The Expanders and the Condenser

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I know I am wired as an introvert. People perceive me as quiet, aloof, unfriendly, and anti-social. The reality is, I think, I listened, I observed. I daydreamed. I recharge.

In a group, I usually position myself for an easy escape to be alone with my books, or surf the internet. I am allergic to parties and I am averse to small talk.

Breaking the ice to start a group conversation has always been a problem for me. Unlike my opposite, the extrovert, oh, they love brainstorming out loud for all the people to hear. The extrovert need plenty of compliments and affirmation. And they, too, are wired. That’s how God made us, and none much we can do about it.

At the outset, these types of contrasting personality seemingly cannot get along very well. But if each of them is imbued with adaptability characteristic, then, they can live in harmony. If they are not that gung-ho in their ways, a quiet reserve individual can break bread with a non-stop talker.

Likewise, an organized, exacting, results-oriented person can adjust with the indecisive, carefree, spontaneous individual. Then life can be free of secret animosity. When one knows how to be sensitive to the uniqueness of an individual, and responds to it, then that’s being adaptable.

While waiting for my turn to see my family doctor, I chanced upon this Bass Angler Magazine and flipped through it. One article caught my attention. It’s about this Largemouth Bass, a fish that can thrive in any type of water; be it a river, a lake, a pond, freshwater, water in the tropics, sea water.

Considering this Largemouth Bass requires a good quality of water to survive, it’s amazing how resilient this kind of fish is. The fish can really adapt well. It struck me if the Largemouth Bass’s adaptability can rub on people as well.

Well, it can. One night, (I work night shift) my office mate, Gerry, not his real name, a talker Polish guy who has a motor mouth, like that of Mike Enriquez, and knows everything, approached me while I was working quietly at my desk. He knew me as one who could last the shift without striking a personal conversation.

“Jess,” he said, “May I have your opinion on this? You can take your time tinkering with it”

I was delighted with Gerry’s approach. It is as if he knew I couldn’t be rushed. That thing for me has to be thought over. I was reminded of a saying in Proverbs 27:14, which says, “If you shout a greeting to a friend too early in the morning, he will count it as a curse!” Gerry is an extrovert, yet, as if he knew, how to adapt and deal with an introvert.

The secret I think, is to adjust, adapt, and flex our communication style with each other. In conversation, most, extroverts are expanders. They love to reveal every nuance and details. Meanwhile, the introverts are condensers. They went immediately to the bottom line, to the moral of the story, to the punch line. As the “birds of the same feather flocks together,” so they say, we feel comfortable talking to each other with similar talking style. Hence, expanders love talking to expanders, the same way as condensers thrill to chat with condensers.

Mimicking one’s communication style is one method of adapting oneself a harmonious existence. Certainly, this can reduce the secret animosity between introverts and extroverts.

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