I'm writing this blog post from a gloriously quiet co-working space in the Junction. Only an introvert would walk into a room designed for connection and collaboration and be thrilled to pieces she was the only one who showed up.
Yep, I'm an introvert. An INFJ, actually, which means that while I thrive on deep connections with others, I also get drained by social stuff -- especially small talk. Because of this fact, I have built my life around quiet time, small group and one-on-one hangouts, and the personal rule that I must never, ever attend any sort of street festival.
The world wasn't designed for introverts. It can be isolating to wander around the world hating parties and crowds while everyone else seems to be having the time of their lives. So when I started Nest & Story, I decided that I would strive to create a safe space for us. Deep connections... with boundaries could have been my tagline.
In January, I'm hosting an all-day urban writing retreat (have you signed up yet?). When creating that registration page, I made sure to add the phrase certified introvert-friendly so my brethren wouldn't run screaming from the room at the thought of spending an entire day in a group.
So what does introvert-friendly mean to me?
- You're not trapped. While we take frequent breaks, there's no need to raise your hand before going to the bathroom. Get up, leave, take a walk around the block. No one will question your need for a bit of air, especially during a longer workshop.
- Handouts to read for the small-talk averse. While folks in my workshops usually end up chatting amongst themselves, I always provide lengthy handouts so those who don't want to chat have something to do with their eyes and hands.
- Food and water. No matter how short the workshop, I always provide snacks and beverages. Introverts tend to also be highly sensitive people (my hand is up, here) which means that a blood sugar crash could really be bad news.
- Zero pressure. Reading aloud is an aspect of all Nest & Story workshops, but participants are 100% allowed to decline to read at any time. No pressure, no questions, no "Are you sure you don't want to? Why not?!" awkwardness.
I would love for this concept to catch on. Do you know of any other introvert-friendly businesses, places or events? Please share below!