now it’s time to start exercising that social muscle. Still, talking with strangers is something we need to do to make them friends right? After all, we all started out as strangers at some point.