Introverts are great listeners and we pride ourselves on that. We also pride ourselves on choosing our words carefully and not speaking unless we have something to say. Both are fine qualities that I admire, but I’ve also found myself in relationships where I’ve done all the listening. One of my less-than-admirable qualities is that I like feeling wise. It’s my own little power trip to be the one to whom people come with their problems. But eventually I hit a listening wall and realize a relationship has become imbalanced, that I have sublimated my own need to be heard to my need for that very special type of oh-so-wise power. And then I get resentful and blame the other person. Everybody loses.
The fact is, though, that I have to force myself to speak up when it comes to my own needs. This isn’t all about introversion—it’s a mishmash of all sorts of things about my personality and past—but because my comfort zone is listening, as it is for so many introverts, I can easily sink into a sort of complacent receptor mode. This isn’t fair to me and it isn’t fair to the people in my life, including my husband, who shouldn’t be left to guess my needs. So next time you think keeping your thoughts to yourself is doing your relationship a favour, think again, to be sure.