I got an email from S.J. Scott recently, asking for answers to the question, “what struggles do you face as an introvert?” I wrote back to him (along with several hundred of his closest friends) and then realized that I could also share my answers with you. You may find my thoughts helpful.
1. I struggle with remembering that it’s okay to walk away from people. While traveling earlier this month, the group I was with was going to tour yet another historical site. I realized that I had already hit my limit on my capacity to absorb information and be around people. I took the van back to the hotel. It was hard. I missed a location important to the country. But it was healthy for me to be quieter.
2. I have to remind people to remember introverts in planning. I work in a church setting. When planning events and opportunities, the extroverts want as many options as possible, as big as possible, as busy as possible. I work to remind them to plan some smaller, quieter, slower events that allow people time to talk, around the edges. And I have to assure the introverts that it is okay to not attend everything, that God’s expectations for introverts are different than for extroverts. Since he made both.
3. I practice making connections. When I’m going to an outgoing event, I often figure out questions to ask of particular people so I can have something to talk about. This works for family reunions, work parties, and even neighborhood gatherings. Facebook is particularly helpful. It allows us to start in the middle of the conversation.
4. I judge extroverts. I admit it. You sometimes overwhelm me. I push back. I hold back. I hide. And I try to make you change. I’m sorry.