Three years living in Hawaii encompassed a large amount of sun, beaches, getting fit, and personal growth more than anything. Lessons that I think I have mastered, and then something will come up from behind and smack me upside the head.
Recently I was asked to “friend” someone on social media that I’d met a few weeks ago. She seemed nice and was very enthusiastic. But I didn’t know her that well. What was my hesitation? Why be cynical? Why be so guarded? This person thought enough of me that she wanted us to get to know each other better. It didn’t matter that I will be moving in a few months. Or that I will likely never see her again after.
I have the same issues with investing in friendships and meeting people at church. Why chit chat with people I will likely never see again since we are due to leave? Perhaps borderline anti-social, I remember the meet and greet portion of services attended as a kid with a special kind of uncomfortableness. I would often make that the exact moment to head for the ladies room, conveniently returning to my seat when that part concluded.
I have this other friend who is an open person. Until someone shows their crazy, she welcomes them with open arms. I, on the other hand, tend to be more closed off. Not as a defensive posture, but more from a self-protective nature. I tend to want to make sure someone isn’t crazy BEFORE letting them into my personal world. I often ask myself in situations what would she do?
So I thought about my Open Friend and how she would handle this. There’s a reason she has a billion virtual friends that she ACTUALLY knows. She’s open to it. By clicking a little button, I made the decision to be less guarded, and more accepting…more open and less closed off.
While silly and trivial in the big scheme of things, I’ve found that it’s the little things that all add up to the bigger picture of our nature. I want to be less like my closed off, fearful, self-protective by nature, and more open to people and new experiences.
All it took was the metaphorical click of a button to choose:
And I chose to chat with a lovely couple at church. (Even though it was initiated by my daughter’s insistence that she have a cookie.) I have never once regretted being open to new people, even if I forget that at times.
What about you? Are you a naturally open person or self protective?