About the Author

Patricia Raybon, an award-winning author and journalist, grew up in a time of hate, but found God's love in a time of need. Serving from Colorado, she writes on faith, race and grace -- seeking to inspire healing in Christ. Join her on the journey at patriciaraybon.com.

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  1. Patricia,
    I’ve discovered this magic secret…it’s called asking people about themselves. When I meet new people, no one wants to hear me drone on about myself and my accomplishments, they long to tell their story. Meeting new people, for me, is like an excavation. With each question I ask, I get to go a little deeper in knowing this new friend. I don’t dig for the sake of digging, but I really enjoy getting to know other people’s stories because some of them are really fascinating. If each of us is made in God’s image, just think of all the cool things we can discover by getting to do community with them – whether it’s for an hour or a lifetime. Does it take this introvert out of her comfort zone? You bet. Is it worth it? Definitely. I’ve found that often the best way to love someone else is to ask them a question or two and then wait expectantly to see what will unfold. Awesome post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Bev, I love this! Ask people about themselves. For those of us who struggle to “make small talk,” it’s the perfect strategy. Spiritually, meantime, it’s a beautiful way to look for the Lord in others and obey his commandment to love. You sum it up so beautifully. Thank you! Your wisdom is blessing today! Warm regards, Patricia xx

  2. Patricia, I know how you felt. I’ve been there with my grandchildren, feeling the outsider with other adults (mums and dads) younger and more involved with school activities. I also have an introvert nature that wants to hide. However, I have learned that, like Bev said in her reply above, asking questions of others is a way for them to talk, even if they don’t want to know anything about me. I’m also still finding it hard to integrate with a very large church, even after several months and my attempts to join groups and get to know people. The thing that keeps me trying is knowing that some people feel as shy as I do. Thank you for sharing and encouraging, as you always do! Once again, you’ve blessed me, thank you.

    • Such a great point, Barbara. Even if other people don’t ask about me, I do well to ask about them. Then, meantime, look for the “shy” ones! What great wisdom for all of us , especially in this season of holiday parties, get together, and trying to find our place in church. The Lord knows and understands. We praise Him for showing us the way to “be neighborly” with our love. Sending love back to you today!

  3. Patricia, I’ve missed these opportunities, too. And it does seem best to ask people about themselves, without making assumptions. Most of us enjoy being seen and heard, just like you said. I’m an introvert, too and I’m hard of hearing to boot! So it’s scary to start a conversation. I’ll keep trying though. It’s important. Thank you for your encouragement!

    • So, true, Irene. It’s important to try. Blessings on your courage to take a risk and reach out to others. We all need that effort from others! Peace and love today!

  4. I’d love to know which Berry book (or character!) is the source of that wisdom.
    Yes, DO-ing community–it always feels so risky, but it’s the only way to broaden my world.

    • Michele, good day! Thanks for your interest. That quote is actually from a book of collected essays by Wendell Berry, published in 1992. The title is Sex, Economy, Freedom, & Community by Wendell Berry (New York: Pantheon Books, 1992). So, indeed, Berry challenged believers then to rethink community (and these other topics) — to stretch, deepen and connect us. If you read it, please let me know what you think. Warmest regards and kind thanks!

  5. Thank you Patricia, for striking a chord for all us cautious introverts! I am finding that when I call on the Holy Spirit to help me often there is an almost instant but subtle answer or thought that opens that door. And I love it when He helps build community. Blessings to you!

  6. Patricia, I love this reframed concept that community is not something you have but something you do. I’ve had similar experiences as the one you described. As an introvert I’m happy to just sit back and observe, but also like you, my deeper desire is to know others and be known. Last month tt my son’s soccer team party, all the parents were sitting essentially sitting alone while our kids were playing and laughing together. Finally, I realized that I had as much power (and responsibility) as anyone to get outside my comfort bubble and interact. I made a comment about the weather (lame I know) to another mom as I got up to grab a soda, and that simple remark helped initiate a lovely coversation. I think we both felt less awkward and more connected at the end of it.

    • Becky, thank you for sharing this! As the “grownups,” we’re so often tongue-tied, awkward and uncertain in social settings — when the Lord says to simply be a good neighbor. May He help us on this journey (introverts included)! Thanks so much for reaching out to share and encourage. With every small step, may our timid attempts to connect build real bridges with fellow travelers! Warmest regards and sincere thanks, Patricia

  7. Patricia,

    It is amazing that children have no problem making new friends & doing so called community. Yet as adults we tend to sit sort of like wall flowers by ourselves. What is it we are afraid of? That they won’t like us? Who knows until we get out there & say a simple hello. I completely understand though, I too, was a shy introverted young person. Didn’t talk much at all. God made us for community & He showed us exactly how to do it. Just go up to people & start asking simple questions then listen. I try to do that often. You’d be surprised how much people are willing to tell you if given the chance. It’s that they are scared also. This year I started a new job in a large hospital. Each time I go in I start by talking to the other workers. Making comments like nice job or keep up the good work. It isn’t much, but a beginning of some great friendships. Just simply talking with them over minor trivial stuff. You hit the nail on the head when you said community isn’t something we have, but something we must do. God ordained us to be in community with one another. Let’s all break out of our comfort zones & ask simple questions of people. We will build great communities & friendships.

    Advent Blessings 🙂

  8. Yes a week later I’m really catching up on the blessings of blogs and I love them all! Patricia I’m the extrovert who LOVES to ask questions and talk life ( too much of my own sometimes) if I could go out every day and interact I would but I have an introvert husband so I’m limited to running around blabbering.. but my church and my children know I’m ready anytime and anywhere. Remember that scripture does say something about quiet beauty in the silence.. seems I cannot remember it because I prefer to ask and talk about anything that concerns them. I’ve been able to pray for them and share Jesus Christ.. blessings to y’all and your family in this the most wonderful time of the year! Wonderful counselor.. Prince of Peace..may He come and do community in our hearts again \0/

  9. Dearest Pat! After reading your blog on Solving the Secret of Everyday Love I truly get it! So many times, especially as a young girl, I’d walk away from a situation or person feeling like I truly missed out because I didn’t speak up. I love talking to people but getting started is not always easy. But I must remember whom I represent. Everyone has a story and it is those stories that help bring healing and help bring us closer together in order to build community. I hope I never miss this lesson again. Thank you for the message.