My not-so-social network

Okay, I’m playing on the recent theatrical release of “The Social Network” with my title to this post, but it ties in well with my topic for today: having a social life (and not just a virtual social life on social networking sites!).

In Getting Out of B.E.D., I talked about how crucial it was for me to strike up a balance in my life between four areas of health: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. In the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about that quartet and wondering whether it ought to be a quintet with “social health” added to the mix. I’ve been doing quite well taking care of myself physically (exercising regularly, NOT listening to “Ed” when he tells me what to eat or not eat–but rather listening to what my body really needs and wants). I’ve been keeping up with my mental health by keeping my mind active (a new part-time job has helped there). I’ve been doing my best to be assertive with others and to share my true thoughts and feelings in order to maintain my emotional health. And I’ve established a list of regular and semi-regular spiritual practices. Yet, something remains missing.

It finally dawned on me this week that (introvert that I most often am) I need to consider my social health. I asked myself, “How many times in the past month have you gone out with friends?” (The answer was “one”.) “How many times have you spoken on the phone to your best friend this month?” (The answer was “one”.) “How many times do you get to church late and leave early so as to avoid socializing with people?” (Here, the answer was “almost every Sunday”.) The next question was, “What do I fear about socializing with others?” The answer was just as clear to me as the flashing bright red neon “Failure” sign that I mention in my book: REJECTION. Of course, there are several uncomfortable situations that would occur before ultimate REJECTION would occur. And, since there are few people in my life that I’ve encountered who have flat out rejected me, walked away, ignored me (or said something negative about me), I really don’t know from where this ultimate fear bubbles up. I just know it’s there.

So, it’s time for me to get back to basics. A little “bibliotherapy” is in order for me. So, this weekend I’m going to re-read my friend, Thom Rutledge’s book, “Embracing Fear: How to Turn What Scares Us Into Our Greatest Gift”. Counterintuitive, perhaps, that my prescription for not being very social these days is to curl up in the living room by myself and read a book, but I think it’ll be the first step towards helping me figure out what’s going on in my not-so-social network.

I guess this blog post is here just to say that I am a work in progress. Humans are works in progress. Thank God we don’t need to aspire to perfection. We can choose our attitudes in life and when something isn’t working for us, we can choose to figure out what’s going on and do something different next time. What a relief!

Peace, joy, and (multi-faceted) health!



2 thoughts on “My not-so-social network

  1. Anna says:

    I’m also working on this. But the thing is, America has SUCH an extraverted culture. I don’t necessarily think that extraversion is better than introversion. They’re both fine, even if that’s not what our culture says. But, having said that, I know that being introverted is not the only reason I tend to avoid people. For me, it’s loneliness (I hate feeling disconnected to people around me, so I prefer not to be around anyone to avoid that). For you, at least at the time of writing this (still working through archives!), it’s rejection. So I always have to figure out what is enough social interaction and what is too much. I try to respect myself and my introverted nature by not forcing overstimulation on myself in the form of too many social interactions, but still make sure I get that interaction for the sake of my “social health”, as you so nicely put it. I’ve found that there are certain people (low-key, authentic) that are easier for me to be around, so I prefer to hang out with those people in my free time. The other social interactions I have are for school, work, extracurriculars, etc.
    What do you think about honoring your introversion? (With balance, of course.) Is introversion wrong, something to “overcome”? I’ve heard various opinions and would love to hear yours.

    • getoutofbedonedayatatime says:

      I try to do most things in my life with some sense of balance and honoring my need to be social or not social at any given moment is one of them. I admire your ability to be in tune with your needs for quality, genuine social connectedness. No, introversion is not wrong or something to overcome. Thanks for reading through my archives!

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