1. You are not stupid because you don’t have an immediate response or a snappy comeback. Don’t be ashamed that you need time to think, ponder, process, and decide on things. Be patient with yourself; this is how your brain naturally functions, and it’s okay.
2. When you end up in classes that emphasize participation, meet with the teacher/professor to talk about it. Explain your way of thinking and see if you can reach some sort of compromise. You may have to work a little harder to prove that you’re not just making excuses or being lazy. Keep meeting with that teacher if you think of more questions or ideas when you’re not in class.
3. It’s okay to go back and ask questions long after a conversation is over. Don’t worry that someone might think you are weird for bringing up an old topic or creepy for remembering something. They might be grateful that you’re still thinking about it. Even if they aren’t, there’s nothing wrong with looking for answers.
4. It’s totally fine to prefer non-telephone communication. Again, don’t be afraid that someone thinks you’re weird for it, but be open about it.
5. You don’t have to spend the weekend doing anything you don’t want to do. You don’t have to spend the weekend trying to meet guys. You don’t have to try to make as many new friends as you can. You don’t have to go to that party or dance if you don’t want to. You don’t even have to leave your room that night if you really don’t want to. It’s good to try new things and leave yourself open to new ideas and activities, but it’s okay to get alone time if that’s what you really want.
6. Be patient and charitable if you do try new things, even (or especially) when people invade your space. Be polite until you can get to your happy place. I know you can do it.
7. Stop rolling your eyes when other Christians quote C.S. Lewis at you. You will become one of them, and you will be even worse. (This is just one of the many bizarre things that will happen to you in 2012. Be warned.)
8. Yes, actually, you are broken. But not because of your introversion. It’s because you are an imperfect person in an imperfect world. There is no book, vacation, or significant other who can fix you. Christ alone can save you–but He can, and He will.
9. Don’t beat yourself up to find a particular ministry in the church to serve. Help people where you see a need that you can fill. “Serving the church” is not just about filling a spot in the children’s ministry every third Sunday, or leading the worship team, or taking a missions team to the Congo. Those are good ways, but they’re not the only ways.
10. You’re a nerd. You’re going to take a few years to admit it, and I know you were made fun of for it in middle school, but it’s okay. Embrace it. Roll with it. There’s nothing wrong with it. It means you’re enthusiastic. Good for you: you enjoy things. There are a lot of people who think it’s cool to be indifferent, ironic, or impersonal. Ignore them.