I have a friend who is an introvert. Let’s call her “Emma”. I never saw this characteristic about Emma until she pointed it out to me. As an extrovert, I suppose I just chalked it up to her being shy since the day I met her in third grade. I’m a mixed bag of introvert and extrovert with more of the extrovert that leads the way. It made life as a single parent challenging only in the aspect that my son was even more extroverted than I am. We were constantly doing new things and venturing into unknown territories. There were times, I admit, that I counted on him to lead the way. In his own right, he brought out more confidence in me than I realized was there because he forced me into situations in which I truly needed to lead the way. Emma, also a single parent, has two young children. One is very much like her, shy and cautious. The other is outgoing and confident, very much an extrovert. This provides a very challenging dilemma for Emma. She wants to provide the best parenting for both her children and still must battle her own personal challenges of being an introvert. It’s not an easy road for her and I applaud each effort she makes.
Emma and I keep in touch via e-mail and Facebook. We’ve been friends forever and my moving eight hundred miles away was never going to change that. I mentioned to her about people I have met in my day to day life and she came back and said, “You sure talk to a lot of strangers.” I thought about that statement, curious where she had gotten such an idea. Apparently, in my correspondence, I’ve told her about chance meetings with people. The guys I met at the laundry mat, the folks I conversed with at the grocery store and the list goes on. Emma was right. I talk to strangers. That’s the thought that went through my head while standing in line at Wal-mart last night. The line was long and not moving very fast so I struck up a conversation with the guys behind me. Turns out they were from out of town and we ended up discussing the differences of living here verses where we were each originally from. When I left the store I walked to my car, smiling at the door greeter and wishing them a goodnight as I left. I was driving away and mentally calculating how many people I had struck up conversations with just that day that wasn’t related to me doing my job. Yesterday I clocked in at five that I can think of right away.
For Emma… this is not normal behavior. For me though, this seems to be just who I am.