Extrovert

13 May 2003

I’m almost having more fun watching the soccer games than I did playing in them. I march up and down the sidelines shouting at my teammates, clipboard and stopwatch in hand. They’re doing a great job. Already, in two games, we’ve scored half as many goals as we did in all ten games last season. Joel has been outstanding in goal, and the entire team seems to be playing at a higher level despite having practiced less to prepare for the season.

Last night’s game was played on artificial turf, which I’d never actually seen close up before. The field was H-U-G-E, much larger than any of the other fields on which we’ve played, and the players felt it. The ball was fast, too (especially when compared to the jungle in which we played last week). The other team had some skilled players, especially the women at right- and left-wing, and they mounted some impressive attacks. Joel and his defense were able to fend off most of them, though, and we penetrated several times, converting twice. Pam had an impressive assist. (We failed to convert on a heartbreaking sequence in front of the opposing goal: the other team’s keeper had come out after the ball, but our striker eluded him; we tried repeatedly to put the ball in the net, but couldn’t find the opening. Eventually the ball sailed wide of the goal.) The 2-2 tie is our second-best result ever. (We won only a single game last season.)

Driving home after the game (listening to ABBA — can you believe it?), I began, as I so often do, to engage in self-reflection. I was driving home from Portland for the twelfth time in fourteen days. I have four more Portland trips scheduled in the next week. How did I get to this point? When did social interaction become so important to me?

After college, Kris and I experienced a long stretch during which we rarely had social engagements. None of our Willamette friends lived nearby, and I had not yet reconnected with my high school friends. We did things by ourselves (we watched a lot of television), we did not seek social contact. It was clear to me that, as my Myers-Briggs personality type might indicate, that I derived energy from solitude.

Over the past decade, however, our circle of friends has grown substantially. We spend a lot of time with other people. For two years, we did spend most of our free time with Mac and Pam, but we’ve since returned to spreading our attention among a wider group of friends.

I love it.

I love spending time with Jeremy and Jennifer, watching their children grow. I love having dinner with Dave and Karen, discussing history, comparing cultural differences between the East Coast and the West Coast. I love discussing books and music with Aimee and Joel. I love playing games with Mac and Pam. I love seeing Andrew and Courtney. I love the time with larger groups, too: time with the MNF group, the soccer team, the book club, the photography classes. I look forward to creating new friendships, learning more about Ron and Kara, Craig and Lisa. I’m excited about re-establishing old ties with Nicole Lindroos and Andrew Parker and Jim Osmer; perhaps I’ll even finally get the courage to find Mitch Sherrard. I love interacting with my extended family, and with Paul and Amy Jo, through this weblog.

How did I get here? When did I pass from being and introvert to being an extrovert?

Comments

On 13 May 2003 (11:39 AM),
Drew said:

We love seeing you as well. Wish it could happen more often. Perhaps you should consider moving a bit more north…closer to friends, closer to Kris’s job, closer to the amenities of PDX.

On 13 May 2003 (11:46 AM),
J.D. said:

Oh, I’ve considered it, but that’s about it. I met the other Andrew at his mother’s house in Sellwood the other day; she lives just a block from The Iron Horse, not far from Caprial’s. It’s a nice neighborhood, filled with older homes, which appear to be affordable. I could see myself living there.

I’m not pleased with our current location. It’s neither country nor city. It’s some unholy mix of the two and it gives me little pleasure.

Unfortunately, my better half isn’t so keen on moving to Portland as I am, despite the fact that it would reduce her commute signficantly.

Perhaps others might have better success persuading her to move…

On 13 May 2003 (06:21 PM),
better half said:

The Crime Lab is scheduled to relocate to Clackamas in 2005, so I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. This would reduce my commute from an hour each way to half an hour, but I’d have to drive instead of taking the bus.

If only there was a way of transporting my garden en masse… alas, I am loathe to leave it. Kris

On 14 May 2003 (04:34 AM),
kaibutsu said:

Aye; that switch from being the introvert to the extrovert is an unsettling one, once you look back and realize it. It was art school what did it to me.

On 14 May 2003 (06:35 AM),
Lonely in Alexandria said:

Try moving across the continent to a place with no social network whatsoever and then you’ll see whether you’re and introvert or an extrovert. Might it be J.D. that you are comfortable in your social surroundings which allows you to be gregarious? If you lived where “nobody knows your name” would you still be considered an extrovert?

