Last post I spoke more specifically to the introverted crowd, sharing the things that I, an extrovert, have in common with many introverts. Today, I want to speak to my fellow extroverts.
We love people. We draw our energy from others being around us. This doesn't mean that you as an extroverted individual are incredibly talkative, or that you go to every social event. It just means that in order to keep your engine running, you need time with people.
Being an extrovert myself, I wanted to share with my fellow extros a few things I have learned about myself, and a few things that I desire to grow in. Introverts, some of these may apply to you as well.
- I don't have to be the center of attention, all the time. Not all extroverts desire to be the center of attention all of the time, I certainly don't. But since we draw energy from other people, we are more likely going to the be the ones gunning for the spotlight. This is a risky ground. Your desire for the spotlight can end up causing you to act like an idiot, hurt friendships, and cause others to lose respect for you. Take it from someone who has fought for the spotlight too often. Learn when to back off and let someone else shine.
- I can use my strength to draw others out. I have had situations where I am the strongest conversationalist in the group. That leaves me with two choices (1) dominate the conversation (2) use my strength to draw others out and give them a chance to share. This may be the case with both introverts, and quieter extroverts. Some people have things to say, they just need a little prompt from someone else in order to open up.
- Don't be that person who steals the oxygen in the room and causes everyone else to feel shelved. You know the person I am talking about. They talk and laugh really loudly, and they show very little regard for the personal feelings or comfort for others. It doesn't matter what or who the event is supposed to be focused on, this individual is intent upon pirating all of the attention for themselves. This may not even be who this person is all of the time, maybe these are a few isolated events, or during that awkward phase called puberty. I know I myself have been guilty of trying to steal the show when the show wasn't mean to be about me. Just be aware of your actions and how they affect other people. Take time to analyze your motives in your behavior.
- Think, what can I give? As opposed to, what can I get? Extroverts draw energy from being with other people, so naturally, it follows that my immediate mindset upon entering a social setting will be, "What can I get from this experience?" I'm not necessarily labeling the desire to gain something positive from an experience as being a bad thing; but that desire can easily slide into a self-centered attitude. I know that from experience. Something I have found that can help me keep my focus is to zero in on what I can give to others in a group setting, as opposed to what I can get from them. This applies to being with any person at anytime, in any scenario. And honestly, the results will end up better for me when I focus on others. I have found that I actually do receive a much more positive experience when I turn my attention to others and their needs. I come away feeling more energized, more confident, and I have a better time overall.
- We need time to ourselves as well. This may not feel as vital to us as it is to introverts, who seek time alone to re-energize themselves; but we still need time to ourselves. When I am alone, I can clear my head and think, I can breathe, I can take notice of the world around me. I am actually more aware of other people and what is happening with them when I take time for myself.
- We need to learn how to say "no" to overextending ourselves. Just because you and I identify as "extroverts" doesn't give us unlimited energy to be the life-of-the-party. Learn to know your limits, learn how to read your symptoms when you are too tired and need a break. Learn to know when you will not be good company to someone else. Learn to say, "No, I'm sorry, I really appreciate you inviting me tonight, but I need to have a little down time." You aren't letting anyone down, you are doing yourself-and let's face it- the world, a favor.