Thursday, May 24, 2012
Introverts exposed... oh wait, they always have been.
Anybody who kind of knows me, knows that I am an introvert. In conversation, I do not defer to speaking, but to listening. This doesn't mean I have nothing to say, it just means that I'm thinking and I will most likely say what I have to say if I think it should be said. Sometimes I think certain things should be said and then realize, "Nope, that shouldn't have been said." I make the same foot-in-the-mouth mistakes that Chatty Cathys claim to make. I'm not shy, I just have less to say. If I have something to say that I feel passionate about, I'll say it loudly. However, I remain an introvert.
All of my life, I have been perplexed by people who say that I am "hard to get to know" (it's been said many times). To me, I am more self-explanatory than most people out there. But today, I had a refreshing realization -- those people who have said I'm hard to get to know are not fellow introverts... they're those people that every introvert relies on to listen to, absorb, watch, and love: the extroverts.
Last night, Caleb and I had a conversation about introverts vs. extroverts. He had listened to a particular interview on this topic, and was sharing with me some of its insights. One interesting fact was that introverts, being observers, have more blood flow to the brain because they're constantly absorbing and reflecting. While extroverts react to the immediate and to their external environment, introverts are sorting thoughts and absorbing their environment before any external reaction even takes place. The interview even discussed how extroverts are typically confused by introverts (ha). The most liberating fact for me was that, according to a study, introverts -- after being with a large group or in a crowd of people -- experience a chemical imbalance which can result in confusion, blurred thinking, and sometimes depression. That is, of course, unless they have some time away to absorb all that they've taken in, to categorize it, and mull it over. My eyes widened and I breathed a sigh of relief -- "I'm not a terrible person for needing a break from people!!" I exclaimed. The description of "post-crowd results" is exactly me.
I love being around people -- but I also like having a day or more between any large or small event. I literally set aside days to NOT be out of the house or to not be with anyone but my family... and those days are frequent. I do this, not because I hate people, but because I love them more when I've had time to chew on everything that's happened in the past 24+ hours. And when I say "chew on," I mean that I'm sorting out past events, pondering what they mean to my life/theirs, recalling past conversations and connecting them with other thoughts, and coming to minor revelations such as this very blog post.
I know that God made each of us largely more complex than simple "introverts" and "extroverts." I am also fully aware that many people have lovely blends of either quality... and some people lean more heavily towards one or the other. I'd say I lean quite heavily introverted, while Caleb has a good balance of being introverted and extroverted -- I really don't think he is capable of NOT thinking (I am using "thinking" lightly here. Quite honestly, he is always "heavily pontificating"). Caleb just categorizes and absorbs everything so quickly, he needs to be around people in order to have more things to absorb. He's great like that.
I would like to end my thoughts with this: everyone is an open book, some books are just harder to read. And, as Caleb clarified after I stated this, "To call someone a closed book implies that he conceals who he really is, when in reality, he is being as openly himself as an outgoing person."
So, which one are you? Introverted or extroverted? ...sorry I didn't spend more time on your coolness, extroverts. This post was about "those quiet people" this time. :)