Shy Girl Makes Friends and Learns Five Lessons

I’m an introvert who can fake being an extrovert. When I make a new friend and we click, I always learn something–you know the kind of friendship I’m talking about–

You both love coffee. You laugh at the same bizarre things. You can be together and not talk and it’s perfectly fine. 

Before the Ridgecrest Novelists Retreat last week, I wondered if the magic would happen.

Would I make new friends and reconnect with old ones? Would one of them teach me a life lesson? 

As soon as I arrived, I spotted my friend Vonda SkeltonShe’s an amazing writer, speaker, and teacher. It’s impossible to be with her and not laugh because Vonda laughs at herself. 🙂

Lesson Number 1 came quickly from Vonda:

1. Life’s more fun when you can finally learn to laugh at yourself. 

Later that day, I sat down in a class about social media and novel-writing.

Can I do this? Can I actually learn to speak new languages in social media?

Edie Melson and DiAnn Mills co-taught the class, The Author RoadmapEdie covered the social media aspect and DiAnn covered novel-writing.

Right away Edie smiled. 🙂 I smiled back.

And relaxed.

Maybe I can do this. Edie smiled at me. She thinks I can. 

Lesson number 2 from Edie:

2. For me, smiling and having a positive attitude became the first step to learning. 

Next I met Torry Martin.

Oh. Wow. Torry’s a speaker, writer, comedian, and actor. He’s also free-spirited and hilarious. Give the man a sentence and he can write an entire screenplay–in just a few hours!

Lesson number 3 from Torry.

3. Don’t doubt yourself. Be fearlessly creative. 

I met Bea Fishback, another writer, speaker, teacher. We introduced ourselves and discovered we both love coffee. 🙂 On the way to Starbucks, we laughed because we couldn’t find my car in the parking lot.

Kindred spirits.

I told her how much I loved her scarf. A few minutes later, in the conference room, she handed me a neatly folded, bright orange square.

Her scarf.

Spontaneous giving always undoes me. It’s how Jesus gives.

Lesson number 4 from Bea:

4. Give joyfully and unexpectedly.

And DiAnn.

DiAnn and I’ve been friends since the day she approached me at a writers’ conference in 2006 and said, “You look shy. Do you need a friend?”

Lesson number 5 from DiAnn.

5. Keep an open heart for new friends. They’re everywhere! 

Driving home, surrounded by the changing leaves, the scarf around my neck felt almost like an encouraging hand on my shoulder.

Thank You, Lord. The magic happened all over again. A shy girl made friends.

Does this stir your thoughts? Have you made a new friend lately? What about when Bea gave me her scarf? Whew…

Has God ever surprised you with an unexpected friend?




  1. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Just made your words in #3 my motto and plan to splash it all over my walls – and my life, although I believe our daughters and a few others would say I’ve “splashed” hordes of this throughout the past 50+ years!


    I know what you mean about Torry! We met him at Montrose Christian Writers Conference a few years back and always love when I see his name in the brochure as coming again. His passion for God amazes me! And his humor…well, he’s my all-time favorite comedian.

    And, yes, God surprised me with an unexpected and wonderful friend through that same conference (not that year, though, this goes back about 15 years). Beth Westcott, a diminutive, grace-filled, woman-after-God’s-own-heart, has blessed my life in many ways, even if we only see each other once a year. Her daughter and one of ours became fast friends one year there, a friendship that added to our family circle a few years later when she asked our daughter to be in her wedding – in NY! Thank You, Jesus, for friendship from godly people here and that straight from Your heart to mine! <3

    • I know–Cathy–BE FEARLESSLY CREATIVE. Those two words kept coming to me the whole time Torry was teaching. Don’t you just love ’em? And I’d never met Torry until last week.

      Loved reading about Beth Wescott–and to top it off–your daughters became friends. And to be in a wedding–wowowowowow!

      Thanks for writing and “getting” this post. 🙂

      Hugs from me to you~~~~~ praying for you.

  2. “I’m an introvert who can fake being an extrovert,” Oh sweet lady you have described me to a tee! This was such a delightful read, not to mention very encouraging, thank you for always being so open about “you”! I think we might just could be kindred spirits too!

