If any of you are introverts, I'm sure you've experienced the exhaustion that accompanies events like blogger meet-ups, conferences, and parties. Last year at TxSC I literally hid in the back kitchen of the event space so I could recharge, and even that was a relatively unsuccessful last-minute attempt. I'm not good at small talk, I'm not super bubbly and I'm kind of a wallflower, so parties where mingling and small talk is the main event? Not my favorite. As a sidenote to extroverts (and introverts) if you see me hiding in the back or lingering on the periphery, not talking to anyone and keeping to myself, it's because I'm having sensory overload, not because I don't like anyone. I probably like most of you, but the prospect of meeting you all seems rather daunting.
So here are a few tips that I'm going to keep in mind for myself during TxSC, and if you are an introvert who finds events like TxSC to be overwhelming, maybe they'll be helpful for you too!
1. Schedule enough down-time.This is a big deal. Introverts get drained by human interaction, unlike extroverts who get pumped up by it, so in order to recharge your fuel cells, you need to take time away from it all to be alone. Maybe skip one of the workshop sections to go off by yourself. You might be sad to miss out on something, but you'll be more sad when you're about to lose it and run back to your hotel room when something super fun is happening because you didn't recharge enough earlier.
2. Have blog posts already scheduled during TxSC.I'm very bad at blogging ahead of time. Most of my posts are written the night before, or even that day, so this is something I'm really going to try and make sure I do! This takes the pressure off of feeling like you need to blog during TxSC, which can be kind of impossible what with all the events, people meeting, and parties. Having your blog all taken care of before you start your travel to TxSC will take a major load off your back.
3. Booze it up.Okay, this might just be me, but I can do extroversion very well with a couple drinks in me. I become more friendly, open, and chatty, which is exactly the version of myself that I need for the party-type events. They say that liquor is liquid courage, but I don't feel that way. I've got plenty of courage, I need liquid extroversion sometimes. I'm legitimately thinking of carrying a flask in my purse for the Prom party and taking a few sips in the bathroom now and then, just to keep myself in that extroverted place. If I'm not feeling extroverted enough at parties, I just start to feel bad about myself and that makes me retreat more, and then I have zero fun. A little booze can help me get into that party spirit (though definitely in moderation. Being the crazy drunk at the party is lame, and waking up hungover is also lame).
4. Have a plan.Know when you need to be places and where they are. Whenever I travel, I like to print google maps of all the places I need to go with their addresses, and have an itinerary with all the times. Now that smartphones exist this isn't as necessary, but you can still have an itinerary! There are so many things to do and places to go at TxSC that it can be overwhelming. Going in with a plan will reduce stress significantly.
5. Have a set of questions to ask people when you meet them.I am horrible, absolutely horrible, at making conversation because I don't ask questions. I like answering questions, but I'm really bad at volleying back with my own. I love conversing with extroverts because they just talk talk talk and I just listen and respond when necessary. I'd like to work at being better at volleying back during conversation (mostly small talk, I'm okay when it comes to deeper conversations). There are obvious questions like "what's your blog?" (cue business card exchange), and "where are you from?" but I'd like to have some other questions on hand that people haven't had to answer like 1,000 times, because that gets exhausting.
6. Suck it up and networkI got so crippled by my introversion last year that I didn't meet anybody from any other brands, and not a lot of bloggers either. Besides getting to meet cool bloggers, events like TxSC are also awesome for meeting brands in person, putting a face with your blog for them. I might make a goal for myself of meeting 3 people from brands I'd like to work with, rather than feeling overwhelmed about having to meet all of them. I've only got so much networking juice in my system, and it's not very much, so I need to deploy it wisely. I'm not going to push myself on this one though. If I'm already feeling tapped out by the human interaction of other party-goers and bloggers, then I might scrap this one altogether so I can enjoy myself and have a good time with people.
7. Don't be afraid to approach groups of bloggersOne thing that is really hard with blogger meet-ups is that a lot of people go to meet new people, but, at least for me, while that's what you want to do, you end up gravitating towards people you know already, because that's your comfort zone. It's like a fly to a lamp, when I see people I know. I instantly move that direction because I see people I know and can talk to without the stress of small talk and meeting someone entirely new. If you're a newer blogger, don't think that the bigger bloggers are doing this out of a conscious effort to avoid you, or to keep you out of their "clique." It's likely that they've met before at other events, or even just fostered a good friendship online, and are happy to see each other again. They aren't trying to form a clique where only "big" bloggers are allowed. They aren't going to go all Regina George on you and tell you, "YOU CAN'T SIT WITH US!' If they seem quiet and reserved, just know that meeting new people is hard, no matter how big your blog or small your blog is.
Are you an introvert? What tips would you give to another introvert for dealing with a big weekend full of TONS of extroverted activities?