A friend of mine and I were discussing coping skills lately and doing our share of miscommunicating. It seemed she was under the impression that I thought one of her coping skill, withdrawal, was a bad one. When I learned this, I wondered to myself what could have made her think this, because she is an introvert, and introverts need time alone.
Another friend of mine was out with friends this past week, and felt badly because she needed to get away from them. Not because they’re bad friends, mind you, but because she just needed alone time. She needed time with her brain, which probably seemed to her like chaos at the time.
And yet someone else I know is also an introvert, and regularly needs alone time. If she doesn’t get it her brain turns to mush and she becomes cranky. The processing time with the brain is necessary because unlike me (an extrovert), people with introverted brains think about the items and complexities of what’s occupying their brains and come to conclusions based on the data they have mostly on their own. When they say something, usually they’ve thought about it. They are not external processors.
Which brings me to a rule of thumb in I have for myself in communication. I try not to assume I’m a problem if something seems wrong, or that it is even about me. I can be aggravating sometimes, so it may be about me, but too often in the past I’ve decided it was about me without checking. If I’m dealing with an introvert, they might be overstimulated. If I’m dealing with someone who becomes anxious without speedy closure to the environment, they might be anxious about not having a plan happen quickly.
Another friend who is both an introvert and a tentatively makes decisions often complains about her treatment by a few specific people of the speedy closure variety. I try to encourage her to realize that when these people are talking to her, they are anxious about the closure and not trying to be mean. Not that anxiety excuses rudeness, but if one knows someone is becoming anxious about speedy closure and focuses on that, the rudeness may be more recognized as anxiety.
The point for my purposes is that people have different dynamics in the way they approach life and their concerns about life. If we get to know them, often it can make the difference in interactions going well verses going badly. I know that when I notice this about people it allows me to not become introspective about what I’ve done wrong, which can lead to stress.
It also allows me to be the person that encourages the introversion time, or tries to speed up the closure time, or puts myself more in a logical mode for those who are logical decision makers. For me, a high value is harmony with people and my environment, so learning these skills allows me to encourage others in their own pursuit of finding their own rhythm as well as facilitating a rhthmic atmosphere around me.