Archive for INTROVERT RETREAT

Social Distancing: Introverts, we’re up!

Social distancingAlmost overnight, social distancing has become a household term. If you haven’t heard yet, it’s a bona fide method of slowing down the spread of disease, namely the Coronavirus (COVID-19). And it has an entire Wikipedia page devoted to it! (If you look at nothing else on the page while you’re there, don’t miss the terrific Flatten The Curve GIF.) Social distancing helps flatten the epidemic curve, so that even if many people fall ill they won’t do it all at once, and won’t overwhelm our medical facilities and resources.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Team Introvert, we’re up! Time to help extraverts adjust to Social Distancing during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.” quote=”Team Introvert, we’re up! Time to help extraverts adjust to Social Distancing during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”]

Most of the introverts I know, upon first hearing the term social distancing, shouted in unison (to themselves): I’ve been training for this moment all my life!

And most of the extraverts groaned: Ugh, I’m doomed!

So, Team Introvert, we’re up!

This is our chance to help our poor extraverted loved ones adjust to their newly-imposed exile.

It won’t be easy — there are as many drawbacks as there are benefits of social distancing — but I think we’re up to it, don’t you?

Benefits of social distancing:

  • More time at home doing whatever we already love doing — reading, writing, making art, cuddling with our cats (you know, all the stereotypical introvert stuff)
  • Free pass to avoid social gatherings — no questions asked!
  • Slows the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other communicable diseases

Drawbacks of social distancing:

  • More time at home than we may want. Even introverts need to socialize sometimes! (Have you found your socializing sweet spot?)
  • The extraverts we live with may be bouncing off the walls. (Maybe some of these houseguest tips will help everyone get along.)
  • The extraverts we care about (whether or not we live with them) may need help adjusting to their new lifestyle.

Help your extraverted friends out

  • Suggest ways they can entertain themselves if they get bored.
  • Share informative resources that you have been quietly researching all along.
  • Show them how to download an e-book or audiobook from the library.
  • Tell them about your favorite shopping and food delivery apps that they may not know about yet.
  • Remind them they can still go outside for exercise, or gather in small, well-ventilated groups for social relief.
  • Show them how to network and be productive while working at home, if you (and they) have that luxury.

Take care of one another

  • Reach out to friends and family via email, social media, or — gasp! — telephone. I know, I know….hear me out….if this period of social distancing is prolonged, you might even consider scheduling a regular call or — double gasp! — a video chat. Weekly…daily….it depends on the situation. It may make them less anxious to know how often they can expect to hear from you, and it gives everyone something to look forward to. You can catch up, reassure one another you’re OK, and check to see what either of you might need.
  • Look in on your elderly neighbors. Wherever they fall on the introvert-extravert spectrum they may need help and be reluctant to ask for it.

We’ve got this!

We’ve got skills, and it’s time to support our less introverted friends and family during this health crisis.

What other ways — serious and also just for fun — can you think of that introverts can come to the rescue?

Please share them with us in the comments below.

Rememer: Keep calm….and wash your hands!

Hazel Thornton is a professional organizer and genealogist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico; creator of The Clutter Flow Chart Collection; and author of Go with the Flow! The Clutter-Clearing Tool Kit for an Organized Life. Visit her online at www.org4life.com.

Business Tools for Introverts

As I’ve been gradually transitioning my hands-on, in-person organizing business to provide more virtual services, I’ve also been thinking about the business tools I use. Extraverts can, and do, of course, use these tools too, but if you are an introvert trying to make your way in an extraverted world, these might help:

TimeTrade, Acuity (or similar appointment scheduler)

Is there anything worse than the back-and-forth discussion involved in scheduling a mutually-agreeable time to meet with a client? Or with anyone, for anything? Phone tag is the worst! Most introverts hate talking on the phone…unless you’re like me and you don’t mind if it’s a scheduled call. Technology to the rescue! (For more ideas, see 7 Phone Tips for Introverts.)

Skype, FaceTime (or similar video chat app)

I love meaningful, one-on-one, face-to-face interaction. But there are obvious benefits to not having to go anywhere to do it. Eliminating the driving and parking part saves time and money, for starters. It opens up a virtual world full of potential new clients. And, if you are mindful during the call, your conversations will be naturally limited to the pre-arranged block of time. Not all businesses can benefit from this, but many coaching and consulting services can.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (and other forms of social media)

It’s social, but not in person, and can be done on your own time. Clothing optional. Yay! (For those who completely avoid networking in person, though, you might be encouraged to give it another try if you read my post Networking for Introverts.)

