6 Things You Should Know About Extroverts

It’s been a slow couple of weeks. When I’ve looked at my work calendar, it’s been big open stretches with nothing on the calendar. There’s goodness in this, for sure. I can always get ahead and give thought to future talks, retreats, do some reading/studying, writing, etc. But, at the same time, wired for extroversion like I am, being alone in a quiet office stirs up all kinds of crazy.

I get the suspicion that when people think of extroverts, they think of one continuous, ongoing party. But here are 6 things you should understand about extroverts:

  1. We don’t like hanging out with peoplewe need to hang out with other people. I regularly remind people in the course of pre-marital counseling that extro/introversion isn’t just about who’s the life of the party. There are quiet extroverts and introverts who perform in front of thousands. Rather, extro/introversion are about the ways we get filled up, where we get our energy when life has beat it out of us. Introverts, at the end of a long week interacting with peers, clients, & customers need to be alone. Extroverts need people.
  2. But just being with people doesn’t do the trick. It’s not as simple as hanging out at the local bar or coffee shop and chatting up strangers. Yes, I’m perfectly capable of doing so, but it’s only a quick fix. Strangers fit the bill when I’m desperate for interaction, but it’s not lasting or deeply fulfilling. What I need is meaningful, mutual, life-giving interactions. For me, this includes cooking with friends, having soul-bearing conversations, laughing, not being “pastor,” going to concerts, etc. with the people closest to me.
  3. This means extroverts often feel needy. Just like introverts sometimes feel like they can’t make enough space for time alone, extroverts feel like they can’t get enough interaction. And here’s where I’m envious of introverts: introverts can get what they need whenever they want – it doesn’t depend on anyone else. I wish that were so. For me to fill up, I need other people. I hate needing other people.
  4. Which means, even though I’m extroverted, I often feel lonely. Objectively speaking, I’m not alone. I have plenty of friends, plenty of people in my life who love me and want to hang out with me. I know this to be true. But it’s easy for me to feel lonely when life gets busy and I don’t get the interactions I need.
  5. Even extroverts have their limits. There are times and spaces where I do need a break from people. For example, early on Sunday afternoons all I want is my sweatpants, crossword puzzle and a blanket. No more conversations. But, I bounce back quickly. By Sunday evening, I’m usually good-to-go.
  6. Extroverts aren’t always the life of the party. There are times, where I don’t feel like talking, where I don’t feel like being the gregarious, center of the laughter. But, that doesn’t mean I’m not soaking up the energy of being with people. Truth is, when I’m in those places, I’m probably most needy. I have this mental picture of a time last fall, where I was in one of my people-deficits and we had cooking club, and I was just kind of keeping to myself, working on my food, not saying much. But, hanging in the kitchen with the guys, listening to good music, working on the food, I could feel myself perking up.

Anything else some of you extroverts would add to the list?

If You Wait for the Right Time

There’s this song – it’s more than 10 years old now – that’s been in heavy rotation in my playlist over the last couple of weeks. (In fact, I’m listening to it now, as a I write this post.) I know how it got there – I bought tickets to go to the Jimmy Eat World concert in Bloomington in October with my oldest son and a couple of my friends. And so I’ve been listening to Jimmy Eat World again. And this song, well this song has gotten in my head.

You’ll sit alone forever
If you wait for the right time
What are you hoping for?

Jimmy Eat World, 23

I’ll never understand why certain songs seem to reach up and grab me sometimes. Now, I’m pretty sure this song is about a romantic thing – what do you expect of emo-rock? But these three lines have become almost something of a mantra for me recently.

For me it’s about all those dreams you have – the things you hope to accomplish, the thing you really think is inside of you, but it just feels so big, so unachievable. And so I’ve been asking myself, “what’s the one thing I need to do today, to take a step towards my goals?,” because there will never be a right time.

And in a season where everything seems a bit foggy, this has been enough to keep me going, to keep writing, creating, pushing the “publish” button.

So, what’s your thing? What are you doing today?

Confessions of a Christian Fake

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Looked in my “drafts” folder and found this from 3 years ago. I never finished it, so here it is… got any other suggestions?

 

A couple weeks ago I was taking my oldest son to his drum lesson at a local music shop. On the way to his practice room, I saw this book on the shelf: The Easy Christian Fake Book. Of course, being a music shop, this is a chord book that has simplified chords to Christian music. But I still wish there was an Easy Christian Fake book. It might have advice like this:

If you want to fake being a Christian, here are some easy things you can do…

  • When you’re asked if you had a good time with your friends, respond with, “We had great fellowship.”
  • Put a fish sticker on your car. Extra points if you get the fish swallowing the Darwin fish.
  • Talk about being “blessed.” The Christians know what you mean. Everyone else will be a little confused.
  • A “God’s Gym T-Shirt”

(I could keep adding to this, but I really do have more important things to do… any suggestions?)