Wellness Wednesday: Real Connections and Emotional Health

As a strong introvert and a Highly Sensitive Person, sometimes social interactions can feel truly exhausting for me. It takes a lot of emotional energy for me to make small talk, deal with crowds and get out of my comfort zone to forge new friendships.

But I also know that I need people, and I do enjoy time spent in community with friends and family. I believe that God created human being for fellowship with Him and with each other. And I know from experience that real connection with other people boosts my emotional health.

The trouble is finding a good balance between draining social interaction and life-giving connections. For me, I feel most exhausted by large groups and meeting new people. On the other hand, one-on-one conversations with a good friend leave me feeling refreshed and encouraged. Either way, however, I do have to plan alone time so that my emotional health doesn’t suffer from too much of a good thing.

The key for me in maintaining emotional health in relation to friendship is to have real connection, not just surface interaction. I prefer to go deep with a few people who I trust and can have regular time with and build community, rather than be spread wide and feel like I barely know my so-called friends.

And these connections need to be in person as much as possible, not on social media. Although things like Facebook and Instagram give us the ability to keep up with a lot of people from all over the world conveniently, I don’t believe that these online interactions are as beneficial or lasting as real life friendships can be. I am thankful for my online connections, but I need real people coming over to my house or going out for coffee and sharing my life on a regular basis.

How about you? If you are extravert, your need for social interaction is going to look a lot different from mine! I would love to hear how you pursue real connections for emotional health in this social media culture!

And now it’s your turn! I want to read your thoughts on your own health and wellness journey! Follow the instructions below to join the link-up and share!

How to participate: 

  1. Write a post on a topic related to wellness, and add your link to the list below.
  2. Grab the Wellness Wednesday logo graphic below and put it in your linked post, also with a blurb mentioning and linking back to that week’s link-up.
  3. Please stop by at least two other participants’ blogs and leave a comment on their Wellness Wednesday posts. This doesn’t take long, and it is really encouraging and helpful for building community and continuing the conversation!
  4. Bonus points if you post about the link-up on your social media. I will feature a post from one or two Wellness Wednesday participants on my Facebook page during the week after the link-up, so please head on over there to follow me and see if your post is featured!

Weary Wanderer: An Introvert’s Reflections on Finding Friendship

I knew this would be challenging, moving to a new place and having to start all over again finding friends. But maybe I was not prepared for just how difficult it would be this time. You see, in past moves, I have always had some form of built-in community. When my husband and I first married and moved to Texas, I got a job right away and made acquaintances at work. When we moved to Illinois, it was for a church job, so right away I was in the middle of the busy life of the church and made new acquaintances there. I could have worked harder at finding friendship and being more outgoing elsewhere, and eventually, I did start branching out after having children. But I didn’t have to, at least not at the beginning.

This time, that is all different. I don’t work outside the home. And I don’t have a church I can call home yet. There is no predetermined community for me to settle into. Finding friends for me and my kids…it is all on me this time. I have made contacts here and there, gone out of my comfort zone and met new people and taken the kids to homeschool outings and such. We have visited more churches than I care to count, and I think we have decided to stick with one for the time being until my husband is called to lead the worship ministry someplace. But, here’s the thing. All this going here and there and putting myself out there to meet new people every week—it is EXHAUSTING! My little introvert self is completely worn out at the end of every Sunday morning, drained by the constant need to introduce myself and make some form of small talk. It takes all the energy I can muster just to get the kids out the door to go to yet another homeschool park meet-up, knowing that I may or may not actually have meaningful conversation with another mom in between pushing my toddler on the swings.

And there’s the heart of the matter. I crave meaningful connection, true community, not just surface conversations about where I’m from or what grade my kid is in. I long to be known and to be accepted and loved. As an introvert, I am wearied by all that superficial stuff, not to mention large group gathering. But when I have a heart to heart talk with someone and feel like we understood each other and really connected? That gives me life and makes me feel energized. It makes me feel that all the work and energy it takes to get out of the house and be around people is really worth the effort. So, here I am, lonely and longing for real, deep friendship. I know that it will take time, energy, and sacrifice on my part. I also know that if I keep trying, it will be worth it. So, here’s to another day of getting out of my comfort zone and meeting new people, because maybe one of them is a weary wanderer, just like me. And maybe we need each other to put out that effort one more time.