Finding Your Place Anywhere
When I approach people who seem withdrawn, they almost always express gratitude for my interest and respect. I suspect their presumptions are as distorted as mine. In truth, all presumptions are distortions. We just don’t know until we know…we’re all naive until we’re not.
I often find the most solitary people at social events to be the most interesting. Like poets and other artists, they quietly observe. Why wouldn’t they appreciate a curious observer of them?
The next time you feel uncomfortable or separate from others in a social situation, try connecting with someone who seems equally uncomfortable or distant. You might create a mutually rewarding experience, or even discover a likeminded friend.
I remember a wedding reception in Indianapolis where the majority packed the dance floor, moving their bodies without inhibition. I felt a little envy. They were rocking and I wasn’t. I was afraid to risk looking awkward in front of others, especially those who sat and watched from their tables, just observing like me. Then it occurred to me that they might be remaining seated for the same reasons.
I decided to experiment, to carry my self-conscious (self-absorbed) mind to the dance floor and try my best to imitate other dancers. The worst thing that could happen is I would look like a nerd and open a path for others to join me. Lonely onlookers might get up and dance and prove that nerds can rock like no one else!
If all avoiders were judging the majority—envying or berating them—and believing we didn’t belong, then we were all having the same experience. We were one with our tribe…so why not dance? Who’s looking at whom, and how much does it matter? I had a blast that night and met many people not too different from me!
I welcome your comments.