Volume 3, Issue 5, 03/26/09
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 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
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
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.