An Introvert’s Perspective on Relationships

Jun 9, 2014 by

man alone



Opposite of extrovert. A person who is energized by spending time alone. Often found in their homes, libraries, quiet parks that not many people know about, or other secluded places, introverts like to think and be alone.
Contrary to popular belief, not all introverts are shy. Some may have great social lives and love talking to their friends but just need some time to be alone to “recharge” afterwards. The word “Introvert” has negative connotations that need to be destroyed. Introverts are simply misunderstood because the majority of the population consists of extroverts.  ~ Urban Dictionary

While Carl Jung first brought the idea of introverts and extroverts to the forefront, his writings focus on very complex psychological concepts. I like how the Urban Dictionary states it. It just seems to give a layman’s description of want an introvert is.

My name is Jerolyn, and I am an introvert. (Hello, Jerolyn…. While introverts could probably use a support group, we’d never attend. Just more people.) Yes, it’s true, you can write books, speak publically, be a pastor’s wife and be an introvert. And I married an extrovert.

When we first planted The River Church, we were meeting dozens of new people all the time. Living in a brand new area of Sacramento, everyone was new. So we were all interested in getting to know our neighbors, business people… anyone we were doing life with on a regular basis. Then we had the added dimension of starting the church, which is tough to do if you don’t get your face out there to meet the people you want to help. We had block parties, did intentional grocery shopping (That is shopping for food, but also paying very close attention to who else is in the store with whom you can connect.), went to restaurants, and attended every community event that happened. People were everywhere, and we were in the middle of them.

And I was exhausted.

Fortunately, I have a husband who over the years has learned how to manage being married to an introvert. Here are some of the basics:

1. If you take them to a party, you’d better have down time planned afterwards for them to recharge.

2. If you take them to a conference or out of town meetings for work, you’d better give them about three days to recover when they get home.

3. On a Sunday morning, an extrovert will be moving around the room talking to as many people as possible. An introvert, on the other hand, will have 2 or 3 meaningful conversations. If you want them to meet someone specifically, you come get them and make the introductions.

Now these are generalities, not all introverts are exactly the same. But across the board, this is pretty close. While introverts may seem to not like people, that just isn’t true. We still love to be with people, just on a controlled timetable.

solitudeBut one pitfall we have to be careful to not fall into is totally isolating ourselves from people for too long a time. Here is one area where all introverts can improve:

Make relationships a priority.

Just because we become drained by people

Or may be shy

Or like having our alone time

Does not mean we have a license to ignore the rest of the population. Relationships are still important.

For example, I don’t need a lot of close friends. I know a lot of people and care about them, but I have 2-3 close friends. But I still need to talk to, text, email, call, meet for lunch those others in my life. I do care about them, so I need to find ways to let them know I do care. It will take effort, and I may need to space those lunch dates out a bit, but as a believer and as a citizen of the world, I need to invest time in others. People actually fascinate me. It’s just that I need to make an effort to reach out to them. I can’t hide in my introversion.

So how does an introvert develop multiple relationships?

Before I go to an event where there will be a dozen or 12 dozen people, I pray, “Lord, help me to care for and love people the way you love and care for them.” It’s an attitude of the heart. If people are important to our Lord, then they better be important to me.

That’s it – just care about other people’s lives and what they are going through. Give them your genuine attention. Respond to their needs. Show them God’s love as He has shown you.

Then go read a book and take a nap.

How do you, dear fellow introvert, make relationships a priority?

~ Jerolyn


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