Freedom, Stay Focused (or other internet blocker)

Wait, didn’t I just say social media was a good thing? In fact, a godsend to introverts? Yes, but it can also be overwhelming. I might be more productive if I spent less time on social media, but I enjoy it and I have other ways of managing my time (scheduling, time blocking, timers, adjusting notification settings, etc.), but you might appreciate such a tool.

Constant Contact, MailChimp (or similar email tool)

Tell them what you have to say all at once, on a regular basis, especially if they aren’t all on social media. They won’t all read your newsletter every time, but it reminds them that you’re still there, and it sure beats telling them one at a time…or making phone calls…

WordPress (or similar blogging tool)

Some business people despair of getting “enough” subscribers for their blog. I don’t think of it that way. I use my blog posts in many ways. I link to them on social media and in my newsletter. I send them to clients to reinforce whatever we have been talking about in their sessions. I send them to new people I meet — who have expressed interest in an issue that it so happens I’ve written about — as a way of establishing that I can help them, without “selling”. Why keep recreating the wheel? If people keep asking about the same thing, and I haven’t yet, I write a blog post about it.

Adobe Spark (or other video creation tool)

We’ve all heard that videos are the future of social media. Videos? For introverts? Ack! I’ll admit to not having thought of this myself as an introvert-specific tool. But think about it. They can be a way of personalizing your business and reaching people without the pressure of being live. You don’t even have to show your face if you’re not quite ready for that; you can start with voice-overs. Unless, of course, you are ready for apps such as Facebook Live.

(Virtual) Introvert Communities

It always helps to have the support of like-minded people. For me that includes Janet Barclay, creator of this Introvert Retreat blog, and Thea Orozco from Introvertology (coaching, blog, Facebook group, podcast).

Which tools might you try?

What other business tools do you think make life easier, particularly for an introvert?

Please share with us in the comments!

Hazel Thornton is a professional organizer and genealogist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico; creator of The Clutter Flow Chart Collection; and author of Go with the Flow! The Clutter-Clearing Tool Kit for an Organized Life. Visit her online at www.org4life.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Public Speaking: 6 Ways to Calm Your Nerves

Do you ever have to teach a class? Make a presentation? Give an interview? Appear on radio or television?

As an introvert (especially if you are also shy), do you relish such public speaking opportunities? Are you always cool, calm, and collected? Ack, me neither!

If you’re anything like me your mind races with thoughts: How do I look? How am I going to sound? Why did I say yes to this? What if I don’t know the answer? What if nobody comes? When will it all be over?

We all have a choice: We can hole up in our homes where we are safe, and miss out on opportunities. Or, we can brave the outside world — for a little while — and benefit from all it has to offer.

Here are my 6 tips for calming your nerves before a public speaking event: 

  1. Know your subject. Usually if someone has asked me to speak to a group, or participate in a public forum, it’s because I am an expert on some topic in their eyes. They might be wanting to know about getting organized, or about a unique experience I’ve had. Sometimes, ironically, I speak about being introverted! It really helps if it’s a topic you are knowledgeable and passionate about, as described in this article. But, whether it’s a new or old topic, do your research, prepare, and practice. Just like everyone else prepares for an appearance.
  2. Dress comfortably. You want to look nice, sure. But if you don’t speak often, and don’t generally wear 3-inch heels and makeup, this might not be the best time to start. Your personality will shine if you aren’t worried about how you look, and how itchy that new sweater is that you forgot to try on in advance.
  3. Create a mantra and use it. Or use mine. I created this one for myself in college, to combat test anxiety. I call it “The 3 C’s”. Basically, I say this to myself: “I ____________ calmly, carefully, and confidently.” (Where fill in the blank can be take tests, make presentations, answer questions, etc. Whatever fits the situation at hand.) To elaborate, what I do is to breathe deeply between each phrase, and repeat the phrase 3 times, like this:

“I _____________ calmly,” (deep, slow breath in and out) “carefully,” (deep, slow breath in and out) “and confidently.” (deep, slow breath in and out)

“I _____________ calmly,” (deep, slow breath in and out) “carefully,” (deep, slow breath in and out) “and confidently.” (deep, slow breath in and out)

“I _____________ calmly,” (deep, slow breath in and out) “carefully,” (deep, slow breath in and out) “and confidently.” (deep, slow breath in and out)

That’s it. Don’t skip the deep breathing! (That’s probably the most important part.) I do this whenever I start feeling insecure about the upcoming event. I do it on the drive over to the event. Sometimes, if I need to, I excuse myself to the restroom to do it just before I’m “on”.

