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Square peg family - force ourselves to fit?


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My family is kind of like a square peg and we often encounter "round hole" situations where we don't fit in. I realized once again at a church function this afternoon that we really need to find a way where we can force ourselves to fit without compromising who we are. I'm in tears and ready to leave my church (where we've been for only a year), but I hate to uproot my kids again because it seems like a cycle where we'll be looking again in another year or so. My heart is really hurting about this. :(

 

Anyone find that their family is like this and have found solutions on how to work in situations where you feel you just don't fit?

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Can you give a "for example?"

 

Yes, that would really help.

 

My kids and I often struggle to fit into groups. My husband does much better. But, I don't want to go into details on us without knowing if it might be helpful to you! I can send you :grouphug: though, because I know it can hurt.

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Let me try...

 

My family is pretty introverted and I particularly find it difficult to break into conversations with others. I have to have a reason to be in the conversation or else I tend to stay on the sidelines. Also, I have a difficult time reading social cues and knowing when is the right time to jump into a conversation.

 

We also have a harder time making friends because we just seem different. Admittedly, I blame us being a multiracial family where we are usually in the minority (well, I am, my husband isn't). I often think people don't want me around because of racial issues. At our previous church, I was the only person of color and I felt out of place all the time, and even brought it up to my priest (who treated us oddly from day 1). I'm not the only person of color at our current church, but I am certainly in the minority. It's hard to explain this, so I apologize if what I'm saying makes no sense at all.

 

I tend to overcompensate so that people will see I'm a good person and I think it makes me look worse in the end, like I'm trying too hard and that I'm not genuine. An example is last week when my family was on our church's schedule to provide food for our coffee hour. Instead of just bringing rolls/bagel and a dessert, plus milk for the coffee, I ended up spending the entire weekend baking and cooking, and I ended up making this huge lunch buffet of items. I thought I made a good impression, but I think in the end, I looked like a weirdo who tried too hard.

 

There are many examples, but this is what immediately came to mind.

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Let me try...

 

My family is pretty introverted and I particularly find it difficult to break into conversations with others. I have to have a reason to be in the conversation or else I tend to stay on the sidelines. Also, I have a difficult time reading social cues and knowing when is the right time to jump into a conversation.

 

We also have a harder time making friends because we just seem different. Admittedly, I blame us being a multiracial family where we are usually in the minority (well, I am, my husband isn't). I often think people don't want me around because of racial issues. At our previous church, I was the only person of color and I felt out of place all the time, and even brought it up to my priest (who treated us oddly from day 1). I'm not the only person of color at our current church, but I am certainly in the minority. It's hard to explain this, so I apologize if what I'm saying makes no sense at all.

 

I tend to overcompensate so that people will see I'm a good person and I think it makes me look worse in the end, like I'm trying too hard and that I'm not genuine. An example is last week when my family was on our church's schedule to provide food for our coffee hour. Instead of just bringing rolls/bagel and a dessert, plus milk for the coffee, I ended up spending the entire weekend baking and cooking, and I ended up making this huge lunch buffet of items. I thought I made a good impression, but I think in the end, I looked like a weirdo who tried too hard.

 

There are many examples, but this is what immediately came to mind.

I would think you were really sweet and probably a good cook too!

 

Gently...I think you are overthinking this. Just be yourself and join right in. People will like you! If they don't, what have you lost....nothing. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

 

I'd like to get to know you and would have been all over that buffet, praising you!

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I would think you were really sweet and probably a good cook too!

 

Gently...I think you are overthinking this. Just be yourself and join right in. People will like you! If they don't, what have you lost....nothing. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

 

I'd like to get to know you and would have been all over that buffet, praising you!

 

:iagree:

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Thanks. :) Regarding the buffet, I wasn't trying to have people praise me, but I wanted folks to quietly notice I did a good job. I wanted people to know that I'm not a slacker, and I think I proved I am not. ;) It *was* nice when folks complimented me, and I had thought I had made some headway into the social thing. Then we had our Sunday School picnic today and it seemed like everyone was chatting in little cliques. When we walked up and I said a general "hello" to the group, only one person (my friend) said anything back. It just seems like hot and cold to me, with some weeks folks are chatty and talkative, and other weeks, they only chat with their established friends.

