What activities give you emotional energy, charging your battery and make you feel like you could go all day long? On the flip side, what drains your battery, zapping your emotional energy and leave you feeling exhausted? My wife and I made a discovery around energy not long ago that’s been helpful for our relationship. I thought sharing the insight might help your relationships too.
Here’s the backstory: Jane is extremely social, a total extrovert. I’m not so perhaps opposites do attract. I love her outgoing nature and enjoy introducing her to people. I often tell people who’ve not met her, “I know you like me, but you’ll love my wife.” And they do! She’s fun to be around, has a great sense of humor, is easy to talk to, and I marvel at how easily she relates to just about anyone. Emotionally she’ll go wherever you go. She will laugh and have fun with you but she’s also willing to feel your pain and cry with you if need be. Our daughter Abigail takes after Jane in this regard. They get energy from being with people and could float around a room talking to everyone without regard to time.
I’m the opposite. When I go to a social event, I prefer meeting just a few people and going deep in conversation. Trying to talk with lots of people takes conscious effort on my part and leaves me feeling exhausted. This surprises people because of how much I network and my public persona. I am relational but in a different way from my wife and daughter.
When it comes to standing in front of a group and presenting, I LOVE that! I get excited by the anticipation and enjoy preparing for events. Jane and Abigail dread being in the spotlight. For them anticipating being in the spotlight is nerve wracking, which makes it emotionally draining, but I draw energy from it.
Think about how the same activities have opposite effects on us. How did this insight help my marriage? Jane used to get upset with me at times because she thought I was being a stick in the mud. I on the other hand, would get upset with her because she wouldn’t stop talking to people. It was especially bothersome when I was ready to leave. I thought standing by the door with our coats in hand was a good signal. She and Abigail joke about me and tell people, “We always know when he’s ready to go because he just stops talking.” True!
After Jane and I came to the realization that socializing has the opposite impact on us we got along better and had more grace for each other during those times that used to frustrate us. I know her floating and talking makes her happy because it’s effortless. She knows my lack of engagement at times isn’t boredom, it’s just fatigue from consciously trying so hard.
I encourage you to have a conversation about energy with people who are close with you. You’ll probably learn a few things, better understand that person and have more patience in situations that used to frustrate you.
Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE, LLC. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only 20 people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.
Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE: Powerful Everyday Opportunities to Persuade that are Lasting and Ethical, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His new book, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller in several categories.
Brian’s LinkedIn Learning courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 370,000 people around the world.