How to Use Your Introvert or Extrovert-ed Self to Your Advantage

In my last post, I wrote about crashing and burning after I ignored my introverted need for peace and quiet. Today, I’d like to show you how you can use that information to strengthen your marriage.

Photo by Vlado, courtesy of

Photo by Vlado, courtesy of

So let’s start by recapping:

An introvert needs quiet time to recharge while an extrovert recharges by being around people.

Now, most of us fall somewhere on this continuum. It’s pretty rare to only recharge through only one extreme or the other. Knowing that, take a moment to figure out where you fall on this whole introvert-extrovert scale.

Which ones sounds more like you? Introvert or extrovert?

How do you recharge?

I’ve found that most people don’t actually know. And this causes a crazy-amount of problems. So let’s take a minute to figure it out.

Do you hang out and read when you’re fried, or do you head out to watch the game with your buddies? Maybe you garden. Or call up a friend. What is it? What recharges your batteries?

Now, think about how this plays out in your family. If you’re an introvert, do you get the alone time you need? If you’re an extrovert, are you getting out into the world enough?

Probably not.

Here’s how I often see this work out: the introverted wife somehow becomes the family cruise director while her extroverted husband languishes at home, cut off from the social activity he so craves. Meanwhile, the introverted wife juggles work, child-care, after-school activities and the family’s social calendar even though it drives her absolutely bonkers.

OK, you got me! I’m actually talking about me and Ken!

Hahahahahahah. (Did I tell you I’ve been stuck in the house for 12 days straight? Even though I’m an introvert, I still need some social interaction, people! Get me outta here!)

Anyway, as I was saying before I went a little cray-cray, it’s important to know where you and your honey-bunny fall on this whole introvert-extrovert continuum because you can then plan appropriately.

For me, that means knowing I need to regularly work in some quiet time even though I live in with 3 boys (one of whom has recently discovered heavy metal) and a dog, and Ken and I both work from home, in the basement, 50 feet from each other. How’s that for cozy? (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.)

That’s why it becomes my responsibility to get clear on what I need and how I can recharge my batteries. Because otherwise, we’re all going to crash and burn.

Which is what happened to me (again) last night, after having spent those 12 days home with sick children. That’s right, I said 12 DAYS! (And yes, just for the record, there are only 3 days left of school! Arrggh!)

After my initial freak-out last night, I finally took a step back and told Ken I needed some space to breath. Meaning I needed some alone time. So he put the kids to sleep, and man, after about an hour, I felt sane again. Which made me wonder why I didn’t do this days before. No matter. Now it’s his turn (hi, honey!) to figure out how to get his arse out of the office and into the world, where he so desperately belongs.

In the meantime, I’d like to (very proudly) tell you that both of my children are at school today. Hurrah! The dog’s by my feet and I’m playing music to drown out the sound of Ken’s conference calls. Meaning I’ve got a few minutes of alone time. Lucky, lucky me.

How about you? What are you going to do today to get your game on?

Are you going to go out in the world, or are you going to stay within?

Is it time to meet a friend for coffee, or would you be better served by turning off your phone and email for 30 minutes so you can recharge?

Whatever it is, now’s the time.

Extra-credit: Once you’ve figured your own introverted/extroverted status, consider your spouse. Does he/she need more quiet time, or more time with friends? What kind of adjustments could be made to help you both?

Extra-extra credit: Now consider your children. Do they recharge by being alone, or by being with others? Do they rise to the challenge of after-school activities, or do they wilt?

Help your children figure this out now, and they’ll be light-years ahead of their peers. Just imagine how empowering it would be for your kid to realize that s/he needs some downtime instead of back-to-back violin/physics/soccer practices.

As a little FYI, this kind of information can really save your summer. You know, that long-ass few months when your kids are home? Just sayin’.

Now it’s your turn: leave a comment below and let us know whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. What’s one thing you could do to take back your introverted/extroverted power?Shazam!

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2 Responses to How to Use Your Introvert or Extrovert-ed Self to Your Advantage

  1. Kathleen May 27, 2015 at 10:50 am #

    TWELVE DAYS? That is long enough to make me looney. Stuck inside with chaotic, crazy monkeys is more grating than nails on the chalkboard.

    I thought I was an extrovert because I recharge with 1:1 interactions. After reading Susan Cain’s Quiet, I identified as 100% introvert. I answer “yes” to every question on those quizzes. It surprised me because my measure had always been do I refill around people. Yes, if just me and one other. Or a small close group of friends. But put me at a cocktail party or another environment filled with chit-chat and I will poke my eyes out to leave early.

    My summer survival plan = TONS of play times. Have kids at my house, kick them out to other houses. I’m afraid this is the only way we’ll get through it and still adore each other. My boys are just waaaay too loud and crazy for me to handle 24/7.

    Enjoy that quiet, lady!
    Kathleen recently posted..It all started with a helmetMy Profile

    • Tanja May 27, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

      Kathleen, yes–AND Nico came home from school today feeling crappy again! Arrggh. I may have jinxed myself —

      As for the party v. 1:1 interaction, I totally get it! I like parties on occasion but can only do so many (and need a lot of downtime to recharge after one). But the smaller group interactions (where you can actually have a real conversation) are much more up my alley.

      As for the summer play time, I’m curious how you handle all those extra kids at your house. Doesn’t that ever send you over the edge? If I’m rested/good mood, etc., I can do it, but sometimes 4 boys around the house (my 2 + 2 friends) can send me over the edge. Thank God we have a yard! It’s soccer, soccer, soccer at my house all the time right now, and I have to say, I’m loving it. Well, except for when they break things. Which happened twice this week b/c they were stuck inside from all the rain and sickness. Then my living room (cough, life?) becomes a bit small.

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