  1. Remind yourself, “It’s not about me.” They just want to know what your experience was like. Or, they just want to learn something from you. Or, they just want some useful tips and inspiration. Sure, they’re all looking at you, but they’re mostly concerned about themselves. Remind yourself, too, that if the event was advertised, and they knew who you were and still chose to come see you, they probably already like you!
  2. Think of a time when you were super-successful and felt really good about it. Bonus points if it had to do with a previous public appearance. Did you feel confident that time? Did you get a standing ovation? Did someone come up to you right afterward, or later, and tell you how much your comments meant to them? Do you have a photo of the occasion? If so, take it with you. Or, at least remember the occasion, and how it felt, in as much detail as you can summon, when you feel nervous.
  3. Imagine it’s just the two of you. I’ve heard that many of the most famous public speakers in the world are introverts. It sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Who would want to talk to 20 people, much less 200 or 2000? But when you think about it, when you are in front of an audience, it’s just you and them, right? Think of it as two entities having an intimate conversation, not dozens or hundreds of entities. And this time (for the most part) you’ll have a chance to finish your thoughts without interruption!

Click here for some more tips from Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. I haven’t read them yet because I didn’t want them to influence my post. But I’m such a fan, how can they go wrong?

Do you think my tips will work for you?

How do you calm yourself before a public appearance?

Please share with us in the comments below!

Hazel Thornton is a professional organizer and genealogist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico; creator of The Clutter Flow Chart Collection; and author of Go with the Flow! The Clutter-Clearing Tool Kit for an Organized Life. Visit her online at www.org4life.com.

 

Networking for Introverts

Networking Introverts

There’s no shortage of posts on the topic of business networking here on Introvert Retreat. Who wants to stand around making small talk in a noisy room full of strangers? Ack!

But I want to tell you about some recent experiences that indicate real hope for introverts!

I wrote a post – also called Networking for Introverts – for my own website, which covers the following topics:

  • The “Networking for Introverts” session I recently presented at my annual National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) conference in Pittsburgh, PA.
  • How it was inspired by Susan Cain’s TED Talk and her two books.
  • Why I now call myself a “professional introvert”, including a follow-up to my blog post here on Introvert Retreat called Introverts: The Next Generation.
  • TIPS for networking your way
  • TIPS for setting your own networking agenda
  • TIPS for introverts who are also shy
  • What Meyers-Briggs and rubber bands have to do with it.
  • How I was recognized — and surprised — in a BIG WAY for contributing quietly in my own little introverted way!
  • What makes the President of NAPO a true leader.

Ready to join me? Click here to read Networking for Introverts!

Please comment either there, or right here, below, and share your networking challenges and strategies with us.

Dare I ask you to comment in both places? Thanks!

Introverts Unite! Separately. In your own homes. LOL!

Hazel Thornton is a professional organizer and genealogist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico; creator of The Clutter Flow Chart Collection; and author of Go with the Flow! The Clutter-Clearing Tool Kit for an Organized Life. Visit her online at www.org4life.com.

Introverts: The Next Generation

Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of IntrovertsYesterday I was privileged to be interviewed by five 8th graders as part of their Inquiry Project Living Library experience. In preparation, the students dedicated class time to self-reflection and exploration of their own identities and interests; selecting a focal point as an inquiry question; learning research methods; writing open-ended questions; and preparing in other ways for the interview. The next step for each of them is to prepare and give a presentation of their findings to students, teachers, and families.

So what did they interview me about? Being an introvert! Who knew that if you Google “Albuquerque” and “Introvert” you get me?! Their teacher saw my webpage and noticed that, in addition to being an introverted local business owner (I was described as such once in our local newspaper), I have a background in fine arts and engineering. She thought I would be perfect for her students with similar interests, who self-identified as introverts.

What introverted kids are wondering

Here are some of their questions:

  • Are introverts or extraverts more likely to play sports and, if so, what sports?
  • How is introvertendness/extravertedness related to cat/dog ownership? (LOL!)
  • How does being a reader and an introvert affect me in social situations?
  • Are there more introverted musicians/artists than extraverted musicians/artists?
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of being an introvert?

