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Show Notes

Have you ever been in a relationship where you felt like you and your partner just didn’t understand each other? Maybe one of you is an introvert, while the other is an extrovert, and you’re struggling to balance your differences.

In this episode, David welcomes psychologist and author of “Introvert Power,” Dr. Laurie Helgoe and her extroverted husband, Barron, to share how they’re celebrating 40 years of marriage despite being “completely incompatible.”  Laurie and Barron talk about their new podcast, The Incompatibles, as they share insights on how introverts and extroverts can harness their strengths and embrace their differences to create a fulfilling relationship. 

Whether for a personal relationship or just getting on better with co-workers, you’ll gain practical tips on how to better understand and appreciate others in your life. You’ll learn more about the gifts and strengths of both introverts and extroverts, how to communicate effectively, and why valuing these differences is key to a successful relationship.

We’ll take you on a journey of self-discovery as we explore how to make room for introversion, communicate effectively and appreciate our differences. So, adjust your headphones and let’s dive in!  Don’t miss out on this episode that could help transform your relationships for the better.

– – – 

Dr. Laurie Helgoe, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, educator and author of six books including Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength. She is an associate clinical professor in the doctoral clinical psychology program at Augsburg University in Minneapolis. 

Barron Helgoe is married to Laurie Helgoe. He works as an assistant public defender in Minnesota. He has served a Rule of Law advisor in Afghanistan and as an international elections observer in Moldova and Albania. With his wife, he is coauthor of a parenting book. He is a produced playwright. Laurie and Barron live in Minneapolis. They have two adult sons.

For more on The Incompatibles, visit their website at TheIncompatiblesPodcast.com or listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Audible, or Google. 

Get Laurie’s Book: Introvert Power

Website: Introvertpower.com

Socials:  Facebook | Instagram

– – –

Contact the Host of the Quiet and Strong Podcast:

David Hall

Author, Speaker, Educator, Podcaster

quietandstrong.com
Gobio.link/quietandstrong
david [at] quietandstrong.com

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Timestamped Overview

[00:04:09] Growing up in a chaotic environment, the speaker relied on writing to escape. They always had qualities of an introvert, but only realized it during psychoanalysis as a psychologist. This realization led to them writing a book.

[00:07:44] The writer and their partner have different sleep schedules and introverted tendencies, which allows their partner to have alone time. They both recognize and accept each other’s differences.

[00:11:59] Embrace introversion, don’t try to change it. The book explores introverts and their strengths, and the need to first understand ourselves before growing beyond. The book stands out for its focus on exploring introversion.

[00:18:08] Misconceptions about introverts being depressed or smug due to their reflective and poker face.

[00:25:42] Man feels visibly older between speaking and wife’s reply, enjoys conversational process and dislikes creating without collaboration, causing conflict.

[00:28:05] Introverts naturally mull over ideas, while extroverts tend to express them immediately. Introverts require time to process new ideas.

[00:32:39] The pandemic made it harder to communicate with people casually and sometimes calling is better than emailing or texting to avoid misinterpretation. Making appointments for short conversations can be frustrating. It depends on the situation.

[00:38:31] The author talks about traveling alone as an introvert, finding it nourishing and a way to engage with people voluntarily and recharge. It also helps in making relationships more interesting.

[00:44:13] Connect with me at QuietandStrong.com for blog posts, social media links, and a free personality assessment. Share your ideas for the show and embrace your introverted strengths.


Questions and Answers about this Episode:

1. What does the speaker recommend to people who expect their partners to provide everything?

Answer: The speaker recommends finding your own ways of satisfaction, enjoyment, and entertainment that can include family, friends, or activities you enjoy.

2. What does the extroverted speaker enjoy doing in his free time?

Answer: The speaker enjoys walking through the city and stopping at sales.

3. Why is it unfair to expect your partner to provide everything?

Answer: It is unfair and a recipe for disaster as no one can fulfill all of your needs and desires.

4. What is the belief about introverts that almost made it into the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders?

Answer: The belief that introverts are depressed because they have a more reflective or poker face, which may be seen as bland or lifeless in a culture that values external expression.

5. Why do some people think that introverts are smug or stuck up?

Answer: Some people assume that introverts are smug or stuck up because they are more internally oriented, but this is not necessarily true.

6. What does the book discussed in the episode focus on?

Answer: The book focuses on exploring introversion and making room for it, looking at introverted cultures and strengths, and highlighting the presence of introverts in quiet spaces like libraries.

7. Do Introverts prefer calling or texting?

Answer: The Extrovert speaker prefers calling people over emailing or texting them to avoid misinterpretation of the message, but introverts often prefer emailing or texting. However, different situations may call for different approaches.

8. What was the outcome of the speaker’s experience at the bed and breakfast in the woods in Wisconsin?

Answer: The experience was nourishing for her as an introvert and allowed her to be more open socially.

9. What is the difference between introverts and extroverts in terms of processing information and ideas?

Answer: Introverts tend to think and process internally before expressing their opinions, while extroverts may share their ideas more freely.


Podcast Transcript

David Hall [00:00:00]:

So what led you to start the podcast?

Laurie Helgoe [00:00:02]:

Having such different personalities? We clash from time to time every day. 

Barron Helgoe [00:00:09]:

Every Day.

