Work with Your Personality Type and Maintain Your Social Skills

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Work with Your Personality Type and Maintain Your Social Skills
by Crystal Schwanke
Working from home has its definite perks. You can watch a movie while you finish those product descriptions. You can wait until 3:00 PM to start “getting ready” for the day. You choose your hours, you choose your projects, and you can wear your pajamas (even if they are flannel!). But are writers who work from home stunting their social growth?

Take an introvert—painfully shy, better with the written word than the spoken, and nervous in crowds. They tend to avoid social settings at all costs, and prefer the small, intimate settings with friends rather than parties and malls. Is writing from home a way to hide from the world instead of making us “buck up” and deal? Does it hinder our ability further to function around strangers? When I worked in retail, I spoke with people everywhere—not just at work—much more easily. Now it’s harder to strike up a conversation.

On the other hand, the extrovert (how many of those are there out there who work from home? My butterfly husband would go absolutely insane without constant human interaction!) needs other people to thrive. When an extrovert is “unleashed” in a public place after hours of solitude at a home computer, do they remind others of overeager puppies looking for their next delicious gourmet treat?

You can obviously enjoy writing whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. You may also find yourself having to work from home for the sake of flexibility, peace of mind, or family obligations. There are ways to keep your sanity and your social skills no matter who—or what—you are.

The key to working from home and still being able to function on a “normal” level in public is balance. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Work in a public place like a coffee shop.
2. Keep hobbies—and that doesn’t mean yoga in your living room or cycling alone. Take a class. You’ll meet new people, learn new things, and probably come up with new writing material (bonus!). If you’re an extrovert, you’ll get to expend some of that energy you’ve had pent up all day.
3. If you’re doing an interview and the subject is local, meet them in person rather than opting for the convenience of the phone. It may cost you a cup of coffee or two, but it’s good for your well-being.

Writers may be known as eccentric by some who succumb to stereotypes, but striking a balance between hermit and party animal could be beneficial. For introverts, meeting new people and going new places could be just the thing for curing writer’s block and social anxiety. Going out to grab coffee instead of making their own, having a class to look forward to, or creating face-to-face interaction via interviews could be precisely what an extrovert needs to recharge—resulting in a clearer head and better copy.

How do you cope with hours spent using your fingers to “talk” and your eyes to “listen” for hours a day?

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