Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Thank God for the Extroverts

No, really. Introverts like me would shrivel up and die without extroverts. Extroverts force us out of our shells. We are very comfortable sitting on the outside watching life pass by. We live in our own heads. Here's a secret I don't think I've told anyone: I have conversations with a fictional therapist in my head. I'm in tune enough with myself and, through my reading, siblings, and children, I've been exposed to enough therapy second and third-hand that I'm pretty sure I know what's up with myself. I still have to hash things out, though. So I talk to a fictional Dr. X. in my head. He answers back. His rates are exactly what I can afford. But I digress. Introverts are too comfortable in their own heads sometimes. Unhealthily comfortable. When I start laughing at my own jokes that I forgot to say out loud, we might have a small problem (just a small one, though).

In the past few years I have met three women that have dragged me kicking and screaming out of that comfort zone, and they've done so within the first few minutes of my meeting them. That's more than just extroverted talent - that's a kindred spirit thing. It's funny - I still, in my advanced old age, don't really relate to a lot of women (although the older I get, the more that changes). The second I met Henry at 18, though, I lost interest (thankfully for my relationship) in hanging out with other guys. Guys had always been my safe place. They weren't catty, didn't gossip, and were very upfront about how they felt - so different from girls (and, I'm sorry to say, many adult women). You always knew where you stood. Because I don't hang out with adult men, I have no idea what they're like, but I suspect they're pretty upfront, too. Most men don't seem to have the patience to play games like women do. Again, I digress (focus, fool! - ha! Some insight into my inner dialogue!). Where was I? Oh, yes. Women.

The first one made me, I think, her pet introvert, which was fine with me. I love her. She is bubbly, beautiful, confident, and probably has more friends than I can even conceptualize. I admire that kind of person but I get exhausted just thinking about living that life (is it nap time yet?). She is so kind and compassionate and so upfront about her curiosity about what it means to be conservative (personality-wise, not politically), Catholic me. She has never made me feel odd because of our differences; she has made me feel treasured. That, my Internet friends, is a rare, rare gift.

The second one, it is no surprise, felt like I had known her my whole life. She is what would happen if my older sister and I had another sister (well, we do have another sister, but keep with me) who was a perfect hybrid of the two of us (which our younger sister is not). Extroverted like my older sister, snarkily brilliant like me, and the perfect person to talk endlessly to, I feel like an extrovert myself with her. She's the kind of person I feel like texting when something happens because I know she'll see it the exact same way that I do. As life tends to do, events kind of evolved in a way that set our lives on different tracks, but she will always stand out to me as the person with whom I have felt an instant connection.

Finally, my most recent extrovert acquisition (because I collect extroverts, don't you know! Heck, I hoard makeup, yarn, and lately craft supplies - why not add extroverts to the list? Why not, Laura? Because it's creepy, that's why not.) is someone that Henry had been telling me for weeks that I would love. Henry and I have sort of a deal. He handles most shooting stuff because I do debate stuff. Both require lots of time and lots of driving. Extrovert 3 is a shooting mom. Henry told me, "She's our kind of people. She gets our humor." Suffice it to say, not a lot of people get our humor, especially women. Men usually get me. When they hear my cracks, they laugh. Many women, if they get me at all, don't think I'm funny and (sniff) I think even feel sorry for me. Well, Henry assured me that this one was like us. He built her up quite a bit. Even my kids were telling me, "She really wants to meet you!" I told them, "She's going to be disappointed..." In any case, I met her and was instantly delighted. I have the feeling that everyone who meets her probably feels that way. She is one of those people who makes you feel like you are the only one she is interested in talking to. Again, that's a gift. A lot of introverts are good at that because, duh - you *are* the only one they are interested in talking to! (I'm kidding. Kind of.) But extroverts are interested in lots of people. And things. And people (disclaimer - I am the proud mother of the most extroverted teenage girl ever. If you know her, you know I speak the truth.). So for an extrovert to exude that kind of warmth and focus just toward me - well, I felt special. Plus she exhibited so much compassion toward my daughter and another girl on two separate occasions at her home that day - let's just say I'm sold.

So, like I said, thank God for the extroverts. Most introverts do, I suspect, crave friendships. But they are so much work. You have to find friends. You have to maintain friendships. You have to be pried out of the house. When you're out, you usually enjoy yourself (although you enjoy coming home more!). So, if you're the extroverted friend of an introvert, don't give up on her! Text her (don't ever call - she won't answer...but you knew that already!) and keep in touch.

What prompted this post? Well, I was thinking about the above ladies, but I also had a dream about my  best friend last night. The best advice I can give any young lady bored enough to be reading this is *don't* make the mistake of thinking you can be best friends with a guy. It may work when you are younger. It may even work when you are older - for awhile. It may work for decades. At some point, for some reason, though, it will more than likely cease to work. Then you'll have a best friend that you only talk to in your head, which is probably befitting two very introverted people. It's a kind of lonely way to maintain a decades-long friendship, though.

P.S. Is it wine-thirty yet?

What happens when two introverts take a picture with an extrovert in the family...


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