 

I probably am overreacting, but how do I stop overreacting and become a normal person?

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:grouphug: Have you tried small groups? It is much easier to become comfortable with fewer people and it helps with developing friendships.

 

I tend to do better with 1-2 people, but there's that whole desire to fit in with everyone that has me feeling like a chump when I don't relate to the larger, more established cliques.

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Join the group. Sit down with them. Listen to the conversation and contribute if you have anything to say. It does sound like they are not the terribly welcoming kind so you have to take the initiative. In our circles, you would be called over, waved at, and invited to sit or stand with them which, admittedly, makes things a lot easier for us introverts. Smile as you approach them.

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I agree w/ earlier comments. I want to add that you sound absolutely lovely. If you genuinely think that you're not wanted because of your skin color then of course you're in the wrong church.

 

I'm not saying that racism doesn't exist, but I am saying that there's tons of us out here who aren't racist. We're more interested in meeting another mom -- and bonus if you homeschool! (that's just me) -- than anything else.

 

Re: being introverted. I'm a faker. I appear to be extroverted -- anyone who knows me would tell you that I'm extroverted, but I'm really introverted. I guess you'd call me a closet-introvert. I get my energy from being alone, books, cooking etc. I'm drained by too much contact with others. I just wanted to validate that it's totally hard to do the crowd thing as an introvert.

 

And, yes, if you cook well -- that's the most important thing! :001_smile:

 

Alley

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I've been going to the same church for 25 years. We are a white family in a predominately white church. I often feel the way you do in spite of how much I "fit in" because I am also an introvert. I know exactly what you mean when you say you have to have a reason to be in a conversation - I'm the same way. I find it hard to call people on the phone during the week, or even email for that matter, unless I have something specific I want to say or ask.

 

I feel uncomfortable at my church because we are on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale - lots of the families in our church live in really big, really nice houses and go on several vacations a year. We live in a tiny house and never go on vacations. My husband works two jobs so it really isn't feasible to go away - he can't get the time off. I have a hard time making small talk and being friendly even though I try hard from time to time. I have periods of time when I'm pretty sure there's no one at church who really likes me - that they all just kind of endure me. Other times I've felt like perhaps I have a few friends who don't just put up with me, but genuinely like me.

 

Sometimes I find it hard to talk to people because they want to tell me how awesome their last cruise was or how much fun they had shopping at an antique mall or whatever. I rarely have money to spend on little things and have to really budget to make sure there's enough for normal stuff like shoes and underwear. I realized that my problem in these situations is I am envious to a degree and I am being prideful - being ashamed of the situation where God placed me, instead of being grateful and thankful. I realize now that a lot of time has passed, that God has used our reduced income to protect us, especially my kids, from many harmful influences and situations. I still long to go to the beach once in a while or just have fun one day buying decorative items for my home, but God gently reminds me to trust Him - that He knows what He is doing and much of that has to do with the way He is shaping my children's characters. They are definitely not spoiled, lol.

 

What has helped me at church is to try very hard not to focus so much on my own issues but to look to see if there is anyone else out there who may be feeling the same way I do. I look for newbies to see if anyone is talking to them, or the lady who is divorced and feels lonely in our church full of large families, or even a teenager who looks like she may be feeling left out. I also try to remember that I am at church to worship God, not to have my needs met. I try hard to listen to the sermon and focus on what God may be trying to teach me through it. I focus on the words in the hymns we sing and concentrate on the truth I find in them.

 

Honestly, I think that many people in churches all over the place feel like we do. It is hard to trust people - to put yourself out there - because we are afraid we will do something dumb and people will laugh. I'm an older lady (53) and I've learned through the years that it just doesn't matter. I am responsible to God for my behavior. I cannot please everyone, so the main thing is to please God. I do my best to find out what He wants from me on a day to day basis and to keep my conscience clear before Him as best I can. When I mess up, I pray for forgiveness and then just move on.

