Monday, July 9, 2007

On Helping your Extravert Understand what You Need

One of the things Robin and I hope to accomplish in this blog is to help our readers have a better grasp of how both introverts and extraverts inhabit their space in the world. As an artist, YOU are your own most valuable tool. It is crucial that you understand how you function best, and what you need.

It is almost as equally essential for the people that love us to really get what we need to be at ease, to be fueled, to be able to work. How many times do you suppose you've tried to explain to your spouse/ significant other/friend, why you don't want to go to a party, a potluck, a picnic, a dance, wedding, RV show? And, how many headaches, backaches, deadlines, root canals, or dying pets have you waved in front of them to legitimize your "flaking out"?

When the real reason-- a completely valid one-- is that you may be nearly out of gas. Your psyche needs you to draw inside. How can you be expected to jump onto a congested interstate when any second your motor will sputter and cough and you will find yourself getting creamed by oncoming traffic?

Out of gas, your extravert asks? Aw, c'mon, they say, "it will be fun... you'll feel better once you get there! I promise! It's just what you need."

I offer a little in vivo experiment for you and your favorite extravert. Tell them that you will go to their party, but they have to stay home, in a room all by themself. Then frisk them, take their iPod, cell phone, pager, blackberry, and remove ALL communication devices from the room. Check for hidden writing pens, carrier pigeons, matches that might be used for smoke signals. Take the lightbulbs, too. Cut them off from all exterior means of recharge.

Expect to hear-- "You can't leave me like this! I'll go crazy!" You can reassure them, "Aw, c'mon it will be great... you'll feel better once I leave." ;->

Without putting too fine a point on this, I think you and they will get it. Their pleasure and personal recharge might be your nightmare and vice versa.

You have a right and responsibility to your introverted self to take good care of yourself, which means staying close to your energy source-- your INTERIOR self. Your extravert has the same right and responsibility to stay close to their EXTERIOR SOURCE.

Know thyself and honor thyself at home, at work, in your art. Blossom, dear Vi and Vinnies!




Barbara O'Connor said...

I love this blog. It helps me feel normal. :-)

R.L. LaFevers said...

I'm SO glad, Barbara! That is exactly our goal!

R.L. LaFevers said...

Great post, Mary!

Although you know, another rather easy solution is to be sure and marry an introvert. That's what I did, and he's so introverted he makes me look like an extrovert!

Anonymous said...

I live with a semi-extrovert (he likes social events and never has difficulty attending them, but also enjoys an entire afternoon alone) and he's learned that I'm just not up to socializing unless my battery is fully charged by a huge chunk of solitude just prior to the engagement. Then, I can truly enjoy myself. Of course, this is not always easy - or even possible. I've learned to live with it, to accept it, and so has he. Fortunately, we enjoy each other's company and are perfectly content to spend evenings at home all by ourselves.
It's funny - I can go to various parties and meet lots of extroverts gathering all sorts of energy from others around them, and not feel (or remember) much at all about our discussion. But I can run into one interesting introvert every five years or so and really feel I've made a connection, that life does offer us another level of communication and understanding if we're open to it. Introverts are more generous it seems to me - we pay a price for it, but it's worth it when we meet the right person.