Introvert, Party of One

Generally, people are “innies” or “outies”. Your happy place would be either in your favorite chair with a cup of tea or out wandering Comic Con, dressed as Harry Potter.

Like your belly button, introverts and extroverts are equally common and equally fun to poke.

Let’s ponder the facts for a moment. Introverts are not shy, socially awkward or Tibetan monks any more than extroverts are party animals, public speakers or Jim Carrey.

Introverts get their energy from within. They re-charge their batteries with alone time. They thrive in peace and quiet and delight in solitude. If they get their regular down time, they will be charged for anything, including being leaders of the free world.

Many presidents were introverts.

Extroverts get energized by other people. Their batteries recharge by rubbing elbows with crowds and having lots of action around them. If they get their regular “peeps” time, they are refueled to go out there and work in a cubicle 9 to 5 or stay home with the children all day.

Many nuns are extroverts.

Opposites attract as they say, so, naturally, I’m the introverted wife of an extroverted hubby. He still wonders how I can spend all day with a good book, and I can never figure out what spending hours at Costco does for him. What drains me, fuels him. What I consider the best day ever, he would think a complete waste of time.

Utterly boring.

However.

We have learned to use our individuality to the team advantage: he does the grocery shopping, I do the dishes. He circulates when we throw big house parties, and…I do the dishes. He chats with ten people at once and I will chat with the person next to me.

But only for a few minutes. Then I go find some dishes to wash.

It’s just enough of a re-boot to jump back into the party.

He knows everybody. Probably in the whole world.

I do too. It’s just easier to know them one at a time, spread out over the week, as opposed to a stadium full simultaneously.

I have to say, though, when all is said and done, introverts have more fun. An introvert will have more parties going on in her head on any given day than an extrovert will attend in his lifetime.

And they will be polite parties involving the maintaining of personal space.

You will know who is which at the extrovert’s party because one will be shrieking and hugging and smiling and talking mile a minute with the entire group while the other will be ducking, wincing, and thinking to herself, “If she gets any louder, dogs will hear her in the next county.”

The extrovert will wonder what’s wrong with her introvert friend and give her extra hugs in case it’s something so bad, her girlfriend can’t even talk about it.

That’s what friends are for.

Extroverts have external voices. Everything is verbalized at the moment it’s thought. You can’t put too much weight into it. A problem shared is a problem halved. Silence is threatening. If you are quiet around them, they will pursue you relentlessly trying to decide if you’re hiding something.

Introverts have internal voices. Silence is golden. I work things out in my head and then say just what I need to say, if something indeed, needs saying. My problem shared would be a problem doubled.

I’m not hiding anything except an excess of verbiage.

“I love you,” says the extrovert, “talk to me!”

“I love you too,” says the introvert, “please shut up!”

If only one of these statements poked you, you just found out who you are. Neither are threats and both are revelations about the speaker’s needs.

Maybe innies collect a little dust, and maybe outies are more easily accessorized.

But now that we know who is whom, we can celebrate it with a nice cup of tea.

Um, in a flash mob.

If you need to.

I’ll understand.