I spent a delightful afternoon on Sunday dancing with my best friend and life partner at an outdoor music event. As the music flowed we danced side by side in tune with the music, each other, the other dancers, sunshine, blue sky, summer, and a deep sense of joyful contentment. As I watched my lovely introvert move to the music I realized that over the course of 25 years I have learned how to dance with the introverts in my life.
I am an extrovert. I gain energy through interaction and I like attention. I often don’t know what I think until the words come out of my mouth. I often don’t know what I am about to do until I act.
Introverts prefer to think first. They are de-energized by interruptions and loud people seeking attention. They need time to settle into a mood or a conversation.
No surprises is a good rule in dancing with an introvert. Especially if you are in the middle of a busy dance floor, or a board meeting, or discussing important issues with key stakeholders. As we glide across the dance floor that makes perfect sense. I am reading the emotional field and like birds flying together we are in sync through morphic resonance.
Now my challenge is to take my dancing lessons into my home, my community, and the marketplace. I continue to learn that less is more and that reading the emotional field of self and others needs to be a mindful practice in every aspect of my life.
There are still times to dance together with innovation and wild abandon, but it will be more fun for the introvert if I ask permission and invite rather than expect collaboration.
As Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking states, “Solitude matters, and for some people, it’s the air they breathe.”
After many years I am beginning to stop sucking the oxygen out of my interactions with introverts and enjoy the dance.
Doug Lester is a Mentor-Coach, Facilitator at Integral Living – firstname.lastname@example.org