Yesterday’s post discussed suggestions for supporting introverts and today’s post is for supporting extroverts. While my son is somewhere in between introvert and extrovert (that oddly named ambivert), my daughter is definitely an extrovert.
Here are a few suggestions…
One: Don’t immediately tell them ‘Hey! I know you are an extrovert!’ They probably don’t care about the label. And again, few people enjoy being psychoanalyzed.
Two: Offer them options. Similar to Suggestion Six for Introverts, provide choices for them, don’t box them in. Often they are independent souls that don’t like to be pigeon holed into a decision. My daughter’s first inclination is to go in the opposite direction I am pointing. So point with care.
Three: In new situations or places, allow them to explore. Don’t hold them back. Let them interact with their environment. They are learning by doing. If it makes you feel better, be there but out of the way. You feel like you are there if something bad happens and they get their independence, so to speak. My daughter loves to see new places and meet new people and I try to encourage that.
Four: Respect their independent nature. My mother had problems with this one. She was SO afraid of what might happen that she limited my time in the outside world. I worked around her by learning of the world via the library, my neighbors, and finally moving out. However, it was very frustrating to feel that she didn’t believe I could make it in the real world.
Five: Encourage their passions. Similar to Four above, understand that they will have things that they just MUST DO. You can either support them or tear them down. You have a great opportunity to guide them on developing their passion while living in the real world. I loved Star Trek. It inspired me to want to work in the sciences. My mother thought it was not practical. I was lucky to have a neighbor who knew many science facts and would entertain me with the information and quiz me. My daughter has had several passions, all of them involving helping others. Instead of arguing about how long this passion will last, I try to encourage each passion as it comes.
Six: Show them you love them. Honestly I think this one works for everyone, introverts – extroverts, and all of those in between. Whether you shown them verbally with words of praise, with hugs, with acts of love (favorite dessert), etc., make sure it is what they value most in the way they can appreciate. For example, when in college, my friends sent me a birthday singing telegram in my Freshman Physics class. While I was glad they remembered my birthday, I did not enjoy the experience. Grade: F.
Seven: Let them have their day in the sun. I was so proud. I sang a duet at my middle school graduation ceremony. It went well. Everyone told me that they had enjoyed it. Everyone tried to tell my mother that they had enjoyed it. My mother did not enjoy that. She wanted to leave the ceremony as soon as it was over and rarely mentioned it at all. I couldn’t understand. Maybe she didn’t like the crowds, maybe she didn’t like the song. Maybe she felt that my younger sister minded that people were talking about me instead of her (even though it was my graduation). All I wanted was her to say, ‘Good job”.
Eight: Allow them to recharge with others. Being with people is what they need and enjoy. Don’t isolate them. BUT, be aware who they are with and if those people are exerting a good or bad influence on them. It takes time and experience to know people.
Nine: Understand that they LIKE being in large groups of people. Even though YOU don’t want to go to that Fall Festival in the park, with large crowds of people, and loud music, don’t be hurt if THEY do want to attend. Compromise, go to the festival at a time when the crowds are smaller and the band isn’t playing.
Extroverts remind me of bright fireworks against a nighttime sky in July. Sparkling and everyone enjoys seeing them.