Making friends as an adult – after college, in the real world – is no easy feat, especially if you are introverted and enjoy being home in your comfort zone like I greatly appreciate. Nevertheless, as much as being home is nice and easy, I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss having close friendships and being a part of a community of sorts. Yet, regardless of how much I say I want it, it never seemed to be enough to actually jump out of my comfort zone and go get it. That is why I am very grateful for the day my boyfriend became my friend-wingman.
We were shopping at a retail store in the mall and picked up a few shirts to take home. As we were checking out, we made conversation with the store employee. She was great, and instantly I realized we had quite a bit in common from our age, to what we are passionate about, to our beliefs. She was kind, and could tell she definitely has a good heart. When our transaction was complete, we exchanged “nice to meet you” and we went on our way.
As we were walking to the car, my boyfriend turned to me and said he was shocked I didn’t ask her for her phone number. I wasn’t shocked at all. In fact, that thought never even crossed my mind. It is something I had never done before, and if it weren’t for him hyping me up about it, I never would have. But in the spirit of encouragement, I marched back into that big, chain retail store, and told this girl she seemed really cool and I would love to be her friend. She gave me her number and invited us to attend her birthday party that weekend.
What I thought was going to be extremely awkward and uncomfortable was actually easy and kind of fun. Stepping out of our comfort zones can be hard, and there is always the chance of looking a bit silly and feeling a little embarrassed. But if looking silly is the worst that can happen, I say go for it; give it a chance. I did, and it went fine. I got her number, and in a few days I would be going to her party.
If looking silly is the worst that can happen, I say go for it.
Naturally, attending her party was harder than asking for her number because my boyfriend ended up not feeling well the day of, which meant I had to actually go to this birthday party, featuring a bunch of people I didn’t know, all by my shy-self. Still being encouraged by my wingman, I whipped a nice little birthday gift together, hopped in my car, and went on my way.
I drove to the apartment complex feeling a bit nervous but overall alright, until I couldn’t find her specific apartment. Discomfort and embarrassment came over me like a rain cloud as I walked back and forth the complex for a bit, feeling awfully silly. When I finally came across her apartment hidden in the back of all the buildings, I took a deep breath, walked up the stairs, and knocked – quietly – on her front door. I could hear laughter and chatting coming from inside, but there was no answer. Because I didn’t want to give up too quickly, I decided I would call her before leaving the party having never gone to it at all. No answer. I walked back to my car, birthday gift still in hand.
And I sat there. And every molecule in my body told me to put my car in drive and leave and never look back. Instead I paused, took another deep breath, sent a little prayer up to the good Lord above, got out of my car, marched straight back to that apartment – now that I knew where it was – and knocked again, this time with a little more determination. I didn’t get this far to turn back now. I was going to that party.
Sometimes you have to muster up the confidence to stretch yourself. When you do, you get to experience new things, learn new life lessons, grow as a person, and walk away with something you didn’t have before the stretch.
We always think, “what’s the worst that can happen?” but rarely take the time to ask ourselves, “what’s the best?” Interestingly enough, neither happened to me – not the worst, nor the best. To be honest, it was mediocre. I had a nice time and met some nice people. I purposefully stayed for a couple of hours, even though I never relaxed in to full comfortability. But, I stepped out of my comfort zone and made an effort to make friends in this post-college, awkward age, time of my life, and that was a good thing. A great thing, in fact. And it didn’t go half bad. If the moment presents itself in the future, I will do it again. This time will a little more confidence.
We always think, “what’s the worst that can happen?” but rarely take the time to ask ourselves, “what’s the best?”
I spent the evening trying new food, laughing a bit, and making an effort to build relationships, and I left with a smile on my face. It was time well spent. Then I went home to my boyfriend, thanked him for encouraging me to ask for her number in the first place, and, in lovely familiarity and comfort, we sat on the couch together and watched a good movie.
Because a couple of hours with new people is enough “stretch” for me for one night.
Photo by David Calderón on Unsplash