Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

I like my comfort zone.

It's nice and well, comfortable. And I try to keep it nearby.

But I will be leaving it for a few short days (the first weekend of February) and that makes me very uncomfortable.

im_going_yall Badges

Um, yes, that would be a real live blogging conference. With people. In real life.

All by myself. Without knowing another person face-to-face.

Comfort zone? Completely obliterated.

I have a couple of really good friends (yes, I'm talking about you, Cheryl & Jen) and we take a girl's weekend trip every year.  I emailed them and suggested they attend the conference with me. They don't have a blog, but both of my creative friends need one and I thought this would be the perfect start!

{See how nice and thoughtful I am to think of them?}

Except I wasn't banking on the fact that these girls know me very well.

They saw my desperate plan and said, "We love you and we think that you should go alone. This will be good for you. You need to get out of your comfort zone. This will help you grow."

So, now I have two openings for real life friends.

Oh, I kid.

As much as I hate to admit it, those girls are right! Just getting on that plane and actually showing up will be huge for me. Not to mention taking this introverted body and meeting other people I read in the real world.

I feel faint.

So, I need your advice. What's the best two cents you can give me? I'm seriously nervous about the whole thing. And I'm resisting the urge for a full body makeover. {Can you get those on clearance?}

How often do you leave your comfort zone and do you take your favorite blankie?

Secondly, what does one wear to a blogging cocktail party? Is it the same thing I would wear to a sweet tea party?

And finally, would y'all pray that when I enter the plane, there are no birds in sight?

Because if I so much as see a feather, I might just get back in my car and spend the weekend in the fetal position.


Anonymous said...

Best two cents - sit with different people at each meal. Just walk up to a table with empty seats (or maybe to a person sitting by their lonesome), ask if you can sit there, and introduce yourself. It's painful, but you will definitely meet people that way. And, it makes you appear confident and outgoing since you are making the first move. This is what I did my freshman year in college - I went to school on the other side of the country, didn't know a soul. I was surprised to find that people are not as scary as they seem, and it's just as hard for others to reach out as it was for me.

Tammy said...

I so wish I was going....then you would know me. Or not. Ahem.

Nobody knows you, so you can be anybody you want to be. Right? That's how I came out of my shy shell at college. Wound up Freshman and Sophomore Class President.

As my mom used to say, "Goooo, and have a good time"

Alicia said...

Worst case people will just shake their heads at you and say, "She is the mom of THAT family." And that's worked out pretty well for you I'd say.

Wendy said...

I'm sure you won't be the only one "alone" there. Just look around for someone who looks as terrified as you feel and go make a new friend. If that doesn't work for you, you can just channel The Little Engine That Could... :o)

Buncha Blue-Eyed Monkeys said...

You can do it! How exciting. Oh, and, I regretfully inform you that you are no longer officially the only parent I know who's child superglued their mouth shut. :o(

Rachel said...

You are going to be surrounded by amazing women. Many who will be fans of yours and be intimidated by you and excited to meet you.
These woman are fabulous and down to earth and sweeter than pie.

Are you flying?

I, for one, can't wait to meet you ;-)

Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

Ooh, I am so there with you. I think I'm okay with going and meeting all these women I "chat" with everyday online. And then I went to a rehearsal dinner where everyone was giving toasts and I got so uncomfortable with all that PUBLIC SPEAKING that I wanted to crawl under my table.

All that to say, does being "not the only one" help any? See ya there!

Alli Worthington { @fussypants } said...

I will find you,

give you a big hug,

and ask you to hold my baby.

Babies make everyone feel relaxed right?


Srsly, I am only an extrovert online. In real life I am very shy. I promise we are a very relaxed and loving group of gals!

xoxo, alli

Barbara said...

It is one of my goals to make everyone really feel welcome and especially those who are coming alone. I did that at BlogHer and thank goodness they had a newbie cocktail party. We won't do that but I promise we'll make sure you have peeps to hang with while you're there. The great equalizer is the love of blogging in the room. You're in good company. :-) Come and find me too!

Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates said...

I know how you feel and I am the same, but you will be just fine! I think you'll be surprised at how well it goes.

What to wear? That is a tough one. Have you been to www.reallifeblog.net to check out her carnival of what people are wearing?

