An Open Letter To My Dear, Extroverted Friend

An Open Letter To My Dear, Extroverted Friend

Please don’t be hurt that once again I turned down your warm invitation; I know it’s hard for you to understand. I love you dearly, but we’re very different, you and I.

I know at times I can be the life and soul of the party, bright, vivacious and sociable. I can exude confidence, able to step up and command big groups, to speak from the front and get my voice in the room. I’m neither shy, nor socially unskilled.

However I am still introverted by nature. Reaching out takes much energy, even when I enjoy it. Other people, no matter how dear and beloved they are to me, will deplete my reserves over time, until I can retreat back within to recharge.

Solitude, space and stillness replenish and refresh me. In my inner sanctuary I can still the noise and demands, have time to process, join the dots, resolve and renew.

You know how I love nature (on that we are alike). I identify with the oak – slow grown, strong, dependable – but perhaps sometimes dull when seen alongside louder and more flamboyant doyens of the forest.

I’m nourished by staying firmly rooted and grounded in my values; what matters most to me.

Drawing and drinking deeply from my inner world, I relish the beauty of art, of nature, of music, seeing the patterns and metaphors, the possibilities and implications.

My beliefs may be strong, but I also see the shades of grey, the paradox and complexity.

I often envy the straightforwardness of your black and white – the simplicity of your cut through and quick decisions, your action and energy, when I am lost in possibility and too much depth.

I may often stay quiet on the outside, but inside my neurology feels on fire. And then because I have so much internal stimulus anything additional from the outside is simply overwhelming, setting my nerves to jangle and jar.

When confronted by loud certainty I can doubt myself, question if I’ve missed something obvious, even though my instinct still whispers “No, stand sure, stay true to what you feel is right”.

I know I can seem distant and aloof; I know I’m intensely private.

But know too that I care deeply about people, empathise too much sometimes, feeling what they feel. I simply seek safety in my inner secret garden.

I respect all that you are, and love you for it, and remind myself that my needs are valid too. They are no more odd, or selfish than those my wonderful extroverted counterparts demand, simply very different.

It’s not an affront to claim my solitude even as you yearn for company – and I’ll be a much better companion when I’ve had chance to recharge!

And don’t be frustrated at my slow consideration, deliberations and befuddlement if put on the spot. In turn I’ll endeavour to curb my annoyance at being rushed, things brushed over or simply not noticed and stay patient with what I see as premature conclusions, or half thought out ideas.

Let me put pen to paper, rather than speak on the phone. Give me notice and warning, and space to absorb.

Love me for who I am, rather than berate me for what I’m not, and I in turn will do the same, relishing the synergy that emerges from embracing our difference.

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