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The Lonely Life of the Extrovert

Some think that it's hard to be an introvert, because they don't always have the drive and social chutzpah to engage with people all the time.  As a result, they can lead a miserly existence, and require much greater effort to get out there and mingle.

Though that might be true, I would suggest that being an extrovert is at least equally lonely, particularly if you're like Hubbs and I.  We are confident, relatively "successful" people with a strong and unwavering faith.  We are articulate and educated, critical-thinking and willing to stand up for what we believe (not to mention argue against that which is clearly false). We love to get in there and mingle, converse and (when required), lead.  Often, we are surrounded by people who for whatever reason like to gravitate towards us.  There is much laughter and conversation that often flows from our table. 

However, because of these qualities, assumptions get made. People think that we have it all together (and we don't always).  People want to seek us out for advice, for encouragement, for support, for help, but because they figure that we have it all together, they don't usually ask us what we need, or offer anything in return.

And while that is sometimes how relationships ebb and flow, when we are always on the giving end and almost never receiving, it can get quite tiring, not to mention, lonely.  I mean, the introvert doesn't actually need people to get recharged; people drain them.  However, us extroverts need people to build us up, to walk with us and love on us in order for us to feel refreshed. 

Sometimes, those people are hard to find.  And sometimes we encounter "duds" who end up hurting our hearts and wasting our time.

Like the one who thought I was an arrogant parent, and justified ignoring me as a result.  You're welcome for all of those meals, including the one at Thanksgiving when you were in the hospital with a sick kid, BTW. 

Or the one who, despite all of her actions suggesting that she was a good friend (from texting with me and inquiring on how life was going, to hanging out together in each other's homes and at the movies, to cuddling my newborn Little L during those foggy, early days), suddenly decided that we weren't really friends at all and my invitations to hang out amounted to pestering.  It's neither sudden nor intense to ask a friend to go for coffee, BTW, especially if it has been nearly half a year since you've been able to hang out.  Sorry for trying.

Or the several who only ever text or call when they want or need something, rather than to see how we are doing just because they care.  We're fine, thanks for not asking.

Today is one of those lonely days.  And one where, after evaluating all of the "dud" situations and their origins, makes us question whether we are in the right community after all. 

**DISCLAIMER: We do have several loving quality individuals in our lives who bless us and whose friendships we cherish.  It's just that, on days when we are feeling particularly deprived of community, the bad apples overshadow the good ones.  If you are one of our old, like-siblings-from-a-different-motha kind of friends, we love you and appreciate you and miss you.  We just wish there were more of you and less of the duds!






Comments

ForwardEarth said…
Your perception of introverts is completely inaccurate. There is nothing miserly about our existence. An extravert is, in fact, much more susceptible to loneliness than we are. The reason we lack the "drive and social chutzpah" to engage with people and mingle all the time is because we don't need to. We need and enjoy solitude. We are naturally internally focused and our minds are always very active. We are continually occupied in some manner, whether it's with hobbies and interests, or simple contemplation. And so we lose more energy when we turn our focus outward and incorporate a lot of other people into our thought processes. We do like to socialize, but we are more satisfied by doing so in smaller groups, and we don't require large doses of social activity. We are not lonely. I will never know the loneliness that you can know.
Mrs. Loquacious said…
Thanks for the insight. I suppose that just as I shouldn't speak for all extroverts, I am certain that you can only speak of your own introversion and not on behalf of all introverts. I know of some who have said that they do feel lonely. I'm glad you have never known loneliness :)
ForwardEarth said…
Actually, no. Introversion is physiological. We have a specific kind of brain structure, as well as neurochemistry, that is fundamentally different from that of extraverts. So in general terms, and to varying degrees, what I said is true for all of us.

