Many introverts find fun and friendship in the company of extroverts. We have extroverted family members, colleagues, friends and partners. We might love the extroverts in our lives – or at the very least, lovingly tolerate them.
As much as we appreciate our extroverts, spending time with them can have a troubling side-effect. You might have noticed that conversations with your outie leave your brain buzzing and unsettled. Or perhaps you’ve come down with a familiar tickle in your throat after trying to keep up with a social butterfly friend.
Why your extrovert makes you sick
They mean well, they really do. But our extroverts operate at a different pace than us. They are like busy worker bees hungrily moving from flower to flower, task to task, person to person, in search of fulfillment. We draw our life force from ourselves. The extrovert’s way leaves us sick and tired.
Our body has many ways of telling us things that our mind wants to ignore. Could it be that our sore throat is a symptom of the suppression of our voice?
In my teens and early twenties, I got colds a lot. More often, I would get a swollen throat that never evolved into a full-blown cold. Looking back, I can clearly see that this was a side-effect of my struggle to keep up with the extroverts in my life.
I had no idea how to use my voice to set boundaries, and speak my innie truth. Instead, I would stay quiet, and try to adjust to the extrovert ideal.
I’ll be the first to say that quietness is okay, but it’s important for introverts to start speaking up about our needs.
How to feel better around your extrovert
Unlike introverts, extroverts aren’t as likely to read between the lines, and pick up on subtle cues. They need us to say what we need/want/feel out loud. You know, like, with words.
If this sounds scary to you, believe me, I know how you feel. Expressing our needs can feel like the most frightening thing in the world. It’s one of those life skills they should of taught in school, but didn’t.
Now we know how to do geometry and make papier-mâché, but feel completely ill-equipped when it comes to setting boundaries and saying what we want.
Radical Communication For Introverts
Luckily, communication is a skill that can be learned. A while back I did a fascinating interview with Brad Blanton, bestselling author of Radical Honesty: How To Transform Your Life By Telling The Truth. In the interview, Brad shares some surprising introvert communication tips for building trust and intimacy.
I know all too well how extroverts can drive me nuts! My hubby is the biggest outie on the planet, how I hang, I don’t know…but the fact is, I gravitate torward extroverts so I must love the torture! LOL! Great article, thank you!
My husband is an intense extrovert! After 10 yrs we are still trying to figure each other out. I have recently figured out that I am an introvert, all this time I couldn’t figure out why large gatherings left me depleted and physically sick for days. Nice to gain some perspective and understanding and know that I am not alone.
I used to have those imaginary bubbles in my throat and butterflies in my stomach that kept me from talking back at extroverts.. with therapy (by my parents) I discovered it was due to an inherent feeling of “wrongness” due to bullying. I learnt through daily meditation that on the inside I was a beautiful person with no problems… just quiet and surrounded by people that didn’t understand one bit. I learnt the only one that NEEDED to like me… was me. Every Morning I repeat good words to myself and I get better every time I do. It’s a way of reaffirming to myself that I’m all I believe I am.
I really feel what you said. I had a guy come up to me in college in the Relax/hangout area (eat, play games, or just spend time with friends) oh yeah, called Student Hall, & this guy came up to me, his expression was clearly baffled almost like looking at me as one of the strangest species he’d come across yet (I begin bracing myself for the unknown) & asked, “Why is it you’re one of the quietest people here but your friends are some of the loudest here?” I was shocked — whoah, I think I told him not really sure & that I really do enjoy people/my friends?? Seemed like my answer kind of satisfied him. As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed making more connections with more people who lean toward introversion, but still I at times really enjoy extrovert companions (like your husband?) & they inspire me (still have to withdraw for a bit so I can take in all the information though). I’ve also realized that I connect with a very specific type of extrovert, I think they have a strong “Feeler, compassionate” characteristic in their personality that draws me (or draws us) to each other. Sometimes I ask myself,”Okay, HOW DOES THIS REALLY WORK?” No wonder Introverts I think are much more confused by their/our behavior, because when compared with Extroverts, we seem to be more complicated in various or specific ways (at least my observation). Although I like my fellow extroverts associations or friends, there are things I notice them do (like when we’re out somewhere) I’d never feel comfortable doing or talking about/saying, etc….Still, I love/embrace who I am & the Extroverted Introvert I seem to be~ 🙂
unfortunately the other way round, i seem to drive my extrovert mad, she often gets impatient or even angry because i am too slow, too silent, don’t show enough emotions, don’t communicate enough for her, often comes unexpected because i just felt fine, happy and totally connected while sitting in silence.