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Ask the Introvert: Focus on feeling when seeking the perfect gift

There’s an easy way for introverts to hack our natural tendency to worry, overthink and Monday morning quarterback the gifts we pick for those we love.
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Sharon Glassman, Ask the Introvert columnist

What’s an introvert? How does introversion effect us at work and play? In our friendships? In our search for meaning and happiness?

I’ll explore these and other timely questions about introvert life in this column, as an introvert entrepreneur, artist and journalist. 

Want to ask a question? Just use the email below.

P.S.: even if you don’t think of yourself as introverted, you may find some helpful info here. Why? Because, to paraphrase Ben Franklin: we assume our differences divide us, only to find we share common ground.

Today’s introvert-astic question: How to gift without innie stress?

‘Tis the season to be stressed out, this year especially. But there’s good news, too. Specifically? There’s an easy way for introverts to hack our natural tendency to worry, overthink and Monday morning quarterback the gifts we pick for those we love. (And don’t. I’ll get to that in a sec.)

The secret to gift-giving without innie stress? Look for the feeling, not the thing.

If you’re recoiling and thinking, “Ick, normally logical Ask the Introvert lady, did you just go all woo-woo on me?” The answer is: ho, ho, no.

All I’m suggesting is that you take a sec to think about the person you’re buying for and what their favorite feeling is.

Here are two examples. Let’s say I’m thinking about what to gift my SO. His favorite feeling (as I see it from my innie gifting perch) is kindness. Next, I’m thinking about my family oriented BFF. Her signature feeling (my intuition says) is togetherness.

Pause this column if you’d like and take a sec to jot down a couple folks you’re shopping for this season. And add their signature feelings beside their name. Don’t overthink it. Your guess is golden.

Now, let your introverted brain do what it does best: ruminate. Make connections.

Let’s go back to my SO for a sec. His gifty feeling is kindness. Suddenly, I’m picturing cozy, soft things. Blankets. Socks. One of my holiday sweatshirts that sings. Sweaters from Old Town Outfitters. And adding a donation to The OUR Center, Community Food Share, Meal on Wheels or other organizations that provide food, shelter and clothing to neighbors in need.

Back to my BFF: togetherness/family. Oh. How about a frame for her fave family pix from The Great Frame Up? Or three kinds of cocoa from Cheese Importers?

What this innie feelings hack does is sidestep the “what” of holiday shopping and focuses on the “why.” Throw in a dash of love and shopping gets innie easy.

What about the folks we don’t, um, love so much?

My favorite advice columnist is Amy Dickinson of Ask Amy. Not only is she introvert-friendly, but she specializes in holiday antagonist questions. (Pro tip: Amy’s Twitter feed adds a sassy soupçon of snark to her syndicated column, if that’s more your flavor.)

Taking a page from Amy, when gifting for the difficult folks in your life, do your best. And let karma do the rest. Give the same attention to their favorite feeling. Is it status? Ego massage? You may find a gift that fits these feelings and gives back in some way, too. In-in. Win-win.

And now, remember that yoga class exercise from a couple columns back? Release your worries of “will they like it/me?” like melting snow. Gift haters gonna hate. Fa-la-la-whatevs.

Shop innie-friendly

There’s no official Introvert Holiday Shopping Store Guide (yet) But generally speaking, if a place or site makes you feel positively energized, chances are there’s an innie at work there somewhere.

Want specifics? I interviewed some nifty local gift-worthy businesses for this Introvert Holiday Hacks story last holiday season. And like giving with love, it’s evergreen.

Note: This is the first installment of a three-part series designed to help introverts quietly navigate holiday stress with a touch of fun, too. Coming on Dec. 6: How out can help your holidays feel in.

Have a question about introvert life? Write to askin@smilesongs.com.

Sharon Glassman is a Longmont-based introvert lifestyle journalist and creator of Smile Songs gifts. The thoughts and opinions offered in this column are intended for entertainment and informational purposes only. Use of this column is not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice.

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The Longmont Leader accepts contributions, photos, and op-eds for publication from community members, business leaders and public officials on local topics. Publication will be at the discretion of the editor and published opinions do not represent the views of The Longmont Leader or its staff. To submit a contribution, email info@longmontleader.com.



Sharon Glassman

About the Author: Sharon Glassman

Sharon Glassman is a Longmont-based introvert lifestyle journalist and creator of Smile Songs gifts.
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