I remember when one of our sons participated in a three-month outreach program in Mexico. The group he was with went on their own bus and camped out along the way until they got to their destination. When they finished the outreach, and were on their way home our son called and asked if the group could come by our house, saying only four or five would come at a time, to take showers. They were scheduled to camp out for the night at a local church, but there were no showers there.
After trying to shuttle a few persons at a time between the church and our house, Jan, the extravert, told our son, “This is too much trouble. Just bring the bus on over with everyone.” All thirty-seven of them came, and while they waited their turn for the shower, they laid around the family room, watching TV and talking. Jan started baking cookies for everyone.
At about that time, I came home. “Where did all these people come from?” I asked incredulously.
“Isn’t this great!” Jan responded with enthusiasm “What a privilege to have them all here and hear their stories!” I was thinking; Great?” I (the introvert) had been looking forward to coming home to a nice quiet house, reading a book, and then going to bed early. How can Jan think this is great when it’s chaos to me? I wondered.
That was just the beginning. Soon Jan had suggested they have dinner at our house, and she was in her glory as she helped the leaders cook up a big pot of spaghetti to go with her cookies. Gradually, as the evening progressed, I entered into the festivities, but was also relieved to learn they still planned to sleep at the church.
After they left, I was exhausted, but Jan was energized. Extraverts draw energy from other people. They process information immediately, which to the introvert feels like pressure, and they often complain that the extravert speaks without thinking things through. But the truth is, they are thinking, they just do it out loud.
In a work setting, extraverts will want other people to be working around them When the job becomes tedious or boring, they love to be able to talk with someone in order to get their batteries recharged. There is seldom a “Do Not Disturb” sign on their door.
Our culture values the extraverted trait. Extraverts outnumber introverts by at least two-to-one. So one could say that not only are introverts misunderstood, they also have a difficult time understanding why the world is so extraverted.
Question: How would you have responded to the unexpected visit and dinner for 37 people?