“Why are you so quiet?”
I was asked this SO many times as a kid and you know what, I hated it so much. I was so shy, I had social anxiety I am sure, and I was an introvert.
And because of that, I struggled a bit. Sure, with my best friends and family I could be super loud. I remember my parents telling me they were going to tape record (yep, 80s kid here) me and give it to my teachers.
My shyness was really a struggle. I can remember people asking me questions and being TERRIFIED to answer them. I just couldn’t talk to them.
As a young teenager, I was able to use humor to help a little, although that didn’t always go well. I found myself repeating lines from Saturday Night Life or some other funny show in order to fit in with people.
As an older teenager, things got a little easier for me. Then I left for college.
College was so much easier. I was able to talk to more and more people. I didn’t get scared when people asked me a question. I could go up to people and talk to them without much issue.
Fast forward to today. I am in my 40s. Most days I feel like an introvert, some days I can be more extroverted. I am still quiet. I don’t think anyone would call me loud, except my kids. Sometimes I feel pretty socially awkward, other days I don’t. It just depends on my mood.
If I walk into a room full of people I don’t know, I can handle myself. But doing so isn’t always comfortable.
I have gotten up in front of people to speak, and I would do that again, but I can also get pretty nervous when I do.
If I see someone I don’t know too well out and about, I struggle with if I should say hi or not. That is awkward for me.
I know that I am not the only military spouse who is an introvert. I know others struggle with making friends and going into situations where they are the new girl. I know how hard that can be.
But…as military spouses, we have to do it, at least on some level. We have to get out and attend something, whether it be an FRG meeting, a playgroup, or even a mandatory fun event. If we never go to anything, meeting other spouses will be that much harder to do.
Here are a few tips for introverted military spouses who need to make some friends:
- Use the internet
Find a local group about something you love to do. Join it. Get to know some of the people in the group online. Attend one of their events. When you go, you should have already interacted with a few people already, and that can make it easier to talk with others and make some real friends.
- Go places you can meet people
There are probably groups and clubs, and events going on at your duty station or in your city. See what is going on and find some places you would be interested in. MOPS is perfect if you have little kids.
Then make sure you go. Be friendly when you are there, and see what happens. You never know. And remember, there are going to be other introverted military spouses there too.
- Remember, you are not alone
Remember, you are not the only one who is shy, trying to make friends. Other people are too. You are not the only one that feels they have social anxiety, others do too. You are not the lone introverted spouse in a sea of extroverts. Whenever you go somewhere new, think about that, and hopefully, that will make the whole experience easier for you.
I like to say that making friends as a military spouse is a must. This is so true, but I also know getting out there to actually make those friends can be difficult. So, whether you are introverted, feel socially awkward, or just think you are pretty shy, you got this.
Military life can change us and push us to do things we didn’t think we could do. I think this is one of those areas. Military life will force you out of your comfort zone, but the rewards for doing so make it worth it.
What have you done to make friends as an introverted military spouse?