Changing Times…

A friend, who I have met since we moved here, said to me recently that she was impressed at how social I am.  It was in the context of discussing friends I have made and events I have gone to while I have been here but it really made me stop and think about how much I have changed during this adventure so far.

As a child I was very, very shy and got embarrassed easily, especially talking to people that I didn’t know.  I also have a tendency to blush and not just cute red dots high on my cheeks, but huge, red blotches spreading down my neck and chest.  When I was embarrassed it was blatantly obvious, making me more self conscious and shy.  My teenage years were a joy. 

I have become more confident as I’ve grown up, especially through my working life delivering presentations and training sessions but I was still fairly shy at heart.  Even as an adult at parties I would tend to stay with the friends I arrived with and never really developed the skill of ‘circulating’.  My friends are very important to me but a social butterfly, I was not!

I found it easier when my daughter arrived and suddenly there was a ready-made conversation starter with other parents.  ‘What is your child called? How old are they?  Are they sleeping well?  No, mine neither.’  I certainly made some great ‘mum friends’ in this way but I still would have been freaked out at the thought of going into a room of people I didn’t know and introducing myself.

Fast forward to 2018 and our Great American Adventure and I found myself in a different continent from my network of friends and family and no choice but to go for it and meet new people.  And I did!  I won’t lie and say that it was easy at first but now I barely bat an eyelid at going to a bookgroup on my own, meeting someone for coffee who I only ‘met’ through both commenting on the same Facebook post or meeting at a park 20mins away to meet new people who happened to also have kids.

Boy climbing on 'rocks' at playground
Playground time with Hike it Baby friends

Although there are some great networks of military spouses here and I have made lifelong friends from all over the globe, I have also tapped into non-military networks.  In particular, I joined a group called ‘Hike it Baby’ who have branches on the east coast of the USA and are very welcoming.  This has been a great way to meet new people and to discover new parks and trails to explore.

In the six months since we arrived (what?!) I have met some wonderful people as a result of pushing myself to say, ‘Hello’ and strike up a conversation from nothing.  A good friend, who has had her own adventures overseas, told me to ‘Just say yes to everything at first until you find your people’ and I really took that to heart.  I said yes to a lot of things that would have scared me in a past life and I’m so glad I did! 

Although it will always be tough to do things that are out of my comfort zone, I have come to understand that my comfort zone isn’t fixed in place but is continually changing shape.   Maybe I am a social butterfly after all…


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1 thought on “Changing Times…

  1. There’s a book called ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’ – you are doing it! Proud💐


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