Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Are You an Introvert?

If so, Mathilda wrote a great post today and linked to a great article.


My husband is an introvert. He is a counselor and is with men all day who have major problems and tries to help each of them. He goes above and beyond his job and is sometimes a sponsor for some of these men and meets with them outside of work. Being an introvert, he cannot pack his weeknights and weekends full of "stuff" especially social events. He can't do more than one big thing on the weekend, like if we have plans for Saturday and Sunday. It's either one or the other or neither. He needs his "down time", his home time. When he comes home from work, that's what he wants, home.


I'm not going to say it's always easy, but I accept him, just the way he is. I know this about him, and love him. Some things I won't go to without him, like the homeschool family Christmas party, because it's for families. That's ok, it's just something we don't go to, he does go to the Easter party. I wish other people understood. I get the "Where's Tom?" at every event I go to without him, especially family! I get the looks afterward of judgement of people thinking he doesn't treat me right or is not a good husband or father because he is not there socializing.
My family is made up of all extroverts, so it's especially hard when I go to my family without him, they just don't get it. It makes me want to break out in "People are People" by Depech Mode!


He is a wonderful man. He's a wonderful husband. He's a wonderful father. He spends time with each of the children and notices their wonderful qualities. He lets me be me, the social me, he has never made me feel guilty for going to anything I've wanted to go to. He lets me be me. I remember when we first met, this is one of the greatest things I loved about him, he let me be me. Other men I had dated (or married) made me feel guilty if I went anywhere without them. They did not let me be me.


I hope I do the same for him. I hope I accept him and make him feel loved, just the way he is.


What about you? Do you know any introverts? Are you an introvert? I'd like to think I'm in the middle. I love people, but also love my "down time". I don't have to go to everything, but like to go to some things. I think he creates this balance for me.

16 comments:

  1. Great post JAMIE!

    Because I did not really grow up with siblings and I was super shy in school I tend to be very happy not going to this or that and hanging with adults. I like hanging with my kiddos. They like me for me. Isnt it just great to have a man like that. I get that with Brian also. And I also think you like me for me. I am really comfortable around you...(did I fart around you yet!) and I do not have to be fancy, smart or someone else around you. I like that.

    My blog also. I try to be me.

    Because I am aware of the differences in my children and all the social crap that is out there I wish people would except people for who they are. My Jonah has social issues...but he is a very smart and funny kid. My Zach is shy. He really isnt loud and in your face kind of kid.

    I think Tom is a great guy and it is not weird going to things by yourself. I have a friend who's hubby is a dr. and she has to go with her 5 kids all by herself to a ton of stuff.

    Next time you are over I will show you my OUTIE!!!! hee hee

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  2. I'm definitely an introvert. I've not been hesitant to tell people that, either. Crowds wear me out, but I might be better at just putting up with it. The article was the best I've ever read regarding introverts and I identified with many of the statements.

    My hubby however, is the exact opposite... I think that's what attracted me to him in college. Dash, of course, follows in his father's footsteps and is quite the extrovert. I think that's the reason our relationship has such bumps - he's not old enough to give me space, yet.

    Growing up, I remember my dad getting upset because I read so much. On one particular trip to Minot, he asked me to put down my book (he's an extrovert), so I did. I think he thought I'd start up a conversation, but we both just sat in the vehicle ... silent ... for the rest of the trip! It's actually a funny memory, for me. I'm sure he didn't know how to draw me out and I'm just fine with quiet.

    Anyway, I liked the article so much, I have a post started for my blog.

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  3. I think my husband and I are right in the middle. He's very content no matter where or how. Myself? I tend to love being alone - I need tons of alone time (so I can craft/read/do my own thing) . . . I'm not patient when interrupted at all. I am getting better at realizing when someone interrupts me it isn't personal - OLD AGE, perhaps? I like going to social functions where I know the folks there, but not so much direct sales parties where I know only the hostess. I don't mind meeting new folks. I think my sense of silly really saves me most of the time. I loathe crowds and loud situations - this has to do with my ears; I get dizzy almost.

    So, very much middle of the road for me. My kids have a hard time dealing with me not wanting them in my space. I have to tell them, "I love you, but leave me alone for a while". I may be more introverted than I thought!

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  4. Thanks for sharing this article. I am going to ask my husband to read it right after I have my alone time on the computer (I just asked him to leave me alone for ten minutes before I do the kids' baths). Is this a sign?

    I do get more introverted with each passing year as my extroverted young self fades away. I do enjoy socializing, but need to recharge afterward. I have always loved "conversations that explore intimate thoughts or passionate interests". This is why I refuse to go to neighborhood bunco.

