Introverts Can’t Sell Anything

How being an introvert messes with your ability to market your art and what to do about it without selling your soul.

Before we get down to business, These foxes were painted for Rebecca Lynch of Thieving Otter Farms in Tennessee. She’s a chicken breeder, but lots of other wildlife share their property. Foxes sometimes raise kits there, which must be tricky with the chickens. This painting isn’t available, obviously, but if there is something you’d like to have painted, you can reach out and we can work something out! In the meantime, visit my website at:

Down to business. Social Media is a tricky bastard. It’s addictive. I should know. It eats my lunch every damn day. It’s a time waster. And it’s a good social networking situation. It’s a conniving, contradictory connundrum.

Reminder: I am working on creating a marketing practice that will sustain my art business without depending 100% on the undependable universe of social media.

I can stop whenever I want. I just don’t want.

In a former life I got my education in behavior analysis. Two college degrees in behavior, so I should know better and catch myself when I realize I’m sliding into too much of the old S&M. (Oh, stop it! I know it’s just SM.) The thing is, behavioral reinforcement can happen whether you are paying attention or not. In a nutshell behavioral reinforcement means that if something works for you, you’re going to do more of it, and you’ll do it even if you don’t realize why you’re doing it. We think we can just stop whenever we want, but like with alcoholism, it’s not that easy. If you post something on Facebook, and you get likes, and you like likes, you’re going to post more on Facebook. And if Facebook kicks you off, like they kicked me off, it’s going to be painful because you’re not getting that online social reward you’ve come to depend on. (In fact, that would be called behavioral extinction. Seriously, it’s bad!) Especially if Facebook is your main social situation. (Thanks so much, Covid!)

Social Media interactions can override IRL interactions

Those of us who are susceptible to social media “addiction” tend to not go out in public and practice social interactions because we already have an easier social network inside our house. (They say something mean? Block ’em! They post things you agree with? Follow ’em!) Social media is easier to access. You can do it butt nekkid with Cheeto dust in your hair if you want. If it’s easier, you’re more likely to do it, unless you’ve already had tons and tons of reinforcement for social interaction and are chomping at the bit to get back to it. But for a lot of us, if we have to choose between make-up, heels, and Spanx or jammies and true crime with your dog, come on. We all know what we’re going to choose.

IRL Takes Practice

I have something to tell you about the recent Introvert theme on Facebook. Everyone posts Introvert memes nowadays, and a lot of us can identify with them. It’s gotten way more extreme since Covid, but it was already there before that. But there’s a reason it seems to be getting more common. When we don’t practice social interactions in person, we don’t get good at them. Especially if we’ve had bad social interactions in the past, and pretty much everyone has. If we are already good at IRL social interactions, but we stop practicing (thanks again, Covid!), they get harder than they used to be. So, a lot of Introverts are really just people who haven’t had enough recent practice being around other people. (I’m not saying you’re not really an introvert. I’m saying extroverted behavior is learned and needs to be practiced if it’s going to stick.)

Ew, People – Homecoming, y’all!

But it’s really peopley out there. And people are likely to be icky. Oh, people! But it’s not all bad news. You don’t have to go directly from Cheese powdered hair to the red carpet at the Oscars. Thank god. Getting your peopling chops up to speed is just a matter of saying hi.

When my son was in high school he came to me with concerns about his extreme shyness. He loved theater, and he had good friends, but he had always been a very shy kid. He wanted to spread his wings, and it was just painfully hard. With his permission, I talked with my graduate professor in behavior analysis, as I was in grad school at the time. He suggested that he not try to just go up to the most popular girl in school and ask her out the next day. Instead, the next day he should just pass one person he knows well and is friends with in the hall and say, “Hi,” outloud. That’s it. Nothing more. So he did. And nothing bad happened. The other kid said Hi and everyone went about their days. The other kid probably never knew that they were doing therapy.

After several days of that, I suggested picking someone he knows less well, but that he has had a good interaction with previously. Like someone he sits near in a class. He did, and it didn’t hurt. He kept working up to someone he’d never spoken to before. It kept working out just fine until one day he told me he didn’t need my help anymore. He was feeling a lot more confident.

And guess what happened? He went to the Homecoming Dance with the Homecoming Queen that year and found out that she was really self-absorbed. Baby steps. It started with saying hello to a friend in passing, and ended with the confidence to ask the Homecoming Queen to the Homecoming Dance. It didn’t last, but that wasn’t the point of the exercise. Pay attention.

The Artist’s Homecoming Dance

What I am working on now is asking me to the Art Homecoming Dance. In 2023, my goal is to start making small contacts with galleries and anyone else I might be able to collaborate with. First, maybe I’ll just visit galleries, get the lay of the land. Later I might attend some openings. And hopefully before the end of the winter semester I’ll have grown the huevos to ask a gallery representative if they would be willing to show my work.

Oh yeah, and there’s a book called One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer. It’s short, and excellent. Buy it. Read it. Tune in to my next blog post, you.

I’ll keep you posted.

Onward and Upward!

Aunt Kellie

Leave a Reply


We don’t spam! You can unsubscribe at any time. Social Media can disable accounts at any time for any reason. Let's take back our social relationships!