I went to the movies recently with a friend. It was billed as an action comedy and I was looking forward to some good laughs. What I hadn’t realized is that the movie was 90% action and 10% comedy. Oh, the comedy was great! We’re talking LOL rolling in the aisles funny--and the action was just as good. As long as your thing is roller-coaster hyper-warp in-your-face action. Great stuff, but by the end of the movie I was limp as a rag.

As I dragged my exhausted introvert self out of the theatre, my friend was bounding down the aisle: “Wasn’t that terrific?! I feel so energized I could jump the moon! Let’s go clubbing!” I barely managed a weak giggle in response.

In typical extrovert fashion, my friend was revitalized by the action, recharged by every crash, boom and splat. I, in typical introvert fashion, wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed and recuperate for oh, 10 hours. Get up for a few, and then take a nap. Even though I’d done nothing more than sit in a movie theatre for a couple of hours, I was utterly depleted by all that adrenalin charged action.

Such is the essential difference between an introvert and an extrovert. An introvert thrives on inner stimulation--thinking, quiet reading, silence. An extrovert thrives on outer stimulation--parties, people, socializing.

Now you would think, gee, just make sure all your friends are the same as you: introverts with introverts, extroverts with extroverts. Yet here am I, a died in the wool inveterate introvert, saying “NO!!” That’s not what you want! Not if you want a full life.

Because as much as I like thinking, quiet reading and silence, I would never have those LOL moments in a movie theatre without my extrovert friend. Or gone to a raucous concert, clapping and cheering with the best of them. Or found out how much fun I could have participating in party games, instead of observing from the sidelines.

The very differences between us have opened me to a world of experiences I would otherwise never have known, much less learned to enjoy. And my extrovert friend has confided to me that he has been expanded by the depth of the conversations we sometimes indulge in, the magic of silence we’ve shared hiking a trail, or watching a flight of pelicans over the ocean.

People are wonderful. The more we appreciate and enjoy our differences, the more we enrich our own lives, as well as the lives of others.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, relationship expert, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of nine best-selling books. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. Visit www.noellenelson.com, http://anotefromdrnoelle.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/Dr.NoelleNelson, @drnoellenelson