    To endure the torture of having to attend football games in high school marching band I brought magazines to read during the games and tried to ignore the cheerleaders. I have always thought that extroversion is unfairly rewarded in our society, especially in schools.

    My daughter has caught onto this. She is in introvert like me and already feels a little bad about it. I felt so proud of my husband when he reassured her that God made her differently (from her extroverted sister) and just as wonderful. I do hope that in a homeschool setting she can better appreciate who God made her to be.

    Our extrovert, on the other hand, asked me when she can ride the bus to elementary school (she saw school buses on the way to piano), when she can have a playdate with the piano teacher's 4yo, and if she can join Girl Scouts (she saw a sign by an intersection). All in the same day.

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  5. This is such an honor and tribute to your husband.

    I understand where you are coming from. I come from extroverts. My husband is an introvert and I have at least one introvert child. I think some may see me as an extrovert. Probably was pre marriage, but now I am more and more of a homebody and guard our private time. I know that feeling of wanting not to have more than one thing planned on a weekend and we never do much on weeknights.

    Sometimes, in the busy-ness we lsoe our focus and lose our tether to God and that's why my family needs the down time.

    I am sure that sometimes we seem be less engaged, but it's not snootiness. It just that we need "our" time, home time.

    I was even mentioning to a friend in an email that it's mostly at night, when they are all asleep that my mind begins to clear...that I can communicate without distraction. When I am in a setting with people, I don't think I even am very good at being social any more!!! I am distracted looking at where my kids are and what are they doing and find that communication is disjointed by multi-focus...

    Anyone else ever feel that way?

    Great topic, Jamie!

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  6. Oh, Gosh, JMJ! I could have written what you did, I feel exactly the same way. I'm finding my extrovert in me fading away.

    We have one extrovert child like you also. We really think any school outside of the home would just kill him, inside. Homeschooling is really best for him.

    Tracy, I have 3 girls who want to do everything, but a mama who just can't!

    Balance is the key.

    Suzie, yes, your hubby is definately an extrovert, and a complete opposite of my hubby! I find that most of the homeschool dads are extroverts, so that makes it hard, people are just different.

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  7. I always saw myself as an introvert, but I think as I got older, I needed to socialize more and get out of my cocoon. God gave me the courage to set aside my shyness and do things I have never been able to do with out him. My husband tends to be introvert in our relationship, I try to get the words out of him and all I get is words of rejection. But with others, specially his family he is so different. He rarely attend my side of the family events or school or church activities. Sometime people think, I'm a single mother. Please keep us in your prayers.

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  8. I'm an introvert and don't really like group settings. RCIA was difficult for me when I came into the Church a few years ago. They really wanted everyone to share stories and talk to the group. Now I'm going to RCIA again, this year as a sponsor for my introvert mother!

    I have to be more of an extrovert for my job (teaching college math), so when I'm done, I really need quiet time to myself!!

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  9. i am an introvert too. and my husband is an extrovert. we go round and round about this. every time i don't jump at the chance to go and do things with his family, who, i might add, do something practically every day of the week, he tells me i am going to die a lonely old lady. and he cannot fathom, that really, i'd like nothing better! a lonely, knitting old lady!
    and as for the snootiness, i can relate to that. everyone who doesn't love me because they've chosen me as a friend, doesn't understand this part of my personality and i am quite often misunderstood as a snob.
    but i tend to be so non-confrontational that i won't even take the time or the energy to try and correct or change that particular view of me. which is probably terrible.
    but i have so much on my plate, sometimes just being spread so thin makes a person introverted.
    this issue has been on my heart a bit as i see the various personalities of my children. i have one definite introvert. two extroverts and my girl is a mixture of both. it probably has a lot to do with their ages too.
    sometimes i worry that they don't socialize enough because of me.
    but then so much socialization, even with family, can be negative.
    so who knows.......
    but i can certainly relate.
    and i know that in ways my husband has become more like me through the years. he is not as at peace with God either, which i think has a lot to do with his uneasiness. but hopefully with time and maturity he will find that peace.
    i always say that is why God elevated marriage to a sacrament. it would impossible and divorce rampant (even though it kind of is) but even more so without the graces.
    isn't there a saying that says something like: the woman who cannot sleep without the windows open inevitably marries the man who cannot sleep with them open.

    and that saying is so true in more ways than one!

    i was going to apologize for being so long winded, but i guess we all were!

    :)

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  10. Just wanted you to know I read the article. You know I am very opinionated, so here it goes... don't read if you don't like the "other side's" thoughts.