Will be praying for safe travels for ALL of you that are going to Blissdom.

Maybe next year, I'll be able to go...

Bubba's Sis said...

Good for you!! I don't know if I could be that brave. I would definitely bring my blankie. I find that if I wrap it around me like a sarong it gives me much comfort - maybe you could wear your blankie to the cocktail party? Instant confidence booster, I'm sure. ;-)

Seriously, tho - HAVE FUN! Not that I have to tell you to - I know you're going to anyway!

The Un-Organized Mom said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and had to comment on this post. I understand, I've been there, coming from someone who flew for the first time EVER when she was 35!! It was for work so not only was I flying for the first time, but I was also going alone. I was terrified. I really don't know how my legs moved enough for me to walk on that plane of my own free will. When I arrived, I had to stay in a hotel room, by myself. I have a friend who has tons of friends, makes a new friend every where she goes, and I joke all the time about not liking people, and that she needs to stop being so darn friendly! But I'm only kidding, I am a nice person, I will talk to people, but normally only if they talk to me first. It's my comfort zone, and after that first business trip, I was a different person. It was liberating, I got to watch what I wanted on tv in my hotel room, I had a king sized bed to myself, I took more hot bubble baths then ever in my life, shopped a lot, AND, I made new friends! I actually went up to complete strangers and talked to them, and they talked back...even invited me to sit with them! Sorry, this turned in to a really long post, but my point is, your not alone. You will make new friends, and you will have a great time! I wish I was going!!

Enjoy every minute of it!

Anonymous said...


I am soooooo proud of you. I am an overly extroverted extrovert so your trip sounds like heaven to me. Here's my 2 cents (or more). Know that this is coming from a seasoned pro who has not one inkling of concern that she goes to something alone.

1 - Talk to everyone. Most people out there will talk back. ESPECIALLY when you're at a women's event. {Swoon}
2 - Cherish your time alone. Like at your hotel room. Take time to pamper yourself - bubble baths are a must. I may be super extroverted, but I know that I have to have my down time, too.
3 - Go for yourself and learn for yourself. God has you there for a reason and He wants YOU to learn something.

You're going to have a great time and everyone you meet is going to love you!

Monica said...

Can I just say...I am sooooo jealous! I want to go, too....maybe when I'm back in the states I'll make it. Hey! Count me in in 2010 or 2011.

Anyway...best advice...Just be yourself. That's who you are right here on "THAT Family" and that's why people keep coming back and reading. It's why I do, at least.

Andrea said...

I have a hard time when I am by myself too. My advice is to find someone else who looks a little nervous and hang out with her. Have fun!

marky said...

You will rock at the conference!

edie said...

Kristen, I've been following your blog for a while now and am also going to the conference. I can't wait but have had the same 'Should I tan/buy a new dress/whiten my teeth/etc? It'll be so much fun and I have a feeling that this group of women will be as sweet IRL as they are on their blogs. Can't wait to meet you!

Nancy M. said...

You seem very outgoing here on your blog. Just be yourself! I wish I was going so I could meet all you great ladies. I'm sure you'll have lots of fun!

Kimm at Reinvented said...

I'm probably NOT the one to give advice here, but I feel strangely calm and knowledgeable when I'm telling SOMEONE ELSE how to handle it. :)
Just be yourself, and remember even though you haven't met these people they already like you! Relax and have a great time. I'm so jealous!

theresa said...

Are you SURE we aren't twins separated at birth?! I could have written this post, right down to the feathers ... LOL! Well, except for the part about going to the conference. :o)

I'll be praying for you. {{{HUGS}}}

Kasey Hunt said...

I think you will have lots of fun. I guess when I'm out of my comfort zone, I think to myself that I'm not the only one that is uncomfortable. (There most be several women who feel the same way as I do) That usually calms the nerves a bit. Have fun, can't wait to read about your experience.

P.S.He loves you.. said...

Actions speak louder than words right?

Then maybe you should get a name Tag (a DYI project) and creativly decorate it "THAT" mom.

The rest is done for you..everyone including me (if I could afford that adventer) I would run up say "O'my word it's really YOU! may I have your autograph plz?!"

