Over the road Tanya Marlow wrote a post on being an honorary introvert, it’s a great post and she invites us in to see what its like to be an extrovert at the dinner table. We see a glimpse of what its like to be an extrovert with an illness that keeps her indoors and through this she reflects on how she is an honorary introvert. It’s a great read and it got me thinking again about introverts and extroverts. I wrote some posts a while back on Introverts in the church that shared some of my thoughts from the book that I was reading on that subject.
I laughed a lot when Tanya said: “Sometimes, I will confess, I view introverts as a blank canvas onto which I splash my bright, oh-so-interesting stories. It came as quite a shock when I entered Twitter and the Blogosphere, and discovered that introverts have thoughts.”
It made me laugh because as an introvert myself with edges of life dipping into pools of the extrovert world, I guess on the outside it would seem I was shy, lacking in confidence and have nothing meaningful to say. I am a blank canvas. But the truth is, inside my brain are a thousand thoughts and pictures, its like a firework display constantly going off. It is noisy. Thinking about conversations I have had, thinking about theology, thinking about conversations that I may have or may never have, thinking about what I will do next, thinking about what the person in front of me has just said – do I agree, don’t I agree? What does that person really mean when they say that? What will they think if I say this in response? …. mmm I wonder whats for dinner tonight.
Now if you ask me a question and there is a silence it doesn’t mean I don’t have an answer. Whats actually happening is that I am running through every situation in my head on how to answer this, I delve into the knowledge I might have around that question, the logical answer, the emotional answer, the truthful answer and I think about all the possible responses you may have to that answer which will determine whether I say it or not.
The danger of us introverts starting to say anything out loud is that someone will interrupt us and disrupt the thought pattern and ruin what we are going to say, which will cause us to start the thinking process again. Which takes time and if you are in a group with extroverts what probably has happened is that they are three topics ahead and the introverts are still mulling over what the first conversation was about. It’s quite funny really!
This is why I quite like twitter and blogging. It gives a great chance to spend time thinking and chewing through ideas before writing it down. Then you can look over it and change anything you want to.Without any interruptions. Check out Tanya’s post on introverts taking over the internet!
One thing I have learnt though is that at times I need to think and speak quicker and I don’t have to go through all scenarios before I say something to someone. I do have things to say, I just need to speak up at times.
Also extroverts do have good things to say. You see, I guess I sometimes think that as extroverts talk out their thoughts I am often thinking that they aren’t saying anything at all meaningful. If I actually sit and listen then I will find that there is a meaningful conclusion and if extroverts sit and wait for introverts then they will hear a meaningful conclusion too. The working out of that is either out loud or in their head. Noise and silence which will bring pain and awkwardness to both people. But in friendship as I learn with my friend Tanya, a bit of awkward noise or silence is well worth it in the end.