This was one of our most popular posts ever, and since Mary is stuck in Texas without internet access, I thought it would be a good time to bring it out for a second airing so all our new readers could discover it! First posted on August 27, 2007 by Mary Hershey.
I thought you might indulge me in a a few words slightly off-topic. Not so much about promoting your work, but very important to your well-being, and as such, our collective survival as introverted creativists, writers, artists.
If you haven't yet gotten your 2008 edition of The Introvert's Guide to Self-Care & Sanity in a World at Maximum Volume, allow me to share some intel from mine. (Okay, I just made this whole book up, but someone should write it, for god's sake.)
So, we're just going to continue and pretend I got all these tips from The Introvert's Guide, okay?
Tip #1: If you work in an office with others, and have an empty chair near your desk, get rid of it! Or, stack it high with papers or projects. It discourages others from hanging around your desk too long. Introverts work better without a lot of interruptions. If you work at home and have family and friends that can't seem to respect your work time, keep a basket of unfolded laundry next to you, or maybe an errand list. When your interrupters arrive, give them work to do. They'll stop dropping buy as often. This one comes with my personal guarantee.
Tip #2: You absolutely don't have to say yes to every social invitation you get. Truly. If you do, you are begging for a melt-down, and that's just never pretty. Pick the kind of events that work best for you-- time-limited ones during the day vs. night, or maybe ones centered around an activity like bowling, movies or mud wrestling, and not just endless hours of the dreaded Small Talk.
Tip #3: If you ever end up being held hostage on an airplane next to an rabid extravert who won't stop talking, and they don't seem put off by you putting on headphones, how about trying this? Start talking non-stop to them about any senseless thing that comes to your mind. If you run out of things to say, make them listen to you read out loud long excerpts from a fascinating article from the in-flight magazine. Some extraverts are looking for introverts to charge upon-- if they mistake you for another Chatzilla, chances are they'll be pulling their little pillow out and closing their eyes soon.
Tip #4: Honor and celebrate the quiet, low volume, solitary activities that you love and need. They aren't non-activities, and they aren't a sign of your stunted social development. Sitting by yourself listening to quiet music or no music and just watching the shadows move across the walls is as valid an activity as a Dodger's Game with your entire family. It's even cheaper, easier on the environment, and kinder on your HDL, too.
Tip #5: Be or find this kind of party host: The B-E-S-T party I ever went to was given by this marvelous, madly extraverted woman. The party was spread out over several rooms at a club and included a talent show (I know! I almost fled screaming), wild dancing and a lot of talking/drinking/people talking really LOUDLY. At this point you're wondering why this was the best party I ever went to? This amazing host had set aside an Introverts Room! It was a quiet, slightly darkened room with a fireplace, snacks set out, softer music, and reading material. There were several of us that were in there. I loved it.
Thanks, Mary! Every word is just as enlightening and helpful as it was a year ago!