Tuesday, August 16, 2016

How to Not Mistreat Your Introvert (Pt. 1)

Being an introvert in today's noisy world sucks. I am a painfully introverted person, large gatherings make me severely uncomfortable, and dealing with strangers... well... let's just say I'd rather shit in my hands and clap than do that. And don't even ask me to answer my phone. So, in no uncertain am I an introvert. I have a close circle of friends, maybe 3 or 4 people that I talk to about my problems, their problems, life, philosophy, etc., but I'll be damned if I meet some random schmo at a party, and immediately start calling them my friend. I personally think that the word 'friend' is severely abused in this day and age. In my mind, a friend is someone who is there no matter what, and who's opinion you value above all others. It's also someone with whom you share such a deep connection with, that time and distance really don't have an effect on the friendship. For example, my best friend moved to Georgia a few years ago, and we haven't talked in a good, long while. I miss her terribly, but I know that when we reconnect, it'll be like we never even parted ways. But what about romantic relationships between an extrovert and an introvert?

Well, having been in a relationship with an extrovert for the last two years, I consider myself a bit of an expert on that topic. The first thing, that shouldn't even need to be mentioned, is that it's ungodly. Obviously extroverts and introverts are completely different creatures. Whereas, I don't enjoy spending time with a lot of people, even if I do know them, and he does. I enjoy a quiet drink at home with two or three people, and he loves to go out and mingle at the bar. I enjoy reading books or browsing the news on my phone, while he enjoys watching a ton of TV. I'm not castigating him or trying to make it seem like he's filled with a longing to pursue the banalities of life, but he enjoys pursuits that bring him into contact with many many different people. That's totally fine. Except I get coerced into attending any number of silly parties, rife with drinking and empty chatter.

Have you ever just been so world-weary that it makes you nauseated? That's how those parties make me feel. I don't relish talking about how hammered they got that one time, and like, oh my god it was just wild and crazy! So that would be the first step. There needs to be balance. If you are dating an introvert, it's terribly easy to just steamroll them unintentionally, and drag them into all sorts of highly social situations that will make them (the introverts) deeply uncomfortable. I will temper that by saying it goes both ways. Introverts also need to stand up for themselves and not get railroaded into things they don't want to do. I know, I know, there needs to be balance and other such nonsense, but in my experience, my introverted comrades don't stand up for themselves.

Generally speaking, I think the world is a better place when it's run by introverts. We hesitate to speak until our ideas are perfect, and we're not prone to rash decisions. This, again, isn't meant to castigate extroverts, but I do think that they are flippant people who generally don't think things through all the way. Anywho, to the thrust of it! Speaking as an introvert, it's super easy to get steam rolled by my extrovert. For example, he might ask me what I want for dinner, and I tell him. We have a little tiff, but then we kiss and make up. No biggie, right?

WRONG! Minor disagreements, insults, joking around, etc. stays with me for days. I process and analyze, and then decide how I feel. Granted, I'm just one introvert, but I'm guessing I'm not the only one who, after an argument is "resolved" still has more to say on the matter, even though the extrovert has moved on, and is thinking about whatever extroverts think about. My situation is, admittedly, somewhat unique, because of my Myers-Briggs designation (Myers-Briggs is a personality test that will categorize your personality into one of 16 different types. I am an INTJ, one of the rarest, most analytical and logical types). During an argument, I tend towards the hyper-logical, divorcing all emotion from the situation. I realize this isn't the best way to handle emotionally charged situations (it's something I'm working on. I'm an imperfect person), notwithstanding, it's important for an extrovert to realize that what they say will have long lasting consequences. Take time to make sure that your introvert has said everything that they need to. I've got to jet, but be humble, don't stumble, and I'll see you again soon!

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