Last week I decided to do something that I normally don’t voluntarily do; I went golfing after work. Okay, so it wasn’t the golfing part or the work part that is out of the ordinary. Instead, I actually had to pair up with two guys I didn’t know in order play.
Few things get me out of my comfort zone more than golfing with strangers. I don’t make friends with other guys very easily. There are a number of reasons for that which I won’t get into here but the fact remains. It is even more intimidating for me on the golf course because quite frankly, I am terrible. Even though I am not one of those Type A competitive people, I do hate embarrassing myself on the golf course. This was one reason why I started taking lessons this past Spring. I am sad to report my game is still languishing. I can hit really well in my lesson but once I am out on the driving range or course it is like I become someone else. I am the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde of golfing perhaps.
My natural instinct in a situation like this is to be really quiet, not say much and do my best to avoid embarrassing myself with my mouth as well as my golf game. I often don’t have any sense how the things I say sound to other people who don’t live in my head. Thus, people often think I am upset, sad, lonely etc., based on how my face looks (resting bitch face is my problem) or how my voice sounds when I say stuff. Most of the time I think I am being funny, at least a little bit. It isn’t a shocker to say it takes a little time to get used to me and understand my sense of humor.
This time however, I knew I needed to step outside my comfort zone at least a little bit. I am new to Nashville and when you get to be as old as I am, it becomes much more difficult to make friends and I need some golf friends. Don’t get me wrong I still wasn’t Chatty Cathy or anything on the course but I made a solid effort to talk to them and ask questions etc. By the end of the round (we were only able to get in nine holes) things on my end were starting to feel a lot more comfortable. My golfing was still terrible especially from the tee box but it was just nice to get out there.
What I hate most about these situations is the fear of rejection (if I am being honest.) I don’t have the time or desire to go into where that stems from but the fear is very real. If I don’t step out of my comfort zone in this situation 99 times out of 100 I simply walk away and say goodbye to these two guys. I knew I couldn’t do that this time. Even if I never saw these guys again I at least needed to make an effort. When our round was finished I handed them each a business card and made what was a passable joke about my golf game and offered to play golf with them again if they needed someone to tag along.
Now maybe they will call me and maybe they won’t. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. It felt good (and horrifying) to step out and make more of an effort to meet people than I am usually comfortable doing. I have been around enough guys in my 40 years to know I am not the only one who struggles with this. I only hope that by sharing this one experience with you, it will help you make the effort to get out of your comfort zone, whatever that is.