Extrovert-Introvert Fog

by Venkat on June 17, 2013

Many coastal geographies experience interesting patterns of fog formation when hot and cold currents mix. There are more complicated ways fog forms, but essentially it is a consequence of a collision between two distinct local weather patterns.

It recently struck me that many extrovert-introvert interactions have a similar characteristic. Extroverts gain energy from social interactions. Introverts gain energy from private, secluded thinking. When the two kinds of personalities have been “charging” for a while, they are not just energized, they are also in the grips of serious momentum.

The extrovert’s momentum manifests as wanting to continue social interactions, past the “social charging” event. 

The introvert’s momentum manifests as wanting to continue to think, past the “solitude charging” event.

When the two collide in this stage, the resulting energized communication confusion is really frustrating to experience and hilarious to watch. I call it the extrovert-introvert fog.

The introvert tries to take whatever the extrovert says as more thinking raw material, but the extrovert isn’t interested in that. He or she is interested in continuing to talk, it doesn’t matter about what.

So the extrovert keeps trying to restart the conversation, skipping from topic to topic in an effort to feed the existing momentum. The introvert keeps trying to think about what was said 5 minutes ago and getting the extrovert to shut up while they process.

The interaction usually ends in disengagement with one walking away in frustration, usually the introvert. Otherwise the introvert says something like, “god, will you shut up, and let me think for a moment!” Or the extrovert says something like, “will you pay attention for a moment, you keep tuning out!?”

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