Laurie Helgoe [00:00:12]:

And so we will often debrief about, okay, let’s talk about that conversation that didn’t go so well, or one of us might be hurt or something. So we’ll debrief. As we were talking about something along those lines, we found ourselves rather amused by our conversation. And then I think it was you that had the idea. This was after maybe a particularly big conflict. We were debriefing on the next day, and I was in a sour mood, and Barron can do this when he needs to kind of disarm me. And he said, yeah, I think we’re completely incompatible. And I started laughing. Of course, that was just the natural name for the podcast.

David Hall [00:01:13]:

Hello, and welcome to episode 122 of The Quiet and Strong Podcast, especially for introverts. I’m your host, David Hall, and the creator of QuietandStrong.com. This is a weekly podcast dedicated to understanding the strengths and needs of introverts. Introversion is not something to fix, but to be embraced.

David Hall [00:01:31]:

Normally. We’ll air each episode on a Monday. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform. Leave a review. That would mean a lot to me. Tell a friend about the podcast. Help get the word out there that introversion is a beautiful thing. Dr. Laurie Helgoe is a clinical psychologist, educator and author of six books, including Introvert Power Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength. Barron Helgoe has spent his career practicing law. Laurie is an introvert, a night owl, and a dreamer. She takes her time and is good at reading emotions. Barron, her husband, is an extrovert, an early bird, and a problem solver. He gets things done and knows how to read a map. How do the incompatibles make a life together?

David Hall [00:02:12]:

They’ve done it for 40 years. Together, they host the incompatibles podcast.

David Hall [00:02:18]:

All right, welcome to the Quiet and Strong podcast. I actually have two guests today. Welcome Laurie and Barron. It’s so great to have you on the show.

Laurie Helgoe [00:02:25]:

Great to be here, David.

David Hall [00:02:27]:

So, Laurie is an introvert, and Barron is an extrovert. How long have you been married?

Laurie Helgoe [00:02:33]:

This summer, itt will be 40 years.

David Hall [00:02:36]:

Right, Wow. Congratulations. Thank you. Tell us a little bit about yourselves.

Laurie Helgoe [00:02:42]:

Barron, you want to start?

Barron Helgoe [00:02:43]:

Sure. I’m midwest kid, born in Minnesota. I met Laurie at college when I was 17. My professional work is I’m a lawyer. I like to hear the sound of my own voice, so it’s probably a good profession for me. I enjoy I spent a lot of time in the courtroom. I like puzzle solving. So law is a good fit for me, and Laurie is my pretty much exact opposite. We figured out over the course of our podcast in the last 40 years, but somehow we’ve enjoyed our 40 years of marriage, like everybody, and we’ve had our own challenges, but it’s been a great ride.

Laurie Helgoe [00:03:19]:

So I’m a psychologist and a writer, and I like to do things kind of from the inside out, though. The reflective profession has worked for me. I’ve gotten more and more into writing and teaching where I can think about what I want to say before I say it. Yeah. So we definitely bring different skill sets to the table.

David Hall [00:03:50]:

Awesome. And Laurie, we’re going to get into your book Introvert Power. It’s still my favorite book on introversion, so we will talk about that.

Laurie Helgoe [00:03:57]:

Thank you.

David Hall [00:03:58]:

And of course, your podcast. The incompatibles I’ve been listening, and it’s great to hear you both. So let’s talk about that. Laurie, so how did you figure out that you were an introvert and then how did you embrace that?

Laurie Helgoe [00:04:09]:

Right, so at some level, I’m sure I knew. I grew up in a family of ten, and I was number nine out of ten, very kind of noisy, chaotic environment, and I would retreat to write as a way of surviving at it all. So I definitely had those qualities. I didn’t have a name for it, though. I was very imaginative, very much a rich inner world, and so I’m sure I took the Myers Briggs as part of my training. At some level, I knew, but it wasn’t really until I went through my own psychoanalysis, practicing as a psychologist that I kind of said it out loud and heard myself say it and kind of woke up to what that meant for me. And it was very liberating because it was like, okay, I’m an introvert. That’s why certain things aren’t working for me right now, and maybe I need to change some things. And that was kind of the beginning of writing the book, at least inside my head.

David Hall [00:05:15]:

How long had you been a psychologist before you kind of had this epiphany?

Laurie Helgoe [00:05:19]:

Oh, my gosh. At least ten years, maybe closer to 15. It was kind of a scary realization because I was in a busy clinic and I was pressured to see a lot of patients, and I was stressed by that. And so I still had student loans. So maybe it was more like ten years down the road. We had a lot of student loans between the two of us, and it was like, oh, no, this is not good. I’m still paying off student loans. I can’t slow down. I figured out a way, though, to slow that down and then to start writing, teaching, even though I’m in front of people, it’s a different kind of in front of people. David, you probably relayed as somebody who, like an introvert, who likes to still do things publicly yeah, that I think I really found my niche in doing a combination of things, and now I teach doctoral students.

David Hall [00:06:19]:

Awesome. And so normally, Barron, I ask my guests, I’ve only had a couple of extroverts on, not that I’m opposed, but normally I say how to embrace your introversion, but I’m going to ask you, when did you embrace Laurie’s introversion?

Barron Helgoe [00:06:34]:

Well, actually, we were joking about that question earlier. I have to say that I think it’s when I was editing her book and reading her book, I got a real deep and profound sense of her introversion, of what it meant to her. Now, obviously, before that, we were navigating all those incompatibilities, but for her to crystallize it in her brilliant writing for me really helped. So from that book forward, certainly I had a really deep understanding, and I was moving toward that before that.

