Trying to fit in is overrated.
I just want you to know this. And yet, a lot of the time I feel like I should ‘fit in’, nevertheless. Even when I feel completely out of place.
Most of the time I don’t feel like I fit it. Or I feel like I don’t have a group. I feel very uncomfortable when I’m not around the few people I really know. Unless I’m alone, that is. If I know I don’t have to talk to anyone, even when I’m in a crowd, I’m great. But if I can’t be in my own little world, or my own wonderful group, I don’t know what to do, or why I’m there.
It’s really funny. . . when I’m with the drama group, I’m completely fine. I can go talk to people, and bring them into the group, because I have to. I’ve grown up in this group, on this stage, going up to new people and talking to them, and introducing them to everyone. If I feel like someone doesn’t feel like they fit in with the group, I try to do what I can to get that notion out of their head.
But then I turn around, and I am that person, the one who is uncomfortably trying to fit in.
So here’s what I’d like to say to this person who chokes up and feels alone, and who is all of us occasionally:
Stop. Guess what? You don’t have to fit in. If you’re quiet, and others are loud, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to be loud. Often times people are loud because they don’t feel like they fit in, either. They just react to that feeling different than you do. Don’t try and be loud because others are.
But see that group? The ones that have been here every year, while you’ve only just started? The ones you’re terrified to go near, because they’re laughing, and know each other’s names? Go talk to them. Ask a question about why you’re there. Is it a drama group? Ask about the script. A choir? Ask about the music. Another event? You can always ask their names, and how long they’ve been coming. Don’t be scared. I know, easy to say. But chances are, if you do go talk to them, you’ll make some new friends. And if you don’t, then maybe next time it won’t scare you as much to walk over there. . . to talk to them. . . to make yourself vulnerable. The more you talk to them, the more you challenge yourself like that, the easier it becomes.
And if you’re not the quiet type, then don’t only hang out with your friends. You know, the ones that you have known your whole life, and who also feel at ease. Staying with only your group can make others feel like they don’t fit in, because they’re naturally quiet, and because they don’t know you or your friends. When you’re in your group, laughing, talking to your buddies, do this: reach out and include the person you’ve only just met. Introduce him or her to your friends. They want to talk to you and laugh with you. They’re just scared.
They don’t know you, and it’s scary for them to go and say ‘hi’! It may be easier for you to go say hello than it is for them. They don’t know why they’re there, or what they should be doing. They don’t know if they would be accepted, if they went and said hello. So reach out! Say hello. Bring them into your group. If you see someone sitting in the corner, go talk to them. Ask their name, their interests. It’s so easy to make somebody’s day. But, as I said earlier, don’t just do it once. Even if it’s hard, it gets easier. Don’t just say hello, and then not include them later. Trust me, this is hard. Yes, you have your own group, and you don’t know them well. But they could become your best friend. You never know!
This is hard for me too. I’m not good at talking to people; I’d rather sit in the corner and read a book, or go to my room and listen to good music. But the reason I can talk to new people is because I do.
And don’t worry that they won’t like you. It doesn’t matter if they like you or not. Just know that you are amazing. If they don’t see it, it’s their loss.
Don’t worry about if you fit in. Be yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re like them or not; you don’t have to be just like them. It’s more fun being yourself anyway, isn’t it?
I know, it’s easier to say ‘don’t worry’ than to not worry. I still worry a lot, even when I am telling myself not to. I tell myself to stop thinking that way. Stop being so scared! Just do it, go talk to them! I tell you ‘I can talk to people’. It’s true. But I don’t. Not always.
But you don’t always have to be alone. Push yourself. Go into that group. Go play the game with them. Even if after that you need to just watch again. But then push yourself again. Talk to that person. Go into the group. Play a game. Even if later, you just need to stay home.
We need to do these things, you and I. I know it’s hard.
It’s worth the doing, though. Bring someone into the group. Go into the group yourself. But you don’t have to ‘fit in’. Be yourself. They will like you the way you are; you don’t have to be loud if you’re more comfortable being quiet. You don’t have to be quiet if you’re more comfortable being the life of the party. But make sure you’re not leaving anyone out of the fun.