How do you gather with people you can’t find?
How do you gather with people who aren’t drawn to gatherings?
Introverts are everywhere, but they aren’t easy to identify: Some stay out of view, keeping their profiles as low as possible, while others enjoy hamming it up on stage or in the break room. Some create the books and products we love, but do their work where we don’t see them. Many seem too outgoing or influential to be introverts. We forget to look for introverts while stuck at a party (they’re looking at their watches, too).
And the introverts we pass by pass us by for the same reasons.
So how do introverts find other introverts? And if we can’t find each other, how can we experience our collective presence as well as our diversity?
We live in a society largely defined by extroversion. Rewards come to fast talkers, team leaders and those who schmooze, and many introverts have learned the game. Introverts either become less visible or start to look like extroverts.
Contrary to the stereotype of the basement-dwelling social phobic, most introverts enjoy and seek connections with others – especially other introverts. A couple of key factors get in the way of these connections:
- For the reasons mentioned above, we have a hard time identifying those in the introvert majority, and they have a hard time identifying us.
- We’re not big on the preliminaries: initiating contact, introducing ourselves, easing into the kind of conversations we desire.
An oxymoron? I don't think so. Imagine a gathering with a new set of rules, a culture in which your values and pace are honored: Where a breakout session means breaking away from the group rather than chatting with the person to your left. Where competitive hand-raising is prohibited. Where you don’t feel alienated when you say no to the cocktail hour and formal dinner, because these activities aren’t on the menu. Where interaction emerges consensually and organically rather than mechanically and on cue. Where you can withdraw and recharge without being seen as rude -- or diagnosed as depressed.
[ What topics would strengthen and enrich your introvert identity – and help you bring introvert power into your life?
[ When (time of year, days of the week) would you enjoy attending such a gathering?
[ Where would you hold the event? Hotel in a city or funky artist village? Rustic, natural setting? Large house on the beach? What city, setting or part of the country?
[ Why do we, as introverts, need this type of gathering?
[ How would you structure the learning experiences?
[ What would you prohibit at the event?
[ When you are not gathering, where would you want to be? Doing or experiencing what?
We’d love to know what you’re envisioning. The seed has been planted and a groundswell of introvert desire is pushing toward the surface.
Spring is on the horizon. I can’t wait to see what we’ll create!
Laurie Helgoe is the author of INTROVERT POWER: Why Your Inner Life is Your Hidden Strength. Laurie is often mistaken for an extrovert because she has fun leading seminars, coaching other writers and performing on stage. But she also loves to hide, particularly in dark movie theaters with a bag of popcorn. Laurie’s website is www.wakingdesire.com
ANNOUNCING OUR LATEST WINNERS!
Congratulations to Vivian (aka HipWriterMama) for winning a signed copy of Becky Levine's newly launched book entitled The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide.
More congratulations out to the winners from our two part interview with business and communication coach Nancy Ancowitz.
Jan Godown Annino has won the 45-minute tele-coaching session with Nancy! And Carol Grannick, you are the winner of a signed copy of Nancy's book Self-Promotion for Introverts. If each of you will email me off-line by clicking here, we'll make arrangements to get you prizes to you. We are so happy for you each!
In case you have been wondering if Robin has fallen headlong into a tear in the universe's starry fabric, well, she has! :-) Robin is working fast and furious against some exciting (read excruciating) deadlines. She is looking forward to being back with us just as soon as she can.
Can't wait to hear your comments about an Introvert Conference--