Relationally Speaking

Had a conversation recently with someone who is more of an “introvert”.  In other words, they need time alone to recharge; without alone time, they cannot function at their best.  She and I were chatting – and I should disclose that this conversation took place via private message on Facebook – and she made a statement that I’ve heard before – “I know you find it fun to hang out with other people and that’s cool.”


Sure.  I gain enjoyment from interacting with other people in a casual way.

But it’s SOOOOO much more than that.

The internet is full of articles explaining introverts; they feel the need to defend their need to withdraw from the “madding crowd” from time to time.  I get it.  Believe me, I get it.  I have a sister who has always been like that.  I also have a child who needs serious amounts of alone time to function at her best.

And I am completely the opposite.

I NEED meaningful interaction with other human beings to thrive.  I cannot function at my best if I have been saddled with large quantities of alone time.

I’m not talking about the shallow “Did you find everything okay?” type conversation you have with a cashier.  Or the “How are you?” to which we always answer “I’m good.”  I’m talking about meaningful, share my dreams, talk about what makes me laugh, share what inspires me, type of conversation.

Ironically, I can psych myself out of calling up friends to chat or to plan a get-together.  The need for meaningful interaction – and that can come in the form of a fabulously intense belly laugh kind of evening – is so powerful that I’m worried I’ll screw it up.  Or that those I try to plan an outing with will turn me down in favor of someone/something they like better.

And I’ve learned, from talking to others like me, that I’m not unique in that fear.

So you have a group of people that need significant interaction with others yet who are afraid to reach out to others to get that interaction.

The end result of that is pretty predictable at this point in my life – if I’ve gone without interaction for awhile, I can get SUPER chatty once an opportunity presents itself.  And I know I’m not the only extroverted person who behaves in such a way.  If we’ve gone without a chance to recharge our “emotional batteries” in awhile, we’ll take ridiculous advantage of the situations that do arise.

I guess what I’m saying is fairly simple – where an introvert needs space and time away from others on a regular basis so that he or she can function at his or her very best, I need exactly the opposite.

For the relationally motivated in your life, the easiest thing you can do to help them stay “fully functional” is to be available on a regular basis for regular interaction with you.  Trust me.  You’ll both appreciate how much more emotionally balanced they are.

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