 

I suggest you just keep going to your church and try to put your thoughts on God and worshiping Him. Also, look around and see if there is someone you could encourage or help. Pray and ask God to give you the strength to climb out of yourself and reach out to those around you. It is hard - I know - I have to work hard at it every single week. Sometimes I have what I call "panic attacks" - not sure if they really are panic attacks, but they feel scary to me - and I can barely get out the front door. I do this when I am on my way to a baby shower, bridal shower, church picnic, etc. - any social gathering at all really. But I stop for a minute and pray and just ask God to help me to turn my eyes off myself and look for someone else I may be able to be a blessing to - someone, who perhaps like me, had to push herself out the door and is feeling awkward and alone too.

 

HTH.

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Introverts tend to over-think this kind of thing because we don't interact with people the same way and we see all these "friendships" (really acquaintance relationships) and we think we're missing out. When we get there we feel annoyed because people are so "shallow" or won't pursue to the depth we want. Then we feel ignored. The truth is introverts and extroverts have different expectations and modes of interacting.

 

~The food thing: I can almost guarantee that folks just went 'wow!' and enjoyed it. Most people don't think others are trying too hard without a lot of weird social cues. People just don't analyze that much. If anything it gave people a conversation point for the next time they meet you..."hey I loved your cake!" etc.~

 

If your church has some kind of study, small groups, work committee try joining that. I'm an introvert and it took me 3-5 years of attending Women's Bible Study to feel accepted. They got used to my quirks and even appreciated what I am good at...coming up with interesting thoughts or in-depth analysis. When they get to know you, extroverts then come up to you one at a time after church and chat a little...and in that small interaction it's much easier to shine.

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...and I had thought I had made some headway into the social thing. Then we had our Sunday School picnic today and it seemed like everyone was chatting in little cliques. When we walked up and I said a general "hello" to the group, only one person (my friend) said anything back. It just seems like hot and cold to me, with some weeks folks are chatty and talkative, and other weeks, they only chat with their established friends.

 

 

I have seen this a lot in most churches I've gone to. It has sometimes taken me years to "break in" and have friends. I don't think people mean to be unfriendly, but they get to talking with their friends and don't notice people.

 

I've actually spoken to the women's group at several churches to help them see how they appear to "outsiders:" conversations that look intimate, closed body language... people always think they are friendly and have no idea how they can look to people.

 

The way I have always broken in is to join something. A small group. A committee. The best time I had was on the kitchen committee at a church. First of all, I could always escape to the kitchen and keep myself busy in there if I felt like I couldn't fit in. But also, the other women ended up becoming good friends to me. We just needed to find something in common, I guess.

 

I tend not to fit in well with a lot of groups. I don't fit in well with the Christian homeschoolers because I use materials that are objectionable to some. Or I'm too relaxed for the Classical Ed people. Or whatever. So I try to find areas of commonality and if sometimes I have to keep my opinion to myself, well, most people have to do that sometimes anyway.

 

If you otherwise like the church, find something to join and see if that helps. Same with your kids - is there a good youth group? My daughter was not fitting into the group at our church, so I talked with the female half of the youth leadership team. I asked her if my daughter was sending out "unfriendly vibes" because the other girls seemed never to notice her. (I didn't think she was, but I didn't want to seem to put the blame on the other girls.) The leader was quite sensitive and helped my daughter to connect. There are several girls that will always shun her but she has found her niche there too.

 

Hope something here was helpful. :grouphug::grouphug:

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I've been going to the same church for 25 years. We are a white family in a predominately white church. I often feel the way you do in spite of how much I "fit in" because I am also an introvert. I know exactly what you mean when you say you have to have a reason to be in a conversation - I'm the same way. I find it hard to call people on the phone during the week, or even email for that matter, unless I have something specific I want to say or ask.

 

I feel uncomfortable at my church because we are on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale - lots of the families in our church live in really big, really nice houses and go on several vacations a year. We live in a tiny house and never go on vacations. My husband works two jobs so it really isn't feasible to go away - he can't get the time off. I have a hard time making small talk and being friendly even though I try hard from time to time. I have periods of time when I'm pretty sure there's no one at church who really likes me - that they all just kind of endure me. Other times I've felt like perhaps I have a few friends who don't just put up with me, but genuinely like me.