David Hall [00:07:06]:

I’m married to a fellow introvert, and we’ve been married almost 30 years. We love each other. But it was when I was writing that I discovered, oh, this is what’s going on. And we’ve been married probably 20 years at that point. Our house came with a nice workspace where there’s two desks. So she’s in her desk, she’s helping me edit my blog, and I’m talking to her and she’s kind of ignoring me, and I’m like, what’s going on? And I’m realizing, oh, she’s in her zone. Even though I’m an introvert, I didn’t recognize what was going on.

Laurie Helgoe [00:07:40]:

Right. I think that can happen for sure.

Barron Helgoe [00:07:43]:

Absolutely.

David Hall [00:07:44]:

This is funny too, because I listened to an episode, you talk about how one of you is an early bird and one’s a night owl. And even though we’re both introverts, I’m definitely the early bird and she’s the night owl. And that’s part of her introversion is that’s where she gets her space. That’s where she has her time to think. The time I have three kids, it’s the time where she gets away from us. Along those lines, it was funny, like when maybe when the kids were little, and especially when they were little, she’d say, I’m going to the store. I’m like, oh, don’t you want to bring the kids? And she’s like, no, because again, she wanted her space. But it’s just funny. It was similar for me where when I started writing about introversion and extroversion, I’m like, oh, here’s where we’re different. And then a big AHA is we realize that we each come with gifts, but I’m not going to change her, she’s not going to change me. And that’s what keeps us happy. But understanding those gifts is key to all of it.

Laurie Helgoe [00:08:37]:

Yeah, for sure. It is interesting, though, how writing itself help for other people, but it was actually very interesting the way that it helped me and actually, like my extroverted sisters, it helped us have words for some of the things that were happening, had been happening and maybe not fully understood before that.

David Hall [00:09:02]:

Yeah. And that’s the thing. It gives you words, it helps you to explain and articulate, hey, you know what? I need this. And your partner can say, I need this, and here’s why. So that kind of thing. So writing is very helpful.

Barron Helgoe [00:09:16]:

I think it’s a narrative therapy journey that sort of ends with a product at the end, maybe don’t even need to start with that idea. But for you, it was very much a narrative therapy experience for you to write about it and to explicate it and then put it into more formal words. But I think along the way you were able to make even deeper insights as you really explored it, really spent time with it.

David Hall [00:09:42]:

So when I started blogging, it’s probably about the time I discovered your book. A couple of big takeaways for me that other people weren’t necessarily saying was that introverts make up about half the population, and a lot of people were saying less. In fact, when I say that number, people are like, no, but the thing is, there’s a lot of confident and outspoken introverts out there, and the stereotypes don’t fit that all the time.

Laurie Helgoe [00:10:07]:

Exactly. Yeah. It was kind of startling to me how deeply embedded the idea that we were this small minority was and how, like you said with your wife, how we weren’t even seeing each other or maybe understanding each other, which is part of the problem. It’s not just that extroverts don’t get us sometimes. We don’t get us.

David Hall [00:10:29]:

Yes, that’s a really good point. Introverts. We don’t get each other sometimes. And that’s a problem too.

Laurie Helgoe [00:10:36]:

Yeah, for sure.

David Hall [00:10:37]:

And sometimes it’s even harder for us to connect introvert to introvert. The extrovert might help us along sometimes.

Laurie Helgoe [00:10:44]:

Yeah, right.

David Hall [00:10:47]:

And then the other big takeaway was your title, Introvert Power. There’s a power there. It’s that we focus more on our inner world of ideas, and a lot of strengths come from that. And again, everybody has strengths, they’re just different.

Barron Helgoe [00:11:01]:

One of the interesting things that came out of her book was her research into Isabel Briggs Myers work and how people kept siding to this original study, which identified introverts as a much smaller portion of the population and that had not been updated. And that statistic kept being repeated in academic and nonacademic writing for a long time. And she’s like, oh, wait a second, this isn’t correct. And so she made a real contribution in correcting that perception when the book came out. So I think hopefully now people understand that there is a pretty much equal proportion with extroverts and introverts around the world. It certainly makes it easier to confront the idea that maybe we need to be open to other people’s personalities, especially at work.

David Hall [00:11:47]:

Yeah, for sure. And we don’t always see those preferences. You don’t always know what’s going on inside somebody. So those are a couple of my takeaways. How would you further summarize introvert power?

Laurie Helgoe [00:11:59]:

Yeah, I think what I was frustrated with in some of the writing about introversion, or certainly the cultural attitude toward introversion, is that, oh, you’re an introvert, so let’s see how we can make you more extroverted. And that somehow we needed correction or we needed help. I mean, there’s nothing an introvert hates more than being asked, how we’re doing? Are we okay? And I think actually, when we’re asked that, we kind of start to wonder, Am I okay? My attitude with the book is that let’s see how we can just melt into introversion. Let’s look at what it is and how we can indulge it instead of correct it. Because the problem is, if we can’t first experience authentically who we are, it’s hard to grow beyond that. We’re always stretching outside of ourselves and working hard to be something we’re not, and not actually drawing from our deepest strengths, but also what’s easy for us. Extroverts have that opportunity in our culture to just kind of swim in who they are. And then in later life, Carl Jung had this idea that then we can explore our opposites, but introverts are kind of forced to explore opposites before we even know who we are. So I really made a deliberate effort in the book to make a lot of room for introverts, to explore who we are. So looking at cultures that are more introverted, looking at the strengths and what we don’t see I mean, think of films like Planet Earth where photographers go into these incredibly gorgeous landscapes. They have to be alone for long periods of time and quiet to kind of stalk these animals. And we may not think of those people because they’re not in front of us on the sitcoms or commercials or busy gathering spaces. When you go into a library, you are in the company of hordes of introverts. So to really move into that space that we don’t take the time to move into, that was my intention. And I think that’s what makes the book stand out.

