I think one of the worst things someone can tell an introvert is to “loosen up.” It implies that there is something wrong with them, or that they should be more like that person. Just because two people are different, doesn’t mean that one of them is wrong. There are all different personalities, and they all have their place.
In my experience, most introverted people are also serious, and task oriented. I think God made them on the introverted side so that they are okay being alone to focus on a task. I know that I personally can be quiet sometimes because I am caught up in my mind trying to plan something or figure out how to make something happen. No, there is nothing wrong with me, I am not mad or depressed, I am thinking.
I think of extroverts as the “show.” They are the ones who are out fellowshipping with everyone, making new friends and coming up with fun, crazy ideas. They are the ones who get energized from being with other people. They like to be out in front. If an introvert is around a lot of people or out in front, they usually need some quiet alone time to recharge afterward from having to be “on.” Depending on the situation, it can be exhausting.
Introverts are like the internal workings of a machine. A cuckoo clock is pretty with a beautiful bird coming out singing melodious tweets to signal the hour, but how does that happen? There are all kinds of gears moving in sync. A clock without the insides would still be beautiful and enjoyable and have a purpose of its own, but working together with the internal mechanisms, it accomplishes much more. Likewise, if you take the covering of the clock away and only leave the insides, it will still function and be an amazing example of ingenuity, but could be enjoyed more and enhanced by replacing the decorative clock face and tweeting birdie.
You know what I’m getting at. Most of the things I have been successful at are because I have partnered up with an extrovert. It’s one of the reasons God brought my husband and I together. We are both textbook examples of an extrovert and introvert. He has no problem walking right up to people he doesn’t know and striking up a conversation. I generally find a quiet place to sit and observe, or I seek out my “safe” people and stay in that comfortable circle. I appreciate that he is that way because it makes me feel like I can get away with sinking back and allowing him to “represent” our family.
Additionally, he comes up with great ideas-youth group events, family vacations, etc. and he tells me about them, and I begin meticulously planning. Together we are a good team and generally whatever we work on is successful.
This can spill over into all areas of our lives, what our hobbies are, what music we like, what movies we like, what vacations we like to take. My husband’s favorite vacation was when we went to Florida and stayed in a busy condo on a busy beach at the ocean. My favorite vacation was when we stayed in a cabin in Kentucky. One of my husband’s favorite hobbies is playing basketball with a bunch of sweaty guys, and I love to dig into a good book or work in the garden. And just because I don’t like Skillet because I can’t understand what the heck they are saying, or the loud chaotic music stresses me out rather than relaxes me, doesn’t mean I need to “loosen up” (you know who you are), it means I have different tastes.
And so, God knew what he was doing. Not just with my husband and I, but with the whole human race. I am generalizing here. I know there are introverts who can also socialize well, and come up with fun, crazy ideas on their own (I have myself from time to time), and I know there are extroverts who can focus on tasks and successfully execute their own crazy, fun ideas (my husband can focus on studying and planning a sermon). However, usually, introverts are gifted in being “thoughtful” (in the sense of retreating to their own thoughts), and extroverts are more gifted in socialization and vocalizing their ideas. Imagine if the world were full of only extroverts, or only introverts? We would either all be having fun and talking about the ideas we’d love to see come to light but don’t want to sit and plan every detail for, or we’d all be shut up alone in our houses reading, or writing, or planning things we need an extrovert to present to everyone else. Yeah, I think God knew what He was doing.