Our siblings. They resemble us just enough to make all their differences confusing, and no matter what we choose to make of this, we are cast in relation to them our whole lives long. ~Susan Scarf Merrell
I shouldn’t keep falling for this. Mom wants a happy family and we, her four kids (um, make that adults), keep trying to pretend that we are. For the most part, that is true – we get along very well.
Except that we are three introverts and one extravert. The extravert doesn’t understand the problem. I’ve heard that extraverts never do and if I think about it, that might be true. After all, if an extravert reaches “outside” for the answers, then he would (and he does) think there’s something wrong with us. We three introverts, on the other hand, look inside ourselves and see a no-fault difference. We need a bit of quiet to energize, and our extravert sibling needs people and action to energize.
Sometimes I visit my extravert sibling for the weekend (to please Mom). Nothing goes smoothly, because we are opposites. At night, Bro tells me – and this always surprises me – about our schedule for the next morning (remember this is Saturday). I am to take my shower at 7am and he is to take his shower fifteen minutes later. Do you see how differently we perceive that? I, the introvert, want to sit quietly with a cup of coffee and eventually have a leisurely shower. Bro, on the other hand, wants to fling himself in the shower and out into the world as fast as possible. He wants to have breakfast in public, preferably at sidewalk tables, with people yammering and traffic whizzing back and forth. I’ll do it, but I really want breakfast in bed with a good book.
Speaking of reading, I’ve noticed that my extravert brother reads books the way I exercise – twenty minutes, three times a week, and thank heaven it’s over. I think the twenty minutes of solitude must be agony for him, the way that twenty minutes of a crowded gym is agony for me.
It takes me a week of re-energizing quiet time to recover from an exhausting action-packed weekend with my extravert brother.
But it makes Mom so happy.
How would an introvert handle a power struggle?
I’m ashamed to admit that so far, the dog is winning. How do I struggle? I walk away. A more clever introvert might walk away and make a plan. The first time I walked away, the dog bounded after me – I won. Tonight was the second time I walked away. The dog stayed at the sidewalk. When I finally caved and went to him, I saw that his leash was caught. But he’s a clever little beast and he’s done this before. The leash wasn’t caught by much – a flick of my finger dislodged it.
Is a power struggle not introvert territory, since it is by its nature an ‘outer’ event?
Or do we have power struggles in our inner depths? Yes, I believe we might. I have an on-going struggle with Mom (may she rest in peace) about how tight jeans should be. I *think* I’m wearing them my way. But I’ve gotta watch out for those subliminal messages.
Inner or outer, I delude myself that I’m in charge of me. I think.
By Paul Barton
How to make conversation?
Knowing how to make conversation is critical if you want to build a relationship – a romantic relationship, a personal relationship, a social relationship or a business relationship – or if you want to help sell yourself for a job … get ahead … make a sale.
As an introvert, I’ve never really been part of a large group of friends, but I have had many close friends throughout my life. Generally speaking, I have formed close relationships with people who have been part of my daily life at the time, whether it be at school, work, or another organization. Very often, once one or both of us left that common ground, we drifted apart. Now, Facebook and similar sites have allowed me to reconnect with some of those people, which I think is quite wonderful. Between former classmates and co-workers, relatives, and my current business contacts, my “friends list” has grown to over 200 in just over a year. This just boggles my mind, as it doesn’t seem that long ago that I didn’t feel I had many friends at all.
My list of 230+ friends seems insignificant, however, in comparison to the lists of some of my colleagues with online businesses. One of my contacts has over 3000 “friends” on her list, and it grows every week. As it happens, I have had business dealings with this person, but I’ve also received friend requests from people I’ve never heard of. Sometimes they include a note to explain why they want to connect with me, but often they don’t even do that. When I check, these people usually have 800 or more “friends” already. To me this type of activity has about as much value as attending a large networking event and running around and exchanging business cards with as many people as possible, hoping that sometime, somewhere, something may come of it. I find it much more valuable to take the time to get to know a few people well enough that I will feel comfortable sending referrals their way, and hopefully they may do the same for me.
Which brings me to the question – is this amassing of “friends” an extraverted thing? Or am I missing something?
What’s introvert and what’s extravert behavior on New Year’s Eve? I don’t think you can tell them apart, except that introverts disappear occasionally.
Introverts need to recharge with solitude. On Year’s Eve, this can become party-hopping – when the time between parties is used as invigorating alone time. Another way is to hop in and out of the same party, but this tends to offend bewildered extraverts.
“Where’d you go?” they ask.
Here’s where I run into trouble. The real answer is that I’m an introvert, parties sap my energy, and I need to recharge alone. Even if I could be heard over the din of the party, I’d still be misunderstood. They’d think I’d said, “You tire me.” And that just isn’t true. So instead I say, “I wanted a little air.”
Keep smiling. Keep dancing. Help pass around champagne in fluted glasses. Loiter near the spinach dip and schmooze a bit.
And an hour later, try to steal another quarter hour of quiet air.