There has been a lot floating around the Internet about understanding introverts . . . and that’s a very good thing. Sometimes, we extroverts just don’t get it. I’ll be the first to admit that. However, I don’t think we outgoing types are as easy to read as you may think. Here is a mini handbook of sorts – often tongue-in-cheek – to dispel some of the myths.
We talk just to hear our own voices.
Hopefully, we talk because we have something meaningful to say.
We flip “the on switch” and jabber on without really thinking about what we’re saying.
No, there really is that much going on in our brains, and one thought inevitably leads to the next to the next to the next – and we have to share or we might explode.
We talk because we’re not interested in your thoughts and opinions.
We have to breathe like everyone else (though my husband has accused me of talking while I’m breathing in). That’s lots of time to add your insights. And is it really our fault if you don’t fully formulate your thoughts before we move onto the next topic? (When my mom, sister, and I used to have conversations, my hubby would make all manner of squeaking noises. “Why?” you ask. It was a word, “trying to get in edgewise.” True story.)
NOTE: I meant no offense here. Most extroverts have to learn to be good listeners. When we’re quiet, we can’t simply be biding our time until we have/make an opportunity to interject. We also have to learn that introverts communicate in many ways, rarely by using a plethora of words.
We’re “bossy” because we think we know more than you.
We would rather refer to it as “taking charge,” “giving leadership,” “being decisive.”
We always want to choose the restaurant, vacation destination, and colour to paint the walls.
Granted, it’s likely we have an opinion about these and all other topics. However, we admire the introvert who makes a decision ahead of time and surprises us . . . or I’d hope so, at least.
We regularly look around when we do go out to eat because we’re not interested in the person/people we’re with.
It’s just that all those other people and all those other conversations attract our attention and reel us in.
We’re addicted to TV.
When I was a girl – a long time ago when the earth was green – I was known to watch TV, listen to the radio, and read a book – all at the same time. I didn’t know I was an extrovert back then. However, growing up in the country, my brother and sister already having flown the nest, meant I wanted company. These fictitious characters became my friends.
We read books like everyone else.
As an extension of my response to Myth #7, I am much more interested in the characters in a book than in the plot. If I care about them, I will read on. If they’re two-dimensional and unrealistic – even if the plot is well-crafted and intriguing – I will be tempted to set it aside. I’m not sure, but this may be true of other extroverts as well.
We never want to be alone.
Despite what I’ve said previously, there are times we just want to curl up in a corner and be alone. Mind you, these times won’t likely last long, but they do happen.
If we’re quiet, you know something must be wrong.
This is a tricky one because sometimes it’s bang on. My advice . . . get to know the extroverts in your life well to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
We say yes to every request because we want everyone to love us.
Again, there may be some truth in this statement. However, I’d like to think we get involved in so many endeavours because we love to help others and spend time with them. Yes, let’s go with that.
We’re the last to leave the party – or any gathering of more than two people – because we love to irritate and exhaust the introverts we came with.
There are social introverts and anti-social extroverts. However, as a generalization, I envision the difference this way. Think of the battery icon on your electronic device. If an introvert had such an icon, the longer they were with others, the less available power there’d be. Extroverts, on the other hand, recharge more quickly the longer they’re interacting with others. By the end of the evening, even if the extrovert was tired and really didn’t want to go out, he/she will be flying high.
On behalf of all extroverts who bring these mythical creatures to life, I apologize. And to all extroverts, a warning: Make sure these statements aren’t true of you. (Trust me . . . I must do an inventory of my own motives on a regular basis.)