As an entertainer, with a background in stand-up comedy, radio, television and performing live on-stage at various events, you might be surprised to hear that I consider myself an Introvert. It wasn’t until I had a discussion with my father years ago that it became clear that we’re BOTH Introverts. He a retired doctor of medicine; me a comedian; both cut from the same cloth, indeed. Not only did I now have an enlightened view of my own persona, but it helped solve an ongoing mystery in my relationship with my wife, who is most definitely an Extrovert.
For a long time I thought I was socially shy, but I would have never described myself with the term Introvert, which people often confuse with shyness or reclusiveness. While I admit I might still be socially awkward at times, and sometimes prefer to be silent rather than engaged in superficial chitchat at parties for instance, once my Dad walked me through the working definition of Introvert, my world made sense. Again, by “my world” making sense, I mean my wife.
The Jungian definition of an Introvert: a person whose motives and actions are directed inwards; someone who tends to be preoccupied with their own thoughts and feelings.
My father more specifically cited The Myers & Briggs definition of Introversion, which asks you to take time to reflect on descriptions and statements to determine which is most natural, and applicable to you.
- a) I take time to reflect so that I have a clear idea of what I’ll be doing when I decide to act.
- b) I am seen as “reflective”.
If 1. a) and b) seem natural, effortless and comfortable for you, you are likely an Introvert just like me and my Dad. Welcome to the club! There are monthly meetings, with a lot of introspection about a very minimal number of agenda items.
On the other hand:
- a) I often understand a problem better when I can talk about it and hear what others have to say.
- b) I sometimes jump too quickly into an activity and don’t allow enough time to think it over.
If 2. a) and b) seem to be more applicable to you, congratulations, you might very well be an Extrovert! Which means, you probably like to have numerous telephone conversations with a multitude of your friends about the same topic before coming to me to go over those very same conversations in precision detail, but decide to do what you wanted to do in the first place because no one gave you the answer you were looking for, just like my wife.
When I come home from hanging out with a friend, or get off the phone with a buddy, I never understand why my wife asks, “Tell me EVERYTHING!”. From my perspective, I just had that conversation; I don’t want to go back over the whole thing again right now. If something interesting comes up organically in the next few hours or days, I’m not hesitant about sharing it with you. But, for now, I’m done! She is irked and bewildered by this response.
Thankfully, since my Introversion revelation, I am prepared for when she approaches with the desire to re-enact my recent communications. This edition of Speaking Spouse, will also help you with the classic, “Wanna Talk About Anything?”.