Introvert's guide to going to conferences

Fargo MisfitCon

I went to Misfit Con last weekend and I will definitely be writing about my experience when I've had some time to digest the awesomeness that I encountered. Going into the weekend I set two goals for myself- go with the flow (recovering control freak here) and take care of myself. 
I've mentioned before that I am an introvert. Yes, sometimes I can be shy, but it is large crowds with a lot of noise that quickly overwhelm me. There were definitely some introverts at Misfit Con and my favorite moment was when four of us left lunch early and ducked into the main room in the back corner and ignored each other. A moment of bliss!  
Here are some things that helped me get through the weekend: 
  • Found my people. This sounds counter intuitive because if you are an introvert you want some down time alone, but being able to have a small group of people that just get it and can sit in silence with you is a blessing. 
  • Gave myself permission to not meet everyone. I did talk to people, but I also felt free to retreat to my people, or a quiet corner, when I needed a moment to catch my breath.
  • Walked away when it became too intense. During one of the breaks I went down the street and got an ice lolly from Gigi's, which was really good by the way, and then I sat in the park by myself. 
  • Went to dinner with my people. I am sure there were a ton of dinner options and plans being made, but our core group of four went to dinner with each other every night. I now have three amazing women in my life that can help me keep the feeling of Misfit Con flowing in my day to day.  
  • Carried snacks and water. Ok, so this doesn't have to do with being an introvert, but being hydrated and having something to snack on when you get peckish definitely helps your mood. 
The reality is that conferences are not built with introverts in mind. I often feel this pressure to meet as many people as I can and be a good conference attendee, but the reality is when I don't honor what my body is telling me then I feel ill and I can't enjoy the experience. Allowing myself to escape when I needed to and removing the need to talk to all the people meant that I was able to meet and truly connect with people. 

Photo Credit Kandy M. Christensen

Originally published 6/2/14

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