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Hi, my name is Babs and I’m an extrovert.
I read a blog post today that really hurt me, deeply. It was written very honestly, and for that, I applaud the author. But, it really, really hurt to read how she feels about people like me; people with Extrovertis Mouthitis. Here are the symptoms:
Talking-incessant conversation, with anyone, anywhere, about anything, or nothing at all.
Discomfort with uncomfortable silence
A heightened sense of others’ emotions-often resulting in questions such as “are you ok?” “How can I help?”, “Do you want to talk about it?”
Oversharing-pain, fear, heartbreak, excitement, joy, surprise
Twitching, especially around the lips and eyebrows
So, here’s MY side of the story:
I process everything verbally. I talk about my pain, my fears, my beliefs, my failures, my sorrow, my joy, my happiness, my surprise, my love, my anger, my hurt, my confusion. . . .all of it. In talking through each of these, I find solutions. As others join me in conversation, I get new perspectives, ideas and answers. I like you to share YOURs as well, because the load feels lighter when more people are sharing it. I share my excitement, not to brag, but so you can own it too and celebrate with me.
I am energized by people and their conversation, laughter and presence. This has never been more obvious to me than last Friday. I went to my Drs. appointment and literally felt like I couldn’t make it through the day. I had some pain, but not overwhelming. It was more of an emotional drain that I’d been home, alone for many days. She refused to release me to return to work. I was heartbroken. We stopped by my office to let them know and within 20 minutes of talking to my co-workers, I was laughing, planning my return, and feeling like a whole, new person.
I feel that conversation is just as much a gift, as a pearl necklace. Conversation is the physical representation of pulling your heart and your soul out of your chest and handing it to the person you are with. I can’t imagine having a friendship without being able to bare your souls to one another. I long for the kind of friendship in which we look across the room at one another and know what the other person is thinking. I’ve had that a few times. . .it was glorious! I miss them.
However, as I’m aging, I’m learning from my borderline introvert husband. He loves a good conversation. He can work a room as well as any politician. He laughs with great gusto (one of his most endearing features, I might add!) But, he does need his alone time. After a large gathering, he needs to come home and rest. He is energized by the quiet.
I’ve tried to be aware of the people around me and whether they are energized by people or by the lack thereof. It’s hard to tell. . . What’s really strange is when I try to be more quiet, I’m seen as aloof, moody or disconnected. (I know because a former employer accused me of that in a review. After, she had complained that I talked too much. . . I can’t win.)
So, on behalf of Extroverts Anonymous everywhere. . . take us or leave us, but let us talk it out first. We may convince you to hang around a little longer. . .even if it’s just to hear one more funny story. I hope you can find some other redeeming feature in our personality that keeps us close to your heart, even when we won’t shut-up. If it’s too much for you. . .maybe you can introduce us to someone else you know with “Extrovertis Mouthitis” and we can form a support group.