Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Survival Tips for Introverted Writers (and Readers)


Today’s post is for the introverts in our midst, and according to my unofficial assessment (also supported by several internet sources I consulted), most writers are introverts. (Sources also suggests a high percentage of avid readers are introverts, so we’re all in good company!)

Yes, I know several extroverted writers and also a few ambiverts—people who are very comfortable being extroverts when they need to be but pulling back into introversion when it’s time to recharge. Introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, we each have our own ways of relating to others and the world around us.

So, even though I’m primarily addressing introverts today, I hope all you extrovert Villagers won’t flip over to Facebook or Twitter too soon, because even though we introverts might be an enigma to you, if you’ll take a little time to understand us, we’ll all get along better in the long run.

Okay, borrowing from various Twelve-Step programs, here are my suggested tips for surviving—and thriving!—as introverted writers and readers in an extrovert’s world.


  1. As introverts, we admit we cannot change ourselves into extroverts by force of will—and we don’t have to. It’s who we are, the way God created us. Yes, it’s hard at times. A lot of the time, in fact, since according to some surveys, in the world population as a whole, we’re in the minority.
  2. As introverts, we rely on God to help us find ways to live comfortably with the extroverts in our lives. Because maybe there are a few things we can learn from them, like how to make small talk when necessary in social settings or how to speak with confidence to agents, editors, book clubs, etc.
  3. As introverts, we turn our will and our lives over to the care of God and accept that He made us this way for a reason. I mean, can you imagine if the whole world were extroverts? Think of all the books that wouldn’t get written, the works of art we’d be missing out on, the heavy thinking that might never get thought.
  4. We make a searching and fearless inventory of ourselves—our strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, what drains our physical, mental, and emotional batteries and what recharges them. Feeling too overwhelmed at a writers conference? We give ourselves permission to skip a workshop and retreat to our room for an hour or two. Nervous about our agent or editor appointment? We have our one-sheet ready plus some responses printed out in advance to help us answer any questions we might be asked about our book.
  5. We are honest with God, ourselves, and the extroverts in our lives about our introversion. We do so neither in apology nor as superior beings, but because we accept that extroverts, introverts, and everyone in between are created differently and are equally usable by God for His purposes.
  6. We cease once and for all to let our introversion cast suspicion on our “mental health” or to judge ourselves as less somehow because it’s draining to be social and we need our alone time. We are not weird because we enjoy spending hours and hours alone with our laptops or curled up with a good book. We are not crazy because we hear characters’ voices in our heads or talk to ourselves while rehearsing the scene we’re working on.

  7. We humbly acknowledge our introversion and cease asking God to turn us into extroverts. We look instead to our strengths and use them productively, whether by claiming the quiet time we need to write and read or by finding and claiming appropriate opportunities to share our thoughts and insights with the extroverts in our lives.
  8. We interact with others in “safe” ways that preserve our energy. We use social media to our advantage, because being “extroverted” online takes only a few minutes, and afterward we can log off and recharge for as long as necessary. At large gatherings, we can befriend other introverts who might be feeling stressed or overwhelmed. (We recognize them by their deer-in-the-headlights expression and the fact that they’re lingering near an exit . . . pretty much the same area we’ve migrated to.)
  9. We identify extroverts we feel comfortable with, those dear friends who understand us and willingly run interference. We make every effort to hang out with these extroverts at conferences and other gatherings because they always make a point of introducing us to editors, agents, and other writer friends, and they subtly try to include us without making us feel like conversation-school dropouts. 
  10. As far as it is possible, we make amends to anyone who may have felt slighted because of our introversion. When phone calls or face-to-face encounters are too intimidating, we express our care and concern with heartfelt handwritten notes or by sending meaningful gifts. Or we can gather our courage for an hour and invite our friends (only one or two at a time!) to meet us for lunch or coffee. 
  11. If we have an extroverted spouse or other family member who thrives on social activity, we promise not to always say no to outings and social gatherings. In turn, we expect their consideration and understanding, and together we plan ahead for when “enough is enough.”  This could be an agreed-upon signal for when it’s time to go. Or we could arrive in separate cars and politely take our leave while the other person stays to enjoy the party.
  12. Having fully embraced our introversion, we carry this message of acceptance and hope to other introverts who may still be struggling to find their place in a world full of extroverts.

Finally, here are a few resources you may find helpful in your journey as an introvert (or to share with your extroverted friends and family members who might need to be enlightened):

Online:
(also find them on Facebook)
The Introverted Writer (Steve Laube Agency Blog)

16 Personalities (where you can take a personality test)

Books:




The Highly Sensitive Person, by Elaine N. Aron, PhD

So, did you see yourself (or an introverted friend) in any of the twelve steps? Introverts, what are your greatest struggles? Do you have other coping tips you could share? Extroverts, please share your experiences with introverted friends or family members.