I don't mean to be confrontational. I know you didn't mean any harm, and your thesis that extraverts are more susceptible to loneliness is certainly true. I'm just on a mission to help clear up misconceptions.
Mrs. Loquacious said…
Thanks for clarifying, ForwardEarth. :)
Justice~! said…
If there are people from our church reading this article (though it is old) I thought I'd offer some clarity:

a) if you are wondering whether you are the people being referred to in this post, you are not. Mrs L and I are Matthew 18 people; these stories are regarding people we confronted and the relationship (if we ever had one) subsequently ended. If we didn't confront you, it's not you.
b) The Thanksgiving dinner situation was actually a somewhat lengthy period of Mrs L being either ignored or actually being the recipient of outright rude behavior. It culminated in my confronting the husband (who was in a leadership position) about it to see if there was a problem, to have him tell me, "Yeah...my wife...she doesn't agree with your parenting style and thought you were arrogant about it."
J: "So your wife felt it was better to just ignore Helen or be rude to her in the face of her making meals for her and assuming they were friends? Disagreeing on parenting styles means we can behave that way to each other as Christians?"
"Yeah, she's totally wrong about behaving that way. I'll talk to her and we'll make it right with you. Talk to me in a week if you don't hear anything."

week goes by, nothing.

Week later, Justice texts: "Hey, you told me to text?"

"Yeah, we're totally *owning this*. I'll get back to you. Appreciate you"

and that was the last I heard from him. *Four months ago*. No apology, no attempt at even a discussion. Just avoidance.

The issue Helen refers to re: the "it's not weird to want to hang out with someone" was a situation where one of our friends came over, hung out, talked about their family problems for 4 hours at a time, told us to text any time of day or night if we had issues with Baby L, repeatedly (and insistently) offer to babysit our newborn daughter to the point that it was almost odd, and then after 3 months of literally ignoring Mrs L, to say to her "I can't wrap my head around why you want to hang out, I never considered us close". It's tough to invest in someone in your CG and have that kind of unstable behavior as your reward. If you have that little investment in my wife and I as friends, how could I ever trust you to take care of my child? How do I even trust your *intentions* with my child?

d) There are many many good people at our church, and great friends - Helen and I have just been unfortunate enough that when you know as many people as we do, we sometimes invested our time in the wrong people. I want to apologize to all of our legitimately good friends at our church, because we wasted our time on people that could have been spent on you.
Justice~! said…
If there are people from our church reading this article (though it is old) I thought I'd offer some clarity:

a) if you are wondering whether you are the people being referred to in this post, you are not. Mrs L and I are Matthew 18 people; these stories are regarding people we confronted and the relationship (if we ever had one) subsequently ended. If we didn't confront you, it's not you.
b) The Thanksgiving dinner situation was actually a somewhat lengthy period of Mrs L being either ignored or actually being the recipient of outright rude behavior. It culminated in my confronting the husband (who was in a leadership position) about it to see if there was a problem, to have him tell me, "Yeah...my wife...she doesn't agree with your parenting style and thought you were arrogant about it."
J: "So your wife felt it was better to just ignore Helen or be rude to her in the face of her making meals for her and assuming they were friends? Disagreeing on parenting styles means we can behave that way to each other as Christians?"
"Yeah, she's totally wrong about behaving that way. I'll talk to her and we'll make it right with you. Talk to me in a week if you don't hear anything."

week goes by, nothing.

Week later, Justice texts: "Hey, you told me to text?"

"Yeah, we're totally *owning this*. I'll get back to you. Appreciate you"

and that was the last I heard from him. *Four months ago*. No apology, no attempt at even a discussion. Just avoidance.

The issue Helen refers to re: the "it's not weird to want to hang out with someone" was a situation where one of our friends came over, hung out, talked about their family problems for 4 hours at a time, told us to text any time of day or night if we had issues with Baby L, repeatedly (and insistently) offer to babysit our newborn daughter to the point that it was almost odd, and then after 3 months of literally ignoring Mrs L, to say to her "I can't wrap my head around why you want to hang out, I never considered us close". It's tough to invest in someone in your CG and have that kind of unstable behavior as your reward. If you have that little investment in my wife and I as friends, how could I ever trust you to take care of my child? How do I even trust your *intentions* with my child?

d) There are many many good people at our church, and great friends - Helen and I have just been unfortunate enough that when you know as many people as we do, we sometimes invested our time in the wrong people. I want to apologize to all of our legitimately good friends at our church, because we wasted our time on people that could have been spent on you.
Justice~! said…
Also: Jesus is awesome, and I do want to say that despite what I say above, overall our church is amazing. Consider this a rare pothole on the Christian road of life

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