I consider myself to be an introvert. Actually I am more of an extroverted introvert which I read on facebook recently that it’s really a thing. And that’s me – an extroverted introvert. I am an only child and grew up in a relatively quite home. My days were spent reading and playing quietly in my room and I was perfectly okay with that. When we would have company over I would enjoy it for the most part but often times asked to be excused for awhile to my room for a little time by myself. This is still me today. I love to go out and have fun with my family and friends. I like to laugh and play and enjoy the people around me. But in order to do this, I have to mentally and physically prepare. You see, being around a group of people tires me out. I can come home from a function just drained. So when my daughter expressed an interest to join a local co-op that is quite large for the area I live in, I had some reservations. We went to the informational meeting and I sat quietly in the back listening to everything that will take place during the year. It seems like a great group of homeschool families and my daughter is very excited to try it out, she’s already signed up for the classes she will be taking. The co-op only meets twice a month for a little over 3 hours and I know I can do it – I just have to prepare. So here are some tips from me to other introverted parents that might be joining a co-op.
- Mentally prepare. In the mornings I like to wake up and have quiet time. It gives me time to mentally prepare for all of the things I need to do that day. It’s not anything fancy and I mostly lay in bed and scroll through my phone until my daughter wakes up. She also needs quiet time in the mornings to get up and going for the day. She normally lays with me looking at pinterest or watching a tv show before she gets up for the day. A little quiet time in the mornings can be wonderful for an introvert. I feel so much less overwhelmed when I make time for it. Tomorrow morning, I have a busy day before we go to the co-op. So I’ll go to bed a little earlier tonight and wake up a little earlier to allow for this.
- Look good feel good. I don’t like the term dress to impress. It somehow implies that I care what everyone thinks about me – and I just don’t. I do, however, like to look nice in public to boost my self confidence. It makes me feel better about myself when I have an outfit that looks put together, some makeup on and my hair done nicely. It gives me just the right amount of confidence to tackle all of the interactions on the day.
- Make a game plan. I like people. I like talking to people but it’s not something I naturally do so I have to plan for it. I’ve decided tomorrow to go out of my way to introduce myself and talk to 3-5 people. Not just simple small talk but try to really get to know people. The number should vary depending on how many people attend your co-op. Mine is larger so I am really going to try to make a connection with 5 people.
- Be self aware. My body language doesn’t always match how I’m feeling. Resting bitch face – yeah, I’ve got it. I also tend to cross my arms a lot which can read as unfriendly and not outgoing. Outgoing, not so much but I’m a very friendly person, I promise. I just find crossing my arms a comfortable resting position for me. So being self aware is really important for me, especially when in a new social group.
- Have fun. It seems kind of silly to say but it’s true. My daughter picks up on a lot of cues from me and how I am behaving. If I am having a good time, no doubt she is too. So even though joining this co-op might not be my kind of thing, I am really going to try and enjoy it for my daughter’s sake. I want her to love it, make new friends and have a good time so I am going to try to do the same.
I know a lot of co-ops that are going to start after Labor Day so I hope if you’re apprehensive about joining one these 5 tips will be helpful for you too! I feel much more confident now that I have a plan for my day tomorrow. Do you have any other tips you want to share? Please feel free to reach out to me in the comments here or on twitter.