David Hall [00:14:22]:

Yeah, absolutely. It’s funny because to me, introversion is that I spend more of my time in my head than not. Of course, everybody goes inward, everybody focuses externally. But to me, I spend more time doing this podcast. I absolutely love it. But I have to prepare. I have to think about what I’m going to say. It’s not scripted, but at the same time, I have a good idea of what I want to do or giving a public speech. I have to spend some time preparing. And the extrovert is going to prepare as well. But they’re also going to have an element of winging it that I just don’t have.

Laurie Helgoe [00:14:57]:

Yeah, our professions really say a lot about Barron and me. So you are winging it all the time in the courtroom, right?

Barron Helgoe [00:15:06]:

Yeah, I think there’s definitely the opportunity to speak off the cuff based on your experience and your knowledge, to gain something in the moment, create something in the moment. Sure. Lawyers have to be prepared, but at the same time, extroversion, the quality of extroversion is certainly very useful in the courtroom.

Laurie Helgoe [00:15:23]:

To object. I mean, I would have a really hard time objecting.

Barron Helgoe [00:15:30]:

No, we’re real good at that.

David Hall [00:15:34]:

Is there another strength of yours, Laurie, that you want to mention as being an introvert?

Laurie Helgoe [00:15:38]:

Yeah, I think I stand back and evaluate things and that whereas somebody who feels compelled to maybe keep talking might not do that. I remember there was an old commercial when EF Hutton speaks, people listen. I found sometimes that there’s power, like in a meeting, being the one that’s quiet. And then I actually form a thought based on listening for a while. And then when I talk, people listen. And I have an advantage there because I have gathered a lot of information before I speak.

David Hall [00:16:17]:

That’s funny that you mentioned that, because that’s where the quiet and strong name came from is basically someone was telling me I was EF Hutton because I attended, like, this workshop on strengths. It was like a three day thing and I thought I participated plenty. There’s a quote from me that says something similar, Laurie. It’s like, as much as I am talking, someone’s going to think I’m quiet. I can’t remember the exact quote, but you’ve said something like that before. After the facilitator pulled me aside and she was giving me a compliment and she said, you’re quiet and strong. When you talk, people listen. It’s that introversion where we’re not sharing everything, we’re thinking about things, putting together. All right, here’s what I think is most important. Whereas extroverts, they share a lot of things, they share most everything. So it’s just different skills. But that’s where the name came from. So yeah, it’s like a fun, So, Barron, what’s the strength that you have as an extrovert?

Barron Helgoe [00:17:11]:

I think it’s the desire to explore and the willingness to engage with new people and new places. I think I’ve lived through that in my life. We traveled extensively, I’ve worked overseas, and I find that exhilarating. I’ve lived as a minority in a majority country three times. I find that absolutely liberating and fun and educational. And I think extroverts are open to new experiences and they embrace them. And I think that’s needed.

David Hall [00:17:44]:

Yeah, absolutely. So on this show, we definitely talk about the strengths and needs of introverts. And today, of course, extroverts, too. We talk about needs, like the need to prepare that we’ve mentioned and other things. We also bust myths. That’s the important part. So either Laurie or Barron, what’s a myth or two that you would like to bust about introversion or extroversion?

Laurie Helgoe [00:18:08]:

Yeah. Oh, boy. We need another hour, perhaps, right? Yeah, I think there’s a lot there’s. One is that introverts are depressed. I mean, this is one of the most troubling ones because introverts are almost made it into the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders because we don’t have that yellow smiley face look because we’re reflecting. We have more of a poker face. So people in a culture that really kind of demands that external expression, we can be viewed as bland or depressed or anhedonic is a word. Barron I like to use about kind of the lifeless yeah. Being in a lifeless state. And sometimes people are it’s actually an indication of depression, but you have to watch out to mistake that poker face or that reflective face for depression. There’s also the assumption that we might be smug or stuck up because, again, we’re more internally oriented. A lot of people misread. Barron I have dealt with this, my silence in a conversation to mean that I am wanting the person to keep talking or I don’t understand, or all kinds of things, rather than the fact that I’m listening. So I think so many things come from people wanting, projecting onto that enigmatic face what it is they want to see.

Barron Helgoe [00:19:51]:

You’re a Rosar yes.

Laurie Helgoe [00:19:54]:

And I like to say as a painter, the favorite subjects for portraits are the enigmatic faces like the Mona Lisa. We don’t know what they’re thinking. And there’s something also kind of attractive about that or interesting about that. For introverts, sadly, sometimes that means people really want to intrude. And what’s going on with you? Those are some myths I’m sure I can come up with more. But what about extroversion? What myth?

Barron Helgoe [00:20:20]:

I think for me, extroverts, they may not have the full understanding of emotion, but we do have them. So I think if there’s maybe a perception that extroverts are sort of unfeeling or uncaring and their problem solving focus is belies some sort of soulless center where they don’t really care about it.

