Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, knowing how to relate to the unique qualities of an introvert can improve relationships, make collaborative projects more cohesive, and make you a better team player.
Introverts face some unique challenges in this industry. I have introvert friends who’ve shared some of their stories and I have some personal experience. For I, too, am an introvert (though, a strange kind of introvert that can actually thrive in social situations).
Many people in the “real world” (aka not in the entertainment industry) think that all actors must be extroverted, camera-loving artists-of-shine. But it’s simply not true. Many of us (statistically 1 in 3!) are introverted by nature. Which means that, despite possibly being shy, avoiding the spotlight or not enjoying being around large groups of people, we are still drawn to this career. We still have a need to express ourselves and bleed in that magical way that actors do.
Not sure where you lie on the Introvert/Extrovert spectrum? You can take a quiz to find out here!
To My Fellow Introverts
I know it can feel like a lonely journey, but you can find your tribe and they will make this journey a happier, fuller, more rewarding one, so trust yourself and the contribution you can make.
Here’s a couple of tips to building your tribe while navigating this entertainment business game:
1. Use your “introvert” label as a tool to empower you rather than an excuse.
It can be easy to hide, to think “I’m just not built for this networking thing”. You know what? In some ways that may be true, but as an introvert you have some other brilliant gifts that make you better suited to a different kind of relationship building… (read on!)
2. Use those refined listening skills to discover voices that reflect your own.
Introverts practice being quiet a lot. Which also means they can have developed some rocking listening skills. Use these to put your feelers out and attract people with like sensitivities.
Listening is one of the most powerful relationship building tools there is.
3. Embrace Social Media
Social media doesn’t have to just be life’s show-and-tell. It can also be a tool for you to create connections with likeminded people – without having to attend all those networking* events. Additionally, there are plenty of online artist’s communities that host get-togethers and provide community and connection.
* For me, “networking” is a dirty word. As the Inside Acting guys always say, Build Relationships, Not Networks.
4. Build Relationships Your Way
Find ways to build meaningful relationships that work for you. One on one meetings can be extremely worthwhile (much more so than handing a stranger a business card that will probably end up buried under scripts on a desk).
5. Spend your precious people energy with people that “get you”.
Because introverts often find it challenging to make new friends, they may tend to settle for the ones they have – even the unhealthy ones.
Take a stand for yourself and decide to spend time with people who energize you, people who get you, the ones you don’t need to explain yourself (and quirks) to.
6. Know You’re Okay
All that time spent in your own head can sometimes leave introverts feeling down on themselves for not being more outgoing.
Stop that business.
You’re freakin’ awesome, whether you’re shouting it from the rooftops or shouting it from the imaginary rooftops in your head while enjoying the comfort of your own couch.
The Introvert’s Way
As an introvert, your circle of influence may look smaller in numbers, but those connections can be unbreakable.
You are not alone (remember 1 in 3!!!). Rock on, mighty Introverts! Do it your way. Your presence matters and your quiet is oh-so powerful.