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Making the First Move How it Changed My Life

September 10, 2018

By Barbara Alpern

Most of my life I’ve been painfully shy.  At school I had only a few friends.  While I was very confident professionally, I was terrified at the thought of taking a client to lunch.  My neighbors thought I was a snob because I never spoke to anyone unless they spoke to me first.
When I retired, I wanted to lock myself in my apartment with a pile of books and never speak to another human being.  I had gained weight during my last few years of work which caused some health issues, so I started a diet.  As the weight started coming off, I felt more energetic and became bored.  Then I found TTN.
On the way to my first TTN event, I had to keep talking myself out of turning around and going home.  I was terrified – but then I decided that the worst that could happen was that no one would talk to me (which I was used to), so I forced myself to go on.  When I arrived, everyone seemed deep in conversation hovering around a food table, so I busied myself with the food.
As it turned out, the purpose of the event was to set up new peer groups.  The women were all lovely, quite accomplished, and very smart.  I felt intimidated and rarely spoke.  Then at one of our meetings, I mentioned how nervous I was about going to that first event and having to introduce myself to a bunch of people I didn’t know.  And I found out that some of these very accomplished and smart women felt the same way!
A while later, I went to a new member reception, where we went around the room stating what our interests are.  I’m a theater lover, and so was one of the other women.  After the meeting, I got up all my nerve and suggested we do something together.  She’s now one of my best friends and has introduced me to a world of culture that I didn’t know existed.
So I started joining other groups, then some committees.  And the more I reached out to people, the easier it got.  I knew I had changed when my peer group asked me if I had gotten a personality transplant!  That gave me the confidence to become Chair of the NYC Chapter, and now I have the privilege of chairing the Caring Collaborative.
So don’t be afraid to make the first move – the worst that could happen is she’ll tell you she’s busy, but more likely, she’ll be thrilled because she was just too nervous to be the first to ask. 
I can tell you that these last four years have been the happiest years of my life!