Friday, January 27, 2017

Introverts Together

January 27, 2017

Introverts see life differently than extroverts. An extrovert makes friends easily, and lots of them. An introvert has friendships, but makes them more slowly. To be honest, all that is just conjecture. I can't speak for other introverts, and heaven knows I can't be the voice of an extrovert. Generalizations are rarely 100% accurate, so I'll just speak for myself.

If I am in a group and am quiet, it's not because I don't like the people around me (although that has happened on occasion); it just takes me awhile to warm up to people. I don't assume others are interested in my opinion, so I don't offer it. Sometimes I'm not interested in my opinion. I envy those who can talk glibly about anything and nothing at all, because I find myself searching for something...anything to say. One of my mantras is: "There is a great difference between having to say something and having something to say." Large crowds make me nervous. In addition to my introvertive nature, I have difficulty hearing conversation in a crowd. I hear the sound of people's voices, but often cannot make out the words themselves, even of people standing right next to me. So if I ignore you, I'm not trying to be rude; I just don't hear and can't understand you. I like small groups in quiet, intimate settings.

As a bona fide introvert, I like being by myself. I'm not always comfortable in my own skin, but since it's the only one I have, I've learned to be content with it. As a bona fide introvert, the only real issue I have with it is that I am married to an extrovert. It's God's idea of a good joke. I wouldn't be surprised if he is laughing right now, pointing his finger, shaking in mirth as tears run down his cheeks, quite pleased with his little trick of putting Linda and me together. To prove that Linda and I can take a joke, we have remained happily married for more than 46 years. In that time, I've learned a thing or two from her. Linda is passionate about investing herself in other people, has been all her life. Often when I would have been content to retreat into my shell, Linda would drag me along, pushing and encouraging me to interact with people.

The older I get, the more I have come to appreciate her wisdom. I know I have fewer years before me than behind me, and I don't want to waste them on things that don't matter. So guess what matters? People matter. This morning started with our Friday writer's group. Last night's snow meant our numbers were down, but as I looked around the table, I thought, "These people matter to me. I love these people!" Maybe it's because we aren't a large group, but any way I cut it, I like being with them. I suspect many of them like me, are introverts. After all, we spend a lot of time by ourselves, with our thoughts and words. But once a week, we gather to talk, to encourage each other, and to well, become...friends. Because even introverts need a friend.

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