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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.

– Jess

Published in Random Rambling

Jess

Jessica West (West1Jess) is pursuing a state of self-induced psychosis (reading, writing, editing). She lives in Acadiana with three daughters still young enough to think she's cool and a husband who knows better but likes her anyway.

0 Comments for "Introverts & Extroverts – Response to A Love Letter"

  • Freda Moya

    I enjoyed reading this Jess as a counter viewpoint, as I had actually read Kylie’s blog too and had left feeling a little bemused. I can fully understand why as an extrovert you would have felt attacked, betrayed and subsequently angry.

    Personally, I have always thought I possess both introvert and extrovert traits although I believed I sway more toward introvert until I read Kylie’s blog when I suddenly felt I didn’t recognise myself anymore. I even did one of the “quizzes” linked on her blog because I’ve always been confused as to where I fall (not that I think it should matter.) Anyway turns out I’m an ‘ambivert’, neither introvert nor extrovert, therefore I must be extremely confusing to people! (I am to myself so perhaps this explains it!) In either case I think it’s always dangerous to pigeon hole people into categories, Human beings are a concoction of contradictions and we are all just people trying to find our way and be understood. We have to just try and react to other human beings in the best way we can and above all realise each one of us is highly individual whatever box we are put into. I like labeling myself and its my prerogative to do so, but I would never assume to do it to anyone else. I’d like to think I just try to understand where a person is coming from.

    Thanks for such an honest post which I think fairly challenges another’s view.

    Reply
    • Jessica West

      Thanks for weighing in, Joanne! The thing I hoped to convey the most, and I may have swung wide of the mark, was that no matter what your personality, both parties in any relationship need to meet in the middle.

      I felt that the original post was basically saying, “Here’s how extroverts need to change to be friends with introverts.” To be fair to the author, she did try to soften the blow at the very beginning, but I took a hit nonetheless. What I’m hoping I’ve conveyed here is that for any relationship between two people to be successful, they both need to make a few adjustments. Compromise is a huge tool in making any relationship work.

      That, and communication. I know introverts aren’t big on small talk, but sometimes it’s nice to know people care about you. A big way to show that you care is to simply drop in at random times and say, “Hey, how was your day?” I know that no one, be they intro or extro, wants to hear me drone on about every little thing, so I’ll keep it brief. It’s important to note that a conversation that begins with that line is a signal, for me anyway, that you were just dropping in to say hi. No big deal. And if the conversation keeps going, great. If not, that’s fine too.

      Basically all I’m suggesting is that every single one of us needs a bit of compassion and understanding, which is what I think Kylie was trying to say as well. But that compassion and understanding has to come from both parties. I have a (mostly) extrovert type personality, and I know that can be really annoying for introverts. My introverted friends have been patient with me because they believe I’m worth the effort. In exchange, I try to be a little less annoying when hanging with the cool kids.

      Anyway, thanks again for reading and for commenting, J! Talk to ya later!

      – Jess

      Reply
  • Amira K.

    Dude! I just now read Kylie Kerosene’s post and even as a more-introverted person I had LOADS of problems with it. As you said, she’s basically asking extroverts to change for introverts. Also, as you said, there’s LOADS of crossover and most people fit somewhere in between the two categories, and aren’t totally cut and dried. And finally, how is an ‘extrovert’ supposed to immediately perceive that another person is an ‘introvert’? Part of the process of getting to know someone new is figuring out how to relate to that person, and her way of hashing out pre0rdained expectations of people isn’t helping anyone.

    Thanks for writing a rebuttal. Definitely important to deflate that balloon before it floats too far into the sky.

    Reply
    • Jessica West

      My initial response was unacceptable. It took me a little while, but I’m glad that I said something. It’s just been on my mind since I read it and weighing heavily on my heart. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. And yeah, sometimes it’s obvious when a person is an introvert, but not always. I don’t want to fit anyone into a specific category first and treat them with kid gloves. I want to grow relationships. That’s it. And I’m happy to get to know new people, no matter what their personality type.

      I didn’t want to come across as harsh or judgmental, but I just couldn’t carry it inside anymore. Now that it’s out there instead of festering in my head, I feel much better.

      Thanks for reading, for understanding, and for leaving your reply! Your friendship is greatly appreciated, Amira. ♥

      Reply
  • TipTim

    Wow! Love this. Parts of this are me. Half in, half ex. When hurt I withdraw into my in-shell though. Also have MANY friends, but few close friends. Unfortunately, I’m in one of my hurt moments so words are few today

    Reply
    • Jess West

      Thanks, Tim. I understand that feeling. I typically lash out when hurt then withdraw completely. In a way, I think Kylie’s article helped me to become a little bit better about that. I didn’t lash out, and didn’t withdraw completely either. So I’m glad she shared, I just needed to add my two bits, offer another perspective.

      Take your time navigating the down side. The sun will rise on another dawn and draw you back into the light. And the world will still be here, waiting. 🙂

      Reply
  • Annecdotist

    With a background in psychology – although by no means an expert on the personality theory from which the construct of introversion/extraversion derives – I’ve watched with interest how some people, writers especially, are claiming the “introvert” label. I think it’s great that this personality style is becoming less stigmatised but it can be overused and misused. I didn’t read the original article but I think it would be a shame if things flipped around so that extroverts were made to feel they had the wrong approach to social situations. I do agree that we have opposing ways of refuelling, although many of us vary our styles according to our moods and circumstances, and need to find our own balance between time alone and socialisation – and respect each other’s different choices and needs.

    Reply
    • Jess West

      Thank you, Annecdotist. I hope that introverts, extroverts and those who fall somewhere in between can all get to a point where we’re comfortable to simply be who we are. Some of us will get along just fine, some won’t. Either way, I think there are considerably more factors that contribute to the success or failure of any relationship than just the one facet of our personality. And the most important thing you must do for any relationship to be successful is to respect each other’s choices and needs, just as you said.

      Reply

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