Sometimes we think about it a little. Sometimes we even talk about it a bit. Sometimes we do something deliberately to make it easier for someone else. Most of the time it never enters our head and because it doesn’t affect us we don’t give it a second thought. It’s not until we have to do it that we realize how hard it can be. What? Walking into a situation, or a group of people who all have something in common – they have a common interest and a way of doing things – and we realize that as we walk into ‘their community’ that we are definitely the outsider – the one who is different – because we don’t know all the ways of this new group – and we get scared that we will look funny or do something that will stand out and make everyone know that we are the outsider trying to fit in. Last weekend that was me! I walked into a horse trekking community – they were real nuts about horses and riding – they had a ‘way’ of doing things – and I was the outsider trying to fit in! Uncomfortable at best. They also knew how to drink and I don’t…so another stand out difference that made it more awkward for me and them! I’m proud of that difference and won’t compromise to try to fit in. The experience was made easier by having my brother-in-law and his 2 horsey lady friends. They invited me into their small group, made me comfortable, gave me direction, shared their crackers and cheese, and laughed at the fact that I had a very sore bum after 6.5 hours in the saddle! An awkward time averted due to the friendliness and warm welcome from someone I knew and two strangers who welcomed me in. I hope I get to do it again. Next time I walk into that ‘crowd’ it will be easier, less intimidating…and I still want to go with my new friends – it just makes it easier.