Do you think a thought in order to speak it? Or, do you speak a thought in order to think it? The talkative Extravert (E) pities the quiet Introvert for talking so little and “missing so much in life”. The Introvert (I) feels that the loud, sometimes obnoxious, Extravert is talking constantly, while saying nothing. Then, we put the two into one house for three days and call it a holiday!

The E gains energy from interactions. The E seeks people to be with, talk with, go with and do with. If forced to be alone, the E loses energy. The I seeks privacy, quiet, and contemplation. The I will not want to sleep on the hide-a-bed in the living room with constant traffic and noise. The E will relish the opportunity. Did I mention that E’s are curious? Okay, maybe nosy. I’s value privacy. Everything is private to the I.

When an I speaks, it is a polished, refined statement. They have thought it numerous times in order to find the best way to express the idea. When the E speaks just to be connecting, the I feels irritated, betrayed and exhausted. To the I, the E is a giant leech, sucking the life right out of them!

E’s communicate energy and enthusiasm, respond quickly to questions, and demonstrate expressive, dramatic patterns of spoken and body language. E’s interrupt others but it doesn’t matter, as the other E’s aren’t listening anyway! They interrupt the interrupter and keep on talking. Soon several E’s are each gesturing wildly and talking loudly. The I’s roll their eyes, flee the scene and enter the E names on the “To Be Avoided” list. They find interruptions highly offensive, although they won’t tell you, as it takes too much energy!

Many I’s have told me that they make any excuse possible to escape the commotion in the E house at the holidays. Before going to the grocery, the I may sit on a park bench craving solitude. Most I’s need a couple of hours of silence per day for internal processing to generate their energy. Until the E’s are in bed, the I’s have little hope of restoring their energy for the next day.

E’s seek opportunities to “get people together” during the holidays so they can maintain their energy level. To the E, the I may appear cold, distant or even arrogant. Every I has “the look”, the facial expression that is neutral, even aloof. The I prefers to keep emotion inside. The “look” puzzles the E. The E sees the “look” as an indication of sadness or loneliness.

We need and tolerate and love each other. The I admires the energy, fun and excitement of the E, while the E admires the I ability to focus and to listen carefully, preferably to the E!




Holiday Survival Tips from Introverts for Extraverts:

  1. Give us time to reflect before you demand a response.
  2. When I retreat into silence, it is because I am still thinking.
  3. Do not assume I am shy, arrogant, angry or backward. I am simply reserved.
  4. Please give me privacy so I can regain my energy to interact with you.
  5. Sometimes I am silent because I don’t want to hurt your feelings. Don’t push me or I may tell you the truth, or I may truly use silence as a weapon.

Holiday Survival Tips from Extraverts for Introverts:

  1. Acknowledge that you have heard my message and that you are thinking about it. Give me a clue as to when I can expect a reaction.
  2. Please don’t give me “the look”, that blank, vacant stare that tells me nothing.
  3. Tell me in words, daily, that you are glad to be with me during the holiday. E’s need to hear in words daily that they are wanted. If it isn’t spoken, it hasn’t happened. If you are married to an E, you have learned this.
  4. Unless otherwise informed, I will assume that silence means agreement.
  5. When we have worn you out, just smile and you won’t have to talk!



Written by Anne Murray, all rights reserved,

Permission to reprint by including contact information; Anne Murray, Bowling Green KY, (270) 781-3677

Anne Murray, the Fun Speaker! Imagine the power of being understood1