Laurie Helgoe [00:20:40]:

Like solemness.

Barron Helgoe [00:20:42]:

No, it’s more like, well, that may be part of it, but more that they don’t care that they’re uncaring. I don’t think extroverts are uncaring. I think that maybe introverts have a deeper understanding of emotion and maybe have a richer palate and way to describe it, whereas extroverts have the emotions, but they don’t have the language to identify that. So that’s where introverts can really help extroverts. And I think that extroverts might be perceived perhaps as uncaring. I don’t know.

Laurie Helgoe [00:21:09]:

Interesting. So you’re talking about emotions because extroverts wear emotions more readily. Is it? 

Barron Helgoe [00:21:17]:

I don’t know. I don’t know whether it miss about extroverts. I mean, that’s why married psychology theory so many differences. You can ask for that question. I’m sorry.

Laurie Helgoe [00:21:29]:

Yeah, so I think that one part of what you’re saying about that introvert extroverts might seem uncaring because you’re talking a lot, you’re not listening as much, or it doesn’t seem like you’re listening as much.

Barron Helgoe [00:21:43]:

Right.

Laurie Helgoe [00:21:44]:

So that I think.

Barron Helgoe [00:21:46]:

They’re self-centered. They’re narcissistic, they’re unfeeling, they’re absorbing all the energy in the room, et cetera, trial lawyer type, pick, whatever horrible adjective. That’s fine.

Laurie Helgoe [00:21:59]:

Yeah, well, I think the one that I see people making is that is the one about shallowness that somehow because you maybe are less reflective.

Barron Helgoe [00:22:12]:

Yeah, well, I guess that goes along with this, like not understanding emotions. If you’re talking about emotional intelligence. Yeah. I think people would be perceived as having a shallow understanding of emotion. Certainly. But I think extroverts are I’m an ESTJ and the Myers Briggs, so I’m very much kind of person quick to decide 80% is close enough, you don’t need to think anymore about it, move on.

Laurie Helgoe [00:22:41]:

Right.

Barron Helgoe [00:22:42]:

Come across as a little bit abrupt, I suppose.

Barron Helgoe  [00:22:44]:

Go ahead.

Laurie Helgoe [00:22:44]:

Yeah. Well, I think that’s where when you think of you as the whole personality, there’s probably also the thinking side. You’re more of a thinker like an extroverted feeler. Might not have that. Yeah.

Barron Helgoe [00:22:56]:

What do you think, David? What do you think the myths of extroversion are?

David Hall [00:23:01]:

I’m glad you brought up the Myers Briggs, because it shows a lot of different aspects of our personality. We’re not just introverted extroverted. That’s what the show is about. Because I think it’s a significant part of our strengths but also misunderstanding sometimes. I think you did a good job there. I love your podcast because the incompatibles, it does show the contrast. We come to our gifts very naturally. There was a few ways I had those kinds of epiphanies. Like, I’m married to a fellow introvert. We have three kids, two extroverts, one introvert. Why is that? I don’t know. They come to those gifts very naturally. They’re all amazing in their own right, but they’re not the same. We raised them the same or just experiencing life and looking at people and how they each bring their own gifts. So I like the Myers Briggs for that reason because it does show our personalities are multifaceted and of course, nobody is the same.

Laurie Helgoe [00:23:59]:

Right? Yeah, it is. And it’s hard to kind of separate them out. All these different facets.

David Hall [00:24:07]:

So what led you to start the podcast.

Laurie Helgoe [00:24:08]:

Having such different personalities? We clash from time to time.

Barron Helgoe [00:24:17]:

Every day.

Laurie Helgoe [00:24:20]:

And so we will often debrief about, okay, let’s talk about that conversation that didn’t go so well or one of us might be hurt or something. So we’ll debrief as we were talking about something along those lines. We found ourselves rather amused by our conversation. And then I think it was you that had the idea this was after maybe a particularly big conflict. We were debriefing on the next day and I was in a sour mood and Barron can do this when he needs to kind of disarm me. And he said, yeah, I think we’re completely incompatible. And I started laughing. Of course, that was just the natural name for the podcast once we got it going.

David Hall [00:25:13]:

Yeah, I think we’ve started to talk about this. A big epiphany for me too is I was in a Myers-briggs training to get certified in it and the Facilitator said, introverts think and then speak and extroverts speak in order to think. And that was like a light bulb moment for me, like, oh, yes, that’s true. And I think you kind of talk about that on your podcast too. So how have you noticed that difference? How’s that created conflict for you and how you learn to understand that.

Barron Helgoe [00:25:42]:

Well, it’s interesting because we were interviewed a little while ago for an article in another journal. The question is, what is it like for somebody who’s quiet and somebody who talks a lot? And I said that I sometimes feel like I’m visibly aging between the sound of my last word and my lovely wife’s reply. And there’s this interminable stretching void at the end of when I’m talking, and then she starts to talk. So that creates conflict. I absolutely love David, the process of talking. Laurie talks like ping pong, like I’ll hit the ball and you bet it back. So for me, a conversation and ideas developed through conversation isn’t come birthed whole at the moment you speak. So I like that process. I think it’s energizing, it’s fun, and it’s a way humans interact for me, and that’s the most enjoyable part. I don’t want to just create something and go, here it is, and then walk out of the room and let other people think about it. So, yeah, that creates conflict. Sure.

