The last couple of days have me reflecting on the inability of extroverts to “get” introverts and vice-versa.
Yesterday morning I had a conversation with an old friend whose daughter is seriously struggling with the need to be part of a group in confirmation. The mom understands that building and experiencing community is a major component of this stage of faith formation. She also understands that her daughter would rather hide under a rock than try to interact with the group of girls she’s assigned to (and they’re perfectly pleasant girls, I assure you).
It seems to be a no-win situation. Our youth director is absolutely the best person you could possibly hope to have working with kids. I would quite literally sign over all my possessions to him in a heartbeat if he asked me to (though he’d be pretty disappointed with the haul), because I trust and respect him that much. But he is the most extroverted people-person I have ever met. He’s 100% energized by interaction, conversation, and new people. He’s very sensitive to the needs of the kids he works with, and makes modifications as much as humanly possible, but I know from conversations we’ve had in the past he TOTALLY doesn’t get what it means to live the life of a quiet, retiring introvert.
Today I attended the funeral of a much-loved older gentleman in our congregation. The church will be filled with very nice people for most of the day, mainly congregating around the area where my office is. These are all people I care about. And yet the prospect of a day with people everywhere nearly kept me from getting out of bed this morning. I was nearly defeated by imagining the complete energy drain I’ll experience today. My sister-in-law, on the other hand, came and worked every table of the funeral meal, visiting with old friends, going out of her way to meet new people, laughing and joking with everyone she saw. All I could think of was getting the heck out of Dodge. My sister-in-law was energized by all those people, whereas I could feel the crowded room sucking my will to live. I TOTALLY don’t get what it’s like to live the life of an extrovert.
The world would be a pretty dull place if everyone were the same. But I think the world would be a much more comfortable place if there were some way we could each get a better idea of how those people who are so exactly opposite of us feel.
And now, I must lie down and recover.