    • Sue–

      No one understands an introvert like another introvert. And I was so excited because I was getting to room by myself. Ridgecrest is reasonably priced and I just need my down-time. You know what I mean?

      Thank you so much for understanding. And for letting me know you’re reading.

      Sounds like you and I are kindred spirits too.

  3. There are so many lessons that I can take from your post, Julie. Yes, I am an introvert. I have worked on that over the years and am happy to say that I more open than I was 30 years ago.

    And, for me, number 3 “Don’t doubt yourself. Be fearlessly creative”, is something I really need to learn. No matter if I am creating something with yarn or fabric or in decorating, I always doubt myself. I am always worried that it is isn’t good enough. So, I am going to remember number 3 and say it over and over to myself when those doubts start creeping in.

    Thank you my friend, for another posts that speaks to me. xxxooo

    • Eileen, me too! I’ve opened up and come so far, but I still need quiet time. Like rest time for pre-schoolers. 🙂 I sorta had a feeling you were an introvert.

      Can you come up with something in fabric? Embroidery? Something that says “Be fearlessly creative.”

      I think what makes us special is inside each one of us, and we have to remember that.

      Because that’s where our creativity lies.

      Push back the fear and keep going–right along side me!


  4. I love your friends Julie! Love that you are open to learning from each one…smooch xo

    • Love you too, Robin. I honestly believe we can (and should?) learn from every encounter. Especially every friendship!

  5. Mary Wilkins says:

    We had parallel weeks. This introvert attended her son’s wedding. Needless to say, I both looked forward to it and dreaded it. Add to introversion my hearing loss, and one has all the grounds for panic at such events. Nevertheless, it was wonderful. Like you, I met many new friends and family members. My Thomas relatives from KS finally got to meet my cousins on my Mom’s side who live in GA and FL. Both sides have heard lots about one another, but had never met. Several of our son’s friends from school and work were there. I had only met them on Facebook. Even his dissertation advisor was there! All in all, it was such a joy. The only time I started to lose it was after several hours at the reception when the noise level was about to do me in. Fortunately, we were able to gracefully take our leave. God was really with us every step of the way.

    • Yay for you, Mary! I do understand what you mean.

      I loved reading your words, “It was wonderful.” Just think how we’d have felt it we’d have just stayed home. Boo hiss!

      Isn’t that just a beautiful thing how everyone got to know each other? Probably some new bonds were formed. I know that’s what happened with me.

      I have such a lovely image of you there–with God so close beside you.

      Thanks for sharing your experience, SISTER!

  6. Anna Haney says:

    Oh, Julie.
    Sometimes I am amazed at how alike we are. Then again, I know we really are meant to be friends. I am able to laugh at myself. Learned that lesson long ago as a shy little girl, the one who was usually the new kid in school—–the one who was ahead in one subject and behind in another. Like you, I can’t find my car in most parking lots and I tend to park in the same place each day here at work. If you ask me what I want for a gift, I draw a blank, but I could go broke thinking of gifts for others,
    When I mention you to people, no one asks how you and I met. I could tell them I “met” you when your mom told me about your wedding. But I will always be so thankful for that day when I was feeling so lost and depressed and I felt a nudge to post to you on Facebook to pray for me. And you did. God ALWAYS knows that He is doing.
    Love you

    • Anna, you’ll never believe it, but I always try to get the same parking spot at the grocery store. Yep. We’re so much alike.

      A good gift to me means having time to sit down, share a cup of coffee, and talk. 🙂 Bet you like that one!

      Oh. Oh. Oh. Your precious words. You pray for me and I pray for you. Isn’t that how friendship is supposed to work?

      Thank you. One day, I do believe we’ll meet in person. But even if it doesn’t happen until heaven, it’s okay.

      Because we’re friends. And God brought us together!

  7. Love what you learned, loved who blessed you, love that you shared your world with us!

  8. Aww, I just love this! The scarf. Aww. What a sweetheart! Everyone in this writer world makes me better in one way or another. In everything I do, I see another’s influence. It’s sweet.

    • I completely agree, Shelli.

      And each person teaches us something. It all connects, doesn’t it? Like you and me. 🙂

  9. Shelley Elaine says:

    Julie, In August, I met a new friend at a moms night out for our homeschool group! We just clicked immediately and it was so obvious that we are kindred spirits! But, with school starting and schedules getting crazy, we had not crossed paths again until yest. Once again, I was so amazed at how easily the conversation flowed between us! And, I am definitely an introvert!!! So thankful for this new friendship and for your blog-that I relate to so often! Plz keep writing Julie-you have a GIFT!