(giggle snort giggle)

HAVE Fun regardless..and don't fret the small stuff, everyone there will have one thing in common.."reaching across miles to gain new friendship!"

Lisa said...

My advice would be to remember no one is judging you. They are all worrying about how other see them.

I wish that I could go.I keep reading how people are going and it sounds like a great time.

Bring a book for the plane. You won't notice the birds...not that I have ever seen a bird while flying!!!

everyday mom said...

I can certainly help you out here with leaving your comfort zone. I was one that always loved mine. Then I met a guy that lived in the USA and without a second though (ok maybe without a 100th thought) I packed up my worldly belongings and moved here. Since taking that big step I have done things I never thought I would do.

You will be fine, you will meet great new friends and learn heaps.


Tanna said...

I'm right there with you! You can find me in the who are all of these people and what am I doing here corner. :)

I'm actually more nervous about the fact that I am not staying there. I live too close to justify it. I thought about getting a room just so I can be there and not feel like I am missing out on stuff.

Muthering Heights said...

I actually have to fly to a conference in May where I will be completely ALONE. I've had to do this one time before...only add in a strange roommate I have never met with whom I must co-habitate for several days, and let's just say, I'm feeling your pain!

My advice is to at least appear friendly, and usually someone who feels the same as you do will gravitate toward you, and you can at least feel awkward together. It works for me. :)

Oh, and don't ask pilots for directions in the airport. It's apparently pilot code for "please hit on me in your most sleazy way, even though I'm visibly pregnant, and no thank you, I don't need help grabbing my luggage from the conveyor belt, even though I can't reach it over my belly."

LuLu said...

Good for you. I am so like this too, don't like to go alone to things, I recommend just being yourself, your posts are funny and open... just be you!

Jenny86753oh9 said...

I'm not going to Blissdom, but I will be going to BlogHer...so I'll be in your shoes come this July. Looks like you've already got some great people who will hunt you down. Alli knows EVERYONE, so she'll hook you up!

jen@odbt said...

My heart's beating really fast after reading your post. I've never been to a blogging conference but that's the bond you all share. You can do this. I'm sure after this post, you'll find people to meet up with. You can set up those meetings now so that when you actually get to the conference, you won't feel alone. Most of all, have fun!

Nikie said...

Make your hotel room your sanctuary - bring a blanket, pillow, photos of your family, candles. a gallon of bubble bath.

It the same time you try to stay out of it as much as possible. Try to meet as many people as possible - grip and grin. If you feel like hiding make yourself stay out thirty more minutes.

Make the most of the trip for your inner and outer self!

mommy4life said...

It's all about common ground. Talk to others and find out what you have in common and go from there. I even did it in the pediatrician's office yesterday while waiting with my little one.

What a great opportunity, but an exciting one! Listen to your "still, small voice".

Ali said...

I'm with ya, girl. Haven't met one of these women EVER before.
So, yes, it will be awkward, but I think by the end of it, we'll all be having such a blast.
And though this isn't exactly the advice you were looking for, I read it this morning and it addresses our desire to find comfort. Thought I would share:

See you at Blissdom!

j said...

you already have a great deal in common with those who are going, so that should take the anxiety down a bunch. another plus, you will have people who want to meet you.

it will all be good. put on your big girl panties and have fun!

AnneYarbs79 said...

I have always found that you can get through anything like that with just ONE friend. Thats all you need. An easy goal. Look for that other gal whose just a cute as you and shimmy up next to her in line, or in the auditoriums. Compliment her on something and away you gooooooooooooooo!

Have Fun!

Lindsey said...

First, think about this....You will never see any of these people again! Then, take extra cash for sweet tea!

Amber@theRunaMuck said...

ME TOO!!!!!!!

I have this image in my head that everybody there is going to be the coolest lady on earth. If you see a girl in the corner sucking her thumb, it's me. Please hug me, and don't hate me if I act clingy.

See you there!

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

Here's what you do:
Step 1: Meet me in the hotel lobby. I'll hold your hand and talk all nice and soft to you and escort you into the first sessions. Cuz, you know, I was at Blissdom '08 and I'll all tight and homie-ish with those broads.
Step 2: You'll forget all about me after 15 minutes when you realize you have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to worry about because you are a much bigger rawk star blogger than I am.

