Growing up my mom and teachers called me "outgoing" and "talkative." My mom always went into my parent/teacher conferences nervous. The outcome was generally this: my teachers couldn't help but like me because I was entertaining, but they had trouble controlling my constant need to communicate with the person next to me. I still have this problem (just ask my co-workers). I like to talk and share the things on my mind. What can I say? I'm an extrovert.
Now I'm an extrovert married to an introvert. I fill our calendars with plans with my large circle of friends. I like to be on the go, busying myself with this and that. I'm an open book (have you noticed?) and love sharing stories. I go, go, go... And Matt is constantly begging me to slow down.
And, as much as I never thought I would admit this, lately I've noticed a change. I've become more picky about what I'm willing to commit to and try to carve out time for us to be at home, rather than constantly running from one thing to another. I'm enjoying quiet time more than I ever thought I could. This extrovert is changing and there are other subtle ways his introvert-ness has rubbed off on me over the years.
I know some of this may come as a surprise to a few of you, but the voice inside of me has quieted a little. I no longer feel the need to have the last word. I'm not nearly as aggressive or willing to argue with someone. I'm not convinced that the louder person wins the argument... And I can credit Matt (plus maturity, therapy, and less drinking than I did in my 20's) with a lot of it. I look at my most outspoken moments and know my reactions would be very different today.
Now, let's be serious... I haven't entirely crossed the line to introvert. I'm still taking on too much, talking all the time, vocally battling the speeders that whiz by my house, and calling out little injustices when I see them. The quiz still defines me as an extrovert (which is not the most favorable personality according to this book). But, I know that the subtle ways I've changed are good.
I learned from the leadership positions that Matt has been voted into (did you know he was chosen to give the commencement speech for his class at grad school? or that he was the president of his fraternity?) that showing a more quiet confidence goes a long way. I remember once my friend Kari commented that Matt was the first person who was able to get me to shut up. And she's right, because I've learned that if we find a happy medium between the two of us, we're the best team possible.
Yes, it's true, there is something to learn from those introverts. And, in turn, my introvert has learned somethings from me. Just ask him.
Are you and extrovert or introvert? Have any extroverts or introverts changed you?