Last year my family celebrated our daughter’s graduation from high school with a small celebration. We were near a lake and the temperature was in the 90’s. Many of our friends were there with their kids, who immediately took to the water.
It was the perfect setting. I enjoyed conversing with our friends, as we talked about kids and past events; and I was particularly animated as I talked.
Then it hit me like a title wave. I needed time to get away and recharge my batteries. Did I care if company would miss me? Not really.
As an introvert, group events can take a toll on me. I enjoy the company of others, but my energy level for talking with them is not as enduring as it is for extraverts.
Extraverts have that energy that drives them through a party; it charges their batteries. They derive mental stimulation by talking and being listened to.
I don’t’ envy them, though. The time alone to watch the kids swimming in the lake or even sitting in silence next to another introvert is as rewarding as it is for extraverts to talk to others at length. It’s a time to reflect.
Small gathering is the first place that comes to mind where introverts need to get away. The following two are:
Networking events. As an introvert, you may find yourself enjoying a conversation with a few people, but suddenly it occurs to you that where you’d rather be is in a quiet place, such as outside getting some fresh air.
What’s likely to happen is another introvert joining you, perhaps by mistake or because she saw you escaping to your place of reflection.
This is fine, because it’s you and she making small talk, such as, “Had to get away from the crowd.” I know what you mean, she tells you. And so you’ve established a bond.
Like the time I stole away from our guest at my party, you’ve had the opportunity to recharge your batteries so you can return to the larger group, which is now in the “needs and leads” portion of the event.
One of my LinkedIn connections told me this type of break is what she needs returning to a business event and possibly an extended after hours. Sure, it may be time for some to retire to the hotel room, but she understands the value of personal networking and pushes herself to keep going.
Work. Some introverts enjoy the opportunity to take a lunch-time walk, while their colleagues, most likely extraverts, are gathered in the staff room engaged in a boisterous conversation.
Walking alone or with a walking mate is a great way to recharge your batteries. I personally prefer listening to music or talk radio, as it allows me to walk at my rapid speed and lose myself in thoughts of the day.
If your fortunate to have an office or cubicle away from the fray, your getaway is convenient and doesn’t require leaving the office.
This type of situation is ideal after a day full of meetings, not only to recharge your battery but also to respond to any e-mails following the meetings.
Introverts are more productive when they have solitude and moments to reflect and write, something they prefer over meetings and brainstorming sessions. They derive their creativity from being alone or working with one other person.
Whether you’re at a family gathering, a networking event, or at work, getting away is important for maintaining a strong energy level. Introverts are capable of interaction for extended periods of time, but we’re more comfortable if we take time to get away.
Don’t deny yourself this opportunity and don’t feel as if you’re being antisocial. You’ll be happier and more productive if you tend to your preferred way to energize yourself.
Photo: Flickr, Dave McGlinchey
Photo: Flickr, Kirsty Harrison
- What you know about your introversion may limit you (thingscareerrelated.com)