February 10, 2019

Friends,
 
When you are very comfortable in a crowd and enjoy meeting new people and have a very outgoing
personality, it definitely has a positive effect on your relationships and your life. But we have to realize that there are many in this world and our world who are hesitant and even frightened at the prospect of meeting others or being expected to engage in conversations. Many times people in this situation are described as shy, introverted or even antisocial. I’ve been thinking lately that we have no idea how much genetics plays in determining who we are physically and emotionally and I may add spiritually. There can also be psychological reasons known or unknown from experiences during the early years of our lives that make a person very hesitant to enter in relationships when we don’t know the outcome. Then there’s also severe trauma that some individuals experience due to tragedy, violence, abuse or accident that can deeply scar them and literally put them in fear of the unknown.  Sometimes when we observe someone who is very “standoffish” we can be very judgmental, but our experiences with life may be very different from theirs. I often think how sensitive we must be to children, teenagers, and adults. We never know how what someone has experienced in their lives and their background may show itself in their self esteem and their being uncomfortable in certain circumstances.
 
Sometimes when you have a very outgoing personality and may even be aggressive in pursuing conversation with others, it can be very upsetting to them if they are made uncomfortable by your approach. I think of famous sports figures, entertainers, and celebrities; we assume because they are public figures they are very at ease in crowds and being pursued for autographs, photos, and conversation but it is not always the case. You hear stories of famous people who appear to be indifferent or not interested in being recognized or engaged by fandom and we tend to be critical of their behavior. However, we are all entitled to our privacy and personal time. Some of these “celebrities” are shy and introverted by nature.
 
Sometimes even in Church, as I make my way through the aisles prior to Mass and try to greet the
“regulars” and also search out newcomers I have to realize everyone is an individual. I tend to ask a lot of questions: What’s your name?, Where do you live?, What brings you to the Blue Hills Collaborative?, I see this as an attempt to make people feel welcome, recognized, and appreciated. Depending on what’s going on in their life this approach can be very threatening.
 
Imagine the number of people who are very comfortable on social media but not at all comfortable socially. Just some random thoughts.
 
Enjoy Life!
Father Coyne
 
 

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