    I have 5 "extremely" introverted family members, and coming from a mostly extroverted family it is hard to be around them. (and visa-versa) It can be those people who make ME not want to attend an event. They kinda drag it down.

    My opinion is that if you are an introvert who attends a gathering, usually family or friends, that as long as you are there - make an effort to socialize, even if it's just being a good listener. You only appear stuck up if you sit in a corner and refuse to try. It's like your purposely trying to draw attention to yourself - not hiding to avoid confrontation. If you chose to stay at home for this reason - that it's "not worth it" - I always pray that your family (especially kids) are not thinking you're bailing out on them, especially if THEY WANT you to be there.

    (When an introvert doesn't attend my gatherings, my mind tends to convince me it is because my gathering is not worth their time. I also begin to wonder have I done something wrong or is my family boring?, or it isn't important enough for them to join the rest of their family. I'd be hurt if my husband didn't join us, despite his tendency to want to "skip" certain events. Instead he comes because he knows it is important to US that he be there. It has nothing to do with whether he's tired from work, not in the mood, or doesn't know anyone there. But that's just us.)


    I always say, the hardest part is the getting there. Once I am there, I am fine. Before hand, I can think of a million excuses - I'm literally the Queen of Excuse Making. But when I get there, I find out what I would have been missing. It gets easier every time.

    In conclusion, I don't believe in "orientations." Mental, sexual, etc. You may have a certain "disposition?" You are who you want to be. Even if you feel more "oriented" towards one way/thing or another, you can still make a decision to remain or change. At the same time, I understand that no one can change another person. If you "chose" to be an extrovert or introvert, I DO respect your choice.

    From my personal study and experience, I have come to these conclusions. Sorry if it seems rather "extroverted" of me. :)
    I just don't hope mine doesn't fade over the years as some of you mentioned. Originally an introvert as a child, I've worked so hard to get where I am.

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  11. Melissa-
    I think you missed what the article is about.


    People are people.
    We all need to be a little more accepting of everyone.

    I feel this comment is directed at me and my husband, since I responded to your halloween party that it would only be me and the girls. I'm sorry, if this hurt you. It is not personal. If an introvert does not talk, or does not go to something, it is not personal to you, it is personal to them and the way they feel. If you take their actions personal, then it is your problem, your own lack of self confidence.

    My husband goes to all the kids sports events,(except soccer as it's just come and play and he stays with the littles for me) takes them every week to Kung Fu, swimming at the Y, Frisbee Golfing, piano recitals,Cub Scouts, everything they want him to go to. If I wanted him to go to something that badly, I'd talk to him and he would go. BUT, I love him and don't make him do social things because it makes him uncomfortable. I respect him, he loves and provides for us and is what we need.

    Why make someone go and make them miserable to make yourself feel good? I don't need to do that.

    I really think the article and my post and many others' posts have just been about how different people are and accepting them for who they are.

    I'm sorry you missed that point.

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  12. Well, Melissa, you're springboarding me to some other thoughts and remembrances about this topic.

    The history of the recognizing of the 4 temperments came from none other than St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and considered the brain of the Church.

    http://www.catholicmatch.com/temperaments/introduction/history.html

    Before that, and going back 2000years, it was a discovery of Hippocrates. I tend to take St. Thomas Aquinas at his word as he is smarter than I will ever be. These orientations mix and blend. As God made us each different, yet in His likeness. I think I'm a combo of sanguine (introvert) and phlemgmatic (homebody.) Not everyone is 100% something and we may see changes to our habits and behaviors over time and with certain influences.

    But just like in parenting, we love people for who they are and where they are even when they are not making us happy. I don't seek to purge my one introvert of his inclinations when he displays some shyness. I honor who he is. Do I encourage and coach him to meet societal needs? Sure. But I love how God made him and I want him not to think he's a misfit for feeling the way he does feel. Sure, there are situations where he can and should try and like any new habit, that takes time. I think Jamie is honoring her husband in the same way.

    On another note, and in concurrence with some of your thoughts, Melissa, I did hear another concept once and it did strike a chord with me. There is a resonance of truth in it. It is THE reason why I encourage my children (and myself!)to try to extend ourselves, when appropriate. A friend noted something she had read, maybe even by a priest that said A PART of shyness IS about being too concerned with oursleves and our feelings. It puts too much emphasis on the self. "I feel uncomfortable...I dont know what to say...I'm not good at talking to people"....all I and ME focused. The author said that a right understanding of service and charity might be needed...thinking of others more might be needed. Like Jesus said, "I came to serve not be served" and to realize that we are called to die to self and serve others in His name. That fascinated me and when I feel any selfish motives in my behavior I try to remember to extend myself in charity and so to speak, carrying a cross. I remind the kids something that my very elegant and embodiment of Aunty Mame Aunt once told me. She said, it is the responsibility of the guest to be a GOOD guest. To mingle and smile and comment positively and participate is to show gratitude for the effort of the event and the host. That's why everyone always loves being around my Aunty Bettina.