Join the conversation today and let me know if you’d like to be entered in a drawing for your choice of Susan Cain’s book Quiet OR Joanna Penn’s book Public Speaking for Authors, Creatives, and Other Introverts.

~~~~~~~  ~~~~~~~  ~~~~~~~

About Myra: Award-winning author Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. Myra is a two-time finalist for the prestigious ACFW Carol Awards, a two-time Maggie Award finalist, winner of Christian Retailing’s Best for historical fiction, and winner in the Inspirational category of the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards. Originally from Texas but now residing in the beautiful Carolinas, Myra and her husband love the climate and scenery, but they miss Texas bluebonnets in the spring and may never get used to the pulled pork Carolinians call “barbecue”! The Johnsons share their home with two very pampered doggies who don’t always understand the meaning of “Mom’s trying to write.” They have also inherited the “cat with a ’tude” their daughter and family had to leave behind when they recently moved overseas.




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126 comments :

  1. I'm not anti social.

    I'm selectively social.

    There's a difference.

    Love this post.

    Thank you, Myra.

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    1. I think that applies to me, too, Tina.

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    2. YES!! Thanks for putting it that way, TINA. Brilliant perspective.

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  2. I see many successful introverted writers who simply write... Dee Henderson. Francine Rivers. Jan Karon. I'm picking those off the top of my head because they're highly successful at their craft with solid sales and they maintain a low profile.

    And they're in our wheelhouse in inspy land.

    Tina's reply makes an interesting point...

    Nice post, Myra. You're speaking to the heart of so many people here. Lovely.

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    1. Thanks, Ruthy. We have to be selective about socializing because that’s the only way we can protect our energy for writing time.

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    2. Ruthy, you surround yourself with people, your family, but you're very content in your own space. So I believe you're an introvert. Are you?

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    3. RUTHY, yes! I love all those authors you mentioned. And so true, yet they get the job done (beautifully, I might add!)

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    4. I think Ruthy is an extrovert. I don't think she's ever met a stranger. :) But I'm interested to see what she says!

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    5. But introvert/extrovert has nothing to do with being friendly or gregarious. It's where you are most content to spend your time. (Where you're renewed.) I think Ruthy is content at home and doesn't have the need to get out and mix and mingle. Of course, Ruthy always has people at her house so I might be wrong. I've weighed this question for some time and am interested in what Ruthy has to say. :)

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    6. I am a total extrovert. I do like my work time, I like my time to get things done, but I love people. I love the variety, the diversity, the back-and-forth. Like Vince said, I am very comfortable being the center of attention and I have exactly one child who got this level of extroversion... The others push themselves to deal with people... and don't love the limelight, but are often IN the limelight, so that's an ambivert situation I'd say.

      No, Ruthy is an extrovert who really doesn't understand introverts. Which makes me an insensitive CLOD. ;)

      But at least I know that about myself!

      But Debby, you're right. I think I love being home on my own because I've had to work so many jobs for so many years, so being home and writing is my gift...

      But now I have a question for you because I would say that the openness, the friendliness and gregarious stuff are marks of an extrovert. So maybe we're all looking at this from varied points of view?

      Hmmmmmmm now I must consider this notion, Deb.

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  3. Great post, Myra! I particularly related to number seven.
    So true, Tina...there is a difference!

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    1. That’s an important one for me, too, Jill. We can’t change ourselves but we CAN be proactive.

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  4. Myra, this is interesting. Really, writing is a good gig for introverts because we spend so much time in our own heads anyway.
    My whole family is introverted to various degrees: my husband and I are shy, my oldest daughter is reserved, and my younger daughter has Social Anxiety Disorder. So none of us is the life of the party. But we make it work. It was hard for me when I was in journalism, and for the brief time Dave had pastorates and I was a pastor's wife.
    But it's interesting that I'm not shy with other Christian writers. The words just come, even in person. Maybe it's because we already have that bond.
    The temp job is going okay, I'm actually getting MORE done, even with getting up at 4 a.m. I can see why Ruthy gets up so early. Fewer distractions. I actually processed some contest scores and applied the feedback to my entry about a half hour ago, making it 5 a.m.! This could work. I hope not forever, it is cold at 5 a.m.!
    We had our first very tiny snow in New Hampshire yesterday.
    Try to check in later,
    KB

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    1. KB, I’m sure it was a challenge as a pastor’s wife, because so much is expected of you. I’m glad you found a way to make it work.

      And great going on getting started on the contest feedback! No way I could be productive that early, but I do find that sometimes ideas are easier to sort through while I’m lying quietly in bed waking up in the morning.

      Stay warm!

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  5. Hi Myra,

    Thank you for your post. All of your twelve steps resonated with me, and I love Tina's "selectively social"...I am totally going to steal that for future use. :)

    One of the best things I ever did for myself over the last year was to be clear with others about what I would and wouldn't be attending instead of trying to please others by saying I might go (knowing there was a 99% chance I wouldn't be able to talk myself into it). I no longer apologize for not attending events and I don't negotiate when family ask me why I'm not coming to x,y,z event. So being more direct and not apologizing are my two biggest recommendations for other introverts.

