I find the analogy of a flower and butterfly a fun way of thinking about engagement at a gathering/party.
For many years, I was in awe of the butterfly personality at social gatherings. They flit from flower (person) to flower (person), seem to know everyone, and look like they are really enjoy the gathering. I was a flower (yes, sometimes a wallflower), always staying in one location and not really mingling. Flowers hope they attract the butterfly to land and chat. Or they have a couple of other flowers and hopefully enjoy their smaller garden plot.
Recently I made a conscious decision to “be a butterfly” at a couple of gatherings. Since I didn’t have another flower to be with, it was almost a necessity! It was definitely out of my comfort zone.
A few observations as a new butterfly:
- It helps if you know a number of folks casually, and there is movement involved in the gathering – getting up for food, drinks, dancing. I could stop and chat and easily move on (flit away).
- For an introvert, it’s a hard shift to small talk with people you don’t know well or even strike up a conversation with a stranger! And it’s tiring.
- You never get a picture taken because you never seem to be in a group when the photo guy comes around. So there’s no documentation of you being at the gathering.
- It is fun! I did enjoy the two gatherings I played at being a butterfly. I had a feeling of belonging, even though I was never settled down. I do believe it was better than sitting (alone) and hoping to attract someone to talk to me!
Becoming a butterfly is not natural for me. At a holiday gathering the other night I shifted back into flower mode, and since I was there by myself, I sat alone for most of the evening. I did not feel like I belonged, and didn’t really enjoy the gathering.
I am going to need to continue practice being a butterfly. If my last few gatherings are any indication, butterflies do have more fun!
Are you more a flower or a butterfly at social gatherings?
Picture Credit: One of my Christmas crafts (angels, not butterflies).
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