 

Sometimes I find it hard to talk to people because they want to tell me how awesome their last cruise was or how much fun they had shopping at an antique mall or whatever. I rarely have money to spend on little things and have to really budget to make sure there's enough for normal stuff like shoes and underwear. I realized that my problem in these situations is I am envious to a degree and I am being prideful - being ashamed of the situation where God placed me, instead of being grateful and thankful. I realize now that a lot of time has passed, that God has used our reduced income to protect us, especially my kids, from many harmful influences and situations. I still long to go to the beach once in a while or just have fun one day buying decorative items for my home, but God gently reminds me to trust Him - that He knows what He is doing and much of that has to do with the way He is shaping my children's characters. They are definitely not spoiled, lol.

 

What has helped me at church is to try very hard not to focus so much on my own issues but to look to see if there is anyone else out there who may be feeling the same way I do. I look for newbies to see if anyone is talking to them, or the lady who is divorced and feels lonely in our church full of large families, or even a teenager who looks like she may be feeling left out. I also try to remember that I am at church to worship God, not to have my needs met. I try hard to listen to the sermon and focus on what God may be trying to teach me through it. I focus on the words in the hymns we sing and concentrate on the truth I find in them.

 

Honestly, I think that many people in churches all over the place feel like we do. It is hard to trust people - to put yourself out there - because we are afraid we will do something dumb and people will laugh. I'm an older lady (53) and I've learned through the years that it just doesn't matter. I am responsible to God for my behavior. I cannot please everyone, so the main thing is to please God. I do my best to find out what He wants from me on a day to day basis and to keep my conscience clear before Him as best I can. When I mess up, I pray for forgiveness and then just move on.

 

I suggest you just keep going to your church and try to put your thoughts on God and worshiping Him. Also, look around and see if there is someone you could encourage or help. Pray and ask God to give you the strength to climb out of yourself and reach out to those around you. It is hard - I know - I have to work hard at it every single week. Sometimes I have what I call "panic attacks" - not sure if they really are panic attacks, but they feel scary to me - and I can barely get out the front door. I do this when I am on my way to a baby shower, bridal shower, church picnic, etc. - any social gathering at all really. But I stop for a minute and pray and just ask God to help me to turn my eyes off myself and look for someone else I may be able to be a blessing to - someone, who perhaps like me, had to push herself out the door and is feeling awkward and alone too.

 

HTH.

 

:iagree::iagree: Kathleen, again, is so wise and is focused how God can use her. I needed to hear this. Thank you!

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I am an introvert and do tend to overanalyze things, too. I also see slights where they probably weren't intended. Other people are shy, too. They are insecure, too. And they may be just as afraid or nervous of you as you are of them, and it has nothing to do with race. Regarding the cliques, yes, some places to have them. Probably a lot of them. But, on the flip side of that.... we go to church in a different town than we live. But even if we didn't, sometimes I only see my friends once a week. And I'd like to talk to them. One thing I would suggest is.... if your church has any sort of service project, do that. It's so much easier to visit with people when you are doing something else. You know, Church Clean-Up Day, something like that. You're working on something together and conversation naturally happens, in most cases it's a lot easier than in the artificial "Social Time" after the service. Cliques aren't quite as likely to congregate when people are busy doing something with their hands.

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I probably am overreacting, but how do I stop overreacting and become a normal person?

 

My grandfather used to say "Remember, you're no worse than anyone else, and better than some."

 

He also used to say "Well you just need to tell them, 'shut up you mad b****r, I'm sick of listening to ya.'" That one may not be relevant to your situation at present, but I'm sure it'll come in handy some time. :tongue_smilie:

 

 

Rosie

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Do not feel left out because of the little cliques. People can be kinda - oblivious. It isn't personal :)

I am sure that most of the people there are so involved in their own life issues, that they just see you there and assume everything is fine.

Also - no one is paying as much attention to what you are doing as you think they are :) I say this in a funny way - people are very self-absorbed. They probably loved your lunch food, ate it, and then forgot about it about 10 minutes after they left the church.....