    I also have fellow introverts that support me, get me, and never ask why I didn't go to that work holiday social. :) And I appreciate every one of them.

    And, I would love to be entered in the drawing, Myra. Thank you again for a great post from one introvert to another. :)

    Happy writing,

    Jeanine

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    1. You’re welcome, Jeanine! It really does help to realize we are not alone, and especially when the people we care about most understand us (or at least try).

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  6. Good morning, Myra! As you noted, it's so important that we accept who God made us to be, whether introvert or extrovert.

    As Tina mentioned, introvert doesn't mean anti-social. Nor does it mean socially backward and inept or painfully shy. That's a misconception in American culture, which tends to value and acclaim extroverts. It's actually more about where you draw your energy from and how you look at and approach the world. The books "Quiet" and "The Introvert Advantage" help clarify that.

    Thank you for sharing an excellent post!

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    1. Exactly, Glynna. There are definitely levels of introversion, but the bottom line is that we are NOT weird or anti-social. We just need our alone time to recharge. I like people, just not a whole bunch at once and not in noisy, chaotic (to me!) situations.

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  7. What a great post! I’m an introvert, married to a semi-extrovert, with four children - two semi-extroverts like dad, one introvert like me, and one fully-immersed extrovert who thrives on social interaction. The most difficult thing? I’ve missed out on opportunities to get to know people and serve God through these relationships because of my introverted nature. He’s working on me, though - not to change my introverted nature but to recognize the opportunities He gives me and invest in new people.

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    1. Good for you, MH! I do relate, though--the fear of missed opportunities because of my introversion. So I have to remind myself that God uses us with the gifts He's given us. He doesn't expect us to do or be like anyone else.

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    2. MH, I, too, worry about lost opportunities--or more specifically, missing my calling. But I was recently asked to participate in writing an Advent devotional book at church. And it's been so nice to feel like I have a way to do something for the church that's really in my wheelhouse!

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    3. That's great, Missy! When we trust in the gifts God gave us, we can find many ways to use them in service to Him!

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  8. Myra, this is such great advice. I'm an ambivert. I'm comfortable teaching, speaking, or preaching in front of large groups, but mingling at church functions or parties is painfully difficult. If someone approaches me, I'm ok, but approaching strangers or "important" people is uncomfortable.

    My husband Mike is a total extrovert and strikes up conversations with strangers in elevators, restaurants, and Walmart. We take separate cars a lot, or he hands me the keys so I can escape to the car.

    Good to know I'm not alone!

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    1. Barbara, your husband sounds a whole lot like my Project Guy! There are times I want to melt into a corner when he starts up conversations with perfect strangers! At least over the years he's learned to look out for me when the social scene gets too overwhelming. But early in our marriage, there were some hurt feelings on both sides because of our introvert/extrovert differences and needs.

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    2. It's interesting to think about the ways we're different. I can strike up a conversation in a checkout line or at the gas station with no problem. But at a party with people I know (or sort of know), I'm uncomfortable and have to force myself to socialize. Then I'm totally drained. And speaking in front of a crowd--ack! I've taught workshops and such, but it's terrifying for me.

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    3. Maybe the fact that the checkout people are strangers makes it easier in some ways to be conversational with them. For me, even with people I know, if there are lots of people around, I'm easily overwhelmed with too many voices and too much activity. I think this falls under the umbrella of being a Highly Sensitive Person.

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    4. Myra, that's a good point. I really need to read that book. I suspect I'm highly sensitive as well. While we were at the Atlanta Falcons game Sunday evening, and the music and lights were absolutely BLARING, it became really stressful. It's so loud in there it's like being at a concert (my ears feel muffled when I come out). It makes me realize how sensitive I am to noise and crowds.

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    5. I just go numb. Conversations around me lose meaning, and I realize I'm staring into space--typical deer in the headlights expression!

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    6. Barb, I would not have guessed this about you because you're always so open with me... I'd have thought mid-way at least.

      So that's funny. You hide it well!!!!

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  9. Wonderful post Myra! May we see each other through the Lord's eyes and extend grace as often as we can.

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  10. Self-examination and realization are so important...to me! So I love this post, Myra. Years ago, hubby and I took the Myers-Briggs inventory that pinpoints introverts and extroverts. My husband is just over the mid-line into the introvert side and I'm just over the line into extrovert. I need to mix and mingle with people, but I also need my quiet place.

    Early in our marriage, I marveled at friends who had people at their homes on a regular/daily basis. I thought I wasn't being welcoming to want time alone. A little self-examination and I realized the Life-of-the-Party friends were huge extroverts. They needed people around them...constantly.

