Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Three days at home sick. First day was awesome (no computer.) Second day was lonely (with computer...huh.) Third day was awesome and lonely.

Do you ever find yourself deprived of something, notice major changes in its absence, and struggle with deciding whether that something is a good thing or not?

Talking to other human beings is a good example. Or rather, the thing I'm actually talking about.

I have always thought of myself as a very social person, and for the most part I have always acted like one. I think I went overboard in college with the socializing (homeschooler BREAKS FREEEE) and I know I went overboard with FB. I'm married to an introvert, and I went to a college where introverted girls were way cool and probably more philosophical than extroverted ones. (It's kind of Straussian.) Additionally, my Myers-Briggs results indicate that I'm only like 3% extroverted. Did I answer the questions like I wanted to be an introvert, or am I actually that close to the middle, and my introverted husband just makes me look like a social butterfly? Does homeschooling out in the middle of nowhere just make moderate extroverts feel like they're on coke when they finally make some friends?

All of that is to say that I'm kind of confused about how much it's okay for me to need other people.

So when I dial back the socialization, I notice that I get serious about books and stuff. I say, very explicitly and conversationally, to myself, "Hey! I'm having more interesting thoughts! I'm sustaining reflection for longer! I'm getting good at Latin! I'm reading large chunks of philosophy! I'm communing with the mind of Rousseau! I'm achieving inner peace! This is awesome.... I have to tell somebody about this."

That makes me feel weak. Why can't I find value in something without seeking someone else's opinion about it? On the other hand, I feel like I will shrivel up and die without camaraderie and context (which I do get from my husband, but a marriage is not the same thing as a College.) Is that personality or a problem? It's oft repeated that our virtues and vices are sides of the same coin. A strong desire to talk about things that I'm thinking about might not just be a reflex developed from a FB addiction.

What do you six or seven people think? There I go again.


  1. I need people too, but only my people--not just any ol' person will do (don't worry, if I talk to you voluntarily in public, you're my people). I think the desire to share is part of who we are all created to be. It's the desire for approval and admiration that turns nasty in me...

  2. Yes, I think you're right about those desires. My problem is discerning between the two of them!

    And I think you're right about "my people," too. The older I get, the smaller and more concentrated my circle of fellowship becomes. But for a girl who lets herself be defined by context, the right circle is pretty important!

    I don't know about you, but Matt and I find so much comfort and joy and energy in our small, real church.

  3. I think the "two sides of the same coin" bit is key. On the one hand, there's a reason (a good one, that is) that St John's is a college where everyone sits around and TALKS about all this thinking and reading they're doing. And why 3 year olds who've just been to the zoo for the first time go around telling EVERYBODY about the awesomeness of their favorite animal. (And even in that, I suppose, one could draw distinctions between genuine excitement and something else.)

    I'm definitely on the introvert side of things, and yet I've been struggling with this same question lately. Oh facebook, oh facebook. Which I guess is to say that I'm not sure the question of "good desire to talk" vs. "wanting attention desire to talk" necessarily has anything to do with the introvert/extrovert question.

    1. It's hard to be out of your element, and you and I both are, if our element is "Johnnies." When I feel like a stranger in a strange land, it's hard to know if I'm being too picky and sensitive, or if the strange land is really just too strange.

      I think there are a few Flannery O'Connor stories about some hick kid going off to college, coming back to the small town with a big head, and being shown what a jerk he is. I think they are about me.

  4. Oh goodness gracious, I need to read your blog more regularly. I was honestly about to write about the same thing. I may go ahead and do so but not publish it. :P I feel this probably irrational urge to seize onto my "essence," subdue it, and inspect it like some rare, dangerous animal, to determine once and for all whether said "essence" is introverted or extroverted. I think my MB test result was very close to yours on this axis, and for some reason that frustrates me... but I think I'd be okay with being "moderate" if I were actually ever moderate in any circumstance. But the vast majority of the time I'm at one end of the spectrum or the other-- depending on how comfortable I am. Also I have definitely experienced the coke-like euphoria of sudden immersion amongst peers. It happened when I went to Wabash for the first time, then when I got here and spent time in *gasp* co-ed peer groups, and now continues to happen when I'm around my (age group) peers since it's become very rare again, especially American/Anglophone peers. I honestly find mySELF to be obnoxiously chatty, exuberant, etc. in these situations, but I behave in that way for quite awhile before I even notice it.

  5. Apparently I had really ought to write an actual post. Also, do they ask you to do one of those blasted "Captchas" EVERY time you post something? I've had to do that for both comments.