Block Party Season has officially begun! We've been hearing from various folks who are hosting their own block parties, and we've even been invited to a few. I thought this might be a good time to dedicate a blog to all the introverts out there. Yes, you are my tribe!
I'm an introvert, and as you might imagine the idea of a block party is a little intimidating. But the catch is that I really enjoy people. So why am I intimidated? There are two reasons: 1) what if I can't think of anything to talk about? 2) what if the other person hates talking to me and it is a miserable experience? 3) what if we run out of things to talk about? Just pondering these 3 possibilities drains my batteries! But over the years, I've learned a few strategies to help me get over the hump, and I'm so thankful I have because it has allowed me to meet cool people I never would have met otherwise. So, here are my suggestions:
- Have a few pre-formed introductory questions in mind. I know this sounds odd, but seriously, when I walk into a social setting there is a good chance my brain will freeze. A few prepared questions can prime the pump. Such as: how long have you lived in your house? Are you from this city? What brought you to this city? Tell me about your work?
- Stay curious! When I'm really engaged in a conversation, I lean forward, I hang on the words I'm hearing, and more questions naturally follow. Ironically, when I'm afraid of being a boring block partier, I tend to not listen very well, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Don't fear the end! I have to remind myself that conversations naturally wind down. When that happens, it doesn't mean something bad happened, it just means I'm not talking to my soul mate! I just thank them for the chat and we move on. No big deal.
- Release the outcome! I think there has come a moment at every block party I've attended when I thought to myself, "Is this going to be a disaster?" So far, the answer in my head has always been: "It might be...but more likely it will just be what it needs to be. Let's just go with it." At that point, I usually relax and start to have fun.
So, there you have it, Matt's Guide for Social Settings. Any introverts got other suggestions you would share? Put them in the comments, I would love to hear them.