It was my first time in this particular setting. I sat through the worship and teaching times, quietly getting a sense of the group and how things worked.
I was enjoying myself well–until the sharing time began. Each person in the room began to share personal struggles. As I watched it became obvious that everyone was expected to participate. Now I love the idea of honest vulnerability, but as the leader prodded me not once, but twice, to share something personal with people I’d never met, I became uncomfortably aware that this didn’t feel like a very safe place.
If you’re an introvert like me, you understand my hesitance. Many social and church situations are designed with extroverts in mind—situations that can leave the other 50% of society feeling uncomfortable. Here are 10 church things that can alienate introverts.
Janna Wright told her first story—something about kittens and lost mittens—at age two. As an author and speaker she still loves sharing stories, especially through her “biz-nistry,” Grace Thread, and her recent book, Grace Changes Everything. Janna adores deep talks, the Colorado mountain air outside her back door, and most of all, helping women of faith thrive in their God-given adventure stories.
Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Rawpixel
1. Prolonged Welcome Time
Number one on the list of scare-away-the-introverts is a long hand-shaking time during the church service. Most introverts don’t mind shaking hands for a little while. But introverts don’t usually enjoy a lot of small talk. And after greeting people nearby, long welcome times leave the introvert standing awkwardly, feeling like an outcast, or putting on a fake face and shaking hands anyway.
None of these solutions are happy ones. Be aware that prolonged welcome time will probably send most introverts running for the hills (or at least the coffee bar or bathroom).
Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock