It's been several years since I was introduced to the book StrengthsFinder. It contains an assessment tool that identifies a person's top five strengths out of a potential list of thirty-four themes. One of mine is Relator.
Here is the extended definition:
Relator describes your attitude toward your relationships. In simple terms, the Relator theme pulls you toward people you already know. You do not necessarily shy away from meeting new people -- in fact, you may have other themes that cause you to enjoy the thrill of turning strangers into friends -- but you do derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around your close friends. You are comfortable with intimacy. Once the initial connection has been made, you deliberately encourage a deepening of the relationship. You want to understand their feelings, their goals, their fears, and their dreams; and you want them to understand yours. You know that this kind of closeness implies a certain amount of risk -- you might be taken advantage of -- but you are willing to accept that risk. For you a relationship has value only if it is genuine. And the only way to know that is to entrust yourself to the other person. The more you share with each other, the more you risk together. The more you risk together, the more each of you proves your caring is genuine. These are your steps toward real friendship, and you take them willingly.
This is me, and I think it grows out of my introversion...I think.
I have not known many introverts who are schmoozers, glad-handers, back-slappers or party animals. They tend to hang back a bit. Their presence is not overt. They do not dominate a room, or a conversation for that matter.
I was at a seminar that explored the thirty-four themes in depth. When the presenter came to Relator, he said that when he asks Relators how many friends they have, they never respond reflexively or quickly. They have to stop and think. They often ask him to clarify what he means by friend. Relators define friendship deeply. An acquaintance is not a friend. Just because someone is a coworker, a neighbor or even a family member, that does not make them a friend. He went on to say that Relators can have such a high standard of friendship that they may have difficulty identifying even one close friend. They are on a search for a soul-connection, and those are hard to come by.
Relators want real, they want deep. They would rather connect with a few than endure small-talk with a crowd.
For Relators, trust is huge. When someone lets them down, or when trust is betrayed or compromised, a Relator has to work really hard to get over it, to renew the relationship and to let go of suspicion.
Further, relators ask probing questions and excel at listening, assimilating and synthesizing the information relayed.
All of this is me, and I think it grows out of my introversion...I think.
Here's what I need to know, and I am looking for your input. Is Relator an innie thing?
I suspect it is not exclusively innie, but I would not be surprised to learn that most relators tend toward the introvert side of the continuum.
This is not to say that outies are shallow or do not long for depth in friendship. A key to the definition of Relator is the second line--
In simple terms, the Relator theme pulls you toward people you already know.
Extroverts are pulled toward people, period. Know 'em, don't know 'em...doesn't matter. Innies gravitate toward the familiar, and then want to take it deeper, much deeper.
So, have at it.
By the way, I would guess that Woo, one of the other StrengthsFinder themes, is more of an extrovert tendency:
Woo stands for winning others over. You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing. You are drawn to them. You want to learn their names, ask them questions, and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport. Some people shy away from starting up conversations because they worry about running out of things to say. You don't. Not only are you rarely at a loss for words; you actually enjoy initiating with strangers because you derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection. Once that connection is made, you are quite happy to wrap it up and move on. There are new people to meet, new rooms to work, new crowds to mingle in. In your world there are no strangers, only friends you haven't met yet -- lots of them.
I look forward to your thoughtful input. (Funny, Input is another of my SF themes)!