Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Barging In

I am not a very out-going person. That confession will come as a surprise to many who know me. They see me, I think, as an easy going, extrovert who has never met a stranger. But that is a carefully orchestrated facade. I am basically a shy, bookish person who would rather read, write and be on the computer than attend a dinner party with people I do not know.

The fact that I am the first one to speak in a group of strangers, is a rather new phenomenon, and an experience that is not at all comfortable or accidental. I purposely go out of my way to meet people, get in situations that allow me to speak, and work to build relationships with new people. I describe this attitude and approach to socializing, Barging In.

I try very hard to use wisdom about when it is appropriate, but when it is, I barge in. I ask questions that make people know I am interested. I create opportunities for others to share their thoughts and perspectives. I make sure to listen when they speak. But the most important element of Barging In is not waiting for others to move or speak first. I barge in. I take the initiative.

In a room full of strangers, I start conversations. In a restaurant, I question the wait staff. In the check-out line I am friendly with customers and clerks. At my daughter's school functions I introduce myself to as many students and parents as I can. I spend time with people. I am interested in people.

Now, why would I do this if it were not in my natural personality? What would possess an introvert to behave like an extrovert? It is very simple: evangelism. I believe that I am responsible for telling people about my faith. I also believe that the best, most effective way to do that is through conversation. Speaking to people and listening to them speak are the keys to friendship, helping them with their problems and leading them to faith.

No comments: