It is okay for you to need time alone at an event
There are so many misnomers about being an introvert, but the fact is, it can be hard for introverts to attend in-person events. Large conferences and smaller workshops have their pros and cons. Every introvert will deal with each type of event in their own way.
The key is to be aware of the pros and cons of each one and be prepared before you attend. This means scheduling some alone time and possibly taking a battle buddy with you.
- Introverts can just 'break out of their shell' - never, ever say that to someone.
- Introverts hate leaving their house.
- Introverts are anti-social and dislike people.
- Introverts are quiet.
It is all based on energy and where you get that energy from. Introverts receive energy by being alone and having time to think through things. Extroverts get their energy from parties and people. And the opposite can be said of what drains introverts and extroverts. There is no right or wrong, there just is. Not sure if you're an introvert or extrovert? Head to www.16personalities.com to find out!
Type of event
Large conferences, like WPPI, have lots of people and possible classes that may allow you to hide in the crowd and do your own thing. Smaller workshops that have 12-15 people will require you to participate with those people and typically won’t have any alone time planned. If you’re attending a styled shoot with other photographers, be aware that you will have to speak up in order to get your shots too. Overstimulation can drain introverts, even if they seem like they’re having a great time. Just because it is draining doesn’t mean that it was bad or that it was a waste of time.
Have someone to go with you
Going by yourself to any event will also heighten the level of anxiety for introverts. Find a battle buddy (Paul - your battle buddy is someone who goes with you to everything and you’ve got each other’s back) to go with you to these events. When Paul went with Cinnamon to WPPI it not only gave him perspective on what Cinnamon did, but it gave her someone to connect with throughout the day. Having a battle buddy also allows you to talk about what you’re learning and debrief throughout the day.
Schedule time during or after to recharge
Make sure that you give priority to your needs. If you need to book your own room, do it. The extra cost will be worth it for you each day as you had personal time the night before. There is nothing wrong with you needing time at a conference or workshop to be alone.