The Butterfly and the Chameleon

If you’re married, you have definitely noticed that God brings opposites together.  A spender with a saver, an organizer with well, an un…organizer, the minimalist with the pack-rat and the extrovert with the introvert.   As it has been said, “if you were both the same, one of you would be unnecessary”.  For today, let’s talk about the butterfly and the chameleon.

 

One spouse may be the social charismatic, enjoying and even flourishing in the social arena but the other spouse who is uncomfortable in social settings, may be nervous or even terrified by these experiences.  The extrovert anticipates the chance to be with others with excitement but the introvert might dread it for weeks and if they are brave enough to attend social events with you, then they are showing you a great amount of support, but they need something from you.  Help them to not feel abandoned and alone in this room full of people.  To the social butterfly, this room full of faces both new and familiar, is an interesting and exciting adventure, but the chameleon spouse would rather blend in and disappear, but usually their perception is that they stick out like a sore thumb and they fear failure.  When the experience is over, the butterfly is elated by what the experience offered and sometimes disappointed that it had to end but to the introverted person, who is probably self-critical, they are drained and relieved that it is over, but will possibly torture themselves for days over their perceived social failures.

 

From now on, walk into that room with your spouse, enjoy yourself but don’t leave them on their own, until you are sure that they are feeling comfortable within their surroundings.  Check on them often.  Chances are, they may have reached a conversation lull and you need to rescue them.  I suggest that you make a plan together on how long you will stay.  It will be easier for them if they know that there is a set time that you will leave.  Respect their feelings on this issue and stick to the plan unless of course, they are having such a wonderful time that they want to stay.

 

Being introverted is not a personality or character flaw.  Introverts can be amazingly observant, thoughtful and sensitive people who are capable of deep impactful conversation.  So, assure your spouse that they are wonderful and that they have gifts to offer.   If they feel that they can trust you, they will probably grow to appreciate these social outings.  Be with other people as often as you can, and soon your chameleon might want to have some beautiful wings.

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