Monday, February 16, 2009

What Am I? An Odd Reality about Us

I still haven't figured out what I am. Extrovert or Introvert? This is the question. Some of you may be chuckling right now and saying, "Of course she is an extrovert!" But you don't know the whole story.

Though I had friends and birthday parties and lots of fun as a child, I was very, very introverted and shy all through my growing up years. It wasn't until I became very active in CEF missions work that I learned to get out of my comfort zone and rely on the Lord to help me evangelize and share the Gospel. I began to see that shyness can be a form of pride, and if nothing else a form of selfishness. One girl I really respected said she used to think I was a snob because I never talked to her; when in truth I was so intimidated by her because she was popular, the most gorgeous girl I'd ever met, and a very sweet and talented person.

So, as I crawled out of my "shell" I became a crazy extrovert. In my late teens and college years I was gung-ho about all social things, including practical jokes and pranks, and attended all the fun and lively Bible College activities. I got to hang around girls constantly all the time (I'm the only girl in my fam) and experienced the whole gamut of roomie relationship issues, from tears and traumas to tickle tortures and snow baths and giggling together late at night.

Most people who meet me would say I'm an extrovert because I continually approach new people and invite them over or get to know them. I love doing that and reaching out to people excites me. If I met me at a social gathering, I would think, "Poor Josiah. She must talk his ear off." I never lack for topics to discuss and issues to work through and I enjoy lengthy and lively conversation with friends.

On the other hand, anyone who meets King Jo says, "Does he ever talk?" He is often taken for the shyest, quietest person in the room to the point of offending some people (like future in-laws) because they are trying to get to know him and he just doesn't say much, if anything. His whole family is quiet and not very talkative around new people too.

But here's where the weird stuff comes in. At home we are COMPLETE OPPOSITES! This is why I can't figure out what I am. An enjoyable evening for me is hours and hours of silence and getting lost in a good book. Though I love my hubby dearly, I don't mind a bit that he is gone for about 5 hours on Wed. night helping with Youth Group. I relish and savor the complete silence and the ability to get projects done. Some nights, if I feel my hub is asking me too many questions or trying to converse too much, I actually lock myself in the bathroom for a hot bath, or go fold laundry to avoid conversation. He loves to talk with me, cuddle, play games, do things side-by-side and just interact back and forth. At home I'm like the stereo-typical man and he's the stereo-typical woman.

Some may blame this on our current jobs. My job involves endless conversation and training with the kids and I sort my thoughts out best writing them down (hence, my blog). If I want a lengthy, spider-webbing conversation, I call a friend or my mom. My hubby works with my dad and there isn't a lot of conversation over the scream of the chainsaws and wood planer or sanders, etc. Perhaps someday in different circumstances we will find ourselves changing again.

If you asked me if I feel energized by time with people, I'd say "Yes!" If you asked me if I feel energized by time alone, I'd say, "Yes!" I can't say if I'd rather spend a day laughing with girlfriends or a whole day by myself, curled up in a solitary cabin with a book. Both sound nice.

So, in order to meet my hubby's needs during this stage, I have to force (yes, force) myself to talk more and be more communicative and he has to learn (yes, learn) not to talk as much and to let me have some "down" time.


Momma Bear said...

I'm very similar- I get energy from being around others at times and I get energy by myself. You sound similar to me. Right now with the kids, talking a lot, a lot noise constantly 15+ hours a day. I do not want to get in conversation when my husband comes home. I too want a bath or i want read or cuddle up on the couch (by myself) and watch a show. For me I know I'm generally an extrovert but I'm also a melancholy personality and at times I need time to process through "life" how I'm feeling etc. This is facilitated by me being quiet and retreating to some degree. Thanks for sharing- I can totally relate!

The Three 22nds said...

Interesting post. Noah and I have known each other since preschool and it is definitely interesting to see how both of us have changed growing up. Because we certainly have.

I wonder if the job thing is really a lot of it, though. Noah has a lot of good friends at work and he talks with coworkers all day long. I talk and talk when he gets home because I have been talking with preschoolers all day and only brief conversations with friends and my mom with plenty of interruptions.

That is why I think he likes my job. I go to the hospital and talk to my coworkers all night sometimes :)

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