On November 17, 2013, Kylie Kerosene posted her article, Introverts & Extroverts – A Love Letter. I’m going to be completely honest here, I read it and stupidly got my feelings hurt. I felt attacked. To make matters worse, many of the people I’ve met on Twitter and have come to think of as friends are introverts, a few even going so far as to recommend the article. I felt betrayed. I have held my tongue on the matter because when I’m hurt, I get angry. When I’m angry, I get mean. One of my worst personality traits, but each and every one of us carries darkness in some form or other. Mine is cruelty. I am as cruel as I am kind. And too often, I speak without thought to the consequences.
I did have a conversation with a couple of Twitter friends who shared a similar stance, after which I didn’t feel quite so isolated. And so I waited to respond until I could do so in a manner that is constructive to building relationships with my introvert counterparts, rather than burning the tenuous bridges that connect me to them. The following is my response to introvert Kylie Kerosene, and a heartfelt extension of the hand of a prospective extrovert friend.
I’m going to toss out some quotes from her article and respond. Just, go with it.
“The main difference between introverts and extroverts is where they get their energy from.” – KK
This is true, as best as I can tell in the months that I’ve been researching the matter, but inaccurate. It’s a generalization that can be harmful to those who can not be neatly placed into either category, and to friends who seek to understand such creatures.
“Extroverts get their energy from being in crowds of people, while introverts get their energy from alone time. It’s not a downfall for either type of person, it’s just how their batteries recharge.” – KK
A perfect example of how I fall into both categories. Sometimes, I gain momentum as I spend time with a group of people. Other times, I feel drained and exhausted and ready to leave within half an hour of arriving. The difference depends largely on the people and how much (or how little) I was looking forward to the event in the first place.
I like to say I’m an extrovert with introversial tendencies, because a true introvert would be quick to toss me into the extrovert pile upon first meeting me. But it simply isn’t that cut and dried. I need you to understand where I’m coming from too, if this is going to work.
“Don’t Judge Us” – KK
I’ve never been accused of judging people, but sometimes I am insensitive. This stems from the fact that I am so excited to meet a new person and get to know them, and have them get to know me, that I speak without thought to what I’m saying. (Extrovert tendency, I believe) So I guarantee you that if you and I are friends, at some point I’m going to say something that makes you wonder why we’re friends in the first place. If you’re anything like my current friends, you’ll realize that what I’ve said will eventually hit me and I’ll get that look you tossed my way and apologize. As you get to know me, you’ll realize that I’m not judging you, I’m simply oblivious to certain things that seem very obvious to you. Don’t take my insensitivity for malicious intent or a vicious soul. Don’t assume I’m judging you. Don’t be so quick judge me.
“Don’t Ignore Us” – KK
I have a very short attention span. If we’re having a conversation, and you settle into a bored silence, I’m going to assume you’ve had about enough of my company. I realize I have a great deal of energy that is exhausting to most people, including other extroverts. When our conversation is over, I’ll say, “See ya later,” and move on, taking no offense at your brief, seemingly uninterested reply. If this behavior is not the result you were hoping for, Don’t Ignore Me. This point ties into the next.
“Do Start the Conversation” – KK
To continue from the above point, if I have to start every conversation between the two of us, I’m going to assume you don’t want to talk to me. Ever. I’m a persistent person, so if you give me any indication that you’d like to remain friends, I will keep trying. But every time I start the conversation and you don’t, it hurts. I’m bearing my soul here because this is one I really need you to get. Every time I am the first to start the conversation, I wonder, does this person even want to talk to me? Am I bugging them? I get that you need me to make the first move most of the time, but it wouldn’t kill you to meet me half-way and open the door to communication every once in a while. Do try to start the conversation, at least one out of every ten times we speak.
This post is turning into the novel I never dreamed of writing, so I’m just going to wrap it up here with a few more words from Kylie.
“None of us should let differences in personality get in the way of our relationships with each other. Some of the best friends and loved ones I’ve ever known were extroverts. This is because we found the balance between the two extremes. I listened while they talked, allowing them to shine and be the star of the show, and they talked to me, coaxing me out of my shell patiently and respectfully.” – KK
This, I couldn’t have put better myself. Thank you for your post, Kylie. It’s opened a door into my mind with a room full of thoughts and emotions I didn’t know was there. And for those of you who trudged through my little rant, I hope it wasn’t too arduous. For those of you who still want to call me a friend, thank you. As an extrovert, it may seem that I have many friends because of my exuberant nature when dealing with anyone and everyone. In truth, I have only a few. For those few, most of whom are introverts I might add, I am extremely grateful.