WORDS | JESSICA BILLS
PHOTOS | KATEY LEE
Hey! Hi! I’m so excited to be talking to you! We should do this more often! You’re one of my most favorite people. We need to hang out more often. Ah, friend!
Oh, how am I doing? I’m doing really well!
Well, actually, I’m okay. I mean, I’m really excited to talk to you. And though that excitement is a sincere expression, it is as well as a distraction to what is bothering me, or what I’m working through.
Can I be honest?
Sometimes I have a hard time reading you. Sometimes it feels like this friendship is a one-way street. And sometimes I genuinely do not know how to be your friend. But I mean that’s okay, we all have those days.
Sometimes I have a hard time remembering that we are different. We see things differently, we process things differently, shoot, we probably even root for different characters in Inside Out.
I know not every extrovert is the same, but from my perspective, I’ve seen that a lot of us really have no idea how to be close or intimate with introverts. We don’t know how to receive affirmation from you in our friendships and that leaves us really out of place and panicked.
Part of the problem (of extroverts being close with introverts) is that we don’t shut up long enough for you to acclimate so you can open up and express your needs. Sometimes we hate the lulls in conversation so much that we keep talking and you aren’t able express yourself fully.
IN MOST CIRCUMSTANCES, THE LOUDEST NOISE RECEIVES THE
But there’s two sides to every coin. A lot of times I feel like my well-being is overlooked in friendships because people assume that I’m okay because I greet them like I’m Tigger.
But just because I get excited by being with people doesn’t mean I’m always happy and I don’t need care. Extroverts typically get their energy from their surrounding interactions with people. I may have the biggest smile in the room, but I can be going through the deepest waves of depression. It’s not because I’m faking it or even necessarily hiding it from you intentionally.
I have been written off so many times because I am like Tigger in a lot of ways. But remember in The Tigger Movie when he couldn’t find his family and we saw Tigger sad for the first time ever? It was shocking to our hearts because no one associates Tigger with anything but fun and bouncing and, essentially, constant joy.
That’s not the case here, friend; I have struggles just as you do. I am not a wellspring of joy. But just as I need care, you do too. I need to let the conversation rest to give you time to speak. I need to ask questions and be patient with the time it takes to process those.
Don’t give up on me, introvert.
Though friendship can be taxing, we need each other. We need to work through the hardships to be refined. That’s what Proverbs 17:17 is talking about, iron sharpening iron. It’s a process full of tension, pressure, and with time, sweet sweet rewards.
I’m so thankful for you, introvert, you teach me so much. I wish you would speak up more. I wish I would let you speak up more, I know I have more to learn from you. And when it comes to our great big God we are serving, can you imagine, like the end of Inside Out, what we could do when we celebrate our differences and unite our giftings?
So Thai food next week? I know this really great spot. They have real great aesthetics! Let me know!