Also - and I don't want to sound bad , but - i doubt anyone there cares that you are a multi-racial family. Probably hasn't even occurred to them. Do not assume it has anything to do with race. Please....

I would say get involved in a small group there - i.e., a bible study or a volunteer group, and go from there.

It sounds to me like you have a bit of social anxiety. The best thing you can do it remind yourself that no one is as aware of you as you are :)

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I suggest you just keep going to your church and try to put your thoughts on God and worshiping Him. Also, look around and see if there is someone you could encourage or help. Pray and ask God to give you the strength to climb out of yourself and reach out to those around you. It is hard - I know - I have to work hard at it every single week. Sometimes I have what I call "panic attacks" - not sure if they really are panic attacks, but they feel scary to me - and I can barely get out the front door. I do this when I am on my way to a baby shower, bridal shower, church picnic, etc. - any social gathering at all really. But I stop for a minute and pray and just ask God to help me to turn my eyes off myself and look for someone else I may be able to be a blessing to - someone, who perhaps like me, had to push herself out the door and is feeling awkward and alone too.

 

HTH.

:iagree:

This is great advice. Another thing that helped me was reading Introverts in the Church.

Not only did I stop feeling like there was something wrong with me because I didn't want to talk to everyone in sight, it helped me understand extroverts, as well.

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I second the advice about taking the initiative to start conversations (even if you feel uncomfortable), and to join small groups and service groups-- it's easier to talk to acquaintances, IMO, if you have a given subject to talk about already, such as the project you are working on together.

 

Another thought-- at the coffee hour, if your family is all introverts-- do you sit together in a group? If so, other people may see you as a group which is self-sufficient and not welcoming, not engaging. Maybe you could take one kid and tackle another mom, and let your DH take a kid and tackle someone else.

 

Well, not tackle, but engage in conversation.:001_smile:That's what I meant.

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Let me try...

 

My family is pretty introverted and I particularly find it difficult to break into conversations with others. I have to have a reason to be in the conversation or else I tend to stay on the sidelines. Also, I have a difficult time reading social cues and knowing when is the right time to jump into a conversation.

 

We also have a harder time making friends because we just seem different. Admittedly, I blame us being a multiracial family where we are usually in the minority (well, I am, my husband isn't). I often think people don't want me around because of racial issues. At our previous church, I was the only person of color and I felt out of place all the time, and even brought it up to my priest (who treated us oddly from day 1). I'm not the only person of color at our current church, but I am certainly in the minority. It's hard to explain this, so I apologize if what I'm saying makes no sense at all.

 

I tend to overcompensate so that people will see I'm a good person and I think it makes me look worse in the end, like I'm trying too hard and that I'm not genuine. An example is last week when my family was on our church's schedule to provide food for our coffee hour. Instead of just bringing rolls/bagel and a dessert, plus milk for the coffee, I ended up spending the entire weekend baking and cooking, and I ended up making this huge lunch buffet of items. I thought I made a good impression, but I think in the end, I looked like a weirdo who tried too hard.

 

There are many examples, but this is what immediately came to mind.

 

#1- If you made a whole lunch buffet thing, you would be my BFF for life. You would think I was a stalker lady because I would be hounding you to cook for me. And it wouldn't matter if you were purple with red stripes.

 

I agree with what other people have said. You may be trying too hard. Be comfortable in your skin, which I am sure is a lovely shade I could never achieve.

I would think you were really sweet and probably a good cook too!

 

Gently...I think you are overthinking this. Just be yourself and join right in. People will like you! If they don't, what have you lost....nothing. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

 

I'd like to get to know you and would have been all over that buffet, praising you!

 

:iagree: I'm Cajun. We celebrate good cooks, no matter where they came from or what they look like. My grandpa had one arm, but because he could cook like a genius, everyone loved him.

 

I tend to do better with 1-2 people, but there's that whole desire to fit in with everyone that has me feeling like a chump when I don't relate to the larger, more established cliques.

 

So do I. It is so much easier for me to relate to a few people, rather than to a large group. That is pretty common.

