Wednesday, 20 February 2013

introversion

A few days ago I saw this on Face book - you're going to have to go read it for the rest of this post to make sense.  I'll wait.

Not being a particularly introspective person, I didn't immediately recognize myself in the Guide. I did, however, realize that the Guide describes how I tend to treat other people. I mentioned this to Bob, suggesting that maybe I do this because that's what I'd prefer done to me, and some interesting conversation followed.

First, Bob confirmed that I am a true introvert. Then we reminisced a little. My habit was displayed quite well at our first meeting. I was the first one in the Sunday School room, so I sat to read the church bulletin and wait. Bob was the next one in; he sat directly across from me, so I looked up and said "hi" (I was trying to be nice, because I knew he wasn't a regular), and then went back to my reading (I didn't want to flirt, and anyway, I had nothing to say). He said something, I answered him, but went right back to the bulletin. Repeat.

When I was a youngster I had a motto: I don't talk to anyone unless I know them. This doesn't make sense to extroverted people, because they get to know someone by talking to them. But for me, I required time to become comfortable with a person's presence before I would expend some of my precious energy on them. Why bother if it was a one-time encounter?

This information sheds light on our daily activities as well. Every evening after the children are in bed, Bob watches a TV show on the computer. Not willing to waste my precious energy juices on unwanted contact, I don't interrupt. So any bottled-up conversations that accumulate throughout the day wait a little longer.  Bob, however, doesn't have the inner "how to treat an introvert guide," so whatever I am doing, he doesn't hesitate to interrupt me to initiate conversation.  Now, if I told you this in a vacuum, you might suspect that I am cold and Bob is rude. But since we have the insight gleaned from this little Guide, we all know that Bob and I are both just practicing self-preservation.

3 comments:

Steve Finnell said...

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Anonymous said...

Very interesting. mums

Wil said...

I saw a lot of myself in that cartoon, and in your description of yourself.

I'm almost never a conversation initiator, and people almost always think I'm quiet/shy when they first meet me.

(Those who've known me for a long time can't remember the quiet/shy meeting.)

This is less true now than it used to be. Working for the newspaper helped me develop a better ability to talk to strangers. Getting older has helped too.