I’ve never been a “joiner.”

I’ve never been a “joiner.”

I've never been a joiner | Modern Mrs Darcy

I’ve never been a “joiner” by nature. This is pretty common for introverts, who are comfortable working alone, and often prefer it.

There are advantages to not being a joiner: I’m not highly susceptible to Groupthink.Β I’m not paralyzed by the Fear of Missing Out. I don’t suffer from Instagram Envy or Pinterest Burnout.

But independence has its downsides, and joining is looking more attractive these days. (Maybe the cumulative effect of a few years of a rather isolated homeschooling lifestyle are getting to me?)

This year I’m pushing myself to be a joiner:

It started with Jane Austen. Since I dropped in on the Jane Austen Festival last summer, I’ve been thinking of investigating our local JASNA group. I decided to make attending a meeting one of my 2014 goals. It’s kind of a stretch (for an introvert), but I’m going–and I’m kind of hoping to love it.

I’d love to join–or maybe even start, if I can’t find one–a book club. I would especially love to find a Kid Lit book group.

I think it would be good for me to join–or at least visit–a homeschooling group. We’ve stayed out of communities and co-ops so far, but now that Silas is no longer napping during meeting times, we should check out our local options.

And this might be a pipe dream, but I would love to find or form a local writing group.

Four new things–or more, if I can think of any–in one year might kill me, but I think it’s time to join up. Introverts, I’m expecting you to understand. Extroverts, try not to roll your eyes too aggressively in my direction, pretty please?

Are YOU a joiner by nature? I would welcome any stories about what you joined, and why, and how it turned out–especially if the joining didn’t come easy!

And by all means, if you know of any groups in the Louisville area, please let me know!

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  1. MJ says:

    My bloggy friend Angie (The Jammie Girl) has told me about a writing group that meets at the Bon Air library off Bardstown Road the fourth Saturday of every month. She says it’s everyone from teens to grandmothers, wanna-be writers to published authors. They do a one hour group discussion then a one hour presentation from one of the members or a guest speaker on a particular topic. I’ve never been a joiner (AT ALL) but she almost has me convinced to give it a try.

    • Anne says:

      I know Angie! Or at least, we’ve established online that I drive by her house almost every day, and she drives by mine. πŸ™‚ I’m going to hunt her down (in a very friendly way, of course) and beg her to let me come!

  2. Jennifer says:

    I’m not a joiner by nature, but I always WANT to be a joiner, so I do it anyway. Typically I make a specific commitment, like a year or one meeting a month, with the option to drop out or drop back after my commitment is over. I would be interested in a Kid Lit group if you find one or want to start one.

  3. Maggie says:

    I think the key to successful “joining” is finding the right place where you have a true interest. I have forced myself into so many things that I felt like I needed to do (particularly leadership roles where my kids are involved). But when you have the opportunity to really use your interests and skills, it won’t feel like a chore. It will be like a little treat for yourself. My guess is that you will love joining these new groups because they exercise your favorite parts of yourself πŸ™‚

  4. D says:

    I have wanted to join a few groups but feel that I shouldn’t if I can’t really commit to being all-there. I have small and middle aged kids that are now in all kinds of activities, and I struggle with finding the balance between exploring my own interests and not overscheduling myself (or the kids). I also work full-time and feel guilty when I miss more than one or two bedtimes per week.

    • Anne says:

      “I struggle with finding the balance between exploring my own interests and not overscheduling myself (or the kids).” Oh goodness, yes. That’s me exactly. My instinctive response is too become a hermit, but I think somewhere in between those extremes would be a little healthier.

  5. sheila says:

    I’m not a joiner, but that will sound like a lie when I tell you I’m in an art group and a moms group. The art group was a real stretch for me, but we have been together for more than 12 years and it is great. We sometimes do projects together, but more often than not, we meet at B&N for coffee, inspiration and support.

    My moms group came about when my oldest was an infant. I was so desperate for interaction I would WAKE HIM UP to go! Now those infants are in sixth grade. The kids aren’t really friends but we still are. Love those women!

