This is What Different Looks Like

While common wisdom tells us that opposites attract, in the case of me and my husband it is not the case. On the Meyer’s Briggs Temperament Analysis he is an INFP and I am an ENF/TP (my F and T are tied every time). On most things we differ in degrees, rather than extremes and most of our fights have been because we are too alike, rather than because of a failure to understand each other. Except for that Introvert/Extrovert pairing. On that one we speak a completely different language.

A few weeks ago, when the weather was so hot and the children were climbing the walls, Jonathan and I talked about getting out our wading pool and setting up a sprinkler and letting the children cool off with some water play. Jonathan’s gut reaction was to set everything up on the small grassy place behind our apartment. Mine was not. We had a bit of a discussion about it. I suggested that the back had no shade, and too many bugs. He suggested that there was no where in the front with a practical hose spigot. This discussion went on for a little bit, and in the end we set up in the back and I sent a text to a neighbor to let them know where they could find the water play if their kids were as cabin feverish as ours.

That was when I realized what our real discussion had been. I was not concerned about bugs or shade, and he was not concerned about proximity to a hose. I was feeling that setting up behind the house, where no one could see us, was anti-social and bordering on rude. When I explained this to Jonathan, he explained that he thought that setting up water play out in the common areas of the neighborhood where people had no choice but to look at our children splashing in a green plastic square was overly forward and bordering on rude. After we had a bit of a chuckle at our difference of perspectives, one neighbor arrived with his son and said, “Look at this great little hideaway back here! I love it.” Twenty minutes later, another poked her head over the railing of her deck and said, “Oh. This is where you’re hiding.”

Yup.

This neighborhood was populated with a large collection of extroverts who would gather at almost every opportunity. As those families moved out, they were replaced with a larger population of introverts. Until that pool interchange, I had assumed that these introverts just didn’t like me, and in some cases that might be the case. However, it had never crossed my mind that at least some of my introverted neighbors are actually loving me by not coming outside.I wonder how many of them think I don’t like them because I keep insisting on rudely doing things outside, in the common areas of the neighborhood when decent people are inside behind closed curtains.

Sorry. I’m not anti-social. I’m just an extrovert.

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About Coralie

After 11 years of infertility, I am now a mother to three, a wife of a Presbyterian (ARP) preacher and a struggling homemaker. Welcome to my little corner of the net. Kick off your shoes, put your feet up and join the conversation. View all posts by Coralie

4 responses to “This is What Different Looks Like

  • suzanne

    Oh, I love this! I wouldn’t have found it rude that you did it behind the house…but I would have invited myself over (which is probably rude in introvert-speak!). And I understand you on the part where you and Jonathan are so similar. Jimmy and I are the same way. He’s an ENTJ and I’m an EST/FJ and most of our disagreements are in the N vs. S realm! We have a hard time with both being extroverts, sometimes, because it means there’s no one around saying, “No, we really shouldn’t invite someone over for the 37th straight night.”

  • suzanne

    Another funny thing about extroverts: when we were there, I felt completely guilt-ridden if we didn’t invite everyone in the neighborhood to things we were doing when we were inviting more than one or two people/couples (like a child’s birthday). I think that’s probably an extrovert thing, too, but to Jimmy and me it’s just normal.

  • Lollie

    Haha! I think my hubby must be an introvert!

  • Sarah W.

    Hahaha. I love it because it is SO TRUE. Nine times out of ten, I will always assume that I am imposing on others’ hospitality and that the kindest thing to do, unless my presence is specifically solicited, is to keep as inconspicuous as possible. Kevin loves people by accepting hospitality at face value and thoroughly enjoying it. I actually admire this and have been learning from it.

    Fyi, my type is INFJ, which I sometimes think of as the “I am a delicate flower and no one understands me!!!” type. Wanting to be less of a delicate flower, I haven’t identified myself with it so eagerly in recent years, but there’s no denying that the descriptions are spot-on in many ways (especially the relational aspects).

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