I learned something this week about myself. There are a ton of things out there in internet-world about self care for introverts, or how to interact with an introvert, or why introverts are queens of the world. But really… Extroverts need to figure out how to care for ourselves, too.
That means… you get a story.
Wednesday night was the night before Thanksgiving. I ended up at my friend’s house for an early turkey dinner. Yum. Seriously. Delish. We spent time talking about what’s going on in our lives, laughing a bit, eating a lot, and just having a nice dinner. When I left I was exhausted (thank you full day of work plus tryptophan!), had a very full belly, and was ready to take a nap!
I decided to try something different, however.
I didn’t sit down. I just put the turkey I’d been given in the fridge, grabbed the couple of bags of trash I’d had sitting by the door, and walked to the dumpster. It was good, moving after such a full dinner. Being outside and breathing the cold air. I went back inside and turned on some Christmas music… and unloaded the dishwasher. Reloaded it. Started cleaning off counters and floors.
I was puzzled. I was STUFFED, almost as much as Fred the Turkey. Where did all this energy come from?
Suddenly it dawned on me. I was full. Not just my stomach (though that certainly was!), but I’d just spent a few hours talking about me and about people that I care about. My extrovert tank was full. Because of that, I had an excessive amount of energy to spend cleaning my home!
I started thinking over the last week of my life. My day job entails me talking about the lives of people that I have ZERO investment in. Chances are, I’ll never see them again. I’m paid not to care, I’m paid to be neutral and just share information from one person to another.
On Saturday, I was surrounded by 9,000 other people at a Convoy of Hope event. I worked in the prayer tent all day, which meant that there was a never ending line of people that I was talking with. All day, I heard story after story, and prayed for provision and healing and for people to seek Jesus. When I left, I was exhausted. Wiped out. Glad I’d served, happy to get to know a few friends a little more, but beat. When I got home, I didn’t have much energy to do anything.
The difference between Saturday and Wednesday? It was about me. Not selfishly, but I had the opportunity to share MY story on Wednesday. To hear stories about those people in whom I’m personally invested.
So here’s the lesson for all of my extrovert friends, especially those of us who find ourselves in situations where we don’t have long histories of friendships or families surrounding us.
Invest in those relationships.
And when we don’t feel like cleaning the house… maybe it’s time to go hang out with some friends for an hour or two.