Getting out of your comfort zone

Tonight I attended the “members only” birthday party for my local board game cafe. I almost didn’t go- I haven’t been in a while because I started drifting away from my friend who used to go with me. It’s hard for me as an introvert to go places by myself- especially places where it’s assumed you’ll be coming with others. But I went alone, though I did know another friend who was attending with his family.

I sort of awkwardly hung around and watched him play a game with his adorable toddler, wife, and friend for about an hour or so. Eventually, we started chatting about social deduction games. I shared how much I love these- how I teach a class involving them, played a bunch on the JoCo cruise (the nerd cruise where I got together with my boyfriend). I mentioned how I would just grab random people to play and my friend encouraged me to do that here.

I’m not going to lie- I was pretty nervous. Was this the venue for it? Would everyone hate me for interrupting their games? The first few groups I asked refused. Very politely, but I’m still pretty sensitive to rejection. I was really nervous when they started trickling slowly to the table and I had to count if we had enough and figure out who to wait for and when to start the rules explanation.

We ended up playing that game and I organized another, larger one just as my friends left. I was almost confused as to how everyone listened to me. I felt proud of my leadership abilities. I don’t think I would have had the courage to do something like this until just a few years ago. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was as a child to want to be the leader but to be absolutely terrified to take charge.

I had so much social anxiety in the past that I painstakingly worked toward overcoming. In college, I don’t know that I would have even made it in the door to a party like this.

The games tonight were awesome. I met a lot of new people- several of whom I exchanged numbers with and who invited me to future game nights of theirs. My most exciting moment was the invite to the Cleveland social deduction gaming group! I didn’t even know there was such a thing!

I’m left just feeling so happy that I had the courage to gather people for those games and to lead them in explaining the rules. To chat with them after the game was over. To make new friends.

Like so many times in my life where I get outside of my comfort zone (especially in social situations), I’m left feeling why didn’t I do this sooner?

Take the leap! Do the thing you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t had the courage to. You’ll be amazed at what might come out of it.

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