    Another tidbit...if we go out for dinner, I want to go to a restaurant that has lots of people dining, yet I don't need them to be at my table. I just like the sense of community within that larger group.

    Another thing...it seems to me that introverts share more on FB. Perhaps because it's not threatening. I struggle to share deeply there and am more comfortable sharing face-to-face. Any introverts willing to comment on my FB theory?

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    1. Debby, it's great that you and your husband have figured out together what your individual social needs are. I always test INFJ on the Myers-Briggs, same as my first-born daughter, so we compare notes a lot!

      It is DEFINITELY easier for me to be "social" on Facebook, but sometimes I have to talk myself into it. There are also times I avoid commenting on someone else's post because I dread having my inbox fill up with notifications of everyone else's replies! (And I have a hard time turning off notifications because I'm afraid of missing something important!)

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    2. On the Myers-Briggs, hubby and I both test just over the line into the introverts, with me a little more introverted. (Actually, when we were first married he tested just over the line into extrovert but has since moved a little.) So we're pretty well matched. He's got an amazing, God-given gift for remembering names so does better in social situations in general. And he's never as wiped out as I am after events. We have two introverted kids and one very extroverted (our oldest)--and we can't figure out where he came from. haha

      Debby, I'm the same way on FB and online. Yesterday's post was terribly difficult for me to write because it was opening myself up. I feel the same way on FB. I don't think I've ever shared difficulties on there and have only rarely asked for prayer (usually for someone else's crisis). I'm more likely to post a cute photo of my dog or share something funny that's happened. :) I didn't post when we had to have our cat put to sleep a few weeks ago because I was too devastated to share it in a way that feels impersonal to me. I only shared that with close friends by emails or texting.

      So I'm much more likely to share personal stuff in person, one-on-one or in very small groups.

      You know, I think one thing with FB and me... I have so many "friends" who are actually strangers because of being a writer that when I post something, it feels like announcing it on the street. LOL So I think that's part of why I don't get personal on there.

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    3. Missy, I have to agree--what I share on social media doesn't usually get very deep and uber-personal. I'm not sure that's what social media is supposed to be, anyway--at least not with 500-2k "friends"!!!

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    4. Maybe I should have said online instead of FB. Does that change anything?

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    5. Wait... you guys paid to find out what type you were????

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    6. I went and took the 16 personalities test... and it was a long series of questions and it nailed me well... and I tried to be honest in my assessments. EXECUTIVE PERSONALITY (ESTJ, -A/-T)

      I think it means "BOSSY AND INSENSITIVE AND SHE WILL FIRE YOU!!!!" or something like that.

      Dave would be an introvert. I should take it and answer the way I think he would. :)

      He's fine being alone in the woods or on the farm or working overnights...

      I'd go bonkers. I like people.

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    7. No, we just did our own tests online (or way back we had a book with the test in it).

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    8. Um, yes, Ruthy, I would say the test nailed you!

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    9. So Ruthy is an extrovert? And I didn't pay money to do the test. It was given to us through Tony's work. Plus the children did theirs as well.

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  11. Great post, Myra, and a new word for me...ambivert! I just learned that about myself, and I said it in yesterday's post. I'm perfectly content spending hours alone writing or reading, but in a social setting I can work the crowd. My hearing disability also prevents me from enjoying a more social life, but I don't mind...there's always a good book waiting to be read on my TBR pile!

    Blessings,

    Marcia

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    1. Marcia, I think it was Julie who first introduced me to the word "ambivert." The most important thing is knowing yourself and respecting your needs. Sounds like you've done just that!

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    2. Marcia, I can understand how a hearing disability would make social settings (especially a loud crowd) difficult. And I agree about a good book always waiting! :)

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  12. Myra, I'm an ambivert. I love being with people, but also need time alone to recharge my batteries. I have a great time during December with all the Christmas gatherings and concerts, but I'm so ready to get back to some quiet evenings at home with my DH.

    I used to think he was an introvert, but he's changed. Or my perception of him has, as he's sometimes more talkative than I am in a gathering.

    Janet

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    1. Hmm, I would have thought your DH was an extrovert, or at least ambivert. He's just so friendly and fun! I'll have to ask Project Guy what he thinks since they've spent quite a few conferences roaming around together. πŸ˜‰

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    2. I'd vote Janet's DH an extrovert too. Like Mary Connealy's hub.

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    3. And what would we do without them?

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    4. Yeah, I think Janet's hubby is an extrovert. And Janet, I would have also thought of you as one! But being an ambivert makes sense.

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    5. Janet, your hubby is an extrovert. He is always organizing gatherings with friends to go here and there. He wants to be out in the world. That's an extrovert, IMHO.

      I think you and I are about the same. We enjoy being with people, but we also need our own time.

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    6. I wouldn't call Mary's cowboy an extrovert... I'd go with introvert with a kindness toward older folks. I think he'd live alone and work alone if he had the choice but of course he doesn't... because he's a dad and a grandpa and a member of the community. Maybe in the middle, but I'd have thought introvert.

