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Nancy Okerlund
Volume 3, Issue 5, 03/26/09

Deep Buddy

Ten days ago I lost a deep buddy. My friend Mark Lindblad died unexpectedly of a massive heart attack. He was 55.

"Deep buddy" isn't a term I use often. In fact maybe it's brand new to me, but it's what comes out of my mouth when I talk about Mark's death.

Mark and I were initially colleagues. We met about ten years ago. As one of the many people grappling with the shock of losing him, I'm thinking about him and our friendship a lot.

This morning, wondering what leads me to call Mark my deep buddy, I realized I'm confused about whether he was really an extrovert. I'm pretty sure we've talked about it. And over the years, watching his ease in a group and having some sense of the breadth of his personal connections, I'd have to assume he was. But when I think of Mark as my friend, I'm a little confused about it.

Introverts and extroverts tend to have different definitions of friendship. Someone an introvert considers an acquaintance, an extrovert very possibly would call a friend. Introverts tend to have fewer friends than extroverts and we probably expect our friendships to be deeper and more "meaningful" than extroverts do. I do meet the introvert criteria that way.

Mark and I didn't connect regularly. Weeks, months might go by. But over the years, we periodically spent hours and even days together, in various processes connected with our work and the processes weren't superficial. And over the years we had occasion to give each other support about things going on in our lives.

So our relationship had the gift of time.

I remember being somewhat overwhelmed with Mark's presence when I first knew him. He was a big, tall guy and very friendly, even forceful. Probably an extrovert who stood out in a crowd :-).

But early on I realized he was meeting me where I was at. His energy seemed to quiet down to a level I was comfortable with when he was with me. He was a master of playful seriousness and serious playfulness often displayed at the same time. He seemed to focus with ease and wherever he focused, he brought his full attention.

I also experienced him as a master of positive regard. He seemed to meet life with a combination of curiosity, awe and love. He always seemed fascinated. And whether Mark and I were in a group together or by ourselves, I felt the impact of his way of being in the world it was noticeable.

So I've lost my deep buddy, Mark. And I think I'm part of a crowd.

End of food for thought on to a practical idea:

A Practical Idea for Introverts and Extroverts

Give some attention to friendship in your life wonder about it and maybe do something to keep it satisfying.

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