Thoughts for Extroverts from the Introverts of the World

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There are many wonderful things about having friends who are different from you. They can make you see the world from a different perspective and bring you out of your comfort zones in wonderful ways. However, sometimes it can be difficult to understand the needs of someone with different ways of experiencing that world. I’ve struggled throughout my life with helping my more extroverted friends understand why I don’t call as much as they do. Or to explain that I really am okay with staying in on a Friday night, I’m actually happier not joining you at that loud party with all those strangers. Before you write off your introverted friends thinking that they don’t care about you, keep these things in mind.

We value your friendship but sometimes need our space. Extroverts often find energy among groups of people, Introverts don’t. Even people we love and enjoy, can make us feel drained of energy and we need time to recharge.

Please don’t guilt trip us for leaving a party early or taking a few minutes outside and take a people break. Sometimes a few moments away from the noise and demands of people can give us the time needed to jump back in to the fray.

Understand that sometimes we may ignore a phone call but immediately answer a text. We want to connect but talking can be more difficult than texting. In text we can collect our thoughts in ways that are not possible when chatting. You may even find that we open up to you more in a text or letter or email than if we’re with you in person.

If you draw attention to our quietness (especially in a group) we may seem okay with it on the outside but it will sting. We speak when we have something to say. If the silence makes you uncomfortable ask questions, change the subject, do some of your extrovert conversation tricks to keep things rolling. And keep in mind that many introverts have more to say if the topics are deeper, rather than shallow small talk. (Ask me a random question about difficult ethics or a new book that just came out or the difference between zombies and mummies and I can talk for hours.)

We often take longer to respond to questions because we’re thinking about the response, and yes, sometimes overanalyzing that response. Try to allow us a pause to answer and don’t jump ahead trying to fill a void, if this happens too many times we may stop replying all together and withdraw even more.

Thinking about the ways that we differ in social situations will help us have deeper relationships and a greater understanding of the people around us. More extroverted friends can help us grow and come out of our shells a little and we can be that friend for extroverts that helps them slow down and find small quiet moments. Be kind, be understanding, love and appreciate each other for all your wonderful uniqueness.

 

Finding Quiet in a Loud World

Today’s world seems to reward the loudest talkers and the people who get things done the fastest. We’ve forgotten that there are benefits to speaking with quiet conviction and taking care with a task.  Finding quiet moments to reflect on life, have deep discussions and be creative is hard. On top of that sometimes caring too much about something is somehow looked down upon.

I want to take the time to create, to listen to the crickets, to do a task once and well, rather than quickly. That’s hard to do in the midst of quick turn around deadlines, cranky folks in lines at the store and a sense that if something can’t be fixed immediately then it’s not worth the time. Some of my fondest memories are those lazy afternoons spent writing angst-filled poems as a teenager, or tinkering around on a project that never quite got finished. Most would see this time spent as wasted, a useless effort on things unaccomplished. But there is beauty to be found in the poems, and silent moments spent working beside someone, in the messed up workings of your own mind and in reading a really excellent (or even a really terrible) book. Find some time today to step outside the chaos of deadlines and the noise of the television. Listen to nature, talk one on one with a friend, read a book, work on that crafty project, take the time to learn something new, do something that feeds your soul and not the sound of the loud, loud world.