Breaking Away From Your Wallflower Status
wall·flow·er n. A person who has no one to dance with or who feels shy, awkward or excluded at a party.
I am that person. The forever wallflower: introverted and being overwhelmed by anxiety when I’m in a room filled with both familiar and unfamiliar faces.
I’m becoming more OK with being categorized in this way because it fits my personality type. However, the more I embraced my introverted personality, the more I realized how much I allowed myself to miss.
Letting my worries consume me and staying in my comfort zone did more harm than good to my social life. And I’m not talking about working to be popular or doing something that made me uncomfortable.
I’m talking about being anxious over things like going to the cafeteria by myself for fear of feeling like others would judge me. I have yet to go to a show in our planetarium because I know I would go alone and that would make me look like I’m friendless.
I know that these are normal thoughts and feelings for most people my age. Here’s the problem with this: I am the one missing out.
It makes me sick thinking of how many relational/conversational opportunities I passed up my senior year of high school because I spent my lunch period in the library every single day. I spent most of high school (as well as my first year of college) wishing I was invisible to my professors and, even more so, my peers.
So what should we wallflowers do to experience life to the fullest while still embracing our introverted personalities? I’ve got some ideas.
Spend Some Time With People Too
Having alone time is my favorite thing. I have always been the type of person who would rather sit on my couch and be by myself than go out with friends. I have also come to realize that having too much alone time is, in a sense, dangerous for me.
As humans, we were created to have relationships and interactions with other people. If you can tolerate being by yourself for hours and hours at a time, that’s great! But I would recommend making it a point to hang out with people for at least an hour a day every day of the week. Make it work for you. It’s good to be alone, but it’s also healthy to be around other people.
“Just Go (fill in the blank).”
This is something I’m learning to say to myself more and more often. You can complete the statement accordingly.
If you feel like seeing a certain movie and you have no one to see it with, go watch it anyway. If you’re hungry, go eat something in the cafeteria, even if you go alone. If you want to see the football game, go watch it!
There will always be students you know who are there. Don’t let the hypothetical thoughts of other people influence you in a way that prevents you from doing something you truly want to do.
I’ve learned a few things from breaking out of my shell. I have not yet regretted opening myself up to being more social, even though just the thought made me cringe from discomfort at first.
If you put yourself out there confidently and fearlessly, I guarantee that you’ll feel more empowered than you will feel embarrassed or shy. Embrace being a wallflower, but don’t forget to be a bold student, living your life to the fullest potential.