Splash, an introvers guide to being seen, heard and remembered
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Innies and Outies:

By Carole Cameron

"Can't live with 'em and can't live without 'em...

Belly buttons? No, silly, introverts and extroverts; the two distinctly different orientations to which we humans arrive on this earth already attuned. True, it isn't completely that black and white, as Carl Jung's original theory suggests that Introversion and Extroversion is really a continuum, and that we are all born with a natural "home base location" somewhere along the E/I continuum. But wherever we "sit" on that line, it is on one side of the midpoint or the other. That's where it gets interesting.

"He/she drives me crazy..."

There are all kinds of things about others that confuse us, make us angry, drive us nuts, make us shake our heads in disbelief, or cause us to just plain not get along. Some of these are directly related to our natural inclination for either Introversion or Extroversion. Most of these are a result of just not understanding our opposite type and not being able to speak their "language". Out of this misunderstanding evolve the uncomplimentary and (for the most part) incorrect stereotypes we use to try to help ourselves make sense of the behaviours we don't understand. You know the terms: shy, aloof, loudmouth, attention-getter.

What we're doing is trying to explain the other's behaviour by using our own rules/sensibilities. This is as futile as trying to understand the game of hockey by using the rules of soccer.

For example; when my Extroverted partner Doug starts talking, I (the Introvert) may make one or a number of incorrect assumptions; a) that he is looking to strike up a two-way conversation, b) that his words and ideas are well-thought out, or c) that there is a specific reason that he is sharing this particular thought with me. I make these assumptions, because generally speaking, these are true for me, when I am speaking. WRONG! Very often he is just "talking to himself", "working something out", or "thinking out loud".

And on the flip side, I ran this nasty E-bashing comment/assumption by my dear Extroverted friend Scott: "Extroverts don't actually expect us to hold up our end of the conversation, they just don't want to get bored in-between their own stories". He set me straight. He explained "We do expect you to hold up your end of the conversation. When you don't, we interpret it as boredom, apathy, indifference, or lack of intelligence about the topic". Oh. Whoops.

The Extrovert can also sometimes assume the Introvert is being secretive or withholding. When in reality we may be just a) still processing and reflecting, or b) formulating the best words to use in order to communicate clearly and succinctly.

"That's What I Like About You..."

Well the good news is that it's those same I/E differences that make us crazy which also bring valuable balance and joy to our lives. Outies tell us that the Innies in their lives bring them peace, an oasis for reflection, and allow them to slow down and re-focus on important things. Innies tell us they love the energy and excitement that the Outies bring to their lives.

The moral of this short story? A little understanding goes a long way. As does the appreciation of our differences and how they enhance our lives.

©Carole Cameron. Carole is the author of Splash, an introverts guide to being seen, heard and remembered. She's a successful speaker, author, trainer and coach. Carole's also an INTJ. Other articles by Carole can be found at www.make-a-splash.ca

A positive attitude converts a personality that is easy to ignore into one that isn't.

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