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  13. Great post, Myra. Yesterday my youngest son told me he introduced himself to the leader of a Christian band. It was a quick conversation but the singer knows Scott's boss. I told him I was proud of him for stepping out of his comfort zone. My hubby and dad would've done the same thing, but Scott is more reserved like me. He told me he was kinda pushed to introduce himself. (Not sure if by his boss or wife. Ha!)
    Thanks for the tips! I watch others in my family step out and confidently speak, so you should think I'd know how. Your tips help.

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    1. Sometimes we do require a little push to step outside our comfort zone, which is where our extrovert friends and family can often help us--with patience and understanding, of course. Glad you found some helpful tips today, Jackie!

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    2. I can remember my boys (even the extrovert) both getting exhausted after their first few weeks of college. One of them finally said, "I'm done being social. I can't make myself go up and shake hands and introduce myself one more time." LOL

      I was amazed they lasted so long! I would have been done after one day. hahaha

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    3. Missy, you made me smile. I can totally relate.

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  14. Myra, great post. I am probably an ambivert. I love people, but I need down time. I am comfortable and loud iwth people I know, but more reserved in settings where I don't know many (any) people. Thanks for the reminder that God created each of us exactly as He intended so we can fulfill the callings He's given each of us.

    Great post!

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    1. Jeanne, it's definitely easier to be open about expressing ourselves when in the company of people we know well and trust. For introverts, though, sometimes the process of getting to know someone that well takes a long, long time.

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  15. This is a great post. I am definitely an introvert. But I also became a teacher (now a sub). I see how the extrovert teachers have a much easier time relating to their students than I do. I feel like an extrovert with friends and family, but not so much around people I don't know. So sitting around home writing really is in my comfort zone.

    I would love to win the book Quiet. I have thought I would like to read it.

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    1. True, Sandy, with trusted people who already understand us, it's much easier to let our "inner extrovert" come out and play!

      Quiet is a great book and offered many helpful insights into my introversion. Well worth the read!

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  16. Yesterday at the grocery store the clerk felt the need to tell me (in an outside voice that the entire store could hear) that the sodas I was purchasing were only on sale if I spent 25 bucks.

    I got all frazzled. Then I realized I needed those sodas, on sale or not. I quietly thanked her for the public humiliation and went on my merry way, determined not to leave the house for another week or so..at leat.

    Humans are so exhausting for us fly under the radar people.

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    1. Oh, Tina... So sorry for that. I once had a clerk who announced a very public price check on... well... you can guess the items. *a-hem* (All she had to do was page a clerk in that dept.) *sigh*

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    2. Oh, Tina!!!! I totally get it!!! I don't process well under public pressure like that. Yesterday we went to a HUGE Christmas show in town where Project Guy's cousin has a booth every year. The crowds make me crazy enough, but we took a lunch break and at the checkout line, when the clerk told us the amount, I thought it seemed a little high but Project Guy handles most of the math calculations and I figured he would catch it if she was wrong. But it was noisy, I just wanted to sit down at a quiet table and eat, and he didn't hear what she said so just handed over the credit card.

      Well, with time to process (too late to do anything about it, though!) I realized she had charged us about $6 too much!

      Yes. Exhausting.

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    3. So odd that even though I'm an introvert, that type thing doesn't bother me. I don't know what it is about me and grocery stores. Maybe it's because I practically live there that nothing bothers me. :) I talk to people there like I know them. On a few occasions when my husband has been there with me, he'll ask me who I was having a conversation with, and I'll say that I have no idea. LOL

      There was a grocery bagger in our previous town who asked me for prayer. I didn't bat an eye. Asked him a few weeks later how his surgery had gone. I think I just happened to smile at him in a weak moment. Or maybe he recognized my face from weekly visits. But I didn't know him from Adam.

      Maybe at the grocery store I'm in such a familiar setting that it's different.

      Tina, I'm sorry that clerk got you flustered! Cynthia, those loud, embarrassing price checks can be horrifying!

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    4. This incident happened many years ago, and I still relive the mortification. LOL

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    5. That's the problem sometimes--we just can't turn off those mental recording loops!

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  17. least not leat, although leat is a very interesting word as well.

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  18. MYRA, what do I not love about this post? Nothing! You totally nailed it.

    I believe I'm somewhere in between. A lot of folks think I'm an extrovert, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. However...if folks ask me what I think? I always say, "I will tell you tactfully. Truthfully. Lovingly."

    I think, too, this is why it's so important at writers' conferences when we see someone who may have that deer-in-the-headlights glow, we should befriend them. Kindness goes such a long way.

    THANK YOU, SEEKERVILLE, and MYRA, for embracing all who are active in this community. xo

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    1. Cynthia, writers conferences evoke a special kind of terror in the hearts of introverts--especially first-time attendees! I know this from experience!!! I will always be grateful for the "kindness of strangers" who befriended and encouraged me.

