I am most comfortable with a group of people. When I am with a group, I don’t feel the same pressure to “put myself out there” as when I spend time with just one person. Conversing one-on-one, I need to provide a constant succession of interesting topics, but when I am with a group, I can usually count on those around me to drive the conversation forward. Listening and thinking, I am only a passive participant in group situations. Inwardly, I feel a part of the conversation, but outwardly, I barely speak. While I am a natural introvert, keeping quiet makes getting to know people difficult and something I hope to improve on this summer.
So, when two of my friends invited me to Fish Taco Tuesday at Rubio’s last night with three guys who I knew, but had never hung out with, I said I would go along. For those who don’t know, every Tuesday, Rubio’s celebrates Fish Taco Tuesday with $1.50 fish tacos. At the beginning of the summer, my friend and I went to Rubio’s for my first ever Fish Taco Tuesday. The tacos were pretty good, especially for the price! We wanted to make it a “thing” and catch up over fish tacos every Tuesday. But, as with any attempt at routine, life gets in the way and Fish Taco Tuesday didn’t resurface until last night.
Since I don’t talk much, my casual acquaintances only know me as the girl who runs a lot. So, it was no surprise that last night, as we waited for our fish tacos, one of the guys asked me how my running had been lately. Suddenly, the focus of the conversation had shifted away from the casual banter and on to me. I instinctively recoiled from the spotlight. I was also frustrated. Running has been a sore subject for me lately since I have been out with an injury for the fast five weeks. Didn’t he know that?
But how could he, if I never told him? People only know what I tell them; the mind is a very private place. My friends have no idea about my thoughts and feelings unless I vocalize them. So, instead of shying away from the attention and shifting the conversation to someone else, I decided I should use this opportunity to open up and let others into my life. And it felt good. Sharing my frustrations with physical therapy reminded me that my friends aren’t there to judge me; they are there to help me because they care about me.
For the rest of the evening, chowing down on fish tacos and chilling back on campus, I made a point to speak my mind. I felt so much more a part of my friend group and so much more in the present. Instead of listening and keeping my views to myself, I expressed them and allowed my internal thoughts to merge with my outward voice. I was fully and totally there.