Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How to Care for an Introvert

A friend of mine posted this list on Facebook last night.  The person credited is Walter Parrish III, but I’m not sure if he authored it or just passed it along.  Hopefully I’m not violated any copyrights here!

How to Care for Introverts

1.   Respect their need to privacy

2.  Never embarrass them in public

3.  Let them observe first in new situations

4.  Give them time to think – don’t demand instant answers

5.  Don’t interrupt them

6.  Give them advance notice of expected changes in their lives

7.  Give them 15 minute warnings to finish whatever they are doing

8.  Reprimand them privately

9.  Teach them new skills privately

10.  Enable them to find one best friend who has similar interests and abilities

11.  Don’t push them to make lots of friends

12.  Respect their introversion – don’t try to remake them into extroverts 

I share this, not because I want to be treated like some fragile china doll who will shut down if not given my 15 minute warning.  Although, truth be told, sudden changes do tend to be stressful for me! 
No, I share it, in part, because I know introverts can be puzzling to extroverts.  Hopefully, if you’ve got introverts in your life, this simple list can help you cope with, and yes, care for, them.    

And, if, like me, you nodded your head at each item, hopefully you can be a bit more aware of why you respond the way you do.  
For example, knowing that I need time to process a response, I can let the other person know I want to respond, I just need a little time to think things through.  That way, they are less likely to think I’m just ignoring them when I don’t immediately answer.

Not everything on this list is true for me, since each one of us is different.  That’s a good thing to remember – about introverts AND extroverts!  None of us is a cookie-cutter of another. 
God has created each of us, and given us gifts, talents, interests, preferences.  We are, all of us, made in His image.  That goes beyond personality types.  Each of us reflects our Creator.  Since we’re all broken, it’s easy to see our differences as flaws, instead of as part of God’s rich tapestry. 

It can be challenging, I know!  But, like the Body of Christ itself, each of us is as important as we are different.  The amazing thing is, in all of the billions of personalities that have been, are now, and will be, a part of the world, each on is a tiny reflection of God. 
It's overwhelming to think about, isn't it?  You, me, an ancient Egyptian, a child yet to be born in North Korea... we are all His images-bearers.  All our differences cannot encompass all the facets of the Holy and Almighty God.     
So, today, let’s celebrate our differences.  My life might be more simple if everyone was like me… but it sure would be boring!  And friends, life as an image-bearer should never be that!

P.S.  If any of you have a ‘How to Care for Extroverts’ list, please send it along! 

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