    I think you will know pretty soon if “these are my people”. If they are, Yay! If not, no biggie. You can always just go home and read. LOL

    • Anne says:

      I love hearing stories about how people have been in the same groups for a decade or more! Clearly, that is not me. But maybe it will be one day…

  6. Catharine says:

    I’ve been considering finding a writer’s group in Louisville too. Honestly, the idea of making awkward small talk is holding me back more than exposing my work! Can’t wait to see how it turns out for you.

  7. Jeannie says:

    I can definitely relate to your post. I’m part of a book club and a writing group, as well as a weekly morning women’s group at my church — but I’m something of a homebody so I’m pretty selective in the things I join. Being selective is important for me because I find it very hard to un-join something once I’ve joined; I have a hard time saying “This just isn’t a good fit for me right now.” Maybe it’s a combination of loyalty and guilt, not wanting to let anyone down. (This kind of relates to one of your prior posts about “Does what worked for me then still work for me?”) But when I do have the courage to drop something that doesn’t feel right, I’m always so relieved. So I have to remind myself to trust my instincts.

    • Anne says:

      I also have a difficult time un-joining once I have joined, and feel all kinds of guilty about it. Thanks so much for articulating that for me.

  8. Shay says:

    Whoa. You blew my mind with this. I realized (just now) that *because* I am an introvert, I am not typically a joiner. My mom spent most of my life trying to make me a joiner. (She’s an extrovert.)

    And also, my husband, who is more introverted than I am, is definitely not a joiner. This makes so much more sense, And I can’t wish/make him into a joiner, because then I would be like my mother!

    Thanks for your insight, as always!

  9. Kimberly says:

    Another non-joiner here:) I never linked that to the fact that I don’t have instagram envy or Fear of Missing Out either. These issues are a complete mystery to me, much like my non-joining is a complete mystery to my extrovert husband;) Regardless, I do sometimes feel a twinge of wanting to belong to something bigger than myself on occasion. Perhaps a book club is a good way to start?

  10. Katie says:

    It’s funny isn’t it. I often have to even force myself to hang out casually with good friends, though I’m always glad when I do so. In our last town, where I really never found friends with which I really connected, I knew I needed to do something at least. So I started a dinner coop, where one person in the group cooked for everyone else so we could pick up a meal once a week and then we held a potluck once a month. It was fun to connect over food and plus, I didn’t have to cook dinner once a week!

  11. Gina says:

    1) INFJ, need I say more.
    2) Not a joiner and overwhelmed by large groups. I am so much more comfortable on the fringe. Probably my greatest discovery of 2013 was the fringe, how much I like it and the people I find there. Fringe people need a name…fringers, fringies, I don’t know but I know that I love them.
    3) The next Louisville JASNA is a tea tasting. Sounds interesting.
    4) If you do a small book group, I would come and sit on the fringe and love the fringe people.

  12. Love this post, Anne! Since I’m an ambivert, I do tend to ‘join’ things, but not as often, I think, as a true extrovert. I so wish we lived closer, I would LOVE to join a writing group with you! I also am looking this season for my first in-person book club here in Texas, and a writing group. Do you know of any writing conference/retreats you would recommend? I’m looking to attend one this year. I’m also helping facilitate a book discussion on Jesus Feminist at She Loves Magazine in a few weeks – I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and have you be a part of the conversation. Excited to hear about your Jane Austen group adventures – that sounds fun and story-filled for sure. Happy Wednesday!

  13. Polly says:

    I’m kind of an ambivert too, but I really love joining things. For me, it’s easier to connect with people if we have a reason to be gathering together. For example the JASNA annual conferences are great in that way, you always have a conversation opener with everyone there.
    I would say to give any group you try at least six months before you give up on it. Lots of people visit just a couple times and when they don’t meet their new BFF, stop coming. But mostly it’s in the commitment and the returning that the friendships grow.

  14. Ginger says:

    This post absolutely resonated with me! I’m an introverted non-joiner. I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone in a few things. We joined a homeschool co-op a couple of years ago, and now we love it! We go to homeschool PE classes twice a week, and I’ve learned to open myself up little by little to the new friends that I meet. I try to invite others into my home – it feels more natural than going “out” and it has helped. πŸ™‚ A few local moms have talked about doing a kid lit club – and I’m all for it! I wish that I could find a writing group – but I’m in Kansas, not Kentucky. πŸ™‚

  15. Martha says:

    I’m an introvert and a joiner–I find it’s less draining to try to make friends when I’ve joined something! (We move a lot.) That said, with little nappy kids joining is not often worth it these days so I’m on a hiatus.

