I have not been getting much rest lately. I don’t know if it is because I’m always busy, or because I’m not getting the refreshing interaction I need from God and others.
A friend of mine posted recently that an introvert gets their rest from being left alone. To use his words: “…To the extrovert, this would be infuriating and make them feel run down. To the introvert, it's like heaven after a hard week…” I don’t think he could have nailed that truth any better. What I find interesting about this is the fact that the vast majority of my friends and acquaintances end up being introverted. I on the other hand, am probably one of the most extroverted people I know at the moment. It just got me thinking, what really gives me rest?
I think that it is safe to say that everyone, not just those who are introverted, need to have those times when they are left alone for a few hours just to be. That being said, I also know that as an extravert there are times when being alone is actually more stressful than restful. I think in a lot of cases extraverts get just as much energy if not more, from being around people, than they do being by themselves. It’s tricky though because there is a limit to how much that is true.
For instance, I could be ridiculously tired after working all day at my job, but the moment a friend comes over to hang out I am immediately awake and aware (for the most part). However, if I go to a family gathering I am typically one of the first to be drained and ready to leave. I think the key difference here is actually a preference to crowds vs. individuals. I can’t truly invest into a crowd. Too many people, too much energy required, and not near enough time. I think that is why I get tired; I’m an extrovert who needs to be able to invest in the relationships he is developing.
Another thing that I specifically need, and I think many extroverted people need, is a sense of camaraderie when performing tasks. This, however, might actually be more of a masculine trait than one of an extrovert. Regardless, it is something I have commonly witnessed in myself and others. This is why I constantly (even to the point of aggravation I fear) ask for assistance that really only requires one person, and why I feel somewhat bummed when things don’t turn out the way I hope. This week is a prime example. I’ve been trying to get a desktop computer built, and while I know a couple of people I could have called to help me, I really wanted the help of one particular friend. He could not make it and, naturally, I have proceeded to assemble the computer on my own. This left a feeling (and I hesitate at the strength of these words) of betrayal. Now, to clarify, he never said he could make it, and I do not truly believe that there was any malice hidden in the fact that he was busy. Still, my heart felt hurt. It was silly, and I knew it, and I would never ask him to apologize for something like that. I wouldn’t have even brought it up if I weren’t exploring this portion of who I am and how it relates to those around me.
To offset that example, and to get back to what I am trying to portray is the example of this past weekend when a friend from the church I go to came over to help me clean. I had asked him jokingly, but he said he had “nothing better to do” and so he came over and we spent 4 hours cleaning up around the house. The whole time I was with him there was no sense of unrest or stress on my spirit. All that to say: companionship is important.
I realize that at this point, at least for some of my readers, it may seem like I’m pointing fingers, or writing out of anger. I have tried my best to keep that tone out of this posting because it is entirely against how I feel. I’m not angry at all, but rather exploring not only the idea of extrovert, but myself as well through the use of a social medium known as a blog.
Something else about this sense of companionship, sometimes there doesn’t have to be any action together. In fact, oftentimes I am content with doing my own thing, as long as I am within the vicinity of another human so that interaction can be had if desired. This plays out many times when at home with my wife. I cannot even begin to count how many times during the week we will both be doing something separate from each other, but just being in the same room feels satisfying.
I’m still amazed at how many of my friends are introverts (even my wife is)! I love it though. Sure, there are times I get frustrated with that conflict of interest, but I love having them around me because it forces me to get out of the areas of my life that are natural, and put into practice the parts that are not very natural at all. When everyone wants to be left alone, as this week has largely proven, it forces me to be alone. This is a practice that I do not do well in, and being forced into it allows me to become progressively more comfortable with the silence that being alone induces and the wandering thoughts that go with it. The truth is there are times when I use the good aspects of being an extrovert to stay hidden from my thoughts and examining myself. But, as you can see (I hope) being left to my own devices actually allows me to learn more about myself which is very healthy and essential.
One concluding thought, introverts and extroverts are not really all that different. In the end we are all just humans who happen to have different strengths. Introverts revolve around one half, extroverts the other, and in the middle is where the beautiful unity occurs that is human relationships.
But that’s just my two cents.
Grace and Peace.