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    2. I remember those kind people who befriended me at my first conference and I try to reach out to those who look uncomfortable.
      Honestly, I still feel a little terrified to go to conference.

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    3. Jackie, I feel the same way! It has really helped over the years, though, to know I'd be meeting up with my Seeker sisters and other writer friends. But the first couple of conferences I attended where I didn't know a soul??? SCARY!!!!!

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  19. Oh, WOW, Myra -- this is absolutely EXCELLENT, my friend!!

    I will admit that when I saw the title, I thought this might not apply to me, but not only did it speak to the introvert in me (or recluse, as I like to call it), but it taught me something I did not know.

    OH MY GOSH -- I'M AN AMBIVERT!!!!

    I didn't even know a term existed for people like me, so I'm very excited to have a name in this whole personality thing. :)

    You said: "Ambiverts—people who are very comfortable being extroverts when they need to be but pulling back into introversion when it’s time to recharge."

    Well, I actually "pull back" more often than when I need to charge, but that's only because I don't get out all that often. :) Poor Keith has to shackle my leg and yank me out of the house, which is why he does all the errands, general shopping, and grocery shopping. Heck, if I could get him to go to the doctor for me, I would. ;)

    I can't tell how HOW much I agree with these 12 steps, my friend, half of which I didn't even know. :) And, NO, I canNOT imagine if the whole world were extroverts!!! YIKES!!! I get on my own nerves, so they may as well lock me up if I was in a world of extroverts like me (when I am extrovert, that is). :)

    Hugs!!
    JULIE

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    1. That's crazy, Julie, because I could have sworn I first heard the term "ambivert" from YOU!!!

      And--oh boy--having a husband willing to run all the errands, answer phone calls, etc.--HUGE burden off my shoulders!!!

      I'll never forget when Project Guy was on a weeklong business trip several years ago. I did not leave the house even once! And was perfectly content! It was heavenly!!!

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    2. Julie, I see you as a true introvert. Am I wrong? You are content in your own house, rarely needing to venture into the larger world. Am I wrong? We see each other so seldom that it's hard to tell, but from what you share online...

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  20. Hi Myra:

    Do you see what I see?

    In my experience over 90% of people are introverts. And, BTW, extroverts love them! They are the audience! Extroverts are the leaders. How many natural leaders are there in any group? Extroverts like being the only one around. They are like the class showoff in school. The kids who raise their hands even when they have no idea of what the answer is! Right or wrong, "Give me center stage".

    Besides, I'd say that a high percentage of 'extroverts' are just passing…they are really just pretenderverts taking courses like Toastmasters, Dale Carnegie, while reading self-help book like "How to Win Friends and Influence People"… all in their desire to pass for extroverts. Yet as soon as the need vanishes, so too does their pretendervertism as they quickly return to the comfort of their native intervertisim.

    Evolution, like the hive and the anthill, favors the worker bees, the farmers, the followers, and as such selects for only a few leaders and extroverts.

    Introverts are perfectly normal, needed, and greatly appreciated by genuine extroverts. Introverts don't need to be cured of anything. They need not apologize for anything. In reality, it seems to me that it is the extroverts that need the most help. It is even said that the showoff's behavior is often a cry for help.

    I think the biggest mistake is to equate introvertism with a lack of self-confidence. Work on self-confidence deficiencies but worry not about being an introvert.

    What's more important: being afraid to talk to a large audience or being afraid of being left alone in a room with only your self-talk to keep you company? (Cf. "Self-Reliance" by the transcendentalist philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson.)

    Introverts have much to be proud of but don't expect them to broadcast it. :)

    Vince

    P.S. Please tell the GQ that as an ad guy I hold the right to coin neologisms.

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    1. Vince, that 90% figure doesn't agree with sources I've found online. Some say it's about 50/50, while others give extroverts a slight edge in the percentages. I guess it all depends on who's doing the surveys and how the tests are configured.

      The main determinant factor, according to most sources, is whether you recharge with quiet time alone or during social interaction with others.

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  21. Myra, what a wonderful post! I love talking about this because it fascinates me.

    I'm definitely and introvert, but in certain settings I may come across as an extrovert. I'm not terribly shy. BUT even when I appear to be outgoing, my insides are usually tense. I have to force myself to speak to people in certain settings. I worry about what I'll say. And I end up with a headache later. :)

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    1. I totally relate, Missy! But honestly, you "do" extroversion well.

      I think we introverts set ourselves up for problems when we try too hard to appear extroverted. I know I start feeling very phony, and later I'll think, Did I really say those things??? And then comes the guilt and self-doubt and promising myself I will never, ever do that again (whatever it was)!

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    2. I see you as being more extroverted than your hubby, Missy. But then I'm not around him that much.

