Extroverts may at times wish that their Introvert spouses or friends came with a set of instructions. If you haven’t had a crash course on “how to understand an Introvert” then it can be confusing when your friend appears exhausted after a simple trip to the shopping mall or when your spouse, who is very talkative at home, barely speaks to anyone at your office party.
Extraversion and Introversion are personality traits. An individual who is said to be extroverted is typically more outgoing, more talkative and seems to have a high level of energy. An introverted individual typically talks less, may avoid large social gatherings, and seems to live life at a slower pace.
It’s all about “energy”. All living things require energy (source of fuel) to function. Some living things require large stores of energy and others not so much. Some burn through their energy sources quickly so they have to refuel often and others reserve energy.
Let’s imagine people as battery operated toys for a moment. A toy that has many functions, such as one that moves in many directions, plays music, and lights up in some way will require a larger supply of batteries than a simple toy that may just play a sound or give off a soft glow of light. What if that toy moves, plays music, and lights up every time someone walks past it? In that case, it may require large batteries that may need to be recharged often. The other toy only operates at the push of a button so the energy source is being used slowly.
Are you beginning to get the picture? Extroverts burn a lot of energy because they are usually more active and outgoing. They tend to jump from one activity to another like the toy that moves, plays music and lights up. Unlike the toy, their battery is actually recharged when they interact with others or when they receive stimulation from their environment.
Ok, now it’s time to help those Extroverts understand their Introvert friends. Introverts are like the toy that reacts only when the button is pushed. They may sit quietly until someone draws them into the conversation by “pushing their button”. Unlike the extrovert who welcomes stimulation, because it recharges their battery, the introvert avoids over stimulation because it has the opposite effect. Too much stimulation will quickly drain the battery of an introvert. Stimulation may come in many forms. It can be interaction with other people, either by being in a crowd at a gathering or among the crowd while out shopping. It can come in the form of multiple activities, such as household chores, caring for children, running errands, etc. Jumping from one activity to another can be exhausting for an introvert. Stimulation also comes from the noise of the environment. Introverts are sensitive to what they consider “noise”. Having the TV playing while people are trying to carry on a conversation is too much stimulation for many introverts. If you add in the sound of children playing and barking dogs then you will find that your introvert friend may soon need to retreat to the bedroom for a nap.
I have a strong introverted personality and I’m married to an extrovert…. so the source for this blog is mostly personal experience.
I’ll leave you with this. Introverts are like Glow-Worms. Extroverts need to get out into the sun, but we carry our sunshine inside.
If you are unsure about where you fall on the “introversion/extraversion” scale, take this quiz.