March 14, 2021

Affirmators! Week 4: Connection

Affirmators! are cards that contain positive affirmations. My friend John sent me a deck of them and I decided that I'll read one per week and then try to utilize that affirmation. So that's what this Affirmators! series is about.

Last week, my card was about authenticity and being true to myself. I don't have too much trouble with that one, especially as I get older and I care less and less about what others think of me. (Of course I want people to like me, but only if they like the authentic me--I don't want to change who I am just to please someone else.) I don't expect everyone to like me, just as I don't like every person I meet. I think that everybody should be their authentic selves, which will make them draw like-minded people to them and form connections. Which leads me to this week's card...

When I drew today's card, I was tempted to replace it and draw another. However, it really is relevant to me and actually very relevant with all that is going on with this COVID pandemic. Today's card was about Connection.

In case you can't read it, here is what it says:

"I'm connected to the multitudes, and I can access their support at any time. Even a stranger offers a sense of comfort when they smile at me or make a dumb comment about the weather. Everyone is waiting to connect... all I need to do is open myself up and pay attention. (Not to self: work on witty banter about weather-related stuff.)"

As an introvert, I have a VERY hard time making small talk with people. It's something that has bothered me my whole life. I've always wanted to be one of those people who naturally just thinks of things to say and start up conversations with total strangers in the grocery line or waiting for a bus or something. I usually just feel extremely uncomfortable while I try to think of something to say.

I'm also very shy. If I do manage to say something, I think about it in my head over and over, wishing I'd said something different or wondering if it sounded dumb.

Last week, I reached out a bit--out of my comfort zone, anyway. I have an app called 'nextdoor', which is a little social media bulletin for our neighborhood (and surrounding neighborhoods). Most of the time, people use it to bitch about everything--dogs running loose, people driving too fast, loud music, etc. It's really negative and I've thought about deleting it, but I do like to see if anything is going on in the neighborhood.

When I was walking every day, I noticed that someone had thrown a mattress in the canal. WHY, I have no idea. But it's trashy! People dump their old furniture in the canal so they don't have to deal with it (all you have to do to get rid of it is to call a phone number for a pick-up). Anyway, someone posted about it on 'nextdoor', complaining about how trashy the neighborhood is, etc. People complain but nobody ever does anything about it.

A woman named Monika said that she has a truck and would anyone be willing to help her haul it out of the canal? I volunteered to help her (it sounds like such a little thing, but it made me nervous because I didn't know her). Anyway, we agreed to meet that morning, and I rode my bike over there. Monika was super nice!

The mattress was like a giant sponge (it was a memory foam mattress) and SO SO heavy! The water smelled terrible, but we heave-hoed and inched our way up the embankment with the mattress. We managed to load it into the bed of her truck. She offered to take it home and call the number for a pick-up.

As simple as that, the mattress was out of the canal--and it only took a week's worth of people bitching about it. Another woman who had seen the post asked if anyone would be interested in doing a neighborhood clean-up day. The thought of that makes me nervous, too, because it would be lots of people I don't know (or who knows, maybe only a few of us would show up) but I said to count me in. I'm trying to get more comfortable with meeting new people and with making small talk.

I really like this Affirmators! card today. I do need to work on witty banter about weather-related stuff, haha. Or at least something other than, "I just wish this pandemic was over already." (Same thing everyone says to each other now.)

I do try to keep in mind that maybe other people feel the same way I do and they are trying just as hard to come up with something to say. It's not that I don't WANT to talk to people--I just never know what to say. I would love to make a connection with people of all types, even if it's just for a moment in the grocery line. :)


  1. I love how you are making the most out of each of these cards. I think it's awesome.

    1. Sadly, I've been avoiding your posts about your own Affirmators! Haha, I just don't want to read them because I want them to be a surprise for myself ;) I'll go back and read them once I'm done with mine. I hope you are enjoying them as much as I am mine!

  2. Katie, I was exactly the same way. I was terrified to speak to strangers and I've attended conferences where I didn't speak one word all day! In second grade I peed my pants in class because I was afraid to speak up and ask permission to go to the bathroom. I can remember the conversation in my head trying to work up the courage to ask...and the humiliation of kids on the bus ride home chanting "Susan peed her pants".

    But over time I've found that I can make small talk with strangers. A comment in the grocery line, quick conversation at a gets a little easier. Heck, people at work don't believe I'm an introvert or shy (I'm in human resources!) but I still have my struggles talking to strangers sometimes. Just keep doing those little things and it will get easier.

    I love reading your blog... that's a connector too.

    1. Conferences are the worst! It's taken me over 15 years in my field to finally feel sort of comfortable talking to the older/more experienced crowd and not worry if I sound naive/stupid. Conferences can feel very clique-ish, almost like high school...

  3. I think that's so awesome! Way to step out of your comfort zone! I too am a huge introvert and I honestly just hate social situations. Maybe I'll be brave someday! But I would have no idea where to even start haha

  4. Oh goodness. Once again a post of yours hits home. Thanks. Also, go you for helping clean up the neighborhood!!

  5. Maybe your local wildlife is good for small talk. They talk about squirrels and foxes and badgers here as that's what we have. I see lots of other parents picking up from school so general kids/school stuff is easy. My kids have just have 1 week back in school, with all the other kids after home school since Christmas. It's soo much better. I'm not allowed to talk to more than one person outside my household still so not much small talk for me.

  6. I actually got these for christmas this year and wasn't sure what to do with them! Now I do the same thing and put one on my bathroom mirror every Sunday! so thanks for the idea!! :D

  7. I was always very shy when I was younger, but have been working on it as I'm getting older, and care less and less what others think of me. A few years ago, I challenged myself and got a job bartending at a small bar in town, one night a week, and I think that really helped me get over my fears! I quit because of covid, but miss it every once in a while :)

  8. I miss small talk, I do it a lot less now during COVID times. Waiting rooms and all lines for anything are the best for small talk. Being a big talker I will warn you that there are those for-real unfriendly people out there that will hurt your feelings, but don't let it stop you from trying, most people like to talk too, especially the elderly, they are the most fun!!

  9. Hate how people just throw something gross and inocent people work hard to clean up after them. We have a clean-up day once yearly in our town, and it makes a huge difference.

  10. Love this card -- especially the baby penguin. I'm an ambivert, so I go back and forth between talking to everyone and being totally tongue-tied, shy, and second-guessing everything I've ever said to anyone. For me, pets tend to be the inroad -- I'm always happy to talk about dogs, cats, bunnies, iguanas, etc. ;)

    Thank you for helping to clean up your neighborhood. You are such a great person!

  11. I completely understand how you feel! I am a total introvert, which does not work well for a travel agent! I've had to work very hard to get outside my comfort zone and talk to people I don't know. To promote my business I joined a number of networking groups and even became an ambassador for my local Chamber of Commerce. One of my responsibilities was to great anyone I didn't know and to make sure nobody was ever left standing alone at one of our events. It was SOOO hard at first, but I learned that most people really enjoy talking about themselves so all I had to do was introduce myself and ask them what they do. It got easier each time, but I was terrified (and still am) every time I had to make the first move. I'm not good at small talk either but travel is something everyone wants to do, so that makes it easier for me. Pick your opening line, memorize it and get out there! People in a social situation, like a neighborhood cleanup, are much nicer than the general!


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