Wednesday, 30 October 2013
Gasbags and lurkers
Personally I'm a confirmed introvert. I enjoy a modest amount of socialising and chattering, but too much of it and I start to panic, feeling my identity is being lost in a thickening fog of compulsive blather that's draining me rather than nourishing me.
To an extrovert, that inner panic is bewildering. They love talking to others and they would go on all day and all night if they could. The idea that you've had enough, that you might be hankering desperately for some peace and quiet, is incomprehensible.
Unfortunately, instead of trying to understand each other, extroverts and introverts tend to be mutually suspicious, always accusing the other lot of being the oddities and weirdos who make daily life more difficult.
If only those boring silent types would contribute a bit more, say the exasperated extroverts. If only those narcissistic windbags would shut up for a second, say the irritated introverts.
As an introvert, I believe an hour or two of private thought about something is probably more productive than an hour or two of gabbling away to someone else about it. An extrovert would believe exactly the opposite.
As an introvert, I like to contemplate beautiful sights in silence, gradually absorbing the full grandeur and impact. This isn't enough for the extrovert, who needs to share the excitement with as many people as possible, take 23 photos and post half a dozen Facebook updates. To them, staying silent can only mean chronic emotional constipation.
I guess this mutual perplexity will run and run. But one thing's for sure. Extroverts and introverts need each other's opposing qualities to get the maximum out of life. A bit like chocolate chips and cookies.