I discovered something about myself this year – I am an introvert.
I like spending time alone. If I spend too much time with other people, I feel exhausted and have to be alone for a while. I enjoy spending a night in – writing, reading, and watching too much British TV. I like to see movies/theatre/symphony alone, because I don’t spend most of my time worrying if the person with me is enjoying themselves.
I’m comfortable around my friends (well, the majority of the time), but I feel awkward meeting new people. I’m not good at approaching people or keeping up conversations. Conversational lulls make me feel like I’m doing something wrong. I feel inadequate – as if I should be a more interesting person or that I should know more things.
I suppose you could say that I also have social anxiety.
I have friends who travel and meet new people wherever they go. To be fair, my friends are awesome. They can travel to a land they’ve never been before and within 24 hours find an amazing new friend.
I can’t do that.
In 2011 I traveled to London by myself for a week, and then to New York for 4 days in 2012.
Amount of new friends made: 0.
However… Amount of shows seen: 10; Amount of museums visited: 5; Comedy shows attended: 1; Amount of food eaten: (too much to even calculate).
I challenge myself to travel alone – to go to places without the safety net of another person. Yes, they’re places I’ve all ready been to, but that’s a smaller safety net. It also allows me to slowly broaden my horizons (i.e. stay in London and do a day trip somewhere I’ve never been).
But I don’t challenge myself to meet new people, because that’s just too scary.
Do I wish that I could make friends easily? Do I wish that I could walk up to someone and start a conversation? Do I wish that I could start a life-long friendship with someone in another country?
Do I wish I could make out with that random person who’s really cute and has an accent?
Yes, I do. And maybe someday I will be able to do those things.
But for now, baby steps.