We discussed the continuum between introvertedness and extravertedness; how introversion is not the same thing as shyness, but some people are both; how introverts can participate in group activities such as team sports but may prefer individual sports and activities; how important it is for readers to have a book handy at all times, but to also tear oneself away from reading occasionally and interact with real people; that it’s OK to decline or leave a social situation early in order to recharge one’s batteries; etc.

I don’t know who was more nervous, them or me? Can you imagine interviewing a grown-up as a kid? Yikes! A friend remarked that we must have had a great time. My reply:  “No, we were are all introverts. Therefore, none of us would call it ‘a great time’! Talking to strangers, are you kidding? LOL! But they did a great job of interviewing me, and I got to give back a little bit to my community.”

Hope for future introverts

Who knew kids were learning about, and identifying as, introverts? I wish teachers had known to do this when I was a kid! Another friend observed: “How great for them to see that being an introvert is simply one way that a successful adult can be, and that there can be coping strategies to help introverts in an extrovert’s world.” Yes. Exactly.

While preparing for the interviews (I was given some of the questions in advance) I learned that there’s a kid/teen version of Susan Cain’s book, called Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts. Of course, I told the kids about the book, and also about Susan Cain’s TED talk, The Power of Introverts. (They were all familiar with TED talks! I know lots of adults who, when asked, have never heard of TED talks.)

Run, don’t walk, to buy this book for your introverted kids!

Hazel Thornton is a professional organizer and genealogist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico; creator of The Clutter Flow Chart Collection; and author of Go with the Flow! The Clutter-Clearing Tool Kit for an Organized Life. Visit her online at www.org4life.com.

Unique Travel Ideas for Introverts

Shakespeare-and-Company-bookstore-380x253What is your idea of a great vacation and/or travel destination?

I was featured in an article on this topic, but I didn’t share it with anyone because I thought my comment was edited too much, making me sound like an idiot. But now I’m sharing it with you.

Here’s the article: 23 Unconventional Places Introverts Would Love To Travel

I’m #21: Living at the Famed Shakespeare & Co Bookstore in Paris. (Which I’ve actually visited, decades ago. It was the first time I’d ever seen a bookstore cat.)

“If you feel like talking, there is an endless supply of interesting people. If not, you can just sit and read”, says Hazel Thornton.

So, what’s wrong with that? My name is spelled right, and it links to my website and everything. But it neglects to mention that “living” in this famous bookstore is a real thing, and not just a flight of fancy! My full comment was:

Become a “Tumbleweed”, living (in exchange for working a little) at the famed Shakespeare & Co Bookstore in Paris, France. If you feel like talking, there’s an endless supply of interesting people to talk to, and if you don’t you can just sit and read. And, well, it’s Paris!

Here’s the article that inspired me: What It’s Like to Live Inside the Legendary Paris Bookstore Shakespeare & Co.

Now it’s your turn: Where would you, as an introvert, love to travel? Share with us in the comments below!

If you’re short on ideas, read the article for 23 great ones. Or, if you prefer, feel free to describe your perfect staycation.

Hazel Thornton is a professional organizer and genealogist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico; creator of The Clutter Flow Chart Collection; and author of Go with the Flow! The Clutter-Clearing Tool Kit for an Organized Life. Visit her online at www.org4life.com.

What is Your Socializing Sweet Spot?

Socializing Sweet SpotWhen introversion became a thing – when Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking was published, and the internet started filling up with memes like “Introverts Unite… Separately… In Your Own Homes” — I felt a sense of relief. The modern definition of introversion as someone who simply needs to be alone to recharge one’s batteries fit me to a T. I no longer felt apologetic about wanting to leave a party early. Others, too, were coming out of the introvert closet.

Then I had a crappy year. The details are not important here — I’m not claiming mine was worse than yours… who knows? – but I found myself withdrawing even more than usual. I worked less with clients, networked less, and socialized less. Eventually I realized I wanted to do more virtual organizing than hands-on organizing, and took steps to make that happen, which was fantastic except for the part where I was slowly becoming a hermit.

My friend, and occasional houseguest, Jane, is a writer. She writes novels. She also has been an art teacher, worked with preschool kids, and done any number of bohemian part-time jobs to supplement her income. But she’s always been a writer. I, on the other hand, was an engineer at the phone company for 20 years prior to my 10-year stint as a hands-on professional organizer. It’s only been recently that we’ve realized I’m a writer too! I write blog articles and informational products, social media posts and website copy, e-books and action plans, meeting minutes, procedures, checklists, emails, and newsletters. This is becoming more apparent the less time I spend in person with clients and the more time I spend alone at my computer.