Laurie Helgoe [00:26:44]:

Yeah. What I found in the research is that extroverts really like to seek rewards out in the environment. And I see that with Barron. He wants feedback. He wants to know what I’m thinking. He wants that interactive stimulation. And for me, I want enough room to develop my thoughts and to know what I want to say so that I’m representing myself. Well, I think that’s the writer in me, too, that wanting to get the right words.

Barron Helgoe [00:27:14]:

I don’t care about that. I would rather just talk and then let’s together, let’s figure it out and we can make fools of ourselves in the process. And that’s part of the fun, frankly. Throw out like Laurie would call it a half baked idea, or I would call it like the beginning of a thought. I don’t judge it so much. I would just rather enjoy that. And she can do that for a while. We definitely have good conversations where she’s responsive and we go back and forth, but at some point her energy is going to go right to the floor and we’re done. She’s done with that. And at the same time, I can be reflective and try to shut the hell up and maybe think before I talk. Not often it does happen. Occasionally we negotiate that usually it’s an evening conversation on the couch.

Laurie Helgoe [00:28:03]:

Yeah.

David Hall [00:28:05]:

Something that’s really been helpful for me to learn is you both just come to these preferences naturally. I think you put it that we like to birth an idea that’s accurate for me. Sometimes I don’t have to do that. Laurie and I could probably talk about introversion all day without having to give any thought to it whatsoever. We could just go back and forth and not have to pause to think because we’ve done the thinking already. Just the way extroverts put their ideas out there and that’s their form of thinking. It’s a natural thing, and I couldn’t approach life like that if I wanted to. If something’s new to me and I haven’t thought about it, it’s going to roll around in my head. There might be a little silence. Sometimes extroverts don’t like that. But as an introvert, I’ve learned to say, oh, give me a moment to think about that. Or even what might drive extroverts more crazy is let me call you tomorrow, or let me text you tomorrow.

Laurie Helgoe [00:28:59]:

Yeah, that’s a hard one. Yeah.

David Hall [00:29:04]:

What other differences besides communication have you noticed between introverts and extroverts? And that’s for either of you?

Laurie Helgoe [00:29:12]:

I think it’s kind of how we enjoy our time, too. I’ve had to work hard to convince Barron that going to a movie is a social activity. We’re both witnessing the same thing, and we can talk about it later. He’s making a face right now.

Barron Helgoe [00:29:33]:

It is. I enjoy movies, but I don’t consider that a social activity. I consider that sitting next to each other and doing the same thing, but we don’t interact with the movie. You sort of observe it, so it’s fun. I do like going to movies, but I would prefer if I’m going to do a social activity, to actually engage in some type of joint experience, whether it’s walking around the lake or maybe going to a sporting event or even to a museum, that would even be more fun than necessarily going to a movie together.

Laurie Helgoe [00:30:01]:

Well, that’s along the same lines. I think we both enjoy museums, but on one of the episodes, you will learn.

Barron Helgoe [00:30:07]:

Yeah, I like to do it in about half an hour, and she’s like, 5 hours.

Laurie Helgoe [00:30:11]:

We do it very differently.

Barron Helgoe [00:30:13]:

I was done in 30 minutes, and I came back 90 minutes later, and she was still in the first gallery. So that’s the way it is. I want to get out. Like this morning. I mean, I went out, I went for a walk. I did a couple of things this morning, and I came back and a couple of hours later, and then she was up. So I definitely want to get going. And I feel like I’ve had a great day already. And I think she probably feels like she’s had a great day, but we had great days separate from each other using different energy flows, I guess, would be a way to think of it.

David Hall [00:30:43]:

Yeah. And so there’s a lot of introvert-extrovert couples that have to look at, okay, what does my partner need that it may not be fun to me? And you have to work through that kind of thing.

Laurie Helgoe [00:30:57]:

Yeah. And texting versus calling. That’s our most recent episode. Yeah. Well, there’ll be more we can talk about that.

Barron Helgoe [00:31:07]:

I don’t know why people can’t call. I think the golden period for experts was between the end of letter writing and the beginning of the Internet. So you had to pick up a. Phone you had to call people and it was enjoyable to actually interact with human beings intentionally and not be afraid of the phone call. So now nobody takes a phone call. It’s like an insult. If you actually call somebody they’re offended. So I got to give people a heads up, I’m going to call you in case you have an emotional reaction to a phone call, you want to detraumatize the whole experience for people. Okay, I know that sounds judgy, but I think, my God, what are we missing?

Laurie Helgoe [00:31:47]:

Yes, but you’re saying in that that phone call is interacting and it is written, communication is not.

Barron Helgoe [00:31:55]:

No, it’s a different form and I think letter writing can be wonderful, but I prefer calling and people now, particularly younger people, do not appreciate phone calls. What do you think, David?

David Hall [00:32:07]:

Oh, it’s fascinating. So when I started my professional life, email came along and that probably was as an introvert where we do sometimes like to think about things and put in into writing. Sometimes we do better with it was great and then of course texting came along a little bit later. It all has its place. I think sometimes with phone calls the hard part is when you can’t see the person and you are having those thinking moments and you have to learn to say, hey, I’m thinking because otherwise it can get really awkward. Like are you there?

Laurie Helgoe [00:32:37]:

Yeah, we don’t have the nonverbal.

