How to Care for This Extrovert


I'm an ENFP.  That's my Myers-Briggs personality type.  It stands for "Extroversion, I[n]tuition, Feeling, and Perception."  If you want, you can read a little more about that type here, here, and here.  (HEY!  Does listing three sites where you can learn about my extremely extroverted type confirm that I'm extroverted or simply narcissistic?  Hmmmm.  Moving on, then.)

So anytime I've taken this test, I score somewhere in the close range of 85% to the "E" for extroversion.  The means I'm almost as far away from being an introvert as possible -- an ultra-extrovert, perhaps.  But does being an extrovert mean I just like being around other people?  No, not just that.  It also means I gain energy from being around other people...and mental stimulation from the activities going on around me.  As an extrovert, I can become bored (and sort of "fade") by myself and I actually think better when talking.  So it's a big deal...not just a personal preference.

Now...lately I've been seeing this image all over Pinterest.  It makes some very good points about successfully "caring for" introverts.  I wondered if there was an equally helpful and succinct set of hints for caring for the extroverts around us.  That's when I came across this really cool blog entry on the subject at DailyHuff.com.  (Their points are bulleted below.  My thoughts are in italics.)

And this is what it said:
  • Respect their need to share, to ‘talk it out.’ They get their energy from other people.
Yeah, I don't know what it is, exactly, about talking it out -- but it can make all the difference with processing something and moving on, making a decision, or finding a solution.  Trying to do these things silently feels unnatural, clunky like trying to drive on a square tire.
  • Just as with introverts, never embarrass them in public. If you do embarrass them in public, go along as much as is reasonable if they play it off like a joke.
I feel like it's a pretty good rule to try and never embarrass anyone in public.  But, sure, someone often more gregarious like an extrovert may be more likely to try and play off such an event.
  • Don’t be surprised if they dive into a new situation headfirst. Don’t freak out either if they flounder a little. They’ll find their way.
I LOVE this point.  I sometimes feel like people see me as an idiot jumping into projects or situations and, just like it says, floundering a little.  It's good to know that somewhere, someone recognizes that I eventually find my way...'cause those introverts around sure as hell ain't sayin' it!!  And those extrov... Hey.  Where'd they go?
  • Extroverts blurt. It’s the nature of the beast. Most try to leaven it with charm, but try to be patient when they don't.
Sighhhh.  Yeah.  I can sometimes blurt.  Sometimes I wish I'd just shut the hell up.  But most times I'm glad I say what's on my mind (because, aside from charm, I also leaven it with kindness and goodwill).  If I can say what's on my mind consistently, then not only am I fostering honest communication, but also forging stronger, more trusting relationships. But this also brings to mind a hilarious quote from Lamb, The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal (by Christopher Moore).  It goes like this: "You can't just go around blurting out the truth like a prophet with Tourette's Syndome."  Heh.
  • Expect interruptions that may seem rude, to some. Most of the time, they mean well.
Ehhhh, "expect"?  I don't totally agree.  You might find this with some extroverts.  And it's not rudeness as much as excitability and the desire to communicate.  I've trained myself to not interrupt, though, and, if I accidentally do, I stop, apologize, and ask the other person to continue.
  • Build surprise into your lives together. Most extroverts love the thrill of not knowing what’s up - as long as it’s positive. 
Ohhhh, I loooove spontaneity!  I could pack a bag and be ready to go on a weekend trip on 15 minutes' notice...and the spontaneity of it would make me giddy.
  • Be prepared for what looks like ADD. The organically outgoing among us feed off the environment around them. They are often the best multi-taskers around, so understand that they are often paying much more attention to you than you think they are. 
EXACTLY!  You should SEE my desk.  And, yeah, I'm often paying more attention than you th SQUIRREL!!!
  • A flashover temper goes with the extroverted personality. The bad thing is it can look like a much more severe storm than it is. The good thing is it’s over quickly.
I suppose I can see myself a little in this.  If I get really mad, I'm more likely than not to let it out, get it over with, get over it, and move on (all in quick order).  There's something about expressing anger or frustration that causes it to lose its power over me...its negative influence.  And I don't think if we get mad at each other, there's something inherently wrong.  It just...happens.  All that being said, if a flashover temper means the extrovert is likely to say things they don't mean or they'll regret, I hope at least I've grown enough to not do so.  I hope so and I think so.  Regardless of our personality, eventually we have to take responsibility for our actions, you know?  Besides, I don't get mad that often.
  • Many extroverts live for the intuitive leap. They reach for it. If teaching an extrovert something new, have patience with them jumping ahead of you.
YES!!!  And as a "doing learner" instead of a "listening" or visual learner, it's common for me to jump in there and get ahead of what the person was going to say (even if maybe I'm wrong...see above re: floundering).  It doesn't really matter.  I won't get it really, until I jump in there and try it out.  And, yeah, there's something really exciting about "getting it" and seeing where something is going.  It's like that "AHA!!!" moment.  Maybe it makes you feel like you've connected with the universe...or makes me feel that way.
  • They will always have lots of friends. But most extroverts have a core of best friends, and their loyalty can be fierce and aggressive if they feel the need to defend those friends. As with so many aspects of the extroverted personality, you may have to be patient with this.
When I first read this, I couldn't see what there was to have to be patient with.  I had to read it again to see the words "fierce" and "aggressive" for how they were meant to read...like "too much" maybe.  So I suppose this one would be true of me, for sure.  If you came at my friend -- my good friend -- I suppose I would defend that person with more ferocity than I would defend even myself.  Where does that come from?  Well...I'm not sure.  But I don't think it's going away.  It feels as natural as defending one of my children.
  • They love compliments, but can usually see right through insincere flattery. Well-timed encouragement, though, can help an extrovert soar.
YES...and absolutely.  It feels so good to receive a sincere compliment...and so flatly annoying to be "complimented" insincerely.  Actually, when someone pays me an insincere compliment, I feel almost embarrassed for them.  I suppose my perception is that it's as obvious to anyone and/or everyone present that the person is being so transparently patronizing (including the patronizer).  Depending on the situation, though, I either play it off gracefully (like if I feel the person is just uncomfortable or is trained to be overly polite) or make little attempt to hide my ambivalence (like if I feel the person is just an asshole).  But those sincere compliments...ahh, yes.  I accept those without trying to hide my absolute delight.  Operant conditioning for everyone!!
  • Sometimes, it’s okay to just go along with the “show.” Consider it free entertainment.
SURE I can give 'em a show sometimes, I suppose!!  If I gain energy and mental stimulation from being around other people, then I'm one of those who will sometimes be high on life.  I've got no problem sharing that joy with those around me, even if it's just making them laugh.
  • Respect their extroversion. Don’t try to pin them to your board or cage them. And do them a favor, if you are not yourself outgoing, extroverted - gently but persistently remind them to read something like this [the "How to Care for Introverts" image] as often as possible. They probably will need the reminders.
True dat...on all counts. 

So I'm getting bored with this now.  See how that works?  There's no one around, no new stimulation to write about, no one's energy to help get mine going.  Sighhhh.  Okay, one last thing.  If you don't know your MB type, but you'd like to, you can take the test here.  I highly recommend it.  Peace out.

2 comments:

Cesar Bielich said...

Ok I love that image, where did you find it?

Tina said...

Which image, the introvert one? It's all over Pinterest.com and also just by Google search. :-)