And what do writers stereotypically do? They keep to themselves and they write. They often neglect themselves and others in the process. Now, as you know, introverts usually enjoy being with others, for a little while at least. Being a hermit is no more a necessary characteristic of introversion than shyness is. So I’ve realized I need to get out more and spend more time with others. Since I have less time with others built into my routine now, I know I need to build some back in. And it’s not going to happen by itself.

I should probably mention that I live alone and love it. I see my aunt (and the other library volunteers) weekly; and my dad, brother, and I have a standing weekly breakfast date. Monthly activities include book club, a meeting of my fabulous professional organizing colleagues, and a business networking luncheon which I can’t just blow off because I have a job to do when I get there – one that forces me to talk to at least a few newcomers each time – which is to take photos of the event and post them on Facebook. I also cashier at the library used book sale once a month.

So that’s 12 out of 30 days where I spend time with others for a few hours (which is plenty) on a predictable basis. And 18 days where I don’t. Sure there’s the occasional spontaneous lunch date, get-together, or activity, but I think I need a little more.

So what’s my plan? I think the solution for me is to schedule at least one breakfast, lunch, or dinner date per week with a friend (rotating among several candidates). This is easier to work into my current working from home schedule than it was during a day of three-hour in-person appointments that I had to drive across town to get to. And I need to find an exercise class or physical activity that involves other people. I think those two things would get me back into my sweet spot.

What about you? What is your socializing sweet spot?

Are you getting just the right amount of me-time? Too much? Not enough?

And what are you planning to do about it?

Please share with us in the comments below!

Hazel Thornton is a professional organizer and genealogist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico; creator of The Clutter Flow Chart Collection; and author of Go with the Flow! The Clutter-Clearing Tool Kit for an Organized Life. Visit her online at www.org4life.com.

7 Phone Tips for Introverts

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-old-black-retro-telephone-image17602162Who else besides me jumps out of their skin when the phone rings? It’s pretty much NEVER a good time for me to answer the phone. I’m ALWAYS in the middle of doing SOMETHING, whether it be working, spending time with someone, sleeping, eating, driving, exercising, watching TV, reading, or relaxing.

I’ve noticed, though, that it’s also pretty much never a good time for ME to call YOU! You are either not home, and I have to leave a message, or I am calling you on your cell and you are in the middle of working, spending time with someone, sleeping, eating, driving, exercising, watching TV, reading, or relaxing. By the way, I beg of you not to answer my call if you are driving, or eating with other people in a noisy restaurant. Seriously?

To those who say that calling is always better than emailing, I say: Better for whom? If I call with a quick question, and you actually answer, and we resolve the issue with minimal chit chat, then great! But how often does that happen? If I have to leave you a phone message, I might as well have written you an email, no? At least that way you can answer it thoughtfully, at your leisure, and we’ll both have a record of the exchange. Introverts are often more comfortable expressing themselves in writing. I know I am. What about you?

Yes, of course, it depends on the nature and urgency of the topic! Even so, I prefer texting for quick confirmations and such. And, yes, emails can get lost in cyberspace and overlooked in over-stuffed email inboxes. But so can phone messages. Sometimes your voice mail box is full and I can’t leave a message anyway! At least if I haven’t heard back from you via email I can re-send the message and ask, “Did this get lost in cyberspace?” This gives you an easy out and allows us to continue the conversation where we left off. If it were an urgent matter I would have called.

Since it’s hardly possible to be functional and social today without a phone, here are my tips for introverts who aren’t crazy about them:

