30 (blogs) for (turning) 30: Day 4: Silence is Golden?

Posted: April 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

One of the things I’ve always been less than thrilled with about myself is my introversion. It’s a strange beast because it only rears its head under certain circumstances. If I know you, I’ll talk your ear off; and it usually doesn’t take long, either. All I need is a comfort level where I feel like you’re interested in having a conversation with me and I’m good. Before that, however, I’m useless. I have tried many-a-times to engage strangers in conversations. I’ve been encouraged by people who are more naturally extroverted, I’ve been pushed, I’ve been prodded, but nothing, no matter the reason, no matter the person, has ever really made me feel comfortable doing it.

There are reasons, of course. I fear rejection, no matter the reason for talking to the other person. I fear–and this is especially true when the potential conversation is a woman–that plucking up my courage will be a waste of time because my seemingly infinite list of standards for a future wife is too tough for most people to stand up against. I fear I’ll run out of things to say, or that the things I do say won’t be interesting or engaging enough.

I fear irrationally.

Always, pretty much without fail, the Apostle John’s words start rolling around in my head in these moments: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love” (1 John 4:18). But I can rationalize my way out of that, too. “This person doesn’t know me, so how can they love me. I have friends, I know who loves me, so I’ll stick with that.” There’s great irony in that line of thinking when I spend night after night sitting alone in my apartment because there just aren’t enough people in my life who I take the time to engage with or they with me.

This is somewhat my own fault, as is the introversion. I think it’s a crutch I lean on. At school, we teachers complain a great deal about how much parents these days enable their kids to be helpless, that they allow their kids to learn how to not do for themselves. I guess I’m a little like them myself. Somewhere along the way somebody dropped that “I” word and I believed it; it made sense, I’m a quieter type, likes to refresh on my own. But at the same time, it goes against the core of what I want out of my life: I want relationships, I want a wife, I want kids. How can I manage to be both of these things? I mean, it’s not as if introverts never find someone to date or marry.

Easy answer: online dating enables me further.

Tomorrow’s entry will delve deeper into the online dating situation in my life (as will my upcoming comedy set…hinthintMay12hinthintcough…), so suffice it to say that my giving into the cultural norm of online dating has deepened my inability to engage strangers in conversation, not the other way around. I want out of this cycle, but I feel so stuck, I’m not even sure there’s an “off” button anymore.

And as I approach 30, I find myself weighing on these things even more. I always thought I had time to break bad habits, as if aging wasn’t going to happen to me and I wasn’t going to settle into norms, whether positive or negative habits. Not surprisingly, however, I have and I continue to do so. The choice has to happen now, and now seems as good a time as any.

 

God bless,

Robert

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