Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Four Tips for Caring for Your Extrovert

Lately, there have been a lot of articles about introversion. In some ways, this is a good thing. I had nothing but high praise for the book Quiet by Susan Cain, partly because it explained a lot about myself that I thought was just "weird". (That said, normalcy isn't a thing in my family anyways, so make of that what you will.)

However, as I've delved more and more into the introvert community, I've seen this...shall we say...exclusive attitude. Yes, introverts haven't had it that well in all cultures, particular since the Cult of Personality started, but in many cases, it has turned into straight-up Extrovert Backlash. And as you all know, being a jackass does not get rid of jackasses; it just makes even more jackasses.

Or unnatural donkey-dragon hybrid abominations.

An article popped up on my Facebook page. It was a response to this article about problems extroverts face, that no one seems to care about because they're "normal extroverts".

And oh, the MISSPELLED INTERNET RAEG has exploded. It's the extrovert's fault; extroverts would to these things anyways; why are they complaining about introverts? (They aren't, by the way, no clue where that one came from.)

Here's the thing: society has certain expectations of people. Some of those expectations are reasonable ("Please do not murder people and eat their flesh"), and some not so much ("What do you mean, you don't like clubbing at all hours of the night? Pshaw!"). Extroverts, like introverts, do not fit neatly into one category. Expecting them to puts pressure on them, just as it puts pressure on introverts. We are not enemies; we are human beings with different ways of responding to stimuli. That requires understanding and respect, not insisting that ALL TEH EXTERVERTS ARE GUNNA GIT US. (It's the Internet. Atrocious spelling is a must.)

So, all that aside, let's go into some ways we can make things smoother. I'm not discussing how to deal with introverts; there are hundreds of articles about that now. I'm an introvert talking to introverts.

1.) Set aside some time to do what the extrovert wants to do.
     Yes, yes, you're always expected to do that. Stop being a whiner. No one likes a whiner. If you're in a relationship (be it friendship, romantic, or familial) there must be some give and take on both sides. Maybe you take some evenings to be alone, read, recharge, etc. Set aside other evenings to go do things with the extrovert-parties, movies, clubbing (although the music at clubs is horrible, and if you go to the bathroom you will find yourself in the woofer.) Afterward, you can go hide in your room for days if you like.

2.) Don't make the extrovert do all the talking.
     "But ERICAAAAAAA" you say, in that voice I'm getting really tired of, "Extroverts LIKE to talk." But here's the thing. If you're in a group and there's like one or two people talking, how do you know those one or two people aren't thinking, "This...this is kind of awkward. Why are they all staring at us? What's going on?"

WE WANT TO GIVE YOU PEACE

Yes, most introverts have no problem with a lull in the conversation. But it can be genuinely uncomfortable if you're not sure if other people are okay with it or not. Speak up. Even if it's totally nonsequitur. One of the complaints about that extrovert article is that the extroverts are just caring too much about what people think; but why do introverts often stay quiet when they're having trouble making conversation? Because we're afraid people will think we're stupid. That, however, is better than being thought eerie silent cultists. I'm just saying.

3.) They're quite the charmers
     Okay, okay, I might be biased, since I did decide to marry a charming extrovert. But it's not just the aforementioned article that states mistaken flirting as a problem. In the Personality Plus series, this came up as an area of tension in a marriage. The wife was naturally talkative and charming, and her quiet, introverted husband suspected her of flirting. But she talks to everyone. Extroverts like people, and that comes through. Sometimes, people mistake that for something more. Us introverts have the opposite problem-for many of us, flirting in general is problematic.

It worked on Dale, at least...

Romance in general can be an awkward, confusing thing. Add in mistaken intentions and general cluelessness and you can see where this might actually be a problem for extroverts.

4.) Let them be themselves.
     I'll be the first to admit that my husband does not get to be loud in the morning. I'm not a morning person, and I'm not a loud person. So he has to be quiet then. But that doesn't mean I should impose it on him all the time. He's a talker. He likes to sing loudly. He quotes Markiplier at random. It's his thing. Just as we need some quiet time, extroverts need loud time. Let them let that energy out. Trust me, they have a lot of energy.



Now, stop making those whiny noises about how unfair extroverts are. I have books to read.

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