Discussion continues on the social preferences—Introversion and Extroversion--with the reminder that everyone is a blend of both, each leaning more comfortably to one preference. What and how much is spoken is critical for maintaining good communication.
Around seventy-five percent of the general population are decidedly external, thriving on conversation and tolerating noise and confusion. Extroverts generally speak first, then think, and often attempt to erase some of what they just said. They rely on what I call ‘ear editing,’ and have to intentionally learn to think first. As mentioned in the last blog, Introverts number just 25 percent and have to learn to endure and manage the unintentional hurts in being talked-over and seemingly becoming invisible to Extroverts.
“I really don’t know what I’m thinking until I hear myself talk,” many Extroverts confess. “I talk until I think of something to say,” Garrison Keillor, a popular monologist quipped. Extroverts acknowledge uncomfortably that many times they open mouth and insert foot.
Extroverts, for the most part, test their statements by ear. They readily voice their opinions, volunteering how they feel, how much weight they’ve lost, if they got a speeding ticket or what’s happened so far today. They openly discuss projects they are working on without being prompted. Many Extroverts admit that they are amazed at what and how much they say. “Extroverts almost choke on what they know,” a workshop member surmised. In fact, Extroverts are attracted to Introverts because they are good listeners.
Some Introverts assume Extroverts are afraid of no one and are never at a loss for words; they envy those abilities. Extroverts may exude a fearless, self-confident impression, but readily admit they get nervous and bandy-legged many times. It is evident that an extra dose of confidence accompanies the Extroversion preference. A gift.
Introverts appreciate Extroverts’ ease in keeping dialogue from lagging and humorous banter in awkward situations. Extroverts’ optimism, self-confidence, and ability not to take themselves or setbacks too seriously greatly redeems their wordiness. Some strong Extroverts feel obligated to fill the airwaves because they assume that lulls in conversation are just as annoying to others as to them. Not so. An Extrovert’s tendency to finish a slow speaker’s sentences (because he or she prefers immediate responses and also has something more to say) irritates and frustrates Introverts.
Because Extroverts require exposure to many people and little privacy, being alone is as distasteful to some of them as being with too many people is to Introverts. Some simply must have conversation and/or people around them most of the day or they become restless or suffer from boredom and loneliness. Usually these feelings last only until they get around people again.
Extroverts can and must learn to edit their voluminous verbiage, if not for others’ benefit, then, for their own protection to trim away the need for “I spoke out of turn” statements. I often suggest cutting what they want to say in half as a practical goal.
Learning to listen for Extroverts is a communication skill worth cultivating. On the other hand, if Introverts would smile a bit more and risk jumping into conversations by announcing that “I have something to say,” they would destroy some of Extroverts’ wrong assumptions about them and will bless their communities with their unique humor, opinions, and practical ideas.
The biggest favor that Extroverts can bestow on Introverts is to request their opinions by creating opportunities to speak. Extroverts can also protect Introverts from neglect. Wise Introverts inform Extroverts when their ears and minds are weary.
In my opinion, the most distinguishing contrast between Introversion and Extroversion is the effect people/noise have on them. Being in public, talking and listening drains Introverts but the same energizes Extroverts. Please grant Introverts at least 30-45 minutes to recoup. Extroverts recover in 10-20 minutes. Next discussion is on the “conscious world” vs “what might be” preferences.