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Topic: Dancing in Church? (Ugh!)
Posts: 2
Dancing in Church? (Ugh!)
on: Nov 19, 2011, 7:52pm

Great looking forum, Susan! Here's a copy of an introvert related post from my blog this week about an experience I had at an extrovert-oriented church workshop. - Tim


This past weekend I attended a church workshop about being “Set Free”. The event was a transformative experience – I received insights on forgiveness and I stepped out of my comfort zone as I participated in many exercises interacting with people I did not know. It was all good … until the end.

For the closing ceremony the workshop leader, an extrovert, turned up the music and said “I want you to dance with as many people as you can!!!”

Ugghhh! I have always had this aversion to dancing. I stayed in the corner watching others dance, when suddenly a woman grabbed me and had me do a swing dance with her. Was it fun? No! I wanted to run.

After my little dance I quickly got my coat and exited. On the drive home I didn’t feel good. “I must not be free,” I thought, since I wasn’t enjoying the dancing as my other classmates appeared to.

After a day’s reflection I had a different take on what happened to me that day. I am an introvert, and I think what I was feeling at the end had more to do with my basic temperament rather than not being “free”. Here’s what I concluded:

1. Introverts draw their energy from inside. Extroverts are energized by interactions with other people. It’s not that introverts are social misfits (I love talking to people), it’s just that after a day of social interaction an introvert may need some alone time to recharge his or her batteries. On this particular day I was doing “extroverted” types of things for 8 hours. My batteries were drained. I just wasn’t up for a mass dance with strangers.

2. This is not to say introverts cannot benefit from doing extroverted activities, and vice versa. One of the best experiences I have had was participating in Toastmasters, as I wrote about in a previous blog post. Giving speeches is a very extroverted activity, and adding that skill to my repertoire was a good thing. Loosening up a bit to work on my dance moves probably would help too. But it’s not going to change my basic personality type – I’m still an introvert!

3. I say let people have the spiritual practice that feels right to them, whether it be introverted and extroverted. If people were enjoying dancing at the end of my workshop – good for them! I wish the introverts in the group would have been given the option to not participate without feeling like outcasts.

I was telling a counselor at the church about my experience in the workshop. “Can’t quiet people be free?” I asked, relaying my discomfort with how the day ended for me. “Of course!” she said. “I never was much for the dancing at the church, either”.

Posts: 3
Re: Dancing in Church? (Ugh!)
on: Jan 3, 2012, 1:24am

I left the church when hugging total strangers started becoming part of the service. There seemed to be no way to be left alone to worship in peace, dignity and quiet contemplation.

Posts: 1
Re: Dancing in Church? (Ugh!)
on: Jan 14, 2012, 6:31pm

GOD BLESS YOU for writing this post! icon smile Forum

I grinned while reading it because I experience what you described EVERY SUNDAY! Dancing, hugging and hi-fiving one another in my congregation is routinely done… and I cringe EVERY SINGLE TIME. It's not that I don't like the people at my church… I just appreciate a much quieter experience when I do to church.

I know EXACTLY how you feel.

Posts: 3
Re: Dancing in Church? (Ugh!)
on: Jan 26, 2012, 5:29am

I'm not a church-goer so excuse me if this is a silly question, but is there a quieter, more old-fashioned service you can switch to? A Catholic colleague once mentioned that she prefers to go to the youth service with a rock band (she's in her 60s), than the more traditional one with a choir.

I’m 43 and in Sydney Australia. Getting over lifelong social anxiety, but still a card-carrying introvert. I think I’ll always be ‘recovering shy’ the same way an alcoholic is ‘recovering’ decades after their last drink.

Posts: 1
Re: Dancing in Church? (Ugh!)
on: Jan 31, 2012, 7:46pm

Tim, I attended a conference in Dallas about a year ago and before the final session the leader asked us to get into groups of 3-4 people and pray for one another. I immediately dropped my head and began to pray, hoping no extrovert would bother me icon smile Forum

Posts: 1
Re: Dancing in Church? (Ugh!)
on: Feb 19, 2012, 3:42pm

thanks for sharing this post Tim. it's comforting to know that I'm not alone in these types of experiences. Over the years it has been suggested to me that i needed deliverance for not being 'free' enough to dance in church services, and been accused of being less spiritual because I didn't want to hug and kiss everyone in church on sight.

Eventually, about 6 years ago, I stopped going to church altogether. Finding it too much of a challenge to get involved in the extra-curricular church activities, I wasn't getting to know people on anything more than a superficial level. Going to church became too painful an experience.

Adele, I have tried your suggestion too thinking I would feel more at home in a quieter church of england congregation. However, after a while I missed the richness of pentecostal worship, and to be honest I just transferred my difficulties from one church to another.

Would be great to find somewhere that doesn't compromise on worship, but also shows understanding towards quieter introverted temperaments (and all that means).

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