Thursday, December 6, 2012

Honoring Your Introvert

There are two basic personality types that tend to clash: the introvert and the extrovert.  The extrovert gets their energy from social interaction.  They love parties and any activity that has them talking with people.  The introvert by contrast gets their energy by being alone and engaging in a creative, mind opening activity.  They tend to get a bad rap because people mistake their quietness as anti-social or uncaring.  Introverts like and care for others, but they need alone time to recharge.  The alone time is like a fill up at the gas pump (but a lot cheaper).  An introvert may even like a get together or hanging out with others, but they just cannot do it as long as an extrovert can. 

It is important to understand the distinction between the two, so people can respect it.  If an extrovert and introvert cannot understand each other, then there may be a lot of hurt feelings and misunderstandings.  The differing personality types may even come to judge themselves as not "fitting in."  This is where honoring yourself comes in.  You need  coping strategies to move within the different groups so no one gets offended and you feel like you did not make a social gaffe.

Here are some tips for the introvert for the upcoming holiday season when there are a lot of get togethers:
  • When at a party, try to be helpful in the food department.  You can help serve food, clean up empty glasses and dishes and tidy the kitchen.  This helps you mingle without feeling like you are forced to come up with conversation.
  • Bookshelves are a great way to find a quiet place to keep busy while you recharge.  Perusing a book is an acceptable activity and gives you a little space.
  • If you are on an extended stay, be sure to take your exercise gear.  This will give you a getaway excuse and a healthy way to recharge.
  • You can start a family/friend activity like a puzzle or a game that allows for a quiet space.  You can also take out knitting or another portable craft.  It is soothing and gives you a way to be busy without looking uninvolved.
  • Try to arrange social get togethers that are activity oriented like going to the mall, seeing a movie or going to a pottery painting studio.  The activity gives you some quiet time even though you are with others.
  • Finally, when leaving a get together, know it is okay to leave.  Many people will try to convince you that you are ruining everything by leaving or they will try to say you are missing the best time.  Give yourself permission to leave and choose a quick, quiet exit.  You can email others later telling them how much you enjoyed the get together.
Always remember to honor yourself and take the space when you need it.  When you manage your energy in a positive way, you are happier and more enjoyable to be around. 

Stay healthy & well,

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