You know the type, they walk into a room full of strangers with a smile. For them, this is a chance to make 100 new besties.
Yeah that’s not me.
I am friendly but I am not the life of the party. Even as a kid I would select a friend or two to play with. I wasn’t aloof, I joined clubs, participated in school plays but you’d never see me as the actor. I’d be narrator or the director off to the side.
Some filter this behavior as anti-social and therefore label it as stuck up. It isn’t stuck up at all though. I am just not the life of the party. I am an observer. I am the one who if I am having a dinner party, I cheat and stack the deck. I invite those who will carry the conversation along. In other words, I invite the host or hostess to my party and make sure they have everything they need.
These days it’s my friend Vikki. Vikki will talk to anyone. She and her husband Alec will mingle and make sure everyone has a touch. Vikki will also entertain me by coming around and making comments to me like she’s talking about someone else. For example, Vikki will say: “Whew! Vikki is sweating over here.” or “Vikki thinks you should have served more fruit.” She says it in a sing/song voice which always makes me laugh so in essence she even hosts me at my own party. It works.
I will, on the other hand, find that one person sitting alone and go make a conversation. I’m good at the one on one.
The stretch for me is walking into a crowd and going and shaking hands and introducing myself and making small talk. So now picture my life. I’m on staff as a pastor at a church with about 250 people each Sunday on average. This is where I found myself in a lesson last week.
My devotional that week was this scripture:
Matthew 14:13 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. 15 When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.” 16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17 And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”
So the question becomes what do you do when you’re called out of your comfort zone and don’t have the tools? You trust Jesus and stretch and go to work. I can teach a class, I can lead a meeting but it’s not natural. It’s the 10,000 hours that you put in to a skill to have mastery. It’s not that you’re that good, it’s that you’ve practiced enough to make it.