After all my posts about us introverts, and how difficult life can be in an extroverted world, one might get the impression that I don’t like extroverted people. That I think myself better than them. That I only hang out with other quiet, introspective, sensitive folks.
That is not the case. Quite the opposite in fact. Most of my closest friends are highly extroverted. How can that be? Well, let me tell you. =)
The only difference between an introvert and an extrovert is in how our energy levels are affected by stimuli and social interaction. The extrovert is energized by novelty, and hanging out with people. The introvert can’t handle as much input and action, no matter how much we are enjoying ourselves.
But introverts do have a need for connection. We need friends, and we sometimes need more excitement in our life. And since our needs might fluctuate, and be very quickly fulfilled, we pick our friends and activities carefully.
I don’t have very many friends, but I have a handful of really close ones. And they all share some common traits:
- They know me very well, and understand my introverted nature.
- They don’t expect me to fill all of their social needs.
- They appreciate me for who I am.
Another thing almost everyone of them have in common: they are a lot more outgoing than me. It’s hard to believe we would be compatible at all.
Either this is mere coincidence. Or, it might be the very reason our friendship works so well. We balance each another.
Here are 5 things I love about my extroverted friends:
1. They are easy to hang out with
I don’t really have a problem with taking initiative or making conversation. But since I’m introverted, being in the driver’s seat doesn’t come naturally to me. Coming up with things to do or talk about is exhausting.
That’s why it’s so comfortable to be with someone who likes to talk and does so easily.
Spending time with an extroverted friend is effortless for me. I feel safe. I don’t have to pretend or put on a show. Don’t have to struggle to fill the silence or “entertain” them. I can relax and be myself. And that’s when I’m a much funnier friend to hang out with.
2. They energize and inspire me
I love positive, passionate people who are comfortable with talking about deep and personal subjects. Who have a sense of humor and self-perspective. Who are inspiring, and equally inspired by others.
Of course, this type of person could just as easily be an introvert. But maybe extroverts are a bit quicker to open up and show these qualities in themselves?
It’s like the more up-beat they are, the more I can be so too. And even though I’m usually drained by social interaction, this type of deeply engaging connection can really leave me in a state of bliss.
3. The pull me out of my inner world
Deep conversation with other careful and quiet people can be enriching, but it can also be a bit too deep. Too careful. The conversation could become almost sleep inducing because we are both a little slow in thought and speech. All of a sudden you just find yourself wanting to gossip or discuss the latest episode of a tv show just to come back to planet earth.
Since I already spend so much of my time inside my own head, it’s nice to step out of it sometimes.
My extroverted friends help me with this. The chat about their day, make me laugh, and ask curious questions. It usually makes for an interesting mix between simple and deep.
4. They push me outside of my comfort zone
Delighted as I am by staying at home in my safe space, I also realize that it doesn’t make for a very exciting life. If I never expose myself to new situations and challenges, I will miss out on a lot of valuable life experience. My energy would stagnate.
Sometimes, my friends lure me out on activities that I never would have chosen freely, and that I prematurely label as mental torture. A house party. A night out. A trip. A concert.
I deeply regret saying yes, I fight the urge to cancel last minute, but I eventually come along anyways, holding onto my friend’s arm like a life rack.
But, as it turns out, I can actually enjoy myself in situation I’m afraid of. At least in the right company. I have my friends to thank for a lot of really happy memories and experiences.
5. We complement one another
There are other deciding factors considerably more important to a friendship than extroversion/introversion. Such as shared values, interests, dreams and life experience.
As long as one can get past the possible misunderstandings that can occur between people with contrasting social needs, (“Why aren’t you answering your phone?”, “Why am I the only one to want to hang out?”, “Why won’t you ever join me for a night out?”), there is potential for a life long friendship.
An extrovert can get a lot of inspiration, empathy, support and loyalty from an introverted friend. And an introvert can get energy, perspective, insights and many fun experiences from an extroverted friend.
Together, we balance and complete one another. Differences aside.