Full disclosure: I’m not an extrovert but I am married to one! She’s taught me a ton about what extroverts are like. However, the list below is not solely based on my wife and her experiences. I’ve known lots of other extroverts in my life too!
So based on what I’ve experienced, read about, and observed, here are some potential challenges that a missional extrovert night face.
- Spread Too Thin — Most extroverts that I know like to know lots of people, meaning that they can sometimes be pulled in a thousand different directions. Often the result can be not being able to invest much time in any one relationship.
- Don’t Go Deep Enough — This one is related to the previous one. In order to make disciples we have to go deep in our relationships with one another. But this can be a problem for some extroverts since their sheer number of friends makes it hard for them to slow down, understand, and connect deeply with individuals.
- Rejection — A major part of living like a missionary is learning how to deal with rejection. People aren’t always going to respond positively to you, your way of life, or Jesus. It’s really easy for an extrovert to take this rejection personally since being social is centrally important. And the sadness that this rejection causes can take a while to get over and discourage extroverts from moving forward.
- Feeling Too Pushy — Extroverts say that at times they can feel like they are being pushy in a relationship, like they are trying to create something out of nothing. This is especially true if the person the extrovert is trying to build a relationship with is an introvert! This fear can sometimes prevent an extrovert from deepening a potential friendship.
- The Social Butterfly Effect — Not every extrovert struggles with this, but many who I know do. Sometimes an extrovert has a hard time focusing in on one relationship because there are so many other people out there! Maybe there’s someone more fun, more interesting, or more socially valuable to connect to. Being missional, of course, necessitates that we really focus in on each relationship we are part of.
- People Pleasing — This one isn’t true of every extrovert either, but many that I know are also people pleasers, meaning that for them what others think is very important. A major problem with trying to please everyone when trying to be missional is that it might lead us to telling people what we think the want to hear instead of what they need to hear.
- Strategizing…Alone — Virtually every extrovert I know works best, thinks best, and plans best with others. But the sad truth of the real world is that sometimes we have to strategize alone! Since being alone is usually socially draining to an extrovert, this can be a huge challenge. But it is really important for us all to figure out how to take stock periodically, even if alone!
- Burn Out — Many extroverts can burn themselves out pretty easily. And many times this burn out can really surprise and extrovert due to the fact that many extroverts pursue so many relationships at once. So, while its true that an extrovert needs relationships to be energized, too many relationship will ultimately cause harm.
- Intimacy Issues — Everyone has intimacy issues at some level but many extroverts usually have one of two issues: 1) They sometimes let too many people into their most intimate level of friendship, which can result in getting hurt a lot; or 2) They sometimes have lots and lots of superficial relationships to prevent anyone from really getting in close. Being missional, however, means figuring out how to be intimately connected with one another but in healthy, life-giving ways.
- Fear of Being Needy — Almost every extrovert I know has a deep-seated fear of being viewed as needy. They don’t want people to think of them that way. This fear can hamper connecting well with folks, so its something that needs to be addressed in the life of a missional extrovert.
What do you think of this list? Did I get some things wrong? Did I miss a few? Let me know in the comments below!