I mentioned in a past post that though I am approaching the center of the introversion/extroversion continuum, I started out and still remain toward the extroverted side.This means that my history and thought patterns start from a place of extroversion, much in the same way that someone who is bilingual will still think in their original language.
That being the case, I often have a tough time understanding things like needing silence, being shy, or caving into a stronger personality. In most cases, I am the stronger personality and I don’t even realize when people are simply going along with my wishes. It isn’t that I intend to be rude or domineering. I can simply be unobservant to needs when they aren’t expressed verbally, and introverts won’t immediately tell you their needs if they don’t feel safe or they don’t trust you implicitly.
My wife and I don’t have so many of these struggles anymore, but early in our relationship, I learned a lot about my personality when she finally felt safe in telling me some of my foibles. And now, I see some of the traits of introversion in our eldest daughter.
Over the weekend, DeAnne and I had a family from church over to our house. Their youngest is just older than our eldest and it wasn’t long before peals of wild giggles rang through our small home. The adults let the girls play while we chatted over a meal and in the living room. But at the end of the evening, as we were saying goodbye, our eldest was nowhere to be seen. We found her in her bedroom on a makeshift bed (changing pad covered with blankets and pillows) because she and her friend were playing, and her friend told her to sleep there.
DeAnne and I have never been that successful in getting our eldest to get and stay in bed when it is bedtime.
Anyway, after our wonderful guests had gone home, DeAnne and I chatted about the games the girls were playing. It may have been because she was the younger of the two, but our eldest once again was happy to let someone else take the lead in the pretend playing, even if it meant that her bed was the one on the floor. This deferral mimics my wife’s personality much more than my own, so it seems like she might be more introverted than we first assumed.
I’ve learned (and I continue to learn) what it is like to be married to an introvert, but now I may need to learn what it means to be the parent of one. Or not. Who knows? She’s only three and maybe she was just pretending to be introverted.
If you have an introvert in your life, here’s an infographic comic by Schroeder Jones that I found helpful in relating to my wife (who particularly resonated with the hamster ball idea). Click the image to enlarge it.