Being Social Has Its Perks

Those of you who’ve been following along for awhile know I haven’t been too keen on being social for the past several months. Due to some self-realization this past semester (my introversion and social anxiety and… lack to typical college student persona), I’ve been working to pay more attention to my needs and trying not to let others’ (namely, peers) opinions interfere. Not always the easiest when you have social anxiety… But then I’ve also been working on discerning my genuine introvert/anxiety needs from simple disinterest and laziness so that I can be a better friend, sister, daughter, worker, student, etc. Essentially, the me I want to be. And I think I’ve really been doing a bang up job this summer! You know, in an unbiased way, totally… And it’s moments like the other night that show me just how worth my extra effort is proving to be.

Every summer, my neighborhood hosts a free swim night at a local pool for all inhabitants of the residential area and their guests. Oh, so exciting, right? I mean the idea’s kinda nice, but I’ve never really been into swimming. To me, it’s a lot like hanging out, doing what you normally do–but you’re in water… Yeah. Despite not really being into swimming, I thought it could be fun-ish… if my family went. Or if I at least took my dear, younger brother along.

As I’ve mentioned, he’s cooped up at home quite a bit during the day in the summer, so he doesn’t get out much. Plus, I have my ploy to make the most of our time together while our schedules are more open. Er, mine, anyway… So I thought, hey, I can do all that and more by taking dear Macimus to swim night! When I told my idea, he agreed and even seemed pretty enthusiastic about it, so plans were set, all was good to go. Until the night of.

Do you ever make plans in advance, likely due to feeling really social, and then the day of The Plans arrives and… you just aren’t feeling it anymore? Yeah, well… I think you know where this is going.

Neither Max or I were feeling the free swim vibes. But even still. I stood by my initial plan. I still wanted to hang out with my brother. And an hour out of the house would be good for him… Even if he wasn’t initially pleased about it. Hey, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t make him go, even as he was backing out of the plan. But, ultimately he still complied to my original suggestion. And it turned out to be a really great decision.

I’m finding more often than not in these last few relatively-less-social months, that despite not feeling sociable, when I make the attempt to interact with others, I feel happier after the socialization. And my night of swimming with my brother was no exception.

What made it so great though was that while we were out, he opened up to me. Really opened up to me, about the things that have been weighing on his mind recently. Things that, when I normally try to approach, cause my brother to shut down, change the subject. Or just withdraw from the conversation altogether. I don’t know what changed the other night, but he just brought them up on his own. And elaborated on his thoughts when pressed. And it was just a really nice conversation–nice night!–with my brother. He even asked me for advice (not always common between a brother and sister with a significant age-gap…)!

So I thought I’d write about this night here to serve as a lesson to you, Friends, and a reminder to myself some of the best things in life can arise from circumstances that don’t seem so appealing in the moment (i.e. socializing). You’d think as many times as I’ve found great experiences within socializing, I’d be more willing to… be social But so far, extreme introversion has won out.

Here’s hoping you are more outgoing than I! 🙂

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