Extrovert? Guilty as Charged!

“Success is nothing without someone you love to share it with.”

“I know every town worth passing through. But what good does knowing do, with no one to show it to?”

IMG-3655I went to Myers-Briggs training several years ago and was labeled one of the biggest ‘extroverts’ in the group. What I found out, interestingly, is that Myers-Briggs’ definition doesn’t necessarily mean what people often think – like the ‘life of the party,’ or the person who takes over and won’t let others speak.

Dictionary definitions range from outgoing, gregarious, sociable and friendly (which I think pretty well describe me), to assertive and ‘live wire’ (which really don’t – anyway, I hope the live wire part doesn’t!).

According to the Myers-Briggs assessment, an extrovert is someone who gets a lot of their energy from the people around them. And that’s definitely me. It’s all about the people, always.

IMG-3658Extroverts like me, I think, tend to put others first because, the fact is, we like you and need you! And we’re truly interested in you! You make us feel good, energize and inspire us. You can lift us up when we’re down and make us feel connected when we’re lonely. The tricky part is that you can also bring us down, and we’re vulnerable (or at least I am) to friends’ or loved ones’ bad or sad moods. I often somehow feel responsible and want to make things better … or helpless if I can’t.

I also learned you can be an ‘extrovert’ but still feel shy and insecure on the inside. I know I often do.

IMG-3659But the main thing is that people populate my being. My memories are filled with what people have said, sang, recited and done. I can’t remember details of all the places I’ve been, but I’ll remember bits of conversations, and even the nuances and ways people said them – from real-life situations, to movies, to plays, to song lyrics. Going all the way back to my childhood.

And I‘m always looking to share things that excite me … like music I’m listening to, books I’m reading, amusing or enlightening little daily events, funny stories and conversations, or a new idea. Also how I feel about you, all the positive things. I’m actually such a big sharer that sometimes I’ll have a dream, wake up, go back to sleep then dream I’ve told someone the previous dream! And I want to hear what the people around me are into, too.

Over the years – and even since the Myers-Briggs test – I’ve found I have a greater need for solitude than I used to, to hear myself think and appreciate nature around me. I treasure some of my solo pursuits like walking outside listening to the birds sing, playing piano, riding my bicycle, and reading (although I often have a cat for company for the latter!).

But I’ve found you can even ‘share’ silence, which I’ve done with my family occasionally when we’ve gone hiking out West – taking time to sit on a mountain top, quietly, and take in all the sights and sounds around us. Together.

Getting back to the quotes at the beginning of this blog …

DianaRossBilly Dee Williams stated the first line in a movie I love from 1975 called Mahogany. The Diana Ross character in the film goes off the rails when she hits it big time as a world-famous model with a growing ego, increasingly selfish behavior, drug issues, etc. Her boyfriend, played by Billy Dee, is a local politician trying to make a difference in Chicago and decidedly living a more grounded, meaningful life when Diana’s character takes off for the runways in Rome. (The movie also has that great title song Diana sings so poignantly with that velvety voice of hers. You might recall the opening lines … “Do you know where you’re going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you …”)

The spoiler alert is that, of course, the two come together at the end as Diana comes back to Chicago – and ‘back to Earth’ – to support Billy Dee’s campaign. She comes to agree with him, too – that supposed ‘success,’ on its own, can be a hollow victory if you leave behind those you love and the things you care about.

The second quote in this blog is from a singer-songwriter I’m sort of obsessed with now – Jason Isberg. It’s from a song of his called Tired of Traveling Alone and obviously speaks to the same theme.

Barbra Streisand famously sang that “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.” I’m not always sure that’s true, but I am certain I am one of those people … for better or worse!

PLEASE STAY TUNED (or ‘Watch This Space’ for my British followers) for upcoming blogs where I plan to share some messages from a great book I just finished around the benefits of ‘good intentions,’ the power of sharing experiences, and why it’s important to recognize that sometimes it really ‘is what it is.’

As always, thanks for reading and please share with me too – it’s a two-way street!

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3 thoughts on “Extrovert? Guilty as Charged!

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