On 14 May 2003 (06:50 AM),
J.D. said:

This is an excellent question, one for which I have no answer. It takes guts to do what Paul and Amy Jo did. I don’t know if I could do it. The closest I’ve ever coming is moving away to college. But that move was only thirty miles!

On 14 May 2003 (06:54 AM),
Wife of Lonely in Alexandria said:

Paul (aka Lonely in Alexandria) is getting at something here. I think one can enjoy the company of one’s good friends and family without self-identifying as an extrovert. Aren’t many of us extroverts at times and introverts at others? Haven’t you known someone who is always surrounded by people, yet know one really knows that person. Someone who recently met that person might say that she was an extrovert, however, someone who has known her for years might call her an introvert because even though she’s always with people, she holds back much of who she really is.

On 14 May 2003 (06:56 AM),
Wife of Lonely in Alexandria said:

I meant “no one” rather than “know one.” Blame it on my raging headache and all the crap I’m having to proofread today.

On 14 May 2003 (09:06 AM),
Dana said:

Although I wasn’t aware of it at the time, I now know that you underwent a radical reconfiguration of your personality while you were in college. You shifted from being a devout, evangelical Christian to your current agnostic/athiestic-type beliefs.

I think, as a consequence, you sort of cocooned a bit — introspection takes a lot of energy and brain power, and other people distract from that. Likewise, I get the impression that it took a while for you and Kris to settle in to life together (I remember in college hearing that you’d NEVER get married because it just wasn’t important).

Now, however, things are more settled. You know who you are, you know where you fit, and you and Kris have worked out how you fit together. You are reaping what you’ve sowed, socially speaking, building a more complex, interactive social structure on top of the foundation you put together yourself (well, with help from Kris).

If you moved someplace else (Florida, for example), well, I think you’d have to undertake some of this again. You wouldn’t have the long-term friends handy to reconnect with. You might find yourself having to be more solitary because it’s harder to develop casual connections to people.

Being a displaced person myself, I find it difficult to establish the kind of life you have because there is no place where a large body of people who have known me for decades lives. My college friends and my family are the closest I come to in that regard.

So, are you an extrovert? I would say yes, and you probably always have been. You just spent a number of introspective years doing interior remodeling.

Well, IMHO, anyway. :)

On 14 May 2003 (09:15 AM),
Tiffany said:

Jd, this is a totally unrelated comment… The Army considers your website �not secure�. I only know this because Mon and Tues of this week I was in MD and tried to access your page on an army server. Each time I would get a �Will not display. Web page not secure.� However I was able to access all kinds of shopping pages during class!
I really liked the spider photo.

On 14 May 2003 (09:31 AM),
Dave said:

Just to add my two cents, I’m not convinced that based on your presentation here, you’ve carried your burden of proof in asserting you’re an extrovert, JD. Instead, I think that Paul’s point is well taken. You are comfortable within your sphere and have come to welcome the contact of people within that sphere, perhaps even depend on it for a certain portion of your view of yourself. Would you welcome the same level of contact with complete strangers? In other words, would you actively reach out to people you didn’t know because you felt you wanted/needed the additional personal contact? At some point, probably, but would that point come sooner or later compared to the average individual? That’s how I would define an extrovert as opposed to an introvert. Not that I’d generally take the position that you’re an introvert, however. As someone who has been accused of being downright misanthropic, I’d say you’d have a looooong ways to go to get to introvert.

This is not to say that you haven’t changed over the course of the years, but speaking as one person who has probably known you for longer than most, but for that momentary divergence into “evangelical Christianity” (to use Dana’s terms) I think you’re remained fairly consistent in how you relate to others. My recollection is that you’ve always had a fairly outgoing style and I’m sure that your report cards said that you worked and played well with others. And looking back, I can’t think of anyone that you did not get along with fairly well (other than the snobby people who only wanted to play with other snobby people, but who cares about them).

Speaking as a dedicated introvert (who lives with a dedicated extrovert) Thag will now retreat to his cave.

On 14 May 2003 (11:19 AM),
Amy Jo said:

To JD’s better half (aka Kris)–Wouldn’t Sellwood or Westmoreland be nearly as close to Clackamas as Canby?

On 13 May 2004 (11:08 AM),
Gwen said:

Did you know that Tammy used to be an introvert? Grandma used to look at her and say, “Quiet waters run deep.” She changed in the eighth grade, and now I am quite sure that it wouldn’t matter if she was with friends or strangers, she is soundly an extrovert, (I think:-))

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