So I was. I was outgoing, and I made friends, and I was even elected the seventh grade class treasurer! Big times.
I was friendly and outgoing for a long time, and over time I figured that I had changed, and that I was no longer the loner who struggled with friendships, with knowing how to act. I didn't understand that there is a difference in changing how I act (I did) and changing my basic personality (not gonna happen).
Trying to be someone I am not takes a toll. However, just because I am an introvert by nature doesn't mean I can't be friendly and gracious; I'm just not a party animal. Recognizing who I am helps me be kind to myself when I get into overwhelming social situations (unfortunately, these situations seem to happen most often within my own large family! Help! I'm related to all these people!).
Mark reminds me to "presume welcome," a phrase we learned at our Courage to Teach seminar a couple of years ago. When I go into a situation that is unfamiliar--read stressful--to me, I try to breathe deeply and presume welcome. Welcome. Welcome. Well. Come.