  16. Ana says:

    I join things a lot…and then either drop out or just never fully commit. I think I like the IDEA of joining, and it does seem like an easier way to make friends, but I really dislike large groups, and I dislike certain types of activities (fund raising!) that tend to come up in groups. I also like the idea of going out to something (a meeting, book group, etc…) more than the reality and LOGISTICS of actually making it happen. Interesting to think about…

  17. Caris Adel says:

    Ummmm, yes, totally relate. I just joined MOPS which has me a little freaked out. And I sent out blind emails to find some friends for my oldest this week and I’m joining a couple homeschool things for it…..trying not to dry-heave with anxiety.

  18. Chris Cason says:

    I’m so definitely a “joiner.” I’m an ESTJ and probably typical to my personality that I love joining groups. There are so many groups that I want to be in and not enough time available for me to be active in them all that I have to pick a few and concentrate on those. I’ve joined a few groups using the app (or website) meetup.com. Others I found from networking with people. I’m very encouraged and deeply appreciate the experiences shared here of people pushing themselves out of their comfort zone to expand themselves and grow. Thank you so much for the awesome experiences and goals that everyone has shared here! Best wishes in all your future movements to be more of a joiner!

  19. I’m not a joiner. Honestly, I want to be a joiner. I want to be the type of person who is comfortable with being in groups and joining groups. But when I do try to join, my heart starts pounding and I talk myself out of it, even things I’m legitimiately excited about, prepared for and interested in. One of my goals for the new year is to be a joiner at least a few times. Once I’ve joined a group a few different times, I get really comfortable, so I just need to push myself past the initial discomfort.

  20. Rachel says:

    I am a joiner and currently have way too much on my plate. I just read your Pinterest envy post and have absolutely zero pin-vy. I view it as a catalog of fantastic ideas, hair styles, recipes, etc. On the other hand, I had to extricate myself from Facebook because comparing myself to others was stealing all of my joy. I realized that if I hadn’t been aware of someone else’s highlights (in their life, i.e. a fabulous trip to Paris, Girls Night Outs that I wasn’t invited, etc), I couldn’t compare my real life. I have a wonderful life with normal ups and downs. So, I deleted my account…much more joyful now.

  21. Chris Cason says:

    Here are the groups that I’m in: Fort Detrick Toastmasters Club (which helps me to be more comfortable/improves my skills with public speaking, presenting, leading, etc.), AFCEA Frederick (which relates to my career), HDI Capital Area Chapter (also relates to my career), a walking/hiking group, line dancing group, water aerobics group, Fun Around Frederick group. I also volunteer at a local community center by doing security, reception, meeting facilitation, occasional presentations and meeting planning/scheduling. I have people/groups routinely asking to attend/join their groups and I feel bad having to decline or may be able to attend one event, but not able to continue since I’m already maxed out. I use FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+, Pinterest and a few others less frequently. My personal Twitter handle is: mbti_estj

  22. Liza Lee Grace says:

    100 % introvert here. I join things I’m interested in, or join things that I know would be good for me (except a gym…no way!). I find joining is the easy part. It’s sticking with it and putting myself out there week after week, especially with people I don’t know well, that freaks me out. I’ve quit so many things due to panic attacks & stress. I hate it, but that’s how I am. I have been able to stick with only a few groups. I say I want to quit a current leadership position every other week, but have told myself it’s not an option. I know that if I can stick with it – and succeed – I can learn to not panic over smaller things.

  23. Madeline says:

    Anne, sometimes I read your posts simply to try to understand my introvert daughter! She is only 5 but a true introvert and definitely not a joiner. This extroverted, joining mom is learning that there is strength in choosing not to join if she doesn’t want to! I have also learned to leave her alone for a good chunk of time when she gets home, completely drained, from kindergarten, where she is forced to be a joiner all morning.

