Hi friends! So usually I do Friday’s Food & Fitness but I just wasn’t feeling it today. Instead, I thought I would give you a little insight into something that I have been thinking about a lot lately.
I’ve written here before how I am a self-proclaimed introvert. Well, what happens when you drop an introvert into a foreign country, where you don’t speak the language and you don’t know anyone? You get forced out of your comfort zone.
(With some of my new Brazilian friends–I’m the shortest and the only one not expecting!)
In NYC I typically went to work all week where my job required me to work independently. I could spend almost all day hardly speaking to anyone since my job didn’t require much collaboration. I would then go home where I typically would workout by myself, make dinner and blog. Of course I would occasionally attend a blogger event after work (where I would only talk to people I knew) or I would meet up with a friend. I sometimes went out with friends on weekends for lunch or dinner but mostly I was pretty independent and spent a lot of time alone. I’m probably not the only New Yorker to say that they spent a lot of time in New York by themselves. That is kind of the culture there.
Well, being in a foreign country has totally changed all that. When you live somewhere you don’t speak the language, you naturally try to find people you can connect with. Within a few weeks of arriving in Brazil, I was swept into the expat community, which is pretty small–everyone knows everyone. Now, I spend a lot of my days meeting people for coffee, going to playdates and lunches with people I don’t even know. In the past I would probably have felt a little anxiety on my way to an event where I didn’t know anyone. Now, it is the norm to show up at a restaurant to meet someone for the first time.
I have been forced out of my comfort zone in a major way. Rather than spending most of my days alone, I spend them balancing social engagements. I have become an expert at engaging new people in conversation and finding out about their lives. I used to dread going to an event where I wouldn’t know anyone in the room. Even though I still prefer to find someone I know at events, I have way more confidence walking into a room knowing that I might not know anyone.
Moving abroad has changed my personality in the best way possible. Yes, I’m still an introvert who needs alone time but I have way less social anxiety than I used to have and I love going out and meeting people. It’s funny that it took me moving away to find this out about myself!
Readers, do you consider yourself a social butterfly or a bit of a wallflower? Have you ever lived abroad? What are your tips for meeting new people?