Saturday, May 2, 2009

Alone again, (soon please)

I'm a little odd, I think. I love to be alone with my own thoughts, and whether that happens inside my home or outside on a long walk, I value quiet, peaceful surroundings. Yet, too much of a good thing is… too much, and I find I can get lonely. Then I bounce to the other side of my odd personality where I also like to be surrounded by crowds of people, like at the sidelines of soccer games, or even sitting in the coffee shop alone, but surrounded by people. But again, not all the time.

So, does that make me an introvert or an extrovert? Can a person be both?

I think I'm an introvert, most days. I choose to be alone a lot, and enjoy it most of the time. I find people to be complicated, and being with them brings all sorts of complications like communicating in the right way, having the correct tone of voice, ensuring that my body language is accepting and not rigid, being flexible, being loving, being kind, appearing interested in what they are saying when I'm really not. Why is this so difficult for me, you ask? I don't have a clue, but I clearly recognize that sitting in front of my computer and emailing a 'nice' little note to someone is so much easier that being with them. Not relationally healthy maybe, but easier. And, I guess I'm in for easy some days.

But, having the life I have, and that being full of husband and kids and their friends and their dogs and cats and hamsters, the inevitable interactions happen and thus the need for some kind of communication. And then I'm faced with the most difficult two times of the day… (usually with the kids after school, or the husband after work) when I seem to forget how to open my mouth to speak… or how to think of something interesting to say… or even how to listen well to what is being said. It's like brain freeze, only it's longer lasting!

And then, in the middle of trying to figure out just what my personality needs and how to make it work in a world filled with other people and other personalities, my home and my world is suddenly infiltrated by a certain person who doesn't seem to have a clue about personal boundaries! I stop thinking I'm odd, and begin to think I'm crazy or soon will be if this person doesn't get a clue, or better still, stop talking! Without sharing any relationally damaging details, I'll just say that this person brings out the very worst in me… and there is absolutely no escape… they get up before me in the morning, talk while I'm on the computer, talk while I'm on the phone, talk through my favourite TV show, and talk on into the night as I finally get up off the couch and head to the quiet of my room where I can think and most importantly, breath again.

So, what does that make me? Selfish? Angry? Confused? Well, yeah, all of those, and as much as I'd like to figure out why, I simply have to get through this time of intense interaction with as much grace as it takes to survive and without any relational collateral damage, either to them or me.

Introvert or extrovert, we are all creature of very strange tendencies, preferences and habits.

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