If you’re new to vegan and animal rights activism, you may be wondering how to use your unique skills to the best of your advantage. Everybody has something to contribute, and this is especially relevant when it comes to whether you are an extrovert or an introvert.
Extroverts outnumber introverts, with approximately 50-75% of the population leaning towards extroversion. Whereas introverts often feel drained and need time alone to reenergize after extended periods of social interaction, extroverts thrive on meeting and chatting with new people. They gain energy from being around others. Conversely, introverts lose energy and can feel overwhelmed by a sea of new faces.
This difference in personality is crucial in terms of what our comfort zone is as animal rights activists. I am an introvert, and although I can socialize at parties and gatherings for short periods of time, I often need to leave early to relax and recharge in solitude at home. I prefer to avoid noisy, stressful, crowded events, but as a vegan, I also desperately want to reach out to others and tell them why I have chosen to follow this ethical and compassionate path.
But there is a way that both introverts and extroverts can help animals and still stay within their comfort zone. You don’t have to do things that make you feel uncomfortable in order to be an effective animal activist. The solution lies in choosing activities that align with your personality. For example, extroverts often dislike spending too much time alone and thrive in the company of others. A good way for an extroverted animal activist to use their special set of skills is to organize a fun social event. Why not arrange a vegan bake sale, set up a debate, or run your own animal rights group? This allows you to enjoy yourself in the process of helping animals, and your talents as a social person can draw people into conversation and help spread awareness of animal suffering.
If you lean toward being an introvert, and setting up your own activist group or organizing an event seems like too much, there is always the wonderful world of internet blogging. There are so many topics that you can blog and write about-- the horror of animal slaughter, the fur industry, cooking and food, and even your favorite vegan products. All of this helps spread the word and does not involve speaking to a single person! Putting up posters and leafleting is an effective way of informing others that there is no such thing as humane slaughter, and is a relatively quiet activity that many introverts find enjoyable. Introverts thrive on communicating with others on a one-to-one basis and are great at getting their ideas across on a personal level.
However, it is worth noting that nobody is 100% extroverted or introverted. We are all on a sliding scale, and where we fall on that scale is entirely individual. So extroverts might like to blog and write about veganism, and introverts may choose to organize or partake in social events (or even do a sponsored skydive!) to help animals. Both extroverts and introverts can attend a protest! The point is, we can all find a way to comfortably use our energy and skills to avoid burnout.
What’s most important is that extroverted and introverted animal rights activists can harness their strengths and work together. Never forget that you have much to contribute to animal activism. By working together as a team, both extroverts and introverts can make a tremendous difference in the lives of animals.
Image courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons / AnimaNaturalis.