David Hall [00:32:39]:

Sometimes emails, text can get misinterpreted. So sometimes I think about that like, oh, if I just email this, it’s not going to go well, so I better call that person. I think the pandemic kind of brought some of this on too. If I wanted to call somebody, I probably just did. But now it’s almost like that we’re a lot more working at home and things that you almost need an appointment to talk to somebody. And that does drive me crazy because I do call people from time to time, but I don’t always want to have to make an appointment to do it. Like, okay, well, I’ll schedule a meeting. I’m like, I just had a question, five minutes. I don’t need a half hour hour meeting with you. So that does drive me crazy. But there’s a place for it all. Definitely as an introvert we like to process things. Sometimes it helps to do that, but it can’t get misinterpreted. So I like it all, but it just depends on the situation.

Barron Helgoe [00:33:31]:

Well, I think for extroverts also is that we negotiate a lot and we enjoy negotiating, at least I do. And I find it less fulfilling if I’m doing that through email or whatever, some other form. I want to talk to somebody because I can sense the nuance in somebody’s conversation with me that allows leads me to different thoughts. That interactive process, that negotiating, whether it’s negotiating just a personal relationship or a particular issue or some problem solving that’s important. And if we miss that, there’s a missed opportunity to resolve issues. Lawyers don’t just work through writing. We talk to each other, and there’s a lot gets done that way and a lot quicker that way, so we don’t talk. It’s a lot of missed opportunity there.

David Hall [00:34:19]:

Yeah. And I think part of it maybe with the phone call, the unexpected phone call, we just might not be ready for that. We might have wanted to know what we’re going to talk about and be prepared for what we’re going to talk about. So I think that’s definitely part of it, too, along with not having the nonverbals and all that good stuff, but I think they both have their place. Yeah.

Barron Helgoe [00:34:42]:

I tend to go into teams and just like, hey, can I call you now? And I absolutely try to give people a heads up. I, like, accommodated that. Go ahead.

Laurie Helgoe [00:34:50]:

Yeah. And I think when introverts are in that zone of really internally working things out, especially in a work environment, and you have somebody who calls you on teams without a warning, I think that can feel very intrusive, can kind of get you off your game. Yeah. Different strokes for different folks, right?

David Hall [00:35:11]:

Yeah. And that’s why we just have to figure this all out again. It’s really great in your podcast to be able to look at that. We also have different needs. There’s a myth that we don’t want to be social. I mean, that’s kind of crazy, but it looks different. I definitely want to be social, but I also need my alone time. There’s a lot of talk about, oh, introverts need alone time to recharge. Yes. But we need alone time for a lot of other things. We do some of our best thinking, planning, focusing, like, you were talking about painting or writing, introvert power. We need alone time for a lot of things, so we have to kind of balance that out. So how have you learned to balance that when one of you wants to be alone and one of you wants to spend time together?

Laurie Helgoe [00:35:55]:

Well, thankfully, there are other people that can entertain my husband.

David Hall [00:35:59]:

Okay.

Laurie Helgoe [00:36:02]:

And he’s very good about that’s. One thing I think that’s really helped us share our lives over decades is that we don’t rely exclusively on each other for sustenance. And so he knows if he needs more stimulation than I might want to offer at that time, he fortunately has a lot of colleagues to banter with at work, and so he gets that fixed there. Yeah. I think that’s one way we navigate having those different needs.

Barron Helgoe [00:36:32]:

I think it’s important to accept that your partner is not going to be able to provide all that for you. You got to find your own ways of satisfaction, enjoyment, whatever entertainment, whether that’s family or friends or just activities that you enjoy. Like, I just like walking through the city. I just will spend a lot of time just walking every week, multiple miles a week. Just like this morning I went walking through South Minneapolis and just beautiful neighborhoods. I just enjoy that, even though and then I went it is. But I also stopped in at a couple of sales to check them out. So it was a combination of activities, but I knew you weren’t going to be along for that. I just got up and went. And so now we do flip. Like on some weekends. I’ll say she’ll agree to get up at eight instead of eleven. You can’t just expect your partner to provide everything that’s unfair and frankly a description for disaster.

Laurie Helgoe [00:37:26]:

Yeah, because we not only have the introvert extrovert difference, we have a lot of other ones. And one of those is that night-owl/early bird one.

David Hall [00:37:35]:

Yeah, let’s talk about that. But before that. So on your walks, are you talking to a lot of people Barron?

Barron Helgoe [00:37:42]:

I do make calls. I’ll call the son, I’ll call other folks.

Laurie Helgoe [00:37:44]:

That’s right, you do. That’s probably the difference. Yes.

Barron Helgoe [00:37:48]:

But I also enjoy walking. I mean, I think maybe it’s because I’m older now. I just find walking enjoyable and I want to get some exercise and Minneapolis, Twin Cities, beautiful area and it’s a great place to walk. I also do other things. I play cards, I play golf, I go see our son, help him fix his house. There’s a lot of things I can do.

Laurie Helgoe [00:38:05]:

Yeah, he’s good at entertaining himself and then it’s lovely for me sometimes when he’s away entertaining himself with other people and I can just introvert. Introvert, yes.

David Hall [00:38:19]:

So in my book I did quote your book, because you talk about the importance of an introvert, taking a retreat, and you talk about even taking a retreat alone. So how does that work?

