Last time I talked about personalities and my interest in them. Another thing I’ve noticed is all the conversation swirling around social media on introverts and extroverts. In my little corners of Facebook and Pinterest, the conversation seems to be reaching similar proportions as the conversations on learning style, and on a much smaller scale, the rising awareness of social issues such as the gender gap.
These conversations interest me. First of all, because the main difference between introversion and extroversion is not necessarily loner vs. people person, as I used to think; rather, it has to do with how a person’s energy is expended. An introvert may love being around others, but will eventually be drained by the interaction; whereas an extrovert needs these interactions to be recharged.
There are many other points of course. It’s easy to find everything from infographics to articles on the subject. I’ve learned some helpful things from this conversation. Much of it has to do with understanding an introverts’ perspective. Yeah, I’m an introvert, and this post is a little lop-sided in that regard, but wherever you fall on the introversion/extraversion scale, you’ll easily relate to or understand the following. Here are some of my biggest takeaways:
1) Learning about how you operate just makes some things easier. Now, as someone prone to overthinking (anybody else?), I appreciate anything that makes navigating the murky waters of reflection simpler. I understand now that it’s normal to be overwhelmed by large crowds or lots of noise. Life always includes opportunities for growth and stretching; it’s also important to recognize when it’s time for regrouping and recollecting after or during those times.
2) Learning about how others operate can give you incredible insight into someone and help strengthen relationships-or at least avoid some conflict! No, I can’t expect smooth sailing on relationships from here out simply because I can identify whether someone is an extrovert or an introvert; people are so much more than their personalities. But learning to recognize different ways my friends and families expend energy and resources gives me a better appreciation for their needs and unique strengths and weaknesses. We’ve all got them, they just sometimes look slightly (or extremely) different from our own.
3) There’s a difference between entitlement and self-care. Demanding that I always get time alone is just not realistic; fellow introverts, you don’t have to be a stay at home mom to realize this yourself. We have to go to work, go to parent-teacher meetings, and visit family. As much as I would love to live in a cabin in the woods for half the year, that’s obviously not practical. BUT I also know that if I don’t get away by myself, even if just for a few minutes here and there, I’ll be draining myself so dry that I won’t be able to function, let alone be a pleasant human being. (Just ask my husband.) If you’re like me and find obstacles to getting away, identify them and try to set them aside. For example, if Mike tells me to get out of the house on his day off to go write, I’ll often delay choosing a time to do that because something needs to be cleaned, a project needs attention, etc. Now I know it’s better to plan a time the night before so that I don’t make excuses and end up disappointed that I missed out on extra recharge time. The other things will be there when I return; two hours working in a coffee shop isn’t something I can just grab anytime I want, so I need to take advantage of the chance I get.
Everyone is designed for a purpose-there’s no shame in being either an introvert who needs to get away to recharge, or an extrovert who needs to join up with some friends to recharge. Just because I don’t understand the social butterfly doesn’t mean I have to ridicule or discount him. People are complicated-but that doesn’t mean we can’t better understand and appreciate those around us.
Here’s to better understanding our fellow Introverts and Extroverts! *cheers*