I think I first realized I was an introvert when I was a child. Every time my extended family came to our house, rather than rush downstairs to say hi, I lingered upstairs until I was called down. We didn’t see them more than once or twice a year, so I never felt like I got to know them. I remember thinking, If I can’t know them well, what’s the point in trying to make a relationship work?

During my grade school years, I didn’t go over to friends’ houses very much. I didn’t like being in foreign environments. The one time I did try an overnight, my mother had to come and pick me up. In my adult years, I’ve become the kind of person who, if an encounter cannot be avoided, would try to keep it short and superficial. Keep it light, move on, and let me get back to my thoughts.

But since my brother’s death of cancer at the age of 47, I’ve become more extroverted than I’ve ever been. I’ve seen the importance of relationships. Things don’t matter—people matter. If we don’t spend time with people now, tomorrow’s no guarantee. At the same time, given the choice between going out to dinner with friends and hanging out at home with my wife and kids, I’ll take home every time. Over the course of my life, it’s become clear that my makeup might best be summed up as, “once an introvert, always an introvert.” It’s part of who I am. Take it or leave it.

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  • Pete Azarnoosh

    “Take it or leave it.” Love it. That’s what I have as my Facebook ‘intro’: “As is. Take it or leave it.”

    “If I can’t know them well, what’s the point…” In my business I’ve met and have the opportunity to meet & work with a lot of celebrities. People think that’s so cool. But when I can I’ll let one of my assistants handle that. Generally that part of what I do is straightforward and simple, and people think it’s odd that I pass on that “perk” of my job, but it goes back to what you said. I don’t want to “meet” someone, I want to “get to know” the person if I can. What’s the point of just meeting someone?

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  • Gail Valles Williamson

    Thank you for sharing your story Jim, and reminding us that it is “people who matter”. Most of us rather have a one-on-one conversation that matters than a lot of talk about nothing! As an only child, I remember sitting with my loud relatives and making up stories in my head rather than listening to what I perceived as noise. To this day, I’m still writing stories, haha.

    • James Landwehr

      Keep on writing them Gail. I find writing helps me recharge. It is total immersion.

  • Medina-Merino

    Jim…sorry for the loss of your brother but glad that in the wake of his passing you were able to rise to a better understanding of your self and purpose. As an introvert who has had to learn to function as an extrovert because of my decades-long professional involvements, I can relate to your story. One thing that helped me immensely (even to this day) is to say to myself…”put your left foot in front of your right foot, breathe in and out and before you know it, you will have gotten through this” (whatever “this” was at that moment.

    Left to my own devices I avoid being the center of attention in favor doing something that teaches or helps others or improves whatever community I am a part of in that instance…it’s where I find my joy and purpose.

    But I have to remind myself that not all others engage the world around them in the same way…and THIS has been an on-going and often painful lesson.

    • James Landwehr

      Thanks Medina. Because of my two books, I have been doing a number of public presentations lately. THey are draining, but I realize it’s part of the deal. I love talking to people, but after I’m done, I AM DONE! (If you know what I mean.) 🙂

  • Rich Day

    “Things don’t matter, people matter” I think that says it all, right there. Loved your story, Jim. Thank you!

    • James Landwehr

      Right Rich. Material wealth is not my thing. After Rob’s death though. I found myself craving connection and want to hear other peoples’ stories. God works in strange ways.

  • Amy Woerner

    These Quiet Revolutionary stories soothe my soul and remind me it’s okay to embrace who I really am.

    • James Landwehr

      I agree Amy. We are not alone. (Even though we prefer it that way. LOL.)

  • Kenny Ramp

    Jim, there’s no place like home is there? You make perfect sense and your outlook is completely understood. Especially the part about keeping a conversation minimal so you can get back to your own thoughts! Those thoughts are probably far more interesting, vital, creative perhaps than any “small talk” can ever be. I enjoyed your openness and your story. Kenny/QuietRev2

    • James Landwehr

      Thanks Kenny. No, there isn’t any place like home. I loathe small talk.

  • Jim, I had the same experience of being invited to spend the night at my best friend’s house in 4th grade, but had to have my parents come get me. It was just to overwhelming and over-stimulating to try to sleep in a strange place.

    I also pushed myself to be more social after 3 of my younger siblings died in their late 30’s and 40’s. I was never one to have company over to my house, but when I moved to a larger city, I started hosting MeetUps. Of course, I have people come to my house, so I don’t have to go out! That was 5.5 years ago. I still do them, but only when I feel like it. The older I get, the more I want to honor my introverted nature and spend time with my thoughts, my books and my writing.

    • James Landwehr

      Annette, I know the feeling. Yesterday I was “in the car” getting set to go to an event I didn’t want to go to. I ended up staying home and reading. This was because I was tapped out from having people over the night before. Recharge is so important.

      • Yes, James. I used to hold alot of MeetUps in my home, but I am paring back because my batteries are empty when they leave. It is almost an out-of-body experience when I’m tapped out. Even though I enjoy the people, it is also very draining.

  • PattyMac

    And as your older sister, and knowing the rest of our siblings, as well as our dear mother, I’d have to say the “introvert” gene is dominant in all of us! Love you Jim!!!
    The Queen Bee

    • James Landwehr

      Never thought of all of us that way. Rob was pure extrovert for sure. The rest you might be right about. Love you too, Pat.