    So, to boil it down. I am certain that St. Thomas was not in error and we DO have these tendencies...JUST as I am certain that I must not think too much of myself as to become selfish.

    God bless the intoverts and extroverts made in the image and likeness of God and each worhty of our charity and service.

    Great discussion!

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  13. I was going to mention the temperaments in my post, too, JMJ. (guess I figured my first post was long enough!) I'm glad you brought that up. There are a couple books, written by Art and Laraine Bennett, that talk about temperaments. I've read 'The Temperament God Gave You' and their newest is a book for spouses. I'd love to read that second book.

    I especially like this quote from the book's intro: "By better understanding ourselves and our loved ones, we will be able to improve ourselves and grow in our spiritual lives, and help our children and spouses to become successful and holy individuals as well. When we understand our temperaments, we can begin to master those inclinations or untoward reactions that may thwart our growth in virtue and in love."

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  14. Thanks JMJ for reflecting better what I was trying to say.

    I do accept people for who they are and treat them respectfully. Jamie, I respect your husband, the provider he is and what a great dad I've seen him be. My discussion was on introverts as described in the original article, not your husband in particular. Sorry if that was miscommunicated.

    I accept my introverted family members, whom I was writing about. I don't enjoy their behavior and am often frustrated by it - and in a Christian manner I do my best to be social with them and make them feel comfortable, special and included. They are still special people in my life.

    The article this was all linked to, suggested that we just leave them all alone and almost seemed as if they believe they are a more superior personality. That extroverts are just a bother. This sounds a little self-centered? That's the vibe I and others get from some introverts, even if unintended.

    I believe that many introverts are looking for someone to reach out to them. As an occasional introvert, I know I do. And by inviting people to my home, over and again, I am reaching out to create oportunities for these people in my life to feel comfortable, entertained and enjoy themselves. My gatherings are always focused on my guests, even the introverts. So, yes I have the right to feel sad when someone "choses" not to attend, and their presence will be missed and sometimes questioned.

    As JMJ and I mentioned, that some people who are diplaying a sort of shyness or unsocial nature need to reflect on why they are that way, is it social anxiety or selfishness? And if their reflection shows that they don't like this behavior THEY need to do the changing, and the rest of us need to be supportive. It's a big gap to cross, but it can be done. The article seemed to refer as if they cannot change, that they are simply oriented that way for good.

    In the case of your husband, I don't know him well enough to discuss his situation, mostly because he isn't around much.... but in the case of my relatives whom I see often enough - I have serious concerns. They don't realize that their "orientation" is affecting others close to them in a negative way.

    I hope this helps clarify my point. My written words don't always best display my actual thoughts.

    My mom always told me when someone or myself was doing something improper...

    "I don't hate people, but I can hate their ill choices."
    "He's not evil, but he is making evil decisions."
    "Do you realize you're not the only one affected by your choices?"

    Have JOY in your heart!
    -Jesus First
    -Others Next
    -Yourself Last

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  15. JMJ! You should take over my blog! You put it all perfectly!

    I do want to add that I don't think anyone fits perfectly into these molds of introvert or extrovert. I think people have tendancies that lean more towards one or another.

    I also, in my experience with the more introvert personalities, especially my husband, that they are not "shy". They just say what they feel is important. They are not for idle conversation. I, on the other hand, probably do talk too much (I'm being easy on myself for I know I do) and say too much. The introvert personality will not just talk to talk. Obviously, in my husband's case, he owns a business, counsels hundreds of men and deals with people constantly, social workers, parole officers, judges, his own employees (around 20), etc...I do, however see shyness in my son (not the girls at all) and encourage him to do things but never force him.

    This is a very interesting topic...people are so very interesting, arent' they?

    Melissa, so sorry if I misread your comment and intentions.

    I always admire the more introvert personality, because they seem to think more about what they say and they seem to listen much better than I do.

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  16. Jamie, you are too kind.

    I think you bring up another excellent discussion, one that has me thinking our husbands are a lot alike.

    Silence.

    How many saints and spiritual advisors and quotes from scripture, for that matter, all extol the virtue of NOT SPEAKING idley.

    Let's see who can find the most quotes on that!

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