 

 

Listen, fitting in is not all it's cracked up to be. It get it. Heck, I'm a registered Democrat Christian in Nebraska!!! I don't always fit in. Sometimes you just have to let your freak flag fly high and proud. Be nice and caring to others and eventually they will come around.

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Let me try...

 

My family is pretty introverted and I particularly find it difficult to break into conversations with others. I have to have a reason to be in the conversation or else I tend to stay on the sidelines. Also, I have a difficult time reading social cues and knowing when is the right time to jump into a conversation.

 

We also have a harder time making friends because we just seem different. Admittedly, I blame us being a multiracial family where we are usually in the minority (well, I am, my husband isn't). I often think people don't want me around because of racial issues. At our previous church, I was the only person of color and I felt out of place all the time, and even brought it up to my priest (who treated us oddly from day 1). I'm not the only person of color at our current church, but I am certainly in the minority. It's hard to explain this, so I apologize if what I'm saying makes no sense at all.

 

I tend to overcompensate so that people will see I'm a good person and I think it makes me look worse in the end, like I'm trying too hard and that I'm not genuine. An example is last week when my family was on our church's schedule to provide food for our coffee hour. Instead of just bringing rolls/bagel and a dessert, plus milk for the coffee, I ended up spending the entire weekend baking and cooking, and I ended up making this huge lunch buffet of items. I thought I made a good impression, but I think in the end, I looked like a weirdo who tried too hard.

 

There are many examples, but this is what immediately came to mind.

 

And you have a greyhound, too?? Please tell me you live in MN, because I think we would be an awesome friend!! Sigh.

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My grandfather used to say "Remember, you're no worse than anyone else, and better than some."

 

He also used to say "Well you just need to tell them, 'shut up you mad b****r, I'm sick of listening to ya.'" That one may not be relevant to your situation at present, but I'm sure it'll come in handy some time. :tongue_smilie:

 

 

Rosie

 

Is there supposed to be an "r" at the end of that word? :confused: It's one of those crazy Aussie words, isn't it? :tongue_smilie:

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Do not feel left out because of the little cliques. People can be kinda - oblivious. It isn't personal :)

 

I'm not so sure about that. She said that when they walked up and said "hello" to the group, only one person responded, and that was a woman she was already friends with.

 

That would have hurt my feelings, too. :(

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I also try to remember that I am at church to worship God, not to have my needs met. I try hard to listen to the sermon and focus on what God may be trying to teach me through it. I focus on the words in the hymns we sing and concentrate on the truth I find in them.

 

Honestly, I think that many people in churches all over the place feel like we do. It is hard to trust people - to put yourself out there - because we are afraid we will do something dumb and people will laugh. I'm an older lady (53) and I've learned through the years that it just doesn't matter. I am responsible to God for my behavior. I cannot please everyone, so the main thing is to please God. I do my best to find out what He wants from me on a day to day basis and to keep my conscience clear before Him as best I can. When I mess up, I pray for forgiveness and then just move on.

 

I suggest you just keep going to your church and try to put your thoughts on God and worshiping Him. Also, look around and see if there is someone you could encourage or help. Pray and ask God to give you the strength to climb out of yourself and reach out to those around you. It is hard - I know - I have to work hard at it every single week. Sometimes I have what I call "panic attacks" - not sure if they really are panic attacks, but they feel scary to me - and I can barely get out the front door. I do this when I am on my way to a baby shower, bridal shower, church picnic, etc. - any social gathering at all really. But I stop for a minute and pray and just ask God to help me to turn my eyes off myself and look for someone else I may be able to be a blessing to - someone, who perhaps like me, had to push herself out the door and is feeling awkward and alone too.

 

HTH.

 

Kathleen, thank YOU. Thank you SO very much for your wisdom. Your words are a blessing to me and I bolded the ones that I need to follow so very much right now. I am sorry for the stress you've been through at your church and I am so much in awe of how you have been able to look past and see the real reason why you are there. We are at our respective churches to worship God and to be in the presence of Christ, not to have our selfish desires and "needs" met. I am going to focus on that today and going forward. Thank you, again.

