I am not an extrovert. So I’ve invited my good friend and classic extrovert, Brandon Beard, to follow up last weeks blog, “A Letter to Extroverts,” with his version of “A Letter to Introverts.”
In the words of Tom Cruise from the film Jerry McGuire, “You complete me.” That is how extroverts really feel about you. We need you and we like you. We don’t always say so, but you are the yin to our yang. We are better together. We are Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr. (Shake and Bake!). We are Bonnie and Clyde. We are Han Solo and Chewbacca. We are chocolate and peanut butter. We love being around you because you don’t say much so we get to talk a lot more. When we are around another extrovert it can be an exhausting storytelling, joke telling, talking competition. But when we are with you, you listen, you smile, and you sometimes even laugh. You complete us! So here are a few things you need to know about us.
Don’t assume we have a lot of friends just because we are the life of the party. When we enter a room full of people we are on a mission to talk to everyone in that place. But the truth is, we can be extremely lonely in the middle of a crowded room. Please don’t give up on being in community with or making friends with us just because we appear to be besties with our 2,898 Facebook friends.
We are not listening; we are just waiting to tell a better story than the person who is talking right now. We have to expend a lot of emotional energy to listen. We are interested in you, but we just don’t want to listen very long. We know we need deep meaningful relationships but we also like telling stories and making people laugh. Please know that just because we don’t listen very well, it does not mean we don’t like you. We need your friendship. We really need you. We know that you’re probably internally rolling your eyes as we repeat “that” story but when we pause, please jump in and say something. We may not like it when you cut into our storytime, but we need friends who will take things below the surface.
Ask us how we are really doing. And then after we make three more jokes, ask again. And then maybe we will share what we really feel. Making people laugh is like a drug for us. Sometimes it keeps us from being real with ourselves and you. What you may find is that our apparent confidence may be masking some serious insecurity or anxiety. You also may discover that we are moving so fast we fail to deal with these and other struggles. So ask, and keep asking, how we are really doing. Every extrovert needs an introvert in their life. We know that we suck the life out of you sometimes, but we truly are better together.
I do have ten more things to tell you introverts about us, but you probably need some alone time to go “recharge.”