Saturday, March 14, 2015

Are You An Extrovert Paired With An Introvert?

Being an extrovert by nature definitely comes in handy in America, where we tend to place a huge emphasis on being energetic, out-going, gregarious, and social.  But that doesn't come easily to at least 1/3 of our population, which is comprised of individuals born as introverts.  These do not gather energy from being super social, but rather it costs them tremendous energy to put themselves out there, and when they do what they really want is a deep connection, not some superficial exchange to pass the time.  Why is it important to understand these differences?  Because we rarely partner with our own kind, and instead almost by instinct we tend to gravitate to our opposite in order to find balance in our lives.

Over that last 20 years, I have truly come to appreciate a life with introverts.  Even though I continue to be surrounded by extroverts in my professional life, at home my partner, son, brother, and several close friends are all introverts, and being with them has definitely taught me to appreciate quiet time.   They understand that I may not need as much of it as they do, but I respect that it is important for us to unplug, and I have rediscovered great joy just relaxing with a good book or taking pen to paper to share the conversations that play out inside my own head.

Thanks to the internet and social media, the opportunity for introverts to connect more with others from the safety and comfort of their own homes has expanded tremendously, and it is critical that we appreciate what they have to offer-- both in the corporate world, and at home.  Their creativity and soft power is truly beautiful, and it is their presence in my life that has taught me the true wisdom of this proverb: God gave us 2 ears and only 1 mouth, so perhaps you should listen twice as much as you speak.

If you are in love with an introvert, I urge you to embrace each other's differences, pull from each other's strengths and help shore up each other's weaknesses.  You may also want to check out "Quiet" by Susan Cain.  It is a wonderful book about the power of introverts.  See also www.thepowerofintroverts.com





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