By Jamie Kirk
Why do we complain about the lack of “quality” mates in Atlanta? Why do we complain that “friends of substance” are hard to find, as you get older? Why is it so common to say on a Friday night “there is nothing to do in this city’? It could be that we are not putting ourselves out there.
Most often we get closed off to the world after a bad experience. Many of us shy away from talking about it or discussing it because, honestly, we think if we ignore it, it will go away. We also can be embarrassed and fear judgment from friends and family. But at some point, we have to throw caution to the wind and get our heads out of the dirt and move up and onward.
It’s the summertime, and there are literally tons of things to do, not just outside. Many charity events, concerts, book signings, summer blockbuster movies, etc. All are taking place between May and Labor Day. All you have to do is actually look through pages of this publication, visit accessatlanta.com, or look at community boards at your local Starbucks, and you will be properly plugged into activities. However, the first time has to be with your intention. The intention to want to get out and about!
Being extroverted and wanting to engage with others is not for the faint at heart. The constant fake-laugh, being trapped in the corner with someone that wants to tell you about EVERY step in their 12-step program, the drunk guy or gal, that doesn’t understand “I’m not interested” – it all takes courage and patience.
Once you get over the fact that people don’t find your apartment and walk up and introduce themselves and practically beg you to come out and play, it will hit you like a ton of bricks that you will have to do some of the work. You will have to make the conscious effort to engage with strangers, take a different route to work, join a co-ed intramural sport or even go for a nice evening walk in a neighborhood park. And let me be clear, this has nothing to do with dating or looking for that special someone. This is about putting yourself out there and enjoying the remainder of the summer months.
Just like in doing a race or taking a class, the first step is to sign-up. Once you determine what your extroverted exercise or activity will be, the next step is to commit to it. And then finding an accountability partner that will not let you back out at the last minute, is key. Make it a game, commit to engaging (start small), in two activities per month with varying degrees of involvement. Could be just attending, could be volunteering, or it could be taking the lead. Once you hit your goal, increase it, and raise your bar. This will help you move the needle from being introverted to being the life of the party. Well, maybe not that, but you get my point.
This article is not meant to try and encourage people to go against their natural naturalness of how they live their life and what is most comfortable for them. People that are introverted by nature look awkward and appear weird when they are trying too hard to make conversations with someone. The same can be said for extroverted people that all of a sudden want to spend time alone; the walls feel like they are caving in. It needs to be authentic in order to be sustainable.
Do what feels good. If it feels good, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, stop. But remembering that life is short, this is not a dress rehearsal, make the most of the time you got. Living with no regrets serves everyone. We have to decide to take life by the balls and be the author of our own book, by determining what people, places, and things go in and what stays out.