For as long as I can remember, I have always felt like an outsider. One of those sad little wall-flower people, looking in through the window at the cool kids, hanging out, laughing and sharing inside jokes. It’s a cold and lonely place to be.
I remember being on the outside during high school. I was friends with some of the “in-crowd” but never fully accepted. Same thing happened in college. Again, at my jobs.
And OMG, don’t even get me started on the book clubs I have tried!
The common denominator in all of these situations? Me.
Maybe my insecurities have stopped me. Maybe my shyness. Maybe my self-esteem (or lack thereof).
But I know I have something to contribute. I *know* I do. I’m smart. I’m funny. I’m creative. And yet, I still hover around the edges, hoping someone will smile or say hi or take me under their wing, and help me be more comfortable. Am I just having flashbacks to the mean girls in high school?
I recently joined a group, ever the optimist. They have been together for a good amount of time and are well established with each other. I joined because I support what they do for the community and people in need. But at times, I feel like I’m stepping into a rushing crowd with no idea what’s going on. So I either get out-of-the-way or I get trampled. And, there I am, on the sidelines again.
How do I get over this? Give me some tips, please! I have been thinking about leaving the group already (it’s been a few months now). They will go on and continue to do good things. And I will feel like I have failed. Again.
So I ask you: Does it ever get easier to fit in with an established group?
2011/12/28 at 9:58 pm
In some ways I’m still the same insecure, incredibly shy person I was when I was a kid. For me, at least, it doesn’t seem to get easier to put myself out there. It takes a long time for me to feel like I fit in. I think Jade should start an advice column—I’m totally going to follow her advice!
2011/11/22 at 11:14 pm
I have a feeling I know what/who you’re talking about. I truly hope I have not made you feel that way (and only partially because *I* feel that way with that group, too).
It’s so effing hard to… believe in ourselves, take those chances, put ourselves out there. I’m going to have to give Jade’s advice a try, too! 🙂
Love you, lady.
2011/11/16 at 8:36 pm
I struggle with similar issues and I love Jade’s comment. I’m going to remember her advice in future situations, too. Thanks for bringing up this subject!
2011/11/16 at 6:30 pm
Thank you so much for your thoughtful and v helpful response. I really appreciate that you took the time to give such great advice. 🙂
Jade @ Tasting Grace
2011/11/16 at 1:58 am
I get totally insecure too and often don’t know how to put myself out there better with others. But then I made a few friends who all did something I thought was incredibly brilliant: they focused their attention on others. They were always asking tons of thoughtful and caring questions about me (and our other friends & family), and they always noticed new outfits, pretty jewelry, nice haircuts, etc. and just effortlessly flittered genuine compliments off their tongues. And I realized the best way to stop feeling insecure about myself was to stop thinking about ME (and my inadequacies) and start focusing on others.
Don’t give up on this new group – or yourself! If you genuinely like them, let them know! Tell them when you think they’re looking pretty or did something you admire. Ask them more about themselves – don’t feel shy or that you’re prying. If they don’t want to answer something, just let them skirt around the question. But mostly people love talking about themselves and are flattered by the attention. Eventually they’ll reciprocate and it’ll help draw you out too. I’m sure you’ll find you have a lot you can share when someone asks the right question.
And don’t worry about not being perfect. One, nobody’s perfect. Two, everybody worries about their own imperfections. Three, others are intimidated by people who *appear* perfect, so four…just be yourself. Shift the attention elsewhere, and the more comfortable you are just being you, the easier it will be to enjoy the company of others. 🙂 Good luck, and I hope this helps!