By now you’ve figured out that I’m an introvert, that I gather energy by being alone. I’m never afraid to be alone. One of Gail’s most wonderful gifts to me was to send me off to Switzerland one year to walk the Alps by myself. For two weeks, I walked alone, not one significant conversation with anyone. I was renewed. But introverts are not hermits.
They enjoy a few intense friendships rather than many. They have an extremely large inner world. I’ve often felt that 90 percent of my world exists within myself. Extroverts are just the opposite. They are energized by being with people. Give extroverts a free evening, and they’ll think of a list of people they could share it with.
Gail is an extrovert. Normally, she loves to be with people, working, teaming, playing with them. She thinks best in concert with others. While I usually think before I say anything, especially in conflict, she is inclined to speak as she thinks. She calls it (I would never say this myself) “noisy thinking.”
If we are debating something, she says whatever she is thinking, and I have to guess at her ultimate conclusion. That can be exasperating. But even more exasperating to her is my behavior: I back off into introverted silence until I’ve decided upon my fixed and final position. Gail loves to pray with people, and that’s one reason why it’s
important to her that we pray regularly together.
As an introvert, I could easily do all my praying by myself. But we’ve learned to compromise on this one. And I’m blessed by entering her extroverted world, and I think she’s caught a little of my introversion for herself. It’s helpful to know I’m an introvert because I can now choose to ad like an extrovert when I need to — for instance at the mandatory wedding reception, or church picnic, or Sunday morning social hour
. When I didn’t understand my recoiling at the thought of such events, I felt guilty and resented those who sought my attendance. Now, knowing my temperament, when I feel like slipping out a side door, I can suck in my breath and say to myself, “Well, Mr. Introvert, charge into that group and get to know everyone you can.
There will be plenty of time to be alone after it’s over.” And it works; I know why I don’t want to do it and why I should. One gets the feeling that Jesus was able to feel comfortable as both extrovert and introvert. He was at ease when alone; he was quite at home in the midst of a group. Growth for me means being an introvert who can encounter the crowd and feel perfectly at ease.
Intuitive/Sensate: How Do I Take In Information?
Gail is a sensate. She sees her world through form, color, structure, and proportion. She’s intensely aware of everything that comes to her through the five senses. When she walks into a room, she immediately responds to the way it’s decorated, thinking, Do the colors match? Are the picture frames at the right height? Is the desk orderly?
She says her stomach reacts to a mismatch of colors. Sensates, thank the Lord, are also practical. They love details and manage them well. Orderliness is important. So are things like promptness and dependability. I married a woman who loves an organized closet, a reconciled checkbook, an up-to-date address and phone list, and a myriad of birthday cards all sent out on time. I am a fortunate man.