 

And if you lived in NJ, I'd want to hang out with you at the beach. We can't afford those week long beach vacations, either, so a daytrip is just fine with me. :D

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I tend not to fit in well with a lot of groups. I don't fit in well with the Christian homeschoolers because I use materials that are objectionable to some. Or I'm too relaxed for the Classical Ed people. Or whatever. So I try to find areas of commonality and if sometimes I have to keep my opinion to myself, well, most people have to do that sometimes anyway.

 

This is me! We don't fit with the Christian HSers for a similar reason, but also because we are Orthodox and that apparently is a little too different for some folks. We also are very middle-of-the-road in terms of how we view schooling and for some folks, we are too rigid in our studies and others have hinted that we are too lax and should be doing more. Thankfully, I have found some commonality with others, but it took a good deal of time and effort, and sadly, now my little crew of folks is starting to break up and I'm looking at trying to find new/more friends for my kids...

 

Hope something here was helpful. :grouphug::grouphug:

It was. Thank you. :)

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And you have a greyhound, too?? Please tell me you live in MN, because I think we would be an awesome friend!! Sigh.

 

I live kind of far from you out here in the armpit of the east coast, aka NJ, but I'd LOVE to meet up with you and your dog if we were all closer! I've often thought that greyhounds are the BEST dog choice for HSing families, and wondered why all HSers don't adopt one or two. I mean, who wouldn't want to do their math with a 4 foot long stretched out dog sprawled across the floor at all times? :tongue_smilie:

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Thank you, everyone, for your kind words and advice. :)

 

I have to say in the interest of full disclosure, I need to apologize. I was being a bit disingenuous in my original post, and posted my perceived doom and gloom of the day. I latched on to the bad stuff instead of focusing on what went right yesterday, and what positive things I have going on. For example, I neglected to share that I did have a really nice conversation with another church member and chatted with another friend for a few minutes. I also neglected to mention that my husband and I tend to be "old souls" and we seem to attract older people more so than folks in our age group (thirties), and this has been the case at our church. We often have older people chat with us about our kids, and there is one older woman who likes to call us her "favorite family" because my daughters sit still in church. :D So while I did not lie in my original post, I certainly made it sound much worse than it really is and I'm sorry about being so "woe is me".

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Ah... I hang out with the older set too. We have younger kids, but we are older parents. Two things that helped me connect were joining the very small choir and agreeing to work on the Prayer Team. I have been very lax lately though- got bogged down in trying to do the young parent stuff. :tongue_smilie:

 

Choir connects me with a smaller group of people and we can then get to know each other. Prayer Team forces me to learn everyone's name- I am very bad at names. I still can't connect all the faces with names after attending for years! But, at least I recognize the actual name and know a little about each person. It also focusses me on others- I am looking around the pews remembering who I need to pray for, who I need and update from, etc.

 

Again, I've not done my best at this lately- even though he's two, that last baby of mine really threw me for a loop! But, when I am actively involved in prayer for others, I feel more of a connection.

 

Finally, I have had to put myself out there and be open about our struggles. Lots of others at our church have struggles too but we don't talk about it in large groups. One or one, or when I stand up and say "I need prayer for this..." allows people to see that I am a multi-dimensional person with lots of stuff going on- not just that lady with all the kids who homeschools. :D

 

I consider myself under the teaching of the ladies I spend time with so that when the time comes I can be a full Titus 2 woman.

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The best advice I have is to consider getting more involved, specifically, consider volunteering for something at your church that interests you.

 

I'm a pretty serious introvert, too. I attended a church in one place I lived for five years without forming any ties with anyone there. I doubt they noticed when I moved. I just never could find my way into the social aspect of church there.

 

When I went to the next church, things started off the same way. However, I forced myself to keep going and, eventually, things began to change. It wasn't intentional, but just happened.

 

As I recall, the turning point was when I was at an event and went into the kitchen to wash dishes. I started washing because I was feeling at loose ends and figured I might as well do something useful, if I wasn't going to be socializing. But what happened was that within a few minutes, other people came in and started washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen, and soon we were talking while we worked.

