"I'm convinced that one mustn't wait for people to reach out -- we must reach in." Jan Karon, author of the Mitford series
Sometimes we wait for the other person to initiate the first gestures of friendship. We wait for someone else to invite us for coffee; we wait for someone to notice we're having a down day; we wait for someone to come talk to us when we're standing in a room full of strangers at a social gathering or conference.
It's true we may feel nervous introducing ourselves, but if we let fear stop us from reaching out, we may end up being on the outside looking in more often than not. And, none of us wants to be in that place.
I believe Jan Karon is right when she says we shouldn't wait for someone else to reach out to us. If we want to be a part of 'the group' then we should take the initiative -- take ownership -- to create and design our own circle of friendship. A circle that does not exclude, but one that is ever widening to enfold and welcome the stranger, whether she is a new consultant, colleague, neighbour, or fellow social event attendee.
Chances are, there will always be someone more nervous, more introverted than we are. If we focus on making that other person more comfortable, we may find our own sense of insecurity and awkwardness lessening. And, right there in the middle of a crowd, a shared moment of 'friendship' has an opportunity to bud, maybe even blossom into something more lasting.
It's another way to live a more beautiful life ... for ourselves and for others.