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Re: Being nice to introverts/the highly sensitive (was Re: "Breaking Cliques at Events")

Hey Sean

On 12/12/2017 08:03, Sean Whitton wrote:
> Given the above, at DebConf17 -- my first free software conference -- I
> sometimes worried that I had imposed myself on others by
> enthusiastically and expectantly introducing myself and asking them
> about themselves.  By 'expectantly' I mean that I approached them in a
> way that might make them feel obligated to respond with a similar level
> of energy.  This is not a reasonable nor a kind demand to make of
> someone who has difficulty meeting new people.

I don't think you have to worry about that at all. I don't think we
talked at DC17 but it was nice seeing you in person after following you
in Debian for so long. I think just being somewhat aware of it already
gives you some tooling to gauge whether someone is uncomfortable and
wants to be left alone.

> 1) am I right that those of us who have no difficulty with new people
>    need not worry about those introverts/etc. who make it clear that
>    they know how to look after themselves viz-à-viz their
>    introversion/etc.?  Or are there steps we can take?

As a strong introvert, my best advice, based on experiences at DebConf,
is to just pay attention to the person you're talking to. If you've been
babbling for 3 minutes straight and the other person hasn't gotten a
chance to get in a word, then you're probably being a big drain on that
person if they're an introvert and you should consider taking some
breaks (not talking about you specifically here, since we haven't had a
chance to talk, just referring to my biggest general problem)

Other than that, most introverts enjoy talking to people, but they enjoy
being in a conversation rather than to be talked at.

To answer your question... I don't believe that you need to take extra
precaution or steps, but I'm also interested to see how others feel
about that.

> 2) for those people who have difficulty with new people but are /not/
>    like you -- do not have techniques to handle their energy levels; not
>    fully aware of how they are -- what can those of us who have no
>    difficulty with new people do to avoid imposing ourselves upon them?

IMHO the answer to that is similar to my previous one, I'd say that
listening is as an important part in communicating than talking. I
sometimes assume that people who have verbal diarrhea are just nervous
so sometimes I give them a few minutes to get it all out before I
attempt bi-directional communication with them (ouch, I hope I'm not
being mean there).

> (I'm deliberately avoiding the term 'extrovert' because (i) I am really
> not sure what it means; and (ii) I want to discuss a much more specific
> dichotomy which is probably not all of extroversion, namely "those who
> have no difficulty with new people" / "those who do".)

Great! 'Extrovert' and 'introvert' are somewhat overloaded terms anyway
and people make crazy assumptions when it comes to both these words.


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