So how’s your year going? Somehow 2018 is nearly half over. I know, I can’t believe it, either. I guess that’s what happens as you get older (or at least that’s what my mom tells me), hehe. But with time whizzing by, it’s easy to get absorbed in life and overlook some people. Getting left behind doesn’t just happen with kids. It’s still an issue in adulthood, but just happens more subtlety.
Who do I mean? Those who may not always be on our radar. Think of the shy, quiet people, the wallflowers. The elderly are sometimes accidentally omitted from society’s collective consciousness, too. Or what about those who may be isolated because of illness, care taking responsibilities, odd job schedules, or other issues? These are the people who get left behind.
Overlooking or forgetting people is often not intentional. We get busy with life, obligations and such and sometimes just don’t think about people who get pushed to the outskirts of society. I want to encourage everyone to take a bit of time to identify someone in this situation and make a regular habit of trying to connect with this person.
Sometimes the people who get forgotten want to talk to you, or socialize, but get overlooked accidentally. Maybe it’s that quiet person who doesn’t speak much during group gatherings, or that person that no one seems to know well because they don’t talk to them. Other adults suffer from social anxiety and find it difficult to initiate social contact. Those caring for a loved one might get overlooked because people assume they are too busy to socialize; others work odd hours at work and may not always have opportunities to socialize and so people stop inviting them out. Some may have difficulty reaching out for help, or when they do, they are still overlooked. I know people who don’t feel very wanted because they often get ‘forgotten’.
I know these people because I AM this person- and I have a couple of friends who are also ‘wallflower’ types or are in isolating situations, too. For those dealing with this, having someone take the first step and reach out to you can make all the difference in the world. Reach out by taking a few minuets to talk to them or invite them to an event you’re going to. And don’t just do this once, do it regularly. Sometimes it takes several (or a lot of) times before a person is comfortable taking steps to reciprocate. For those who can’t socialize often, don’t give up on them. Try finding times they are available, or text them to let them know they’re not forgotten. Never forget the elderly, either! give them a call, stop over for a visit now and then. They appreciate being remembered, too.
Reaching out to overlooked people can make a big impact on both of you. I have a friend I met as a young adult who was very much like me, shy, quiet, introverted, struggling to take the first steps with people and often overlooked because of it. I make sure that when others overlook her in conversation or social planning that I don’t. Honestly, I think people who pass her up are really loosing out because she’s a really cool person! But I only see it because I reached out and kept reaching out until we got to know each other. Interestingly, she’s come out of her shell a lot more now and reaches out to others. When she plans an event, she never overlooks anyone. When in groups, she’s always careful to make sure the shy people have a chance to talk.
I know I’ve benefitted greatly from people reaching out to me as well. I’m naturally shy and anxious and am uncomfortable initiating social contact. I have been the recipient of being left behind many times in my life. Thankfully, I have a small group of good friends who don’t forget me, and it makes a huge difference! So I know that people in the same situation would also love to be remembered, too. I try to be the one reaching out as well, and I love it. It’s the reason I am close to the friend I mentioned. So as you go about your business, take some time to remember one or two people that others have forgotten, you’ll both benefit!
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