 

When I volunteered to teach Sunday school, I met the parents of the kids in my classes, and we had built-in topics to discuss because I was teaching their kids. When I went from that to serving on a couple of religious education-related committees, I met more people.

 

It wasn't immediate or consistent, but I eventualy formed friendships with co-teachers, co-committee members, other people who worked on special events, etc.

 

When my husband and I were first married and I was singing with the church choir, most of our social life revolved around other choir members.

 

So, I guess I'd suggest that you consider finding some project of your church that feels like a good fit and then volunteering to assist. You may find you meet other people who not only share your religious viewpoint but have similar interests, and that's as good a place to start making friends as any, I think.

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I know you said you don't want to change churches again, and in general I agree with the other posters. But I am just curious what it would be like for you in a church with more racial diversity. And also for your children (I am assuming they are bi-racial unless they were adopted.) My daughter was transracially (and internationally) adopted, and even among loving, well-intentioned people, there have been times where being the only person of color was difficult for her in various situations.

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I can identify with so much in your post. We are newbies at our church after spending 20 years in the last one.

 

I am so not comfortable in large groups. It's just as you say- the large group divides into a number of small groups and leaves you (me) outside feeling like we don't belong. I think it's just a hazard of large groups and it was no different in large groups before we changed churches.

 

I love the advice of just being myself and trying to make my participation about how I can be of help to others rather than what I can get out of it. Thanks for posting the thread!

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Thanks. :) Regarding the buffet, I wasn't trying to have people praise me, but I wanted folks to quietly notice I did a good job. I wanted people to know that I'm not a slacker, and I think I proved I am not. ;) It *was* nice when folks complimented me, and I had thought I had made some headway into the social thing. Then we had our Sunday School picnic today and it seemed like everyone was chatting in little cliques. When we walked up and I said a general "hello" to the group, only one person (my friend) said anything back. It just seems like hot and cold to me, with some weeks folks are chatty and talkative, and other weeks, they only chat with their established friends.

 

I probably am overreacting, but how do I stop overreacting and become a normal person?

 

Groups can also be introverted or extroverted. You might have just found an introverted congregation.

 

I'm Anglican, and Anglican congregations tend to be very introverted. Saying hi to the group and not getting an answer would be standard, not because they aren't friendly, but they are all thinking "oh am I supposed to say hi back now...".

 

It can take a long time to get really comfortable with an introverted congregation, just like it can take a long time to make friends with introverted individuals. You just have to put in the time and make friends one by one.

 

I've found it is easiest to get involved with a smaller group and that gives you opportunity to meet some people more often and intimately. One you become friendly with a few, it comes faster as they all know a few other people as well.

 

The advantage to taking the time and dealing with the awkwardness is that you may find that you have more in common with them than you would with a bunch of extroverts.

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Most groups worth being in value diversity - and I'm not talking about the skin color kind. Just be yourself and never apologize for who you are.

 

It can take a long time before you start to feel like "part of the family," so in the mean time, just enjoy what you can. The music, the message, things for your kids to do. The coffee! I think meeting one new person each week is more than reasonable.

 

We started going to the church we attend on Easter 2010. I still don't know most of the people. I am an introvert and have the additional issue of being terrible at remembering people's names! My kids act shy and mute to this day. On a good day I can get them to give a one-word answer. Yet, I am satisified that I get smiles and people notice when I've been missing for a while.

 

I guess I can say the thing that most helped me was to attend small-group adult Sunday School classes, and occasionally offer my two cents about what the Bible is trying to say.

 

As for the bi-racial aspact, I think it is a positive, because you won't easily blend into the woodwork. My kids are brown-skinned while I'm white-skinned. (There's no dad in our family.) People notice us and I think that's a good thing.

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I'm struggling with this "round peg square hole" feeling myself. Where we used to live, I was too liberal (wore pants, want dds to go to college, taught higher math,etc). Here, although I am still doing the same things and still have the same goals, I'm too conservative (ie homeschool). It is an odd thing. I do think society at large is more about finding reasons to exclude rather than to include. I want to be in a diverse group of people, but I want to find respect within that group. Does that make sense at all?

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