Last night when David kissed me goodnight he said, “I’ve decided to work in Hillary’s campaign.” I had been encouraging him to do this, offering to drive him there and retrieve him.
You see David is the extrovert in our marriage. I am the introvert. That’s why I think I understand Hillary, I believe she is an introvert.
David worked in Hillary’s campaign in 2008 and was terribly upset when she didn’t get the nomination. We knew then she was the best qualified candidate. But Hillary isn’t great at making speeches and shaking hands, Bill is the extrovert.
Extroverts rule the world and can be very intolerant of introverts. Introverts would rather read a book than attend, or, God forbid, hostess a party. Why can’t you be warm and friendly? extroverts often say. Why are you so secretive? But the more they beat on the tortoise shell, the further she withdraws (yes, the tortoise who won the race was a female).
Opposites attract, so many an extrovert marries an introvert. However, extroverts outnumber introverts 10 to 1, so most marriages are between extroverts.
In the 1980s and 1990s, I traveled everywhere in the United States and several places overseas. Most of the trips involved speech-making. I addressed business groups from Richmond VA to Dayton Ohio, and from New York City to San Diego. I even testified before Congress at one point.
Making it in this world as an introvert was tough. Making all those speeches was terrifying. Besides most of the business groups consisted of men, and often they weren’t in your corner.
For example, I once addressed the managers (a sea of men) of New Jersey Bell at Seabrook, NJ. The CEO sat slumped in the front row wearing Bermuda shorts with his legs spread apart and yawned. He yawned every time I looked his way. But I didn’t lose it. Yes, he had heard the speech, it was the updated version of the one I prepared for my boss the year before. But demography changes glacially. Besides, the speech wasn’t for him, it was for all his new managers who were trying to understand demographics. As Time magazine put it on one of their covers in the 1980s, demographics was the “hot new branch of economics.”
But I was an introvert, so speech-making was painful, very painful.
I took the Myers-Briggs personality test several times and it seems I am an INTJ. A book entitled Please Understand Me explains the test and what the various personality combinations mean. INTJs are extremely introverted, and very rare. Female INTJs are even more rare. Thus very few people understand them. Most scientists are INTJs. Most teachers are not. Most people who become politicians, actors or journalists, or who enter other “outgoing” occupations are extroverts. Extroverts rule. Introverts are bullied. Usually for acting like introverts. So they often pretend to be extroverted. But then they are accused of being secretive and duplicitous. But their duplicity is a shell. Underneath is a caring heart.
Read Six Decades and Counting (link in sidebar) today. Wonderful post.