In all seriousness, I was really freaked out for the conference in October but everyone was SO VERY NICE. It was not at all "clique-y" like I had thought.

tidymom said...

I feel ya sista! LOL
First I'm SO jealous of all you going, but if I WAS going, I would be in the EXACT same predicament as you!! and SCARED to DEATH! LOL

Have fun, I'm sure it will be a BLAST!


Marni's Organized Mess said...

You're so funny. AS IF you really need tips on how to be lovable. I am sure you and everyone else will just have a blast!! I can't wait to hear and see about it all.

Let me know if you find that makeover on clearance though! hehe.

Sandy Toes said...

Have fun at Blissdom..I would love to go!
-sandy toe

Jenn said...

No suggestions here! I'm am much more comfortable sitting here hiding behing my computer screen with my holely jeans and slippers on!! And a plane, um, I've never been on one and I think I would have to be heavily sedated to get on one! I am such a wimp!
But, I'm sure you will have a lot of fun. Just use some of the humor that seems to bubble out of you. You'll have a crowd swarming around you in no time and then be wishing for some peace and quiet!!

Mandy said...

Oh! I wish I were going! And I'll sign up for the position of real life friend! Where do I send my resume?! {giggles} :-) Have a great time!

Anonymous said...

Okay here are my 2 cents worth:

First let me say that I am a wanna be blogger and just can not put myself out there, so I read you all the time in total envy.

Second:My husband moves us on the average of every 22 months. This is my tenth state. My 4 year old has been in 4. I am often stuck in a situation to meet people and know noone. God is with you, has a plan for you and all whom you will meet. Put your best foot forward and get ready to fulfill HIS plan.

As for the cocktail party... what ever makes you feel AWESOME should work well.

Jesus is in your heart so I would say your blankie is with you.

Blessings and Fly safe.


pjmomof3boys said...

I can't believe you're nervous! You have a bajillion friends (look at how many comments you get each post!) and people who look up to you and think that you're the working woman/mom/bloggy QUEEN! I'm going to Blissdom as well and am nervous because I just started blogging not even a year ago, and this is my first bloggy conference. And I really have no idea what I'm doing! (And yes, thanks for mentioning the BIRDS! Now I have something ELSE to stress out about! ;) I have no idea what I'm wearing to the cocktail party (since I don't think I've ever actually attended a cocktail party in my life!), but I will let you know as soon as I figure it out. I think you should definitely bring your blankie. And I would love, love, love to meet you because I am just amazed at all you do and how you write, and I love your new design too (I have a thing with old typewriters)...Yeah, sorry for the major rambling comment. I wouldn't blame you if you're copying down my name and writing "STALKER--AVOID AT ALL COSTS" beside it to take with you to Nashville. :) But if you aren't too afraid of me yet, I'd so love to sit with you at lunch!


Lynnie said...

Hi Kristen,
Today was the first time I have seen your blog and I will be praying for your trip. It's gonna be a blessing, I just know it. Please continue to blog! We recently moved and I haven't yet met a friend with a passion for crafts and decorating here. Be yourself and have fun!

JEWEL said...

I would love to attend - but RL will not allow for anything extra. You will have a great time. Bring your blankie, as I would. And your laptop :-). That's comfort!

Most attending are just like you - they are alone and out of their comfort zone as well. Introduce yourself and get to know as many as you can. Just think how fun it will be to blog after meeting others! It could be the beginning of life long friendships.

Have a wonderful time!

VanderbiltWife said...

Kristen, I have total social anxiety and am in pretty much the same boat as you for this one! I will confess I have met three people who are going to the conference face-to-face (my first cousin, Pam Case (women's leader at LifeWay), and Meredith from Like Merchant Ships (once)). I feel your pain a little, as I don't think I can hide behind those people's backs the whole time. Perhaps we can find a corner and hide together?

I hope you'll find me and we can chat. :) I will be doing my best to break out of my shell and not assume everyone thinks I am a badly dressed idiot with a "not-real" blog.


Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

My two cents? You just come find "us" - don't quite know who "us" will be, but I'll find a bunch of them and we'll all eat the choc. chip cookies I am going to bring. Because who wouldn't love to meet new friends and have choc. chip cookies. :) And just so I don't fall into the comparison trap, I am going to blog about the fact that everything I wear that weekend will be second hand/thrift/yard sale, and we'll see just how trendy we can be. That way I can't get nervous about what I am going to wear and spend money I don't have. :)
Seriously, I am rooming with Kimba, Rhoda from Southern Hospility, Pink/Polka dot and driving with the Nester and Emily...so find our room, and please come hang out if you're feeling that way at all. :)No nervousness allowed.

cajungal01 said...

I am so sorry to hear of your discomfort. I wish I had some huge words of wisdom, some amazing advice... hmmm... I don't know that I have a comfort zone! Just my own skin I guess...I'm not easily embarrassed nor shy. Hmm...if I was doing something that I would possibly be uncomfortable with I would definitely have in hand: a large sweet iced tea, a bag with a book in it (if I wanted a few minutes to sit in a nearby chair yet look unapproachable...looking like you're reading is good), and of course a cell phone..maybe set up an emergency code with a friend.. if you text them with "SOS" then they'll call you with an urgent message to go to your room for..or better yet call the hotel and have you paged for the front desk! :0)

D... said...

I'm proud of you! It's hard to step outside of one's comfort zone. I'm not sure that I could do it.

Once you get there, you are going to wonder why you were so nervous. I am so willing to bet on that!

Enjoy yourself!

Nancy said...

I bet everyone will feel the same way, so try to relax. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. I guess wear what you'd wear to a nice ladies luncheon for the cocktail reception. Remember your business cards to trade. You're off on an adventure: meet wonderful people, learn a lot, and have fun!

allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

thediaperdiaries said...

What the hell is a sweet tea party? My 2 cents. Hang with me, I am super fun and will only yell, "Hey check out Kristen!!!!" once or twice. Well that really depends on how many Blisstinis I have.

Shara said...

I wish I had some great advice for you, but I'm going to do the same thing in October. Let me know what works, will ya? =)

I'm sure you are just as sweet and kind and fun IRL as you are on your blog. You'll have a blast!

Anonymous said...

I think your friends are right; cruel as they are :)
This is one of those things that are only going to be good in retrospect. Personally, I've found that it's only when I step outside the comfort zone that I DO flourish but it's the hardest thing; to reach for that sunlight.
I would be terrified. Hope that helps. See.... you're not the only one that will be feeling that way.Just find people worse off than you and mingle.

Blue Castle said...

I can feel your pain. I told my husband I wish I was going to Blissdom, but while I do hope to go next year, I also know it will be hard to do it alone. I get all tied up in knots at social functions. :)

But, I know you can do it! You're funny and smart and a really likeable person (in blogland, and I'm sure in person too). Once you get over that first little bit, you'll be fine.

Alexia said...

I have no advice for you, because I'm pretty much a hermit myself LOL Prayer is always good though (and blankies fit in purses if they're the right size ;) Have fun!

shawnamae8 said...

Find the first person you see who looks as nervous as you feel. You will have someone to commiserate with :) It will definitely make it easier. Take a book on the plane so you aren't staring out the widow looking for a flock of geese. Make sure your clothes are comfortable. If you feel uncomfortable in your clothes it will only make it worse. Good luck!!

Nicole said...

No way! Im so glad you're going; Im going too. I'll be the other introvert there, looking lost and like a deer in headlights. You wont be the only one, Im sure.

And your flight will be fine...just think of all your adoring fans awaiting you and you'll make it through.

Im so excited...its going to be a great conference. I'd love to meet you!

Anonymous said...

KristEn (because I previously spelled your name wrong) - I had another thought and it's something I do. Just look for ways to be a blessing to people. Encouraging words, sincere compliments, funny observations. Stuff you already do anyway :-)

Robin ~ PENSIEVE said...

Wow, Kristen, YOU ARE LOVED! Doesn't this make you excited to be attending? People are gonna be looking for you!! I, for one, can't wait to meet you :). You've done so much in such a short time with your blog--next year you could be sitting on a panel discussion!

Safe travels friend...can't wait to see ya :).

Anonymous said...