I AM AN EXTROVERT
My name is Janet and I am an extrovert
I have been hearing so much about Susan Cain’s book ‘Quiet’, a book that discusses the power of the introvert in an extraverted world. Mrs. Cain tell us how difficult it has been for introverts to live in a society that condones social interaction in almost every element of life.
And her point is valid, it must be difficult to function well in a group classroom or an open-plan office if you prefer your own space to a crowd. I think that she gives excellent recommendations to help those who are struggling.
BUT, with all the focus on introverts, I thought I would take a moment and share my view on extroverts, and why I believe we must continue to promote an extraverted society….
In case you are not sure, you are an extrovert if you:
- Crave social interaction
- Enjoy being surrounded by people, of all kinds, not just those who are similar to yourself.
- You will speak to anyone in a café or at a bus stop.
- Your taxi driver often becomes a friend by the time you have reached your destination.
- You know all about the life of the man who works at your corner store.
- You are on a first name basis with your bin collector
- You love a good brainstorming session
- You feel happiest when you make someone smile…because somehow you know their smile is connected to your own.
So why do I feel that extroverts can bring change?
In a world where there are constant barriers preventing people from interacting in person rather than behind a computer screen.
A world where religion stands in the way of friendships;
A world when you are shunned for being different….
….the extrovert is vital.
It is s/he that will put down their book and chat to the person next to them, regardless of race, religion, or status. It is the extrovert that will break down these unnecessary barriers simply because they are curious about people and they thrive in environments that are people-centric….which can be a really good thing. It helps us eliminate fear of the unknown, find commonalities and forge unlikely friendships.
I am Janet and I am an extrovert. And today I would like to sing you my favourite song, the soundtrack to my life. It goes like this:
You know I can’t smile without you
I can’t smile without you
When I am alone too long, I tend to get overly analytical, too focused on the details, caught up in what may or may not happen. It is always my daughter, my friends, my family who pull me out of my head, bring me back into the present. They make me smile
Research has found that people are happier when they are with other people than when they are alone. There is no way around it, we are pack animals, and we need each-other. We need to speak to each other.
I can’t laugh and I can’t sing… I am finding it hard to do anything!
True, I cannot sing……. but as for laughing…it just doesn’t happen when I am on my own. I am not particularly funny. But give me 2 minutes with my work colleagues or an entertaining Scotsman, and I can easily be found with tears of laughter in my eyes.
I have read that when people feel close ties to one another, it enhances a sense of safety and security. Primal instincts are pushed aside and there is no longer a need to focus only on survival, (food or danger). Instead, the feeling of support allows you to let your guard down, chill out and LAUGH.
You know I feel sad when you are sad
This statement rings very true to my ears…unfortunately. Most extroverts that I know are ‘in tune’ to the people who surround them. Our reliance on others makes us extraverts particularly sensitive to other people’s emotions. So other peoples stress becomes our stress, other peoples PMS becomes our PMS, and other peoples negative feelings become ours….you get the picture…
I feel glad when you’re glad
Thankfully there is an upside to sharing other people’s emotions. Happiness is surprisingly contagious. Psychologist James H. Fowler studied the data of 5,000 people over 20 years and found that happiness benefits other people through three degrees of connection, and that the effects last for a year. He says: “We found a statistical relationship not just between your happiness and your friends’ happiness, but between your happiness and your friends’ friends’ friends’ happiness.”
If you only knew, what I am going through…. I just can’t smile without you….
Well said Mr Manilow.
Without you I would NOT smile. I am dependent on you. And so it may be selfish, but it is clearly in my interest, as an extrovert, to make you smile!