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Christmas for Introverts and Extraverts

December 22, 2006

You might be wondering why I have persisted in commenting on extraverts and introverts during this Christmas season. I was anticipating a rush of people who, in their marriages and other relationships, get very frustrated at this time of year with one another. Twice this week, I had an almost identical conversation with an introvert about what they regret during this season.

To paraphrase, their comments sound like this: “I don’t look forward to all the parties, visits, time spent with co-workers, relatives and friends, where all of them expect me to be excited about all the interaction.” For an introvert, the ideal Christmas would involve spending a limited amount of time with a few people of their own choosing and then spending the rest of the time recouping their emotional energy by listening to music, sleeping, reading or snowmobiling – in fact, anything that doesn’t involve one more social situation involving more than just a couple of people.

There are no statistics of course, but many counselors who have written on the subject say that most extraverts are married to introverts. The extravert loves the continual round of office parties, dances, get-togethers, church events and family Christmas gatherings. They revel in most interactions, garnering energy from interaction with those around them. Of course, even the most dyed-in-the-wool extravert can get “peopled out”, but it takes much longer than for an introvert. In fact, the second the introvert sees his first party invitation in November, he is beginning to sweat.

How can introverts and extraverts help each other at this time of year. Introverts need to see the great desire to connect that extraverts look forward to, and encourage them in this. Don’t make them feel guilty or bail out on them continually. But extraverts, please…don’t expect your introvert partner to jump for joy. If they valiantly attend the office party with you, give them space to recuperate and certainly plan in some alone time for the two of you (or maybe just for them). Keep the kids away from them for awhile. Extraverts, allow them to skip a few of the events at their discretion, and just center on the few you absolutely want an escort for.

In this way, we can be loving and understanding to those who are truly different than we are.

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2 comments

  1. Sometimes people want to join in but are too shy or nervous to put themselves out there. Maybe someone could ask them (the introverts without partners). Wonder why people don’t?


  2. Of course anonymous, this is a totally different issue than I was bringing up. But a good one. How does an introvert let others know they want to be in community? It might be a very good subject to deal with soon. I agree



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