    • Anne says:

      Madeline, I’m glad it’s helpful, and it’s so interesting to me how pronounced her preferences are at age 5! It sounds like you’re both doing a good job with strategies that keep everyone happy and sane. πŸ™‚

      (Your daughter sounds a lot like my son when he first went off to kindergarten. He did great at school, but wanted to spin in circles on the tire swing when he got home for half an hour minimum before he wanted to say one word to anyone!)

  24. I am not a joiner (INFP really says a lot doesn’t it?), but my 12 year old son is. He absolutely craves being around other people – any other people! I realized early on when we started homeschooling that I was going to have to link up with others to fill that need for him. I pushed myself to join the local homeschool group and I mostly love it. The people are fabulous, but I do have to take my own energy level into account when I’m committing to meetings and activities. I do really enjoy the support and friendship, though, even if I have to push myself to get out of the house.

  25. Erin says:

    You should go to the next JASNA meeting and get it over with… that way if you love you can go all year or if you hate, its done.

    As for a home-schooling group – I loved ours as a home-schooled kid.

    I typically avoid or chicken out of joining things too. Walking into a room where I know no-one is horrible for me. Plus, I tend to sit in the back and not talk to anyone and then don’t want to go back. Good luck!

  26. Carmen says:

    I’m a joiner, but I’m also a deeply introverted. I’m in a book club. I attend a MOPS group. I go to my local knit shop weekly just to sit and knit with other knitting ladies. Even though I homeschooled for nine years, I never felt comfortable in most home school groups and never joined one.
    I’ve been a solid INFJ for years. My most recent MBTI test resulted in ISFP. Usually, My “N” is very strong. Interesting. Anyway, I have to be very interested to join something. I like being in groups, but I need a lot of quiet and down time after them.

  27. Faigie says:

    I join to learn things. Which unfortunately often means, pay to join :). I’m not so into social groups which is funny because people think of me as a real extrovert but, I don’t need groups that much

  28. I may be a joiner, but maybe moreso a former. I’m a bit of an extrovert and I find that I will do more things if I can join a group of some kind. When I wanted to learn roller derby, I convinced four friends to do it with me. It was SO MUCH better than doing it by myself! I get discouraged when there is a felt need for something, like a Bible study, small group, or common interest group, but nobody makes a move, so i typically start those things because I want them to happen! I started a writers’ group, a blog-in night, and a Sunday night BBC watching time for women in Chicago. If anyone out there is close by, come join us!

  29. Mandie says:

    I sometimes join, but then get overwhelmed & quit!! Ok, not sometimes, usually! I did just join our local modern quilt guild last week! I’m hoping I stick with it!

  30. Kate says:

    Infj-not typically a joiner but I recently started running with a moms running group and I am amazed by how happy it makes me! I love the company, the distraction and the encouragement. That being said, I signed up and followed the posts on Facebook for a couple of months before I took the leap and actually ran with them. So glad I did!

  31. Extrovert here. Less of a joiner, more of a starter/leader. And I don’t do “team player” very well (prefer to manage people), I’d rather be in charge (and then I can burn out of being in charge of too much), so then I pull back from starting/leading and then I get bummed that I’m not active in enough things. I’m not leading too much right now though as we get ready for our hike.

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  33. Shelley says:

    I am totally not a joiner! πŸ™‚ We do things with a few close friends and thankfully our whole families are very close (fellow-homeschoolers), but otherwise I’m a huge homebody. I love being home, love our routine (even though we add outings and fun family fieldtrips occasionally). I enjoy one-on-one discussions with a close friend periodically, but I do not love groups and having to go places for events, go out at night on my own, have a full schedule with multiple activities…I don’t meld well with the go-go-go mentality that is so prevalent nowadays. My kids are in some selective activities that they enjoy and I’m fine with that, and we faithfully attend church, but that’s about it. My hubby and I also go to professional, local soccer games together, but as far as me joining a bunch of groups…no, not my thing. Great for others, but it drains me or stresses me out.

    I wanted to say that I’m new to your blog and LOVE it!! I’m so excited. We are a Christian homeschooling family and we all love to read, so your blog is right up our alley! Thank you…

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