Introvert or Extrovert?


Most people don’t know it they are an introvert or an extrovert for the first ten or so years of their lives.  By the time they get to college, they have figured it out.  Is your ideal weekend spent with or without people? Are you an introvert or an extrovert or a combination of both?

I taught school for ten years. It helps to be an extrovert to do that. Teachers have a built –in audience. They are always surrounded by people. If you are a joiner, then you are probably an extrovert. You join groups because you like to be with people. Let’s see, I am in a chorus, a small jazz group, a hiking group, a ski club, and a couple of meet-up groups. I guess I like to hang with like-minded folks. In fact, if I have a quiet weekend without people I start to go a little stir crazy.

I married an introvert. He was posing as an extrovert when I met him in a bar. I was moonlighting as a cocktail waitress. I guess even introverts can look like people lovers if they’ve had enough to drink.

It’s no one’s fault if you’re an extrovert or not.  You’re born that way. The world works for both. But maybe a marriage doesn’t work so well, if one of you wants to go to a party, and the other one wants to watch a movie. Or you want to go dancing and he wants to drive to a new city and explore. Yes, you could compromise and do a little of each to make both of you happy, but that wasn’t the way my marriage went at all. Our ideas of vacation weren’t even the same.

I do like to stay home every fourth night or so. I need to cuddle with my dogs and veg out with TV. But that’s mostly because I am old and my bones need to rest from too much fun. Like three nights in a row of dancing in the park to live music. Well, it is summer time, after all.

My older sister is an introvert. So is one of my children, and for sure my ex.  After divorce, I dated a total extrovert/borderline exhibitionist, and it was fun —- for a while.

Why am I writing about this? Because I’ve been alone for 48 hours, and I am on the verge of going a little nuts. I don’t even have Facebook!  I think I will survive, but those last few hours will be tough. I am at my little beach house, lining up painters, fencers, chimney sweeps, and tree trimmers to deal with twelve years’ worth of deferred maintenance. I have had conversations with those guys in the past two days, but other than that, it’s been mostly bark, bark, growl, growl, whine, whine. Oh, and the dogs are here, too.

I read in the AARP Bulletin that the length of a person’s life is most closely determined, not by whether they drink or smoke or whether they are heavy or if they exercise, but by whether or not they talk to people throughout the course of his/her day – the mailman, the bagger at the grocery store, etc. That seems like an extroverted thing to do. Do extroverts live longer than introverts? I don’t know the answer to that.

My older sister spent her life reading books. My son spends his life with his computer. My ex spends his time with half a dozen dogs — oh, and a girlfriend. I spend my time with my various groups of people. I may not know their deepest darkest secrets, but I do know their worst date stories and the names of their children.

So that’s something. I have lots of dancing friends, singing friends, and hiking friends. We are a bunch of extroverts doing our thing.  We get along because we need each other.

People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.  Remember that song? I am sure it was written by an extrovert.

Some of the most enlightened people have spent a good deal of time by themselves and have written life-changing books and have thought earth-changing thoughts. I guess we need both types to keep the world spinning.

But a word to the wise, if you meet your spouse in a bar, check his ID to see if he is card-carrying extrovert or just posing as one.

If he’s a poser, don’t expect any dancing.

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