Open Letter to Extroverts

Open Letter to Extroverts

A letter to extroverts ....

Dear Extrovert,

I hope you don’t mind this food for thought from someone who is very, very different than you.  As an introvert, I do not enjoy being in crowds or walking up to strangers and talking.  But I am worth getting to know, which you will discover if you can just remember a few basic things.

1. I won’t interrupt you, so you will need to stop talking for a minute.  I know you’re interesting and I like hearing about you, but to get to know me you will need to take a breath and be quiet.  Just because I am not jumping in with stories about myself doesn’t mean I have nothing to say.

2. Just because I’m an introvert doesn’t mean I am shy.  Not all introverts are shy.  I like one on one conversations and I will talk and be outgoing.  I don’t mind being approached (although approaching people myself is nearly paralyzing) so feel free to come talk to me!  I don’t consider myself shy at all.

3. Just because I am not like you doesn’t make me wrong.  We are different, to be sure.  But God made me an introvert because it’s how I am supposed to be!  I like to be in smaller groups, I don’t enjoy being out among people for long periods of time and I would rather eat glass than go to a crowded theme park.  But I am actually content and I don’t need you to try to change me.

4. I am happy being alone.  If you see me all alone in the lunchroom, you don’t need to feel sorry for me!  I like being alone.  I don’t need you to rescue me from that.  If you want to come talk to me that’s great, but if you have other things to do that’s great too!  I am actually happy sitting there by myself.

5. We need each other!  I need for you to help me approach people and stay close when I’m in a crowd (I might even hold your hand!).  You need me to help you know when you’re being too pushy and to help you build a relationships with other introverts.

I have a dear, dear friend (Roxanne, the director of the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit) who is the extrovertest person I have ever known!  When we first met she got right in my face, all bouncy and excited to meet me and she had lots to say.  I actually took a big step back, held out my arm and said, “Whoa.  You need to stand back while we talk and tone it down a little.”  She didn’t know what to think of me!  I now know that it hurt her feelings a little and I am sorry for that (in my defense, she is VERY outgoing), but my protective instinct kicked in.  She now knows that was just me being Lisa and she loves me anyway (for which I am very grateful!).  We have discovered through building a friendship that we can have a deep appreciation for our differences.  We don’t try to change each other; we bring out the best in each other!

I love my extrovert friends, I wish sometimes it was easier for me to walk up and meet people.  But I know that the challenge is good for me and I do try to push myself out of my comfort zone.  Sometimes.

Let’s do this….you let me be myself and I let you be yourself and we can help each other in our weak areas?!

Sincerely,
Your Introvert Friend

Comments

  1. Amen & amen, sister!! We went to a theme park vacation this year {with my husband’s students} and I nearly had a panic attack every day! I soooooo appreciate what you wrote about not trying to change people, too. I have a friend who constantly asks me to very loud and 20+ people “mom’s night outs”. She is so hurt when I outright say no…and she constantly says “one of these days, I’ll change you and you’ll be at our nights out all the time”! It kind of hurts that she wants to change me like that. I know this comment is all over the place today, but I just SO needed to read this!!

  2. laura burnett :

    As an extrovert, I LOVE to read posts like this so I can better understand my introverted pals! Thank you for sharing your perspective. It takes all of us to make the world such an interesting place!

  3. That is me too. Sometimes I just love silence but I don’t really mind being in a room full of people.

  4. From an extrovert married to an introvert:
    “Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop Talking”

    Highly recommended!

    Great tips – thanks!

  5. Lisa,

    Great article; made me cry, although I’m not sure why… just feeling overly emotional these days I guess. :-) I am an introvert too, although I’m sure you never would’ve guessed that after the way I jumped up & hugged your neck the night the community church choir was performing. I apologize if I invaded your space… it was not intentional. It’s just that your beliefs about almost everything so closely mirror my own, you remind me of my sister, & I feel drawn to you. :-)

  6. This is a great post! Point #1 is my favorite. It kinda gets on my nerves when others do not “let” me talk, especially when there’s a small group of us and people keep jumping in one on top of another. Even worse is when I’m talking to someone and another person comes up and takes over the conversation. As I get older, public crowds of strangers bother me more, but I think that’s mainly because of having to keep an eagle eye on my little girl. However, I don’t mind crowds of people I know, and I prefer talking to just a couple of people rather than groups of more people. As the number of people grows fewer, I grow more relaxed and talkative. Also, I remember someone asking me a long time ago (when I was single) if it bothered me to have to go out to eat alone. I remember thinking, “Why would it?”

    I would love to get the opportunity to meet you in person one day!

  7. Yup! I’m an introvert, too, and I can totally relate! The only thing I missed in here is the strength of introversion. On the outside, it looks like extroverts are easier to have around, but the thinking, analyzing and processing going on in introverts’ heads are essential to any society as well. And the biggest plus? I usually overthink before I speak, which can be annoying. But that (usually!) makes me really good at keeping secrets and avoiding foot-in-mouth syndrome. :-)

  8. As a mother to 4 introverts and 2 extroverts I found this post so helpful! Thanks for all your excellent posts…just love them!

  9. I always wanted to be an extrovert and kind of thought of myself as one. But, the older I get and the mroe I get to know the real me, I have learned that I am no extrovert! And I am happy with that. I’m much more a Martha than a Mary (which needs to be worked on a little). I have gotten to where I crave quiet alone time and do much better one on one than in large groups. I’m ok with theme parks, but not fairs or festivals ;)

  10. hi, I read your post because I believe I have a lot to learn (at 57!) about sensitivity towards others. thank you for an opportunity to grow in accepting others as they are and allowing them their comfort zones.

  11. Lisa,
    This is a wonderful list. My favorite is Number #4. I try to explain to people that just because I am alone doesn’t mean I am lonely. I am never lonely or bored. I just enjoy being alone. I do get very anxious in large crowds. I spent a lot of time in 20’s trying to fit in but now I am 100% secure now!
    Thanks for sharing!

  12. Dear Lisa,

    Thank you for letting me know that introverts want to be my friend – I just need to give them a little space and an opportunity to speak! I was always afraid that the look on their face was a restrained “SHUT UP!” I have learned through the years that I need to be cognizant of monopolizing a conversation. A have a friend that has been doing that lately, but I think she is a lonely extrovert! So you introverts need to keep in mind that us extroverts don’t deal well with loneliness! Thanks so much for your post! It was a real “God breeze.” (I got that term from FlyLady @ flylady.net!)

    Hugs,
    Rachelle

Speak Your Mind

*

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.