Jimbob's Journal
In or Out?
by Jim Harris

Are you an "inny" or an "outy"? By that, of course, I mean an introvert or an extrovert. Here's a test I devised that seems to work with cats; I open the front door. Belle immediately darts out without so much as looking back to say goodbye. She stays close enough to the house to taunt me, but far enough away so that I can't grab her. The barking dog in the neighbor's yard usually convinces her to come back inside. Ingrid stands astride the threshold and sniffs mightily, refusing to move one way or the other. Smokey, who in my unbiased, scientific opinion is the smartest of the three, runs and hides under the bed. This is a brilliantly conceived experiment, and I plan to try it on humans soon.
The different personality types can be roughly described by the following attributes;

Speaks before thinking
Energized by social interaction
Many broad friendships
Prefers talking

Thinks before speaking
Drained by social interaction
Fewer, deeper friendships
Prefers writing

I am basically an introvert. I thrive on solitude. I'm uncomfortable with competition, and when I do present bits of myself for consideration - like this article - I like them to be well-considered and preened like a dog-show poodle. Of course, I would never want to be completely cut off from society, I'm much too spoiled for that. It's more a matter of degree.

Can "innies" and "outies" get along? That's easy, no. They drive each other crazy. Of course, we have to at least make a show of trying. Modern society demands it. Sometimes, introverts can lead public lives, (Einstein comes to mind), or extroverts learn to survive in solitude, but it is almost never by choice. I think most of us, though, are like the cat who stands on the threshold, fascinated, but a bit wary of the big wide world.

In the end, however, it seems that some unyielding force outside of ourselves always drives us from the cradle, the nest, and the familiar community. We venture forth, haltingly at first, to take part in the life of the world at large. We gradually learn to navigate through the obstacles and pitfalls, and our little achievements combine with others' achievements to form large, intimidating institutions. Occasionally we get barked at, or we feel the need to hide under the bed to contemplate the meaning of it all, but for the most part we remain with a foot in both worlds.

The important thing is that we each have the freedom to choose our own path, and that we respect that same right in others.

Hey, look! The front door's open..

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