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So my previous article, where I wrote about what I learned as an introvert being married to an extrovert didn’t go down very well with my wife. While she laughed out loud when reading it, she also felt that it was one-sided and didn’t represent her very well.
Yes, she is my only regular reader on Medium at present… Oops, I didn’t think about that when I hit publish…
So to give the other side of the story and stop the imminent divorce proceedings, please allow me to elaborate and fill in the many details that I left out of the previous article.
So what are the Benefits of an Introvert to be with an Extrovert?
She is always checking in with me to find out how I am
I have a tendency to suffer in silence, bottling everything up and holding it all down. No, I’m not British but I lived in England for around 20 years, so some of that stoicism rubbed off on me. And of course, I learnt from my Kiwi mum that you just get on with things and don’t complain. so, as a result, I’m keeping it all inside and trying to deal with it on the quiet…
But, because my wife is also a highly-sensitive extrovert, feels that there is something going on and she ever so gently enquires. And then when I say ‘I’m fine’ she enquires slightly less gently and is again met with ‘I’m ok’ so she gets more insistent and a little less gentle…
This continues until I finally crack and spill the beans… Usually, I’m worried about money or work or something like that, and not as her imagination has conjured up that I am secretly packing my bags and planning to leave her imminently.
She is the one who insisted that I take on a Life Coach
My wife likes Life Coaching and gets a lot out of the engagement, but when she suggested that I get a coach too I wasn’t particularly keen.
A few years ago I had a very good business coach, and a few years before that I had a very bad business coach. But they were Business coaches, not life coaches, and since my business was in a holding pattern while I was focusing on online English teaching, I didn’t need a Business coach.
She pointed out that Life Coaching is about our whole lives, not just our business lives…
So I reached out to her coach, got four names, interviewed them all and selected my Life Coach. We had a very interesting year-long engagement (no not that kind) and recently finished amicably.
Incidentally, it was also my wife who, through her unique brand of enquiry, allowed me the reflection that I no longer needed to continue with that coach, as I had a new and clear direction to follow…
And not so incidentally, it was also my wife who helped me find, or rather insisted, that I explore and find that new direction…
Yes, it was my wife who encouraged me, repeatedly, even when it didn’t make sense, and when it actually negatively impacted her happy life, to start writing.
In actual fact, it was even her idea for me to write the previous, offending article, even though she now regrets it.
You see she was always a massive supporter of my writing. We met in India about 16 years ago, and I was writing about my travels. Not on a blog, which would have made sense, but instead adding every email address of every person silly enough to share it with me, to my missives from India…
She, along with my Mum (thanks Mum) was the only person who bothered to read them. All these years later they are sadly (luckily?) lost to time… But throughout the years my wife has been the main supporter of any writing that I have undertaken.
She is also the person who regularly reminds me to connect with friends outside of the relationship.
I often say that I talk to people all day every day, and not just her, I have up to 8 English lessons in a day, so I feel very well connected to people… But that’s different to having a chat with a buddy and just shooting the breeze, talking about music or whatever…
She is always thinking about me.
I’ve never had so many random presents for no reason than I have from her.
Ok, my Love Language is shown in Actions, and hers is in Giving, so I haven’t always appreciated the little gifts that turned up for no reason, (but never as a bribe).
Over the years I have come to value these little gestures, but sadly for her, I haven’t yet adopted them myself. Instead, I’ll spend an hour cleaning the kitchen after she cooks. Apparently, it takes many years to learn a new Love Language…
She is such a friendly and outgoing person…
…that I have an instant network and community of people without having to expend my own energy or go outside of my comfort zone.
This is what I consider to be her Superpower. She can enter a room full of strangers and in as little as 15 minutes have learned the names of everyone, and their grannies, made two new life-long friends, been offered a job, offered advice on their kids’ life direction and helped several people with their relationship problems.
Of course, she can sometimes find this exhausting, but it’s also her natural state and it’s impossible to stop her from activating said Superpower…
As a result of this Superpower, we know more people in the small town we have lived in for only a short time, than some friends who have lived here much longer than we have.
Before the pandemic, this had a negative side, where she couldn’t leave the house without bumping into someone she knew and being engaged in a long and drawn-out conversation about their current relationship woes, the state of their children’s education or the fact that granny is in the hospital again with a flare-up of gout. Nanna needs to lay off the wine and cheese!
However! The upside of this was that when the lockdown happened in our wee town, she had built up enough connections in the local supermarkets and shops that we had everything we needed delivered directly to our door!
When I say everything, I mean everything from organic vegetables from our local vegetable man George, the best cuts of meat from the local butchers Vasilis and Lefteris, and all of our groceries from her personal shopper Marina at the Big Supermarket in town.
We also got offered contraband Christmas decorations and a Christmas tree (banned from being sold under the Greek quarantine laws), Christmas lights and Christmas cards. Now that is connected!
During the early Pandemic, while our friends in the UK were suffering through 3 and 6 week wait times on having groceries delivered, we were enjoying ‘same-day’ delivery with a personalised service that told us about the best products to choose and the deals that were currently running.
So while it may be occasionally taxing on an introvert to be with an extrovert, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.
Perhaps my next article will be exploring the trauma and torment she has to endure being an extrovert married to an introvert…
More writing is coming soon!
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