I've always felt like I didn't quite have a knack for the whole interacting-with-friends thing the way other people do. I adore my friends. But, I am not an exceptionally social person. I love to interact with people, but I am always a bit self-conscious, no matter my level of comfort with that person.
When I was a kid I was super, crazy shy. I always had a book with me on the school bus because I was too terrified to talk to anyone. The older I got the better I got about interacting with people. Now, I can mix and mingle at a work function and not stress over it too much. And I've been told that I come across as outgoing (which truly surprises me). I've gotten good at meeting people, making acquaintances. But developing real, genuine connections with people is still difficult for me.
I think sometimes I'm a homebody because it's easy to be one. If I'm hanging out at home by myself, I don't worry about whether I'm talking too much, not enough, not being entertaining enough, acing overly needy, etc. It's safe to be by myself. Actually going out and spending time with someone is not safe. I wonder whether I'm being annoying, whether I'm any fun to hang out with, whether I'm saying or doing the wrong thing.
I've been thinking about this lately because over the next few months I won't be working, I won't be in class. I'll just be taking some time off. And I know that my natural inclination will be to stay home 24/7, and to withdraw a bit. So I'm going to challenge myself to reach out to my friends, maybe to invite people over for dinner (gasp), or try to schedule more lunches out. Who knows?
I cherish the friends that I have. I realize that they may not know that, because I am not good about making it known how important my friends are to me. It's way easier for me to come across as self-sufficient, as though I don't need friends. But I do. And I know some truly amazing people, people that I would love to spend more time with. It's just not easy for me to tell them that. If you are reading this, it's a virtual certainty that you are one of those people. So know that you mean the world to me, even if I've never told you.