“To be social is to be forgiving.”~ Robert Frost
As an introvert, sometimes I wonder if it would be so bad to withdraw from society and live out the rest of my days in a cave somewhere. However, the reality is that for even those of us who gain our energy from being alone, having a vibrant social life is important. Which is why this is the second door we must unlock in our quest for a complete life. The social circles we belong to serve as a support network on many levels. Having a solid base of friends to confide in helps one navigate the rocky waters of life in away no amount of solitude can match. In addition, theses relationships provide a marketplace of viewpoints and ideas to draw from when making the major decisions in life. Plus, going to movies and concerts alone is highly overrated. However, as with most things in life there comes the possibility of drama and disappointment. Fortunately, there a few steps one can take to minimize these pitfalls.
Accept your friends for who they are. The worst thing we can do is to set unrealistic standards for the people in our lives. We must learn to accept both their good and bad qualities. This is especially true when it comes to our friends. If we only accept the characteristics and points of view we find favorable, our friendships are inevitably going to fall flat. Only by embracing every aspect of their personalities will we avoid unnecessary disappointment, and be able to enjoy our friends company to its fullest.
Be flexible and decisive. While we usually end up associating with those who share at least some of our interests, difficulties can arise when trying to plan things for the group at large. However, if there is someone in your social group who excels at planning fun activities, a willingness to try new things can go a long way in creating a satisfying social interaction. Furthermore, if you are spending time with a group of people who are somewhat indecisive, it is important to be willing to take charge of the situation and come up with plans of your own. While they may not be super excited by the thought of watching all three Star Wars movies (though they should be), it will at least inspire someone to come up with an acceptable alternative. Like watching all three Lord of the Rings extended editions.
Fully commit to enjoying every social interaction in your life. This is perhaps the most important piece of advice for getting the most out of one’s social life. Any activity can be entertaining if you have the right mindset. Having a positive attitude will not only help you to enjoy what might otherwise be an unpleasant situation (e.g. dancing), but will create an overall positive experience for all parties involved. In the unlikely event the activity still turns out be a huge disappointment, the friend who planned will appreciate your enthusiasm, making them more willing to get on board with any adventures you mastermind in the future (e.g. jumping in a lake at 3:00 am).
While there is always a chance for disappointment when it comes to the social realm, by taking proactive steps we can minimize most potential let downs. Valuing our friends for who they are, being open to whatever comes our way while still being willing to take charge if necessary, and embracing every situation completely will go along way in creating the satisfying social interaction vital to a complete life. Life is filled with complications. So why not keep things interesting with a bit of social interaction every once in a while? Well, unless of course you happen upon your precious. In which, case I know of some prime real estate under the Misty Mountains..