Talking to Think vs. Thinking to Talk

Talking to Think vs. Thinking to Talk

Terry mentioned the fact that many couples don’t talk much, with 27 and ½ minutes a week being about average.

But talking isn’t the only way of communicating, and as Terry pointed out, shared activities play a vital role in keeping a couple’s connection alive.

In looking at how we do that “dance” of connection, I think we also have to consider the different ways we engage with or orient to the world. One “style” does not fit all. As in tango, each partner must take into account what the other is ready and willing to do, and respond accordingly…or the connection is lost.

One way of looking at differences in style or personality comes out of the work of Carl Jung, who suggested that some people have an “Extraverted” orientation to the world, while others have an “Introverted” orientation. Basically, an Extravert is someone who becomes energized by interacting with others. In contrast, Introverts can be depleted by too much social interaction and “recharge” their batteries by withdrawing into solitary activities.

At times, it’s almost as if Extraverts need to hear themselves speak their thoughts aloud in order to know what they are. Their mental focus is often outward-bound and they think with their mouths engaged.

Introverts might instead need time, space, and quiet in which to formulate their thoughts. They might not speak those thoughts aloud, but this does not mean they are inarticulate. They are merely more selective about what they say and when they say it. Their mental focus is more introspective and they may need more time to complete a thought before they present it to someone else.

Terry and I are both extraverted, but I have to admit that I endorse that orientation to a far greater degree, and I have to be careful to rein in my tendency to fill our social calendar with events. Otherwise, I risk not allowing him the time he needs to recharge, which can lead to resentment. I have also had to learn to curb my natural tendency to “blurt” out my thoughts before Terry gets to complete his…and sometimes I even succeed!

I have lots more thoughts about how differences in style that can affect the ways members of a couple relate…but will hand it over to Terry for now.


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