I don’t know about you, but one of THIS introvert’s biggest fears is going someplace where I don’t know anyone, by myself.
I can give you an example from this past weekend. I was supposed to attend church with some friends, but something came up and they couldn’t go. I had been with them before, but I didn’t know anyone else.
Now, I am typically pretty comfortable in churches. I grew up in one, my career revolves around working in them and most importantly, the community of the church has had a great impact on my faith.
But as an introvert, it’s still intimidating at times. When I discovered I would be attending by myself, I had to mentally prepare for it. I am sure that sounds ridiculous to most of you, but that’s how I think. Can anyone else relate?
The one thing I have learned from the multiple times I have been in this situation, is that I am always glad that I went.
Rarely have I been a visitor in the church setting, but when I have been, I purposely don’t engage 1) because I my shy personality to be at the forefront and 2) I want to see how the congregation members interact with me. (Any other church professionals do the same?)
In this specific situation, I had one person come up to me during the greeting and introduce himself. I felt comfortable in worship and even contemplated leaving before the last song, so I wouldn’t have to interact with anyone, but I wanted to stay, so I did.
Normally, I would feel slightly uncomfortable, but I have grown accustomed to meeting new people, so when a woman came up to introduce herself and ask my name after worship, I was pleasantly surprised. I shared about myself and situation and then she asked if she could pray for me. She didn’t invite me back or guilt me into going someplace I didn’t want to, she simply cared for me in that moment.
As an introvert, that was a great comfort.
I’m also a horrible small talker, so the idea that someone else started the conversation and engaged me in it, is what drew me in and made me feel welcome and cared for.
I had overcome a big fear, again. But, I know each time it comes up again, I will have to prepare the same way. It’s a part of my introverted self that I have embraced.
So there are three perspectives I would love to hear back in the comments on this specific topic.
Introverts – Have you ever been in a similar situation? It does not have to be a church setting, this was just a most recent example that I wanted to use. How did you overcome the fear? What did you learn about yourself and those around you?
Extroverts – Does this make you more self-aware of those around you? How can you use your extrovert personality to help the introverts around you?
Church goers & professionals – How can we do a better job of inviting all kinds of people into our churches and making them feel welcome without overwhelming them? It’s a tricky line to walk, and I’ve always had trouble gauging where people are at.