  • Turn your ringer off. Yes really. Why not? Especially while you’re trying to focus on something. I suggest this to clients as a productivity technique. This is why God created Caller ID and Voice Mail! You may disagree, but I say that even if you have little kids in school you can turn your ringer off for an hour to work on an important project. Most likely, nothing will happen during that time. If something does happen at the school, your kid will be taken care of until you check your messages and get yourself over there. They don’t know what you were doing, and you don’t have to tell them, either. You DO have to check your messages and get back to people, though.
  • Adjust your ringer. If you can’t bring yourself to turn it off, set it to vibrate or find a gentler ringtone (or a louder one, if that’s what you really need). At home I have those cordless phones that come in a set. I select one to ring, and turn the rest of them off, especially the one I’m most often sitting right next to.
  • Schedule your calls. I’m using a scheduling tool called TimeTrade. It’s great! Anyone can schedule time with me, be it a paid in-person organizing session, a coffee date, or a phone call. I decide how much time per week I want to devote to such activities and make myself available when the time comes. I have a scheduling page on my website, but I can also invite someone to schedule a call, inserting the TimeTrade link, via email. Can you call me without scheduling? Of course you can But scheduling reduces phone tag and ensures that I will be available to talk with you at the appointed time. [September 2020 update: TimeTrade worked for me for a long time. Then I switched technologies — phone and computer operating systems — and started having problems. Things change so fast in tech-land that I would not predict that YOU would have a problem, which is why I’m not describing my tech issue in detail. But you should know that I’ve been using Acuity lately. Check them both out!]
  • Batch your calls. If you have multiple calls to make – schedule a medical appointment, ask a billing question, return a call, confirm a lunch date with a friend, etc. — decide when you’re going to make them and make them all at once to get them over with. Gather the pertinent info into a “To Call” folder so it’s handy when the time comes. Allow yourself extra time for annoying automated phone systems and long wait times. Grab a cup of coffee and make yourself comfortable. Or, if you are nervous about making calls, try making them standing up. I make notes about what I want to remember to say or ask, and stand at my kitchen counter with the notes in front of me. It also helps to keep the calls short!
  • How does your phone sound? One of my phone issues is sound quality. I’m getting older, so my hearing is starting to be a candidate for suspicion, but I’m pretty sure the real problem here is that newer technology, while clever and ubiquitous, has inferior sound quality. Not to mention crummy and dropped signals. If the call is scheduled in advance I have a better chance of using the phone I prefer, in a location where I am comfortable talking, and I’ll have my ear buds handy.
  • You don’t have to give everyone your cell phone number. Well, if you’ve given up your landline you might. In my case, the whole world has my home number because I am self employed and it is published on my business cards, website, etc. But only a handful of people have my cell phone number. I try to make them understand that my phone is always on “silent”, and that I rarely use it for actual talking but they sometimes forget. That’s OK as long as I check my messages and get back to them.
  • Humor them. If you have clients (or family, or friends) who REALLY prefer a phone call over an email, and you REALLY want to work with them (or maintain a relationship with them), by all means give them a call. Otherwise, do it your way. Email, snail mail, no mail… Why can’t THEY get used to email? That’s what I’d like to know!

What are YOUR best phone tips?

Please share with us in the comments!

Hazel Thornton is a professional organizer and genealogist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico; creator of The Clutter Flow Chart Collection; and author of Go with the Flow! The Clutter-Clearing Tool Kit for an Organized Life. Visit her online at www.org4life.com.

A Room of One’s Own

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-suitcase-image19196924It’s not cheap being an introvert! Especially if you’re a single introvert who is used to being alone most of the time. I’m referring, in this case, to the extra cost of me-time that comes in the form of a single supplement for a room to oneself on a cruise…or on any occasion involving hotel rooms.

I’m in the midst of packing for a professional conference at which the majority of attendees will be paired up for the purpose of sharing the cost of a room. For many, it will also ensure that they will have more fun. More fun?! Sharing a room with a stranger? Even sharing with a friend can be stressful for an introvert who lives in peace and quiet at home. A roommate, even a quiet introverted one, requires more energy than I have to spare.

The conference is going to be educational, inspirational, and, yes, fun! It’s going to be SO MUCH fun that I’m going to need a place of my own at times to get away from it all and recharge my batteries. So I reserved my own room and will simply absorb the cost. I know it will be worth it. I will participate fully in the conference activities and then retreat to my peace and quiet. I will have dinner with others, and enjoy a glass of wine, but I will not be part of the dancing, drinking, karaoke crowd. I need my sleep!

When it comes to vacationing with others, it took me years to realize that it was worth it to me to simply get my own room. However, not only does it cost more, it also makes it difficult for others who would like to save money, and enjoy even more of my company, by sharing a room with me.

I realize there are different types and degrees of introversion. Do you, too, prefer a room to yourself? Or do you welcome the occasional stimulation and companionship of a travel roommate? What other costs can you think of that are associated with being an introvert? Please leave a comment in the section below!

