The Introvert/Extrovert dilemma

I’ve volunteered myself for a whole load of extrovert activities. At the time, I had a ‘sod it’ attitude because it all sounded like fun. However, I’m now wondering if I’m insane…

I seem to go through stages. I have days, weeks, when I’m feeling friendly and personable; I can chat to multiple people (I talked to everyone at our last Swindon FreeWriters meeting for four hours – I NEVER talk that much!) I can chat to people at work, new students, random people at Hackspace…I can be outgoing, personable and friendly. My housemate is always astonished at how extroverted I can be for someone that really doesn’t like doing it.

And then I get the flip side. I get nervous, scared, insecure and worried; at the worst points, I get panic attacks. I find it hard to know what to say, or even if I’m interesting enough to talk to people. I struggle with paying attention to conversations; it all gets very hard work and I’d much rather be curled up with a book!

By the way, on a related note – want to know how to talk to people? Just be interested. Ask questions and find things to follow; what do you read? Where are you from, where do you work, why are you here? Add in personal anecdotes to make people relax (oh, I like that author, my favourite bit is X) but don’t make it about you; listen and react. It works for me – but then I am much more of a listener than I am a talker!

Anyway. I’ve signed myself up for multiple extrovert activities in the next few weeks, and I’m now getting pretty nervous about them. I’ve finally got a date for my Dresden Files casefile, along with my new game;  it’s the new academic year at work so I’ve got tours to do and students to talk to; and I’ve also got BristolCon

Frankly, I’m pretty nervous about my panel. However, @NickHembery sent me a wonderful podcast from Writing Excuses on being a good panelist and moderator, and it has helped…a little…

The highlights:

  • Be concise, considerate, and topically relevant; it’s ok to not cover everything.
  • The panelists are chosen as people who are good at what they do, who connect with the audience, and who are nice!
  • Engage in conversation; are you actually listening, or are you just waiting to talk?
  • Engage with other panelists and refer things over to them.

I’ve already started making notes and reading a couple of books, so I hope I’ll have something to talk about. I’ve got another week to worry about it, anyway.

Beyond that…I’m giving in to my introvert side for a few days, and hiding with my laptop. I might even get some writing done!