Laurie Helgoe [00:38:31]:

Yeah, I talk about in the book, doing that scandalously when I had small kids, that’s one thing. He’s very supportive of that. And so I did a b and b in the woods, this beautiful area of Wisconsin. And it was unbelievably nourishing for me, and for me to be. I think that’s one thing introverts like about travel is that we no longer have kind of social that we feel like we can be more open to, that. It was on the edge of a small town, and I would find myself kind of engaging with a bookstore owner or something and sitting next to the fire at the BNB with one of the people. I think she did housekeeping or something. We just sat under the stars. And so there was that kind of voluntary engagement that introverts don’t get so much time for. Leave each other, come back more energized, come back more interesting to each other. Actually, I think when we do different things and then we can enjoy our time together more.

Barron Helgoe [00:39:44]:

We do enjoy traveling together a lot. So that’s a big joint activity.

David Hall [00:39:49]:

Yeah, that’s great. I’ve never exactly have done the retreat like you described, but over the years I’ve definitely gone to a lot of work conferences and that was kind of the same thing for me. I love my family, but just stepping away for a bit just kind of re energizing and that kind of thing is very important, 

Laurie Helgoe:
especially with three kids. 

David Hall:
Yeah, especially when they’re little. So you love them, but sometimes you just need to separate and give yourself some space. So yeah. You also talk about other differences like we’ve talked about the early bird night owl. Are there other things that you talk about where you might be different?

Laurie Helgoe [00:40:27]:

Yeah, I think Barron talked about this, the thinking feeling dimension, like he’s more of a problem solver, logic oriented person. I ride with my feelings and so that’s definitely a difference.

Barron Helgoe [00:40:43]:

There’s no idea where she is in the physical globe.

Laurie Helgoe [00:40:48]:

 And you have no idea where you are in the emotional world.

Barron Helgoe [00:40:50]:

Exactly.

Laurie Helgoe [00:40:52]:

It’s true. We both help each other navigate different spaces.

David Hall [00:40:57]:

Yeah. And it’s interesting because that can go either way. I am definitely more of a thinking person and there’s plenty of introverts like yourself, Laurie, that are more of a feeling and that could be an introvert or extrovert, although it’ll be a little bit different depending on if you’re an introvert or extrovert.

Laurie Helgoe [00:41:14]:

Yeah, I think it’s interesting because there are those ways that you and Barron would be more similar and then the introversion definitely is something you and I share.

David Hall [00:41:26]:

Right. So Laurie and Barron, is there anything else that you want to talk about that we haven’t?

Laurie Helgoe [00:41:32]:

This has been great. It is important to know that our podcast is The Incompatibles plural because I think there’s an incompatible podcast out there which might be good too.

Barron Helgoe [00:41:47]:

This is great conversation. Thanks for inviting us today. Always fun to visit about differences. I think that the one takeaway for me when we do our podcast is that even though you may have incompatibilities, you can still have a wonderful, loving relationship and get along with people, and particularly in a polarized environment. I think we need to recognize that the fact that somebody’s different from us doesn’t mean that we can’t have a wonderful meaningful relationship with that person. So I find it heartening that we can talk about our differences and really enjoy their differences in a way and kind of tease each other about it. You have to find some humor in it too. Definitely. There’s going to be pebbles, but you got to find the humor and it’s a lot of fun.

Laurie Helgoe [00:42:33]:

Yeah. I think drawing attention to perhaps the deeper meaning in what we’re doing is that I think it is a polarized time and I think there are a lot of pressures that couples put on themselves to somehow be always enjoying the same things and that’s just not the way humans work. And so I think that we’ve gotten a lot of feedback already that people really find this refreshing.

Barron Helgoe [00:43:00]:

Thanks a lot, David. Really appreciate being able to join you today.

David Hall [00:43:03]:

Yeah, absolutely. And again, we need all the gifts that we all have. We complement each other, but there’s often a lot of misunderstanding around our differences. Yeah, and congratulations on your upcoming 40th anniversary. That’s amazing.

Laurie Helgoe [00:43:19]:

Yeah, it’s like where…

Barron Helgoe [00:43:23]:

We have no Idea what we’re going to do for our anniversary. That will definitely be big conversation.

David Hall [00:43:26]:

Yeah, absolutely.

Laurie Helgoe [00:43:28]:

We might start that one now.

Barron Helgoe [00:43:30]:

Maybe another podcast, I don’t know.

David Hall [00:43:32]:

All right, so where can people find out more about your podcast? And of course, Laurie,  Introvert Power.

Laurie Helgoe [00:43:38]:

Yes. Okay, so our website is Theincompatiblepodcast.com.

David Hall [00:43:46]:

I will add that to the show notes. And then, of course, where can people find out more about Introvert Power?

Laurie Helgoe [00:43:52]:

Yes, so they can go to Introvertpower.com. I have a Facebook page. Introvert power. And of course, the book is everywhere in bookstores, and there’s an audio version as well.

David Hall [00:44:06]:

Awesome. Again, this has been such a fun conversation. I appreciate you both. So thanks again.

Laurie Helgoe [00:44:11]:

All right. Thank you, David.

David Hall [00:44:13]:

Thank you so much for joining me. I look forward to further connecting with you. Reach out at david {at} quietandstrong.com or check out the Quietinstrong.com website, which includes blog posts, links to social media, and other items. Send me topics or guests you would like to see on the show. If you’re interested in getting to know yourself better, there’s now a free typefinder personality assessment on the Quiet and Strong website. This free assessment will give you a brief report, including the four letter Myers-Briggs code. I’ll add a link to the show notes. There’s so many great things about being an introvert, so we need those to be understood. Get to know your introverted strengths and needs and be strong.

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