A few years ago, the hubby (a youth minister) and I were at a new church. We were eating a meal and talking to different members of the church. Then, an upcoming ladies' retreat became the topic of discussion. One of the ladies asked me if I was going to go and I said "probably not because I have a lot of work to do at school." You see, I had JUST started my job as a kindergarten teacher and was sooooo incredibly busy and tired and I didn't have a spare second, it seemed.
But then, this lady said to me: "How are you supposed to get to know us if you don't come?"
Um. What? I just smiled and shrugged my shoulders. I was in shock. I was the new member at church and she was asking me how I was supposed to get to know her?? Well, how about in the conversation we were having? Or in one of the other church events? Or ask me questions other than "How are you supposed to get to know ME?"
Well, that pretty much turned me off, to tell you the truth. I made friendships with other ladies just fine and I loved the people of that church, still do, but I never went to any ladies' retreats. Yes, that was probably me being stubborn, but I couldn't get past that initial remark.
Okay, with that said…. this isn't about that person or whatever, I'm not hung up on it. I'm just saying… If there is someone new at your church/job/school, YOU try to get to know HER or HIM without putting guilt or pressure on them! There are (probably) far too many people for her (or him) to get to know on her (or his) own. Just remember to make it about them and not you.
Listen, this is something I surely struggle with. I'm preaching to myself here. I get caught up in visiting with friends and taking care of the kiddos. We all need to make every effort to get to know new people…visitors and members alike. My husband is awesome at this and I'm very jealous. He'll dart to the back of the church after services and meet people that he doesn't recognize (as I'm picking up fruit snacks and crayons off of the floor!!)
And this goes beyond church. Whatever organization you're a member of….or even at work…don't expect the newbie to meet you more than halfway to meet YOU…..get to know them and don't put expectations or pressure on them to go to your retreat/meeting/party just because you need an extra warm body there to listen to you talk about you.
Fast forward to this year. Last year we moved to a new town and Hubby started working at a new church as a youth minister. I have made some great friendships with women of all ages here. We feel at home here. A few of my friends asked me to go to the ladies' retreat. No pressure, no guilt, no "you have to go so you can get to know us." I'll say, it was a leap of faith, leaving my kids and hubby for two days and nights, sleeping in a room with other women, getting out of my comfort zone, but I did it. And I'm so happy I went. I did get to know other people better and I enjoyed myself there. But I have gotten to know others without going to retreats and I'm glad to know that if I hadn't gone, no one would've labeled me as a "fuddy duddy" that wasn't into getting to know them…..I hope. 🙂