I almost skipped the chapter in Raising your Spirited Child about extroversion and introversion. I am such a classic extrovert, constantly talking, riding an amazing high after a party or gathering, narrating every step of my life… out loud. I ALWAYS want to be chatting, discussing, rehashing, talking it over. I am an extrovert, to a T.
I assumed my daughter was too–she is always the life of a gathering, insisting that all eyes and ears be on her–but as I read through the chapter, and took into consideration some conversations my husband and I have been having about how best to avoid her meltdowns, I realized that she isn’t an extrovert at all, she’s actually an outgoing introvert. Which is to say, she is the life of the party, and wants all the attention when people are together, but she needs to excuse herself constantly to recenter and requires an entire day at home alone to recharge after a big gathering.
This was a huge breakthrough for me, to realize that while she enjoys being out and about, she REALLY needs downtime at home afterward. No wonder I always find her reading alone at the end of the school day. No wonder she needs the rest of Saturday to “recover” from spending Friday night at her grandparents’ house (where she adores being)–because even a night with people she loves more than anything saps her energy.
My husband is also an introvert. I guess I knew this, but I didn’t really KNOW it. This is such a huge revelation for me, and helps me understand both my daughter’s and my husband’s needs so much better. I should probably read a book about what it’s like to live in our über-social culture as someone who needs time alone, because I find it almost impossible to relate to that experience myself. If anyone can recommend any articles or books on the subject I’d be much obliged. The better I understand my daughter and my husband’s needs, the better I’ll be able to meet them.
Hmmm. I wonder where my son will fall on the introversion/extroversion spectrum. I have to admit, the idea that I could be outnumbered 3-to-1 on this is kind of terrifying. What happens if I’m the only one who wants to spend all weekend out and about? What happens if what energizes me, saps everyone in my family of their much needed strength? And what helps them recharge leaves me feeling depleted?
I’m sure we’ll figure it out, but I will admit, I am hoping my boy wants to spend Saturday meeting with friends and exploring the city, just like his mommy…
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Where does the rest of your family fall on the introvert/extrovert spectrum?