Not all introverts are created equal. Some are willing to speak up, to share their thoughts and feelings, and go out of their way to make new friends. Some are more reserved. They keep their thoughts and feelings behind closed doors most of the time, and when they do let them out, it’s usually in small amounts. More often than not, friendship is accidental or the result of circumstances, not something that’s pursued.
I fall into that reserved category, and like most things in life, it has its advantages and disadvantages. I don’t feel the need to fill the silence. I’m okay with being alone for hours without speaking. The down side is that I don’t always speak up when I should. I don’t always voice ideas that could benefit myself and others, and with only my internal monologue for advice, it’s easy to talk myself out of trying new things. I know I’ve missed out on some good experiences because of it.
But being an introvert also makes me a better writer. I’m an observer, a thinker. I’m content to sit in the background and watch the world around me. I see things that others miss. Written words feel safer than spoken ones, so I love and value words and lavish attention on them. I’m willing to spend the time searching for the perfect words that will express the thoughts I do choose to share.
I’m thankful for the extroverts who’ve patiently waited for me to open the doors I like to keep closed, who’ve become my accidental friends. I appreciate the way they encourage me to open the doors a little wider, a little more often. They’re willing to gently knock on the door, but they’re not offended when I don’t want to open up.
My goal in life isn’t to become an extrovert. It’s to become the best version of my introverted self that I can be, but I’ve realized I’m going to need help from an extrovert or two to reach my goal. Fortunately, I have an extrovert friend who’s also a writer. Mindy is always willing to try new things and drag me along invite me to go along with her. It was Mindy’s idea for us to blog on the same day, one of us from the extrovert’s perspective and one from the introvert’s, and we plan to do more of these two-sided posts in the future—our Inside Out posts—because the world needs both kinds of people.
The cool thing is that even though we’re two very different people Mindy and I still have a lot in common. We “get” each other because we’re both writers. And I like to think that we make each other better writers because of our differences.
For the extrovert’s perspective, be sure to stop by Mindy’s blog In the Write Moment.
Are you an extrovert or an introvert? How has it helped you? How has it held you back?
©2014 Kim Vandel