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I came across an amazing poster about introverts and extroverts on Pinterest. I laughed out loud (and I mean loud!) when I read them, then proceeded to read to them to my husband who nodded silently (and I mean silently!) in assent to its accuracy. Can you tell who the introvert is and who is the extrovert?
We’ve done a lot of personality tests which describe these traits, but I found this poster particularly helpful and to the point. Most likely because, regardless of how well we think we understand one another, after almost 19 years of marriage there are still days when our differences cause us to respond to each other like this…
This certainly isn’t exclusive to marriage. Appreciating the differences between extroverts and introverts is a tremendously helpful skill as we navigate the pitfalls and difficulties that all relationships ultimately face. Neither personality should ever feel compelled to imitate the other. They are equally beautiful and unique. I love the way Susan Cain the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking expresses this idea:
“Introverts living under the Extroversion Ideal are like women in a man’s world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we’ve turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform.”
Michael’s Favorites from the Introvert List:
Let Them Observe First in New Situations: It’s important for introverts to know the dynamics of the people involved as it helps them to know how to interact. If they are not given this time then they will be doubly-drained by having to make conversation while simultaneously figuring out what kind of conversation to make.
Don’t Push Them to Make Lots of Friends: Michael says that he has limited “processing space” available for making friends. Translation for the extroverts: Introverts don’t have a lot of energy to pour into having lots of friends. They conserve what energy they have and invest it in a few deep friendships. (Michael says he requires prospective friends to file an application and compete in a try-out before he will consider them.) Very funny Michael!
Reprimand Them Privately: The last thing an introvert wants is to unexpectedly be the center of attention—especially in a negative way. This is an important thing to remember if you have a child who is an introvert. This is assuming the introvert isn’t already aware of their failure, too. More often than not the introvert already knows what they did wrong, and their brain has begun the lengthy review process to determine what happened and why.
My Favorites from the Extrovert List:
Compliment them in Front of Others: Doesn’t everyone LOVE this?! After reading this list Michael took it to heart and gave me two lovely and sincere compliments during our family Easter dinner. I’m still smiling about that!
Accept and Encourage their Enthusiasm: Sometimes it’s hard to understand why everyone isn’t jumping up and down and laughing REALLY loud. If you’re not gonna do that—then just don’t look horrified when I do. I feel pretty good if Michael will just get a little grin on his face because that’s the sign that he’s jumping up and down on the INSIDE.
Thoughtfully Surprise Them: This can be hard to do but well worth the effort. Michael is still getting credit for a surprise he pulled off about 10 years ago. I’m not kidding!
The secret to satisfying and lasting relationships is a deep sense of awe and appreciation for our differences. It is through those differences that we gather a beautiful strength as we walk together through life—in friendship, in marriage, and in love.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? How has that distinction played out in your relationships?
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