As a writer, I struggle with social interaction. Not in the sense that I’m awkward and don’t have the ability to relate to others – no, social interaction just takes a lot of energy. A social event is fun, but I need alone time to recover.
Many other writers are this way as well. This is because we are introverts. I would have never guessed this about myself. I am confident at public speaking and don’t mind teaching or leading others regularly. Two years ago, I was teaching a weekly adult class at church, speaking monthly at a prison, and creating teaching materials for a class I taught new-hires at work. That doesn’t sound like the typical life of an introvert. But what I learned was that introverts aren’t necessarily anti-social, they simply use a lot of energy to be social. They need lots of alone time to recuperate after social events.
Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy by being social, and being alone and reflective uses a lot of energy. Most people in American society are extroverts, and there’s a lot of misunderstanding between these two groups.
Even the most introverted among us has social needs, however. And everyone, introverted or not, needs to stretch outside their own comfort zones and create relationships with others. This is especially true with writers and marketers, who rely on relationships to gain clients and market their work. So what’s an introvert to do?
There are many online sites that can help you reach out and form new relationships. I’m a big fan of Meetup.com, a site that helps you find social groups based on your interests. I have a much easier time meeting new people when there’s a common interest already in place. Meetup offers groups with focuses on business networking, cooking, hiking, biking, and more. Some are gender or age specific, and many are not. I really enjoy the variety I find there, even in the smaller city I live in.
Another site a lot of people enjoy is Foursquare.com, a site I haven’t tried but am intrigued by. It allows you to check in at various locations and find out if anyone you know is nearby. Also, many businesses offer deals and discounts to Foursquare members to entice them to visit and check in there.
You never know when you’re going to meet your next business lead or networking contact. The best places can often be the least obvious ones, where friendships are more natural than at a networking event. Meetup and Foursquare are only two of many options, but the point is simple – even introverts need to get out and meet new people sometimes. Just give yourself plenty of alone time to recharge afterward.
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