Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Classic Introvert

A while back, Jim mentioned an occasion of attending a friend's BBQ and mostly keeping to himself at the party which bothered him not one bit (but probably made the hostess think otherwise). While I do believe that we humans are social creatures by nature and require a social network in order to be healthy (hello blogging ;-), there is no doubt that some of us are more social than others. Jim suggested that the difference between an introvert and an extrovert was defined more by the source from which we draw our energy than by our actual behavior. I agree. To meet Jim in real life, he is nothing but a friendly, well socialized, compassionate and interesting human being, but as he pointed out, social situations suck the energy right out. While an extrovert thrives on social interaction, an introvert's source of energy is drawn from within.

All that to say I am not excited about the activities that my husband has lined up for us this evening. My husband is the classic extrovert. He makes new friends very easily. He gets on the phone every Sunday and calls all of his family in The Old Country. And he makes plans to meet up with friends and families whenever he can, like this evening.

A while back, I mentioned our first trip to the Irish Pub where we enjoyed listening to a local Irish musician, Bob Reeder. Due to the crowded conditions in the pub and the friendly nature of the Irish, we ended up sitting at a table with two guys that my husband quickly befriended. We have since seen these guys at the pub a couple of times and went to see the Red Elvises with one of them (and his wife).

We also met an engaged couple that same first evening at the pub...he was living in England at the time (and he got up to sing a song when invited by Bob to do so, as a bridge of alliance between the Irish and the was hilarious and fun to watch them singing a John Denver duo together), and she lived not far from us. Since that first meeting, we have attended their wedding (which they held at the pub)...he moved from England for the occasion. It was an odd wedding in that most people at the wedding had never met each other and there were few family members there. As the groom later filled us in, they all "knew" each other via an internet forum for ex-Jehovah's Witnesses. Some had come a long way to be there for the couple, so clearly they felt close. Needless to say, my husband and I didn't have a lot in common with anyone there and frankly, I wasn't much in the mood for forging new friendships when the alternative of sitting by myself and listening to a wonderful little Irish trio presented itself. So that is what I did...I sat by myself (on the dancefloor, no less, because that is where the empty chairs were) and my husband made the rounds talking to people. Eventually, he found a woman whom he thought I would like to meet and brought her to me. I have to confess that in the end, I enjoyed talking to her (she flew all the way from Calif to be at the wedding and was originally from New Zealand...she loved travel and that is what we talked about), but my first thought and what I wanted to say to my husband when I saw him approaching with a new friend for me was "leave me alone...I'm enjoying the music and don't need someone to talk to...I'm fine...really!" I have no problem being alone. I like traveling alone. I don't mind eating at restaurants or going to movies alone. It is not a negative in my book, it is a source of renewable energy.

So tonight? We're taking the new bride and groom to dinner first and then to the pub where we will also meet the two guys (the tattoo artist and carpet salesman) and maybe their wives. Which means I have to put on my happy face and try not to act like I would rather be home alone reading a book. At least the music will be good. And truthfully, these are good people. I just need to relax.



At 6:08 PM, July 29, 2007, Anonymous Jim said...

Have a wonderful time.


At 6:57 PM, July 29, 2007, Blogger beth said...

Gosh. I'm with Jim (and it sounds like you) on this one...but hey, you'll probably have a good time once you're there (I know I usually do, if I can get past the paralyzing dread.) Hope it's fun! (And hey, you'll be at a pub, at least' that's good!)

At 5:12 AM, July 30, 2007, Blogger Rach said...

I can relate to that :)

At 6:02 AM, July 30, 2007, Blogger mis_nomer said...

Wow.. talk about fast friendships!

At 7:58 AM, July 30, 2007, Blogger DarkoV said...

This fellow, Mr. Outer Life always has something inciteful to write about. In this case, it's all about the pleaseure/pain of being an introvert.

Here's a link to an Atlantic article written by Jonathan Rauch in 2003. Always worth a read!

Gwynne, it's good that your husband is a fully licensed extrovert as when you do have (which you know you will) your extrovertive explosion, he'll be there to show off his professional credentials and stear you through the rough parts. BTW, just so you know, being Croatian and being an extrovert are two seperate conditions. Your husband's charismatic gift of grab 'n gab is not a national trait.

At 1:46 PM, July 30, 2007, Blogger Gwynne said...

"I'd rather wrap myself in sausages and liver and take a swim in the pirranha-infested Amazon."
(Darko's response to "would you take an extrovert pill if you could?")


That's classic, Darko. :-) I also liked your suggestion that when the introvert does break out of their shell and become an extrovert for any length of time, there is not only less of you to go around but less to be known. That's spot on with how I feel!

It's an interesting subject...why is it that introverts are more interested in trying to become extroverts than the other way around, and why are extraverts always so worried about us?!

At 2:43 PM, July 30, 2007, Blogger DarkoV said...

thought you may have noticed the "inciteful" v. "insightful" adjectivizing thing. Too clever for my own good...or you were too kind to not mention it.

At 3:46 PM, July 30, 2007, Blogger Gwynne said...

I was too busy worrying about my "extravert" vs. "extrovert" and missed the double entendre of "inciteful"...clever indeed. ;-)

Just read the other article as well and enjoyed it. I may have it laminated to hand out at parties. Good stuff!

At 7:04 PM, July 30, 2007, Anonymous Jim said...

I've never been interested, even for a nanosecond, in becoming an extrovert.

Let them worry. I'll just contemplate the ceiling as they tear out their hair.


At 8:57 PM, July 30, 2007, Blogger Gwynne said...

Not even at your first high school dance? Or at your first college party? Or when your boss tells you to spend your lunch hours(!) "entertaining" clients (I've still managed to avoid this most of my professional life)? Those were times I wished I could "evolve" into an extrovert. But now I know that introverts are the more evolved of the species. ;-)

At 9:05 PM, July 31, 2007, Anonymous Jim said...

Nope. Nah. Never.

And, yes, you are correct.


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