7 Tips about the Basic Needs and Stressors of Introverts

Image/karenjordan.netThank you, Jesus—I’m home again!

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 Extroverts often misunderstand the need for personal space, and introverts tend to be more withdrawn at times.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?

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Hope for Shrinking Violets

If you follow industry blogs you’ve probably seen advice on how to promote your book or author brand.

You get it. You also probably know social networking is critical to self-promotion these days. If you know this, and you haven’t yet jumped into the fray, could it simply be you aren’t comfortable with it?

Image: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.n

A Myers-Brigg personality study tells us half the U.S. population consists of introverts. Surprising, right?

Not really.You just don’t always notice them next to the more conspicuous extraverts. Introversion isn’t the same as being shy, though. It’s a natural preference for solitude and reflection. We live in a fast-paced, “noisy” world that expects everyone to keep up. You see the conflict.

It’s not hard to imagine a good number of writers cringe at self-promotion—not because they don’t know what to do, but because the idea is emotionally draining to them. And maybe a wee bit nauseating

While introverts may have a harder time making small talk (hmm, Twitter?) or new friends (ahem…Facebook?), they do enjoy activities with long stretches of solidarity (writing, anyone?). If it makes you nervous to comment on a blog—if you write, edit, then rewrite your Facebook or Twitter posts—if you feel like you must say something witty or nothing at all—if it seems everyone else is having a grand old time with social media but you—you might be an introvert.

You’re not alone. Heck, I’m there right now. But here’s the thing about introverts—we’re in our own heads a lot. We know if we want to succeed, we have to venture out of our comfort zone, like it or not. Fortunately, social media can work in an introvert’s favor:

  • Need time to process information? Great! Rather than being forced to think on your feet, participate in conversations at your own pace. Mull things over to your heart’s content before you engage. Just don’t get stuck there.
  • Enjoy people but prefer them in small doses? Easy! All one has to do is Google to find a number of applications that allow future scheduling of pre-written updates for sites like Twitter, rather than facing them everyday. Or, you could begin by engaging in a site you feel most comfortable with (GoodReads worked well for me), then feed your updates to Facebook or Twitter to help you appear more ‘talkative’ while remaining true to yourself.
  • Trouble making small talk or accumulating friends? Start small. ‘Like’ someone else’s post. ‘Retweet’ a relevant article. Share a link or a picture on tumblr. You don’t have to talk much to say a lot. Just be sure you’re being thoughtful about what you share—no problem for an introvert!

Remember, every move you make in the social media realm makes the next ones easier. The trick is to get moving.

Why not start now? Tell us, what’s holding you back from engaging in social media? If you’ve already passed that hurdle, what worked for you when you were getting started?