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    3. Debby, sometimes he does seem more introverted. I think that's usually when we're with my friends, though. :)

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  22. I'm definitely an introvert who can fake extrovert when necessary! I have a whole family of them...Oddly enough, I'm the one who encourages everyone to *leave the house* once in while :)

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    1. Good for you, Sherri! And it is good to get out of the house from time to time to meet with friends or enjoy new experiences. Sometimes it's way too easy to just stay home, but while solitude may be our way of recharging, it shouldn't become our permanent hiding place.

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  23. I love this, Myra. I need to cling to it. And I love the new author photo.

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  24. As a long-suffering (yes, suffering!) introvert, I see myself in a lot of the steps. Most of my 7 older siblings are extroverts, which causes me to sit back and listen and hardly talk at family gatherings (more than just a few of us together makes me anxious), while the newest family member (a half-brother we just discovered 8 years ago) seemingly expects me to really connect with him since we are only 6 months apart. I also feel guilty for not being outgoing when our pastor talks about outreach and evangelizing... I've decided, at age 58!, that I am not going to be an extrovert, so at least that is settled. ;-)

    But my introversion keeps me secluded, to the point of not wanting others to read my writing, whether it be my sisters, friends, or an editor. I've wanted to write since I was in 7th grade, and I find excuses to not write. Genealogy research, grandkids needing to be watched, church work to do, the house is a mess... I cringe at any kind of criticism, constructive or otherwise (still fighting the critical environment in which I was raised). Struggles abound unfortunately.

    Please toss my name into the hat for a copy of "Quiet" by Susan Cain. Thank you so much for this post and for the opportunity to win!

    Blessings,
    Melanie

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    1. I feel for you, Melanie! I went through so many years of struggling and self-doubt because of my introversion.

      But it sounds like you need to separate being introverted from all those insecurities about your writing and criticism, because those really are two different issues. Introversion relates to how you recharge--with solitude, or with social interaction.

      But self-confidence must come from accepting your identity as a beloved child of God, gifted and created for good works. And I know God wants you to use the gifts He's given you--and to be confident about doing so!

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  25. I read that Jesus was right in the middle...on the line between extrovert and introvert. Not sure who came up with that idea, but it involved Meyers-Briggs. :)

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    1. How fun, Debby! Interesting to contemplate.

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    2. Well, it kind of makes sense--the perfect combination. 😍

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  26. Myra I love that your post is backed up with surveys and facts, very interesting! I'm married to a total introvert who needs to be pried out of the house most of the time, and I'd say I'm an ambivert because I was a lot more of an extrovert before I married him but 30 years later I've grown closer to his groove. I really think twice before going out at night if I have to be "switched on" to socialize. I hate small talk especially if it involves his work. I covet evenings along to read what I want to read! That's heavenly! But extroverts and introverts do need each other and learning what makes each other tick leads to acceptance and nurture. Thanks for such a thoughtful post!

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    1. Laurie, isn't it interesting how we change? I've wondered if my early results on the test were me trying to be more what I thought was expected out of me. And now I'm more honest on the test.

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    2. Laurie, it wouldn't surprise me if people change over time, at least a little--and especially married couples! I think my introversion has kind of mellowed Project Guy (or else it's just age catching up with us!). But one thing we've both learned is that sometimes we just have to allow each other to do our own thing. He's involved with several men's groups at church that feed his social needs and don't involve me. And we are in some groups that appeal to both of us. So it works!

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  27. Love this, Myra. So informative! I'm pleased to learn the word "ambivert" and am pretty sure I'm one. I feel shy inside at gatherings but have learned some of the ways to seem friendly instead of distant. The "recharging" thing makes sense to me also.

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    1. Yeah, Dana. I think the question of how we recharge is the way to decide about introversion or extroversion. I get energized being alone. My oldest son gets energized being around other people.

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    2. I'm convinced there's a whole broad spectrum of introversion-ambiversion-extroversion, Dana. And I do think over time we learn techniques that help us cope in a variety of social situations.

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    3. Dana, hoping we introverts can get together soon. We can meet in a dark restaurant in Glendale.

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  28. Sorry I am so late today.

    I am an introvert. But then I became a missionary and learnrd I had to reach out to people. Now I still struggle in situations where I don't know anyone.

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    1. Wilani, as the mother of missionary kids, I admire and appreciate you for following God’s call on your life. One thing we know—those God calls, He also equips—even introverts!

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  29. Thank you Myra. I have always considered myself to be an introvert but your description of ambivert may be more adequate. I love Tina's observation that she chooses when to be social :-) I myself feel that I would survive being marooned by myself on an island better than most extroverts so there is a plus to this! I would love to be entered in the drawing.
    Blessings!
    Connie

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    1. You bet, Connie! Yes, I think we could find plenty to occupy ourselves as introverts on a desert island. As a writer, I talk to characters in my head anyway, so . . . 😜

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  30. I'm an introextrovert. I'm perfectly okay with being by myself for long hours, in fact sometimes I prefer it, but I also get energy from being around people.

