Saturday, June 25, 2005

Are most stitchers introverts?

I was reading an interesting discussion the other day on a needlework board and most of the people who answered sounded like they were more introverted than extroverted. There is nothing wrong with either though if I were to guess I would think more people who are introverts would rather have the extrovert's capability, that seemingly effortless ability to be with people and look like the life of the party. I seriously doubt there are extroverts who wish they could be on the other side.
First, let's get a definition.

Enjoy time alone
Consider only deep relationships as friends
Feel drained after outside activities, even if they were fun
Good listener
Appear calm and self-contained
Think then speak or act

Like to be in the thick of things
Relish variety
Know lots of people, considers lots of people friends
Enjoy chit-chatting, even to strangers
Feel stoked after activity
Speak or act then think OR think while speaking

OK, according to this criteria I'm an introvert and it's something I've known a long time. People can drain me. As a teen, I had a Peanuts poster hanging in my bedroom "I love mankind, it's people I can't stand". (note to self, that might be nice on a sampler). And though the wording on the poster is more extreme than I feel, I do know that I get my energy from within and not without. Extroverts are revitalized by being with others, I'm revitalized with my own pursuits such as stitching and reading or creating something. I love being with people with whom I have a deep relationship but the energy can get sucked out of me with cocktail chit chat and forced meet and greets.

Unfortunately, the extroverts in my life feel I should be more like them. My mother-in-law called before a recent trip suggesting that we go visit her cousin and her uncle while we were in the area. First, I've never met these people, I've never talked to them much less exchanged a Christmas card with them and I doubt I've ever even seen a photo of them. To say that meeting new relatives while I'm on vacation sounds dreadful would be putting it mildly. I also love when I get these unasked for suggestions and that someone else feels they have the right to use my vacation time for me. It would be different had I called her and asked if there were any fascinating relatives that we could meet while we were in the area. Of course, I wouldn't have done that in a million years and she knows it thus the little prod on the phone.

Instead of feeling guilty, I prefer to look at the advantages of being an introvert. And lucky for me, I just found a top ten list that I feel is suitable:

10) Work Well With Others, Especially In One-to-One Relationships
9) Maintain Long-Term Friendships
8) Flexible
7) Independent
6) Strong Ability To Concentrate
5) Self-Reflective
4) Responsible
3) Creative, Out-of-the-Box thinking
2) Analytical Skills That Integrate Complexity
1) Studious and Smart

How lovely that sounds, it's music to my ears to know that there are such nice features of being an introvert. It hurts when the extroverts in my life try to change me or look at me as though there is something deeply wrong. Thankfully, I don't allow those kinds of people to be around me for long, however there isn't much one can do about a mother-in-law except grin and bear it.

I can't say if most stitchers are introverts but I know I get a lot of meditative time from both stitching and my daily walk alone. The only person I allow on my walk is my husband because I know we can talk about important things or not at all. My neighbor has long wanted to walk with me but after a few walks with too much chit chat I decided I'd rather go alone so I appease her with something we both enjoy, dinner out with the husbands once a month. She's lovely, she's fun and bold, I enjoy watching her in action as she's the quintessential extrovert. I can admire her the way I admire a lovely flower or a work of art but I can never be like her and to those who want me to be, don't even ask!


Tobie said...

Very interesting Deborah! Since first learning about introverted vs. extroverted in high school, I've always known I am an introvert. And I have indeed always wished I could be an extrovert! Thanks for pointing out the positive aspects of being an introvert!!! BTW, my husband totally fits the description of extrovert, but he doesn't really expect me to be, bless him!

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