Thursday, April 10, 2014

Musings of an Extrovert

Being the social media butterfly I am, I read a lot of blog posts.  One of the things I’ve noticed is that social media such as blogging and facebook is a great way for introverts to have a voice and connect with a a lot of people in a way that works for them.  There have been a lot of great blog posts and what not that I’ve seen from introverts about the frustrations and joys of being introverted.

That is so great.

But why should introverts get all the fun?!  Here are some thoughts I wish more introverts understood.

I'm not allergic to books. I'm allergic to Stephanie
Meyere.  There's a difference.

1. We're deep people!

The assumption is often made that extroverts are shallow and not particularly intelligent people.  This is couldn’t be any further from the truth.  The excited extrovert at a party just likes high energy and likes to take a break from the realities of life.  We are great people to talk to about deep subjects depending on the environment and situation in our life.  Being silly/obnoxious for the sake of fun at a party doesn’t mean we don’t care about the relationship with your mother, important humanitarian efforts, or string theory--we just may get exhausted by that stuff and need a break.

Also, not all of us don't like books. I love books. I just finished one the other week about Steven Holcomb's inspiriting story of overcoming trials. Extroverts just tend to have a lot of interests. For me, I do like sports I just have so many interests beyond sports I don't really spend much time or energy on them.
Dang it, I read that wrong again. Can you just come over?

2. Talk to us face-to-face.

Yeah, we like texts, phone calls, and emails but nothing is better than face-to-face communication.  We get a lot out of it and it is important to us.  It’s easier for us to understand what is being communicated. Chats, emails, and texts are great but sometimes can be difficult to interpret. Like introverts, we can sometimes read too much into typed words and get the wrong idea.

3. We're not ignoring you.

If we get caught up spending a lot of time with friends and in groups, we are not ignoring you.  We haven’t forgotten you.  We haven’t abandoned you.  Where introverts can get drained from being in crowds we can actually get energy from it.  The other day I hosted ward prayer at my place for my singles ward and I got really excited about having people over.  I actually got a lot of energy out of it.  If you feel ditched at a party with a bunch of people you don’t know understand we’re just soaking up the buzz of what’s going on.  It says nothing about you.

In addition to that, many of us will be friends for life. Months can go by without us talking to you and we'll still be your friend. For some it may be awkward at first trying to pick things back up but even then it doesn't usually take long.

4. We need a little validation.

A lot of extroverts actually don’t mind reaching out or being the initiator.  We do it all the time and it’s natural for many of us to do.  I have a lot of close friends who I know love me even though I am always the one keeping in touch and reaching out.  Though we may be willing to be this friend we still need validation and responses from time to time.  If reaching out is too much for you please still do whatever you can to let your extrovert friend know that you care for them and that they are still important to you in your life.  Just like we need to learn your love languages we also really need you to learn ours.  

An introvert has his space invaded by his extrovert friend.

5. We're not (always) needy.

Extroverts can be really intense in relationships.  We can sometimes be the friend that always seems to have drama and the lover whose arguments somehow turn into make out sessions.  If it feels like we want to hang out all the time it doesn’t mean we’re emotionally needy.  It doesn’t mean we feel bad about ourselves and are clinging for love that we can’t find in ourselves.  (In some cases, this may actually be the case but not always.)  We thrive off of connection.  If you can’t give us your time when we ask for it, schedule it.  We are great schedulers!  Trust us, we have to figure out how to attend all those parties we love.  We won’t let anything get in the way of quality time and trust that you won’t.

6. We make great friends.

The dynamic of an intro/extro friendship.
Extroverts really know how to have fun.  Some of them are shallow and the kind of friends you get when you just need a break from the harsh realities of life.  Others are fiercely committed to your friendship and will stand by you in painful moments of life and help you find joy again.  They can help you make more friends and network when it feels so exhausting for you.  We make great wingmen too.  Yes, we can also be challenging and take you out of your comfort zone.  Communicate your boundaries and we’ll observe them.

7. We love (and need) introverts.

A funny thing about extroverts is that some of them actually feel like other extroverts are generally needy, shallow, and intense.  As much as we may love people and being out we may also find other extroverts uninteresting and not challenging enough.  (We like challenges, aren’t we nuts?)  Most of my friends are actually introverts!  I love introverts because they’re, generally speaking, aren’t shallow and some of the most compassionate people I know.  I love the process of becoming close to introverts because they tend to be vulnerable with very few people in their life.  It’s like climbing a mountain and finding the Shangri-La of quality friendship.  Being close to someone who is closed off to so many others is very affirming for an extrovert.

Introverts and extroverts can learn so much from one another.  You may find that we actually are not all that different after all.  Even extroverts like a small intimate gathering instead of a big exhausting party.  I’ve learned from some introverts it goes the other way too.  Yeah, maybe we can be exhausting and challenging sometimes but we’re totally worth it.  ;)
-Stephen



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