I love a quiet evening at home. I love reading, I love fires in the fireplace, I love a nice glass of wine. The draw of an evening at home, especially after a long day, is strong. Of course, I understand that not every night can be spent at home. And even if it could, I wouldn't want that. I value being out in the world, meeting new people, and experiencing new things. The struggle comes when I have an evening commitment and not much energy left. My introvert's inner dialogue becomes a battleground over the use of that energy.
The battle features my Introverted Side and my Extroverted Side. My Introverted Side is my default way of operating and the side that craves the quiet evenings. My Extroverted Side is the one that craves experiences and knows that good things come from stretching outside one's comfort zone.
Take networking for example. An event full of new people, small talk, and business cards is well outside my comfort zone. But I encourage myself to try new things and recently signed up for an evening networking event. The night before I reminded myself why I wanted to go and what I hoped to get out of it.
Inner Dialogue: The Night Before
- Extroverted Side: I'm excited about the networking event tomorrow! Last time we met some cool people and felt inspired!
- Introverted Side: True, but I remember the room being crowded and loud.
- ES: Sure, but that's just because there were lots of engaging conversations happening.
- IS: Ugh. I hate small talk. I'm nervous I won't know what to say to people.
- ES: You can do it! Besides, aren't you reading that book Networking for People Who Hate Networking that talks about approaching networking differently?
- IS: Yeah, that's true... Okay! I can do this!
- ES: That's the spirit!
The next day arrived. After a long workday, it was time to head to the event. The introvert's inner dialogue resumed.
Inner Dialogue: The Day Of
- IS: I'm beat. I'd love to head home and enjoy a walk and a glass of wine. What a nice way to spend the evening!
- ES: Wait a minute! We already talked about the networking event for this evening.
- IS: Yeah, but I'm feeling kind of tired.
- ES: You'll have fun once you get there. And besides, who knows whom you might meet!
- IS: Yeah, but it's halfway across town and traffic looks heavy.
- ES: But, but... I was looking forward to it.
- IS: Yeah, I'm just not up to it. Maybe next time.
I headed home and did indeed enjoy a quiet evening. But the next day I had second thoughts.
Inner Dialogue: The Next Day
- IS: I think you were right. We should have attended the event.
- ES: Oh yeah? Why do you say that?
- IS: Well, I can enjoy a night at home any time. That networking event only comes around once a year.
- ES: That's what I was trying to tell you!
- IS: I know, I know. I promise to go next time.