Extroverts—we come in layers and all shades of intensity. If we qualify ourselves as one (because let’s be real, you can only self-identify yourself as one or not), we feel more comfortable putting our emotions and personality up at the front than our counterparts, the introverts. We like to share parts of our lives and who we are with others (for the most part) and we feel at home asking other people questions and getting into the mix.
And for those who don’t relate to this, that can be a lot. For introverts, it can be engaging and impressive to watch as we bound forward, in a way that seems fearless, into social situations, work events, or other vulnerable people-facing adventures. On the flip side, it can also be overwhelming to think of being that way when every fiber of who you are would fight that kind of attention or platform.
When it comes down to it, being an extrovert can feel unnatural to some. And just like holding ourselves back from certain opportunities or situations feels like a waste to extroverts, introverts may just not see it that way. This can be hard when we develop relationships, and friendships or have family members that don’t sync up with our outlook. You want to seek the world out alongside the people you love most, but how you do it can be a disagreement when finding the happy balance between these two personality types is not met.
Here are a few things to remember that could help you bridge any gaps as you face life alongside introverted personalities.
Use your extroverted personality to relate to introverts
Sometimes as extroverts, since we open ourselves up to people easily, people often more easily return that gesture. This gives us an advantage in really getting to understand people better. This type of trait can build empathy, and when we are close to introverts, using that skill is crucial when making efforts to make the introverts you love feel more relaxed. Approach their perspective with empathy and it will allow you to more easily assess an introvert’s feelings.
Learn from introverts
Introverts have a lot to offer. Since they aren’t jumping into the thick of things naturally or since they are preferring to spend more time inwardly, they are usually very keen observers. Ask them questions. You will likely learn things from them that you never considered, and it will open up your mind to other ideas, perceptions, and possibilities.
It’s OK to encourage, but don’t push
People are who they are. There is nothing wrong with being an introvert or an extrovert. One is not better than the other. Both offer wonderful things to the world. But remember there is a time and a place to encourage people to get out of their bubble, challenge and push themselves, but always be patient and respectful of their boundaries. Find that line and be mindful—that is what loving another person is, and it’s important to be respectful of it.
Take advantage of the balance
Similar to how it is OK to encourage introverts to go out of their comfort zone occasionally, let introverts remind you it’s also OK to reel it in. This balance will allow you to slow down. Enjoy it, it will help you grow as a person.
Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum of being outgoing or being more reserved, our differences are always a chance to learn, find more patience for others, learn from others and also share with others what we can teach. It is important to keep these things in mind as we learn to keep our relationships with those who we love and who are cut from a different cloth, healthy.
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