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    1. Well, that’s a new term for me, Nicki—LOL!! But if you’be identified what recharges you, then whatever works!

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  31. MYra, I've been reading comments and realized that who I'm with determines if I'm energized or need my batteries recharged. Now I'm feeling like I don't fit any designation.

    Btw, I asked and my DH doesn't think he's an extrovert. But he loves to travel and stay active. He'll walk for hours sightseeing.

    Janet

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    1. Janet, I think lots of us are like that. There are people I enjoy spending time with and am energized by, but then afterwards I really, REALLY need my alone time to decompress and process everything.

      Get your DH to take that test at 16 Personalities. Could be interesting!

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  32. Myra, thank you for this post. My husband and I are both introverts, and three of our four children are introverts, and I've had many a conversation with teachers about why being an introvert is not a bad thing. Please enter me in the Quiet by Susan Cain hat.

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    1. I'm glad those teachers are on board with introversion. Yes, it's a good thing!!!! BTW, how does your extrovert child relate to all the introverts in the family?

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  33. Myra, I think I am an introvert who is vocationally/situationally an ambivert. I think my very empathetic nature helps. One on one is my preference, but I can handle groups when called upon which I often am in my job in radio. I would say I am most comfortable though when I am either on the phone praying with someone or on the air because again my focus is on one person. It is funny how many people think I'm an extrovert but frankly it is just part of my job and that although I need to get away to recharge, I do love people.

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    1. Oh, can I be entered for Public Speaking for Authors, Creatives, and Other Introverts? Love Joanna Penn

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    2. Got you entered, Kelly!

      It sounds like even on the radio, with that one-to-one focus, you have found what works. Introverts can certainly love people, and the ones I know are extremely empathetic. I think our quiet, thoughtful nature just tends to make us more observant, better listeners, and often more sensitive to what someone else may need.

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    3. " I think our quiet, thoughtful nature just tends to make us more observant, better listeners, and often more sensitive to what someone else may need."
      I think you are right on, Myra! :)

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  34. Hi Myra:

    I'll agree that the 50/50 split among extroverts and introverts may result from defining these terms by what people do when the recharge their emotional batteries.

    However, this to me, sounds like the academic gods of political correctness have decreed that in the interest of equality there should be the same number of each.

    This is right out of "1984"…controlling the language to control people's thought process. I think philosophers and psychologists would much rather define introverts and extroverts by their behavior when being active as to who they are rather than when they are at rest and recharging. It is not how you charge the batteries. It's what you do with the energy those batteries provide once they have been recharged.

    In my experience as a teacher and sales manager it's the extroverts who will volunteer right away to take part in role playing, who will come up to give a talk, and who will appear on stage at the community theater. Extroverts look forward to being asked to head up a project or give a speech. And I'll say this: "If you can get even 5% of your audience to do these things, you've hit a rich vein of extroverts."

    While not politically correct I do believe this is philosophically correct.

    And thanks for your post. I love a post that gets me to thinking like a philosopher again.

    Vince

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    1. Vince, thanks for your thoughts. You can philosophize all you want in Seekerville!

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  35. I just had my entire comment written, and it vanished! Silly computer! ;)
    Excellent post, Myra - - thank you. Until I was grown I'd say I was an introvert for sure, but now I'm thinking I'm an ambivert (confession: I didn't know what that term meant until reading your post, so thank you!).
    Hugs, Patti Jo :)

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    1. You're welcome, Patti Jo! Hmm, yes, ambivert does sound like it could fit. You are so warm and friendly and yet you also have a quiet, reserved side. 😊

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  36. Introvert here...waving from the corner :)

    Thanks for this post, Myra. I really enjoyed it. Lots of good stuff!

    Please throw my name in the drawing.

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    1. Thanks, Leslie! Introverts unite! (Quietly!)

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  37. Thank you, Myra. I like when you say we can cease trying to be extroverted. We sometimes try to be that way when we are not. I would love to be entered into the drawing.

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    1. That's true, Tammie. The pressure to be outgoing can be strong. But we can be friendly and caring without trying to be someone we're not. Our true friends will understand that.

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  38. Wow! What a huge number of reactions to this post!Only through writing have I come to accept my introvert status, and realize that there is NOTHING WRONG WITH ME. Thank you for this post.

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    1. Absolutely NOTHING is wrong with us, Janice!

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  39. (Please enter me in the drawing for Public Speaking for Introverts.)

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  40. Fellow introvert here. Lovely post, Myra, thank you. I remember first finding out my MBTI preference reading the book "Do What You Are" the introvert part was easy peasy. No doubt there.

    Please enter me in the drawing.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. Thanks, Phyllis! Knowing ourselves is the first step in accepting ourselves.

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