    • That’s exactly what I’m talking about, Shelley!!!! It doesn’t always happen though, does it….the magic in the connection–the kindred spirits thing.

      Yep. And you can go for years and not talk, but when you finally do, it’s as if you never were separated.

      Thank you so much for understanding and for encouraging me. Helps more than you can imagine.

      So glad you get the whole introvert issue!


  10. Patricia Martin says:

    Hey, Julie!((: I remember the first time I ever posted a comment on your blog. I was nervous and shy and wondered if you would reply to my post. So glad that you did reply and still do as it makes my day brighter! I used to read your devotionals in Daily Guideposts and your mom’s writing in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Daily Guideposts. What a blessing you both are to all of us! ((: You are a great friend!

    • Ohhh, Patricia….

      THANK YOU. THANK YOU. You and me–we’re both a little shy!!

      Giant hug from me this morning!

  11. Julie, I would never in a million years think you were shy or introverted. You blew me away when you told me that! And I loved all your lessons. 🙂

    What fun to spend the week with you. Already looking forward to seeing you again, hopefully soon!

  12. marci says:

    I always learn lessons from your wiritngs, and being here– We arel becoming “knit together”. It feels that way to me. I have been so blessed and had my spirit lifted so much– and so many times have been amazed at how alike we all can be! How many times I have sat here saying to myself, if not writing it– “Me too! Yes, that is exactly how I feel! I experienced the same thing! What a blessing it has been for me. – You can imagine my (almost) panic, when I could not see anything on line, .. I can say almost now, which is an improvement, since at one time I may have say Panic with a capital “P” if I could not get on line. I relate to Anna’s always being the new kid is school- (another me too!), as I went to several different schools including 3 H. S.s. And in person I am much more quiet than on paper! I am so glad you could go to the retreat, and have that time with other writers, and all you learned there.. and also glad you came back here to share your lessons with us! .. My Internet connection is still a little hit or miss, so I am glad I was able to see this, and my cup overflows!

    God Bless you dear Julie, for all the lessons and inspiration!

    • marci says:

      Oh, my, all my typos! Guess I was just glad to be able to be on line enough to see your blog.
      As for typos– I seem to always have them and only after they are posted do they glare at me.

    • Something weird happened last week when I posted this blog, Marci’a–I didn’t get any notifications of comments. I don’t remember seeing this one! So sorry. Maybe it happened because I posted from North Carolina instead of GA? Who knows.

      I agree–I’m the same way– “Much more quiet than on paper.” And that’s when the words come out. 🙂

      I love it that some y’all are connecting on the blog and identifying with each other!

      I can’t even imagine trying to fit it at 3 different high schools. Wow.

      Hope Anna sees your words above.

      So much love…

      • marci says:

        Dearest Julie,
        I am smiling – Sometimes we worry about so much when we don’t need to worry.
        I am just now able to see anything on line.. so if you were late at writing a comment, I didn’t know.
        I do hope the server gets things fixed soon. Makes me grateful to see anything here, and I do hope I can get on tomorrow and see your new blog. With your little glitches, and the ones we have been having in this area, sounds like the grimlins have had a busy time over the past few days. .. I guess we will just have to forgive ourselves about the typos. I never mind seeing someone elses, as it makes me know I am not the only one. God Bless.

        • You’re absolutely right, Marci’a–we worry when we don’t need to. Hmmmmm, maybe this means I never ever need to? 🙂

          So glad the timing worked out–with my late posting and you’re late reading!

          Love your wisdom, my friend! So soothing………… and I had a typo in this post last week. My sis texted me. I quickly fixed it. 🙂


  13. Carm Russell says:

    Love this one. Especially #4. I have both been the giver and the recipient. Most recently when my pink ribbon clay cross got chewed by my dog. When I told my BFF, who gave me that cross when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, went straight to her purse and took off another pink cross of her own and gave it to me! It touched my heart and that memory found its place there never to be forgotten. ⚓️

    • Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Carm…..I’m tearing up now reading your comment. And it’s not about the cost of the gift, is it? It’s about the heart of the giver.

