A few weeks ago, I found myself surrounded by extroverts, enjoying their confidence as they absorbed energy from all who surrounded them at a publishing event for Christian writers.
And all the activity almost sucked the life out of this introvert! I’m still exhausted.
Thankfully, my extrovert travel companion understood the strengths and weaknesses of an introvert, even though I’m sure she tired from dragging me out of my comfort zone.
Ever wondered what makes an introvert tick? I don’t have to look beyond my own mirror to answer that question. So, I hope the following tips help you understand some of the basic needs and stressors of introverts.
1. Personal space energizes introverts. And when we get stressed out, we need to be left alone. Being in crowds drains us, so we often need to find some alone time to recharge our batteries.
2. Extroverts often misunderstand the need for personal space, and introverts tend to be more withdrawn at times. So, they might need to come out of their caves and share their perspective with those who might misinterpret their need for solitude. And sometimes, they might need a little motivation to abandon their comfort zone.
3. Social situations routinely cause grief for introverts, as they struggle with small talk with strangers. They appreciate friends who understand and encourage them in stressful social settings.
4. Networking can frustrate introverts who aren’t prepared for that kind of interaction. Pitching new projects to a publisher at large events can be an overwhelming task for introvert writers. So, practicing their pitches with other writers can boost their confidence.
5. Focus can also challenge introverts since they tend to be distracted in intense environments. They may need to consider taking a few tips about planning schedules and sticking to deadlines from their more organized friends.
6. REST is a basic need for everyone. Facing my own weaknesses proved to be another opportunity to utilize my prayer strategy of REST: Remember, Exalt, Surrender, and Trust, based on Philippians 4:5-7.
. . . The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (NIV). (Phil. 4:5-7 NIV)
7. Prayer. During my worst moments under the stress of over-stimulating social situations and networking challenges, I searched for some personal space, and put this prayer strategy from Lamentations 3:28-29 into practice: “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear” (The Message).
Remembering and focusing on the presence of God enables me to exalt his Word over my circumstances, surrender my weaknesses and burdens to him, and trust him to guard my heart and my mind with his peace.
Are you an introvert, living in an extrovert’s world? What strategies help you when the energy of others is zapping the strength out of you?