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.