      Hugging you from here. Thank you! I’m telling you–when she gave me her scarf, it did melted me.


    • Jenni M says:

      Amazing how a seemingly simple gesture of friendship can impact a person’s life for the better! That’s a beautiful story, Carm! Hugs to you and your friend!

  14. Great post, Julie! That is true. Learning starts with a positive attitude. It’s under the Law of Attraction. If you think positively, good things will happen. Thanks for sharing what you’ve learned!

    • Thank you, Heart!!!

      This makes perfect sense. I’d just never put it together in my head until Edie smiled at me.

      Means so much that you’d read and comment. Glad this post made sense to you. 🙂


  15. Jenni M says:

    Thank you for bringing home to us the lessons that you learned at the novelist retreat, Julie! Boy, I think I would have felt nervous, going in there alone! Bea’s story especially touched me, and encouraged me. Spontaneously giving you something of hers. That’s beautiful! I loved how you described it: “It’s how Jesus gives.” It’s amazing how freeing it can be to just do as Jesus would do it. In the end, anything here in this world, whether or not it’s in our possession, is only transitory. Blessings, but temporary ones. Perhaps some things have special meanings behind them and thus they’re harder to let go of, but truly, they’re only things. They get old. They lose their sparkle. They lose their significance oftentimes. But the joy in someone else’s eyes and heart, by sharing some of Jesus’ love, can last a lifetime, in the giver and receiver. What a blessing that the Father has given us faith in Jesus, through His Spirit!

    I think that that’s something that God wants me to come to terms with in my life right now too – the shedding of my self that wants control and comfort, and instead giving of myself and ridding myself of the control-comfort criterium in my life. When I go into control-comfort mode, all I’m doing is shutting the light out. Shutting true life out.

    It’s difficult for me, sinful as I am, to give up control and just give with a smile. But when faith wins out, it just seems like the world is a litte rosier than what it was before. And the giving up part doesn’t seem so bad after all!

    Thank you for sharing your story, Julie – and God bless Bea! I wish you lived closer – I’d love to talk with you in person about these things…hopefully I wouldn’t bore you too much! 🙂

    • Exactly, Jenni! You nailed it. “Things” lose their sparkle, but ohhhhh, what happens when we give them away. For one thing, they lose their power over us, don’t they!

      You and me both…the whole control/comfort thing. I’m right there with you. Big time. This is what God keeps bringing home to me.

      And when I hang onto whatever it is–the illusion of control, or I don’t share–It’s so NOT WORTH IT. Because there goes my Peace, you know?

      yes, yes, wish we lived closer–no, never boring! This is how my mind words.


      • Jenni M says:

        I think I do understand you, Julie, when you described how God’s Peace leaves you when you hang on to something too much. It can literally feel like there’s a void inside of me when I don’t take God’s way in a situation. E.g., when I put my own schedule ahead of taking a few moments more to talk with someone who might really need/want those few extra moments to talk. In the moment, it’s all about keeping on track with my routine. After leaving, though, the “control/comfort” thing bites me badly as I realize I missed out on an opportunity God gave me to let His light in me shine.

        Came across this Bible passage today after reading a selection from Sarah Young’s book Jesus Calling. It was one of the passages listed for today’s devotion. It reminds me of what we have been talking about, and how even if our earthly comfort is compromised, we don’t have to be afraid of the “mist” and questions that lie ahead: “I [Paul] know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:12-13, NKJ)

        Love talking with you, Julie! Thanks!

        • Julie says:

          Jenni, you know my husband and I read Jesus Calling every morning at our porch parties, right? I love this book!

          And I used to be such a scheduled person–duty first always, and just like you said, I’m really trying to be in control. Missed lots of opportunities for God-moments that way.

          How I know this void you’re talking about. It’s not a fun place to be–to pretend to be in control and the whole time, shoving God out of my heart.

          Yes, I love talking to you too!


          • Jenni M says:

            My family and I usually read it at different times, but yes, we try to read Jesus Calling in the morning, too! Beautiful, beautiful book! 🙂

        • Jenni, I haven’t found a single reading from it that I don’t need! It’s now our morning routine. Tomorrow, I’ll be thinking about you as we read November 11th.

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