Block Parties Are Awesome--even for INTROVERTS!

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: 

  1. 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? 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.