Drawing by Elizabeth Wagele from "The Happy Introvert"

If you read my last blog, you introverts probably left it on your desktops for the extroverts in your life to read. This will help them understand you even more.

 • Invite introverts to join in, but do not push them:

 The leader of the meeting looked at the silent member and said, "you are quiet, but I think you have something to say." This introvert wouldn't have broken into the meeting to speak, for it would have seemed a disservice to her ideas to shout them out above the noise of the others. But since she was invited, she spoke—quietly and with great wisdom. - Carolyn Rhodes.

• Question the adjectives and definitions you use for introverts: instead of "passive," perhaps they're “shy and gentle.” Instead of "anti-social," perhaps “their main interests do not always involve other people.” Instead of "self-centered or narcissistic," perhaps they have “satisfying inner lives.”

• Let introverts know you appreciate them for being their own person:

 What makes a man interesting to me is when he's free. When he does not feel the need to look a certain way, to behave a certain way. When he's himself. Always. When he doesn't want to please everyone. - Michele Laroque, actress.

• Remember that neurological differences underlay introvert/extravert conflicts. Introverts have naturally busy minds, sometimes referred to as inner wakefulness, and are easily overwhelmed by sensory stimuli. Extraverts become unpleasantly restless with too little stimulation, so they often seek action.

• Since our culture seems to be celebrating extraversion much of the time, extol the virtues of introversion as well.

• Extraverts are easier to read than introverts. Introverts aren't necessarily trying to keep a secret—disclosing their thoughts and feelings often just doesn't occur to them.

 * “Thinking type” extraverts can do with few complements, but “feeling types” put effort into relating to others and depend on getting attention back. If you are an extravert who feels you put out more than your share of energy, it helps to remember that introverts can also accomplish a lot, but their accomplishments will likely be of a different nature.

Some relationship examples

* Introverted Michael appreciates his extraverted wife's openness with people. When they met, he was fearful of social situations and Barbara was his entry into conversations. Little by little, he learned from her to join in on his own. She learned from his example to pay more attention to her quiet side.

* Extraverted Nancy believes every occasion can be improved upon by adding more people. She might have labeled her introverted husband and son as simply wrong, she told me, had she not understood type differences. Instead, she learned to respect their temperaments and they hers. Even though they are not fond of social activities themselves, they support her when she wants to invite friends over or throw a party.

* Introverted Gregory becomes frustrated at his extraverted friends' slowness when it comes to internal processing, such as grasping metaphors and meanings in movies. He claims that people find him “abysmally slow and frustrating”, however, when it comes to external processes such as preparing schedules, getting packed, and so on.

* When Dixie wanted to have an exchange student live with her family, her husband and children, all introverts, made it clear that they would be miserable with a stranger in the house. She became more involved in community activities to satisfy her desire for more people in her life.

 See my web site for famous Enneagram and introverted/extroverted types.

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