Care and Feeding of your Extrovert

My excellent friend and perennial Internet crush Eric tweeted an interesting article on how to be friends with an introvert. It’s definitely food for thought.

It requires a companion piece, though, on “Care and feeding of your extrovert.” Or, “Extrovert – narcissistic and needy?”

Those on the extroverted end of the continuum (like me) tend to require a little patience from those who are, well, not of the same persuasion. Still, we’re worth it – adopt an extrovert and you may find you have a friend for life!

Talkative and expressive. Outgoing people are naturally talkative and emotionally, physically expressive. Their dynamic range is considerable; they talk with their hands, their arms, their whole body. Not only do they enjoy talking, they require it for their sanity; when things are crazy, they verbally process and analyze issues and questions of the day. This need for verbal processing, for someone to talk to, sometimes makes extroverts seem a bit needy.

Enjoy hugs and affection. Extroverted people tend to be more casually physically affectionate. They casually hug, and touch you on the arm, the shoulder, the hand, while talking. They may walk a little too close, even sit right next to you. To them, this creates camaraderie, while to an introvert, it’s an invasion of personal space.

Prefers people to toys. Extroverts almost always prefer people to toys, and when they do enjoy those toys, it’s within the context of social implementation. When they indulge in the latest phone and the latest camera, they’re using ‘em to connect with people. You’re not very likely to find an extrovert choosing a book over a social outing, or online gaming over a dinner party.

Are interested in new people and places. Extroverts enjoy meeting new people and mingling in groups — the same kind of scenario that strikes your average introvert as fairly painful. They also tend to choose a new restaurant, a new club, or a new travel destination over revisiting the tried, true and familiar.

Extroverts find identity & energy in social contact. An extrovert takes Descartes one step further – the introvert’s mantra is “I think, therefore I am” but the extrovert believes “I interact, therefore I am.” Social interaction provides the extrovert with validation, energy and justification and when he/she can’t find someone to talk to, verbally process with, it can be uncomfortable and frustrating.

Of course, friends of all personality types can enjoy spending quality time together (often over pizza and beer), enjoying music, sports or the outdoors, or other common interests. It is especially important to train an extrovert well, keep them from jumping up on you and on your furniture, and have their hips and joints checked regularly by your veterinarian be patient with them.

Note: this post is dedicated to my many fine introverted friends. You know who you are. :)

5 Responses to “Care and Feeding of your Extrovert”

  1. Phiala Says:

    Huh, is that how it works?

    I’m an introvert, but have lived with an extrovert for 15 years or so. Hilarity ensues. Or frustration. Or both!

  2. WendyB_09 Says:

    Hmmm…guess I fit somewhere down the middle – an extrovert with introvert tendencies, and am just as happy by myself as in a group.

    For several years I was roommates with an introvert, then we added an mega-extrovert for the 3rd roomie…hilarity ensued. 2nd roomie was never quite sure what to think when 3rd roomie & I would drag her off to some event or movie and didn’t give her a choice in the matter. She usually enjoyed what we did, just was not something she would have chosen if left to her own devices.

    Of course it did get interesting when #3 would go out with friends and we’d find them crashed in our living room in the morning. First time it happened #2 was a little freaked out until I identified the snoring lump in question and it was someone she knew after all. Which was a good thing, #3 & guest(s) would feel guilty and take us all out to breakfast/brunch to appease us.

    Those were the days…

  3. Vince Says:

    I’m more introvert than extrovert. The extrovert comes out when I’m with people I like and trust, preferably in a smaller group.

  4. kim Says:

    I am an extrovert, married to an introvert. It is an interesting clash of worlds, but so far we seemed to have been able to make it work.

  5. Jeri Says:

    I am an extrovert and Bryan was an introvert – I understand the clash, but I also understand the complementary balance, the opposites-attract component of that relationship.

    Nonverbal processors and decision makers… hmph.