Hazel Thornton is a professional organizer and genealogist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico; creator of The Clutter Flow Chart Collection; and author of Go with the Flow! The Clutter-Clearing Tool Kit for an Organized Life. Visit her online at www.org4life.com.

 

How to Be an Introverted Houseguest or Host Without Driving Each Other Crazy

Benjamin Franklin wasn’t kidding when he wrote, in Poor Richard’s Almanac, “Fish and visitors smell in three days.” Especially if you are an introvert and live alone 99% of the time. Even when the guest is your best friend of forty years.

Since I moved to Albuquerque several years ago, Jane, whose idea it was to write this article, has been spending Christmas with me. I usually go to visit her in Denver in the spring or fall. When the subject of introversion came up, it was obvious to me that I was an introvert, but I had never thought about whether or not she was, too, and how that might affect our relationship. She fits all the criteria, certainly…but she also likes to talk more than I do, and never runs out of things to say. As entertaining as that can be, I am simply not used to talking or listening so much during a day, much less for several days in a row. It can distract me, and drain me of energy, especially if there is something else I need to be doing or thinking about as the host. Let me tell you how we have worked things out by understanding and accepting our introverted natures.

If you are an introverted host:

  • Remodel your garage into a guest suite. OK, that’s probably not feasible for everyone, but that’s what I did. I figure the more privacy my houseguests have, the more privacy I have too, and the more I can tolerate – er, I mean enjoy — their company. Plus this way I don’t have to share my bathroom either.
  • You don’t have to spend every minute with your guests. Really, you don’t. If they are tourists with their own car, I like to point them in the right direction and say, “Have a nice day, I can’t wait to hear all about it at dinner!”

If you are an introverted guest:

  • Don’t be shy about saying you’d rather stay in a hotel, if that’s the case. Some people are offended by that, but I’m not sure why as long as you aren’t asking them to pay for it. Make sure to tell them sincerely how much you are looking forward to spending time with them, but also make it clear that you need time alone to recharge your batteries because you are an introvert. If they look at you funny, this is your chance to educate them on the subject.

If your host is introverted:

  • Jane knows I start my day slower than she does, so she sometimes goes out to sit in the hot tub with a good book and a Diet Pepsi while I check my email, drink coffee, and wake up in silence
  • Do offer to help (e.g. in the kitchen), but don’t insist. It could be that your host is using that time alone in the kitchen to unwind in silence after a long day together.

If your guest is introverted:

  • If you can’t dedicate a whole room to your guest, consider putting up a screen in the corner of the room where they will be sleeping so that they will have a place to retreat and recharge.
  • Jane is over-stimulated by shopping malls, superstores, and crowds. So I shop for anything we might need (even if it’s just groceries) before she arrives. I ask her in advance what special things she might need and get those while I’m at it.

If you are both introverted:

  • This is when it gets easy, because you both know how the other feels.
  • No matter how early I rise, as long as we have no specific morning plans, I let Jane sleep as long as she possibly can. She’s on vacation, after all, but this also gives me time to myself. Of course, this is easier the more private your guest room is.
  • Stick to mutually desirable activities and don’t try to do too much in a day.
  • Declare an afternoon “me-time” so you can both recharge however you see fit (i.e. napping or reading). Then neither of you will be cranky at dinnertime.
  • Work out a mutually agreeable signal, or just say, “No more talking, OK?”, if you need to suspend the conversation and concentrate on something else for a few minutes (or longer).
  • One of the things we implemented long ago is something we call “The List”. The List is where we jot down topics of conversation that we don’t want to forget to address during our visit. We keep in touch between visits, of course, but some topics are best discussed in person or in depth. This way we can feel free to declare, “No more talking, OK?” without the other person worrying that we might not get to their favorite topic.

As with any relationship, every situation is different, and the key to guest/host relations is communication. You can read more of my tips for making guests feel comfortable in my blog article: Is Your Guest Room Guest Worthy?

This year Jane and I were both a little sadder to part than usual. While definitely looking forward to getting back to normal, we weren’t quite as anxious as usual to retreat to our respective homes and introverted lives. And she was here for four days!

How do you deal with having, or being, a houseguest? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Hazel Thornton is a professional organizer and genealogist based in Albuquerque, New Mexico; creator of The Clutter Flow Chart Collection; and author of Go with the Flow! The Clutter-Clearing Tool Kit for an Organized Life. Visit her online at www.org4life.com.