A community is alive because of its conversation. And that is why, as an introvert, it scares me; I (an introvert) hardly talk. Any introvert would know it takes years to build a friendship. So how does an introvert cope up with a community scenario? Understanding an introvert’s life and psychological pattern can give us a bigger picture of how to help them find a place in the community.

Traits of an introvert

I read a blog on the psychology behind introverts, and I was able to resonate so much, I thought I’d put out the traits of an introvert the blog mentioned.

  1. Me time - Introverts try to make time for themselves cause they love being in peace.
  2. Overstimulated - They tend to have a higher level of cortisol arousal (a brain indication which increases wakefulness, vigilance, muscle tone, heart rate, and minute ventilation). This makes them get excited about the outer world quickly. when more of it comes in, they feel uncomfortable. A minor level of the external environment is enough to stimulate them.
  3. Prefer working alone: Introverts work the best when you give them the space and time, making them attentive and productive in all they do.
  4. Quality over quantity- Introverts tend to have a very small close circle, meaning they have many friends but restrict themselves from taking in people very close, like the tight circle.
  5. Not talkative- Introverts go silent with new people but can easily open up with people they are super comfortable with.
  6. Curious- Introverts happen to be very curious; they observe a lot in the environment and learn from it. This makes them come up with creative solutions.
  7. Zone out - Introverts zone out at times; things don’t go well for them. They shift to an imaginary world where things seem calm. This acts as a self-defense mechanism to keep them calm and chilled always.

Now let’s see how a community looks like

  1. Together time - The community loves spending time with many members together. That is where its joy is.
  2. Prefers working as a team - The beauty of community is that different people come together to work for one main goal.
  3. Quality and quantity- A community concentrate more on quality at the beginning, bringing quality.
  4. Happy if the place is filled with conversation- Communications are bricks that build a community; the more the bricks, the more rooms it can create. The community loves it if there is an excellent happy conversation now and then.
  5. Curious - Yes, a community is obviously curious; it loves knowing new people, their emotions, perspectives and tries to observe and understand them.

A community is happy with its qualities and doesn’t want to give them away. So does an introvert. Does that mean they have nothing to do with each other? Both qualities seem to contradict each other, but there’s always a chance to bring them together.

So, here is how a community can make an introvert feel welcomed and comfortable.

Where and ways an introvert can fit in a community

  1. Encourage and include one-on-one conversations - Introverts feel more comfortable talking to one person than a group of people at a time; they can give out so much when they feel secure. An introvert also happens to have valuable inputs as they have an analyzed view of the community.
  2. Use them in the inner circle - Introverts tend to have a sound mind that can help plan. Their calm mindset will help in times of crisis. They naturally have the ability to find creative solutions. Then why not make use of them?
  3. Make them feel comfortable - It’s not that introverts won’t talk at all. They talk when they feel comfortable. So making them feel comfortable is the only way out. Use small ice beaker conversations and put out content that includes them, making them think they belong.
  4. Develop relationships - You cannot make an introverted person open up to a stranger. Taking small steps to build a relationship with them will make them open up more. If they develop a relationship with everyone in the community, nothing stops them from opening up.
  5. Do not pressure to contribute - Give time for an introvert to come into the zone to contribute. Pushing people to contribute more might agitate them, making them feel it’s not their place.
  6. Acknowledge them but don’t frighten them - Appreciate their presence but don’t overdo it cause they don’t want to be the talk of the community. This might make them feel uncomfortable and agitated.
  7. Give responsibility - This will make the person push themselves out of their comfort zone and take a step to be open. For example, you give the person the responsibility to send a welcome note to new members joining the community to break the ice. In turn, you will break the ice for the introverted person and start conversing better in a community.
  8. Introvert community managers: I've always felt that a community manager job involves meeting a lot of people and so it would be very challenging for an introvert. but it's sad I did not see the other side of it, introverts are great in handling awkward situations and are also well aware of how to save the place from such incidents as they would have been through it or have an upper hand by observing things deeply. When such a power is in hand it goes a long way in helping the community to have peace.
3 fruit mascots are having a fun chat and laughing
Giving introverts their space will make them find joy in people too | Art by Gautham Ram

I believe yes, we introverts have a place in a community. All these things seem to work because I’ve had experiences of such scenarios. An introverted person opens up easily at one-on-one conversations and even goes and makes the other person feel comfortable; even get to share insights and experiences naturally. Eventually, in the end, create a connection and a relationship. It need not be a solid 100-year relationship, but it definitely is, a kind of relationship where we can strike a conversation if we meet again.

As an introvert, these are the things I feel would make me participate and contribute to a community. 46.4% of the world population are introverts, and leaving them out will be a significant loss for a community. A diverse community can be rich, and if this diversity includes all kinds of people, it is then a successful community. We try to enrich diversity by a simple chat we have every Saturday called the Community and cold coffee where we invite community enthusiasts to come to have a chilled conversation on everything around 'community and community building' with a cup of cold coffee. Here we build relationships, learn, get insights, and most importantly have fun, you can also be part of this by booking a slot here.

Change is constant; if you could kindle a positive change, that is a win-win for both of us.

If you wanna check out tips or take advice on how to increase engagement in your community you got it!

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