I'm an introvert (with extrovert qualities) that doesn't care much for the bar or party scene. I enjoy being with a small group of close friends, and avoid large gatherings of drunken people who I don't know like the plague. This past Thursday, however, my roommates decided to host a wine night at our house. When I originally agreed to come downstairs and participate, I had thought it would be just the five roommates. A couple of hours before, I learned that it would be many people, most of whom I didn't know very well. At that point, it was too late to make up an excuse (they're my roommates for goodness sake), so I grew a pair, got ready, and headed down to the party, trying to keep an open mind.
It was awesome. It ended up being 10-15 people, which isn't too large a group for me to feel completely overwhelmed. We all sipped on wine in our living room, chatting and laughing. I even got to see a someone from my high school (something I normally despise) and we reminisced together about our journalism days. It ended up being a great time - something I was not expecting.
Lots of great things can come when you step outside your comfort zone - the one I know I had been desperately clinging to. Another perfect example would be this summer, when I forced myself to drive up to the MMJBA conference alone, then attend the after party where I would literally know no one. It was one of the hardest, most grown up things I've ever done, and I ended up making great contacts and even freelancing infographics because of it.
I am still learning how to disconnect my emotions connected to anxiety and fear to better enable myself to take on new experiences. I believe that it's an important skill to master since it's those uncomfortable situations, those moments you dread and avoid, that present the most growth opportunity for us.