Why Being Social Sucks

social, socialize, sociaizing, network, networking,talk, share, awkward, connect, work, effort, dream, anxiety, smile, people, connect, connections, friends, different, discomfort, uncomfortable, bubble, antisocial, wrong, key, life, job, jobs, listen,open, heart, mark, talk, strangers, views, story, stories, work, smile, power, sucks, why,benefit, possibilities, benefits, I have never really been a social butterfly. I grew up an only child so the need to share was never present. Well, at least not until my sister was born. Even then, I don’t think I ever really grasped how to be or how to share anything with other people.

As I grew older, I was the awkwardly tall girl. I always felt like I was very different so I did everything in my power to not participate in events. I had my circle of friends somehow but I usually ended up being the odd one out.

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking. Socializing is the key to life. It can lead to networking, which is really just socializing with a purpose. It is how people land jobs they might have never even dreamed of. It is how you connect with people and reassure yourself that you’re never alone.

Once it was time for college, I decided to stay just as antisocial as before. This lead to never networking with the right people nor opening the right doors for myself.

I missed the mark. I often retreated to a lonely place. This created a lot of anxiety that was very difficult to shake in my later years. Now that I am in my late 20s, I realize I had it wrong all along.

But why did I refuse to be social all the years?

For one, being social requires sharing. You have to give to get. In order for people to be interested in you, you must share bits and pieces of your own life to gain rapport. And who likes to put in work? I never did.

Chances are, if you share something with someone, they will share something with you. This happens because sharing conveys vulnerability which can entice people to open up more as a result.

Two, being social requires listening. Who likes to listen? Only the smartest of people. I was so self-absorbed in my own little world to ever notice that other people’s views and stories are completely relevant and valuable.

Listening more and talking less can teach anyone things they maybe never knew or things they never thought they ever needed to know.

Three, being social requires a certain level of discomfort. Chitchatting with strangers is never going to be the most comfortable thing in the world. But chances are, the other person is are worried about what they’re going to say next than whatever is coming out of your mouth or how it sounds.

Once you get over that first stage of awkwardness, socializing stops being awkward and starts being constructive.

In retrospect, how lazy could one girl be? Socializing really requires little effort and a bit of discomfort. There should really be mandatory courses in school to help students understand the value and need for socializing.

Yes, being social takes some work. And yes, it requires some discomfort. It also provides benefits we sometimes fail to see because we are too busy living in our “bubbles.”

Now that I am older, I realize that I have to make an effort to socialize. A greater effort than ever before because I am no longer in school surrounded by hundreds or thousands of people on a daily basis.

But guess what? I am willing put in the effort now. It’s never too late, right?

The last few months I have made it my mission to be social. I have gone to events I would usually turn my back to and I have had a hell of a time doing it. Sure, I don’t need more friends, but it doesn’t hurt to make them. And if you can make a few more people smile during your lifetime, you can leave a greater mark than ever.

In the end, socializing is networking, and networking is power. Making connections early in life can really help you navigate the world later in life. Although the benefits of socializing/networking are not always obvious and/or immediate, the possibilities are endless once you decide to open up to others.

Choose to share. Choose to socialize. Choose to open your heart.

Love Deeply and Forever,

Karen

Why Life Is Sometimes Painful

I was talking to an old friend over the phone last night. I told her about all my troubles and pains. I let her know that I have been in and out of positive and negative thoughts this week. She patiently listened to me as I vented about one of the most difficult weeks I have ever had in my life.

She finally decided to give me her input and broke it down into one simple idea. “We are all going through our own personal hell. Although everyone’s story is different, they are all different versions of hell nonetheless.”

My heart sank. I don’t think I have ever heard such a truth in my life.

When I am happy and smiling, I often find it hard to connect with others. I figure this is because not everyone is as happy as I seem. But when there is pain within me, I can somehow magically connect with everyone I come across. This might be because of the fact that pain is universal.

We all go through our own version of hell. Whether one version sounds more serious or heartbreaking than the other, each one of us has our own version to share with the world if we decide to do so.

This past week I realized pain connects people in ways I never thought possible because it runs so deep and brings so many other emotions to the surface. Without the pain, there is no recovery. Without the darkness, there can be no light.

I found so much comfort in listening to other people’s versions of hell. It’s not because my hell seemed less horrible than theirs but because I found comfort knowing that they, too, have felt just as hopeless and lost as I have recently.

There is something beautiful about pain. I oftentimes find myself more inspired to write when things aren’t going as “planned.” And that’s the thing about life, there are no real concrete plans. Life will hit us when it feels like it and show us that pain exists so we can come out of it more resilient and powerful than ever.