Despite their fundamental differences, extroverts and introverts are often drawn to each other. While they may be the yin to your yang, dating an introvert may bring about some unexpected challenges for you. Especially when you’re an outgoing person who loves talking to people and being surrounded by them.
When you have a relationship with an introvert, you have to train your mind to respect their boundaries and learn how to communicate with an introvert partner. Without making them feel left out or ignored. Once you learn to strike that balance, your relationship can thrive in ways you couldn’t have imagined.
During an introvert-extrovert relationship conflict, you might wonder: How can an extrovert understand an introvert? In that case, to help you get that balancing act right, it’s important to know what introverts need in a relationship along with some effective communication strategies to get through to them.
What Introverts Need In A Relationship
A Quora user, who identifies as an introvert, talks about her successful relationship with an extrovert boyfriend. She said the relationship was a challenge initially, but adds, “…he never tried to change me, never forced me to tag along with him and his friends and when we go out he somehow understands my awkwardness for people and is constantly and always with me to make me comfortable.” What seems to work for the two of them is the willingness to accept the difference in personalities, value each other’s needs, and give space to be.
In you have a relationship with an introvert there are some things you need to know. Like any other person, introverts also crave a strong connection with their partner. Their inability to open up instantly and let the other person in often gets in the way. In case of an introvert dating an introvert, this doesn’t pose any real challenge because both partners understand where the other is coming from. However, this can become the root cause of introvert extrovert relationship conflict.
Like the Quora user mentions, “No matter how late in the night it is or how occupied he is, he always call me to say “I love you, good night” knowing that it is all that I need to know, and it always makes me feel so happy in the end.” So, to make your relationship work like them, it’s important to understand what introverts need in a relationship:
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1. Meaningful conversations
One of the first signs you are dating an introvert is their penchant for deep, meaningful conversations. Ask them how their day was or tell them about yours, and they’ll be happy to talk about it, sure. But discuss theories, philosophies, geo-politics, and you’ll see their eyes light up like never before.
Introverts are stimulated by intelligence. You’ll have to fan your partner’s curiosity if you’re dating an introvert and want the relationship to work out. Dating for an introvert is not about chit-chats and passing time together. They mostly enjoy their own company. What they are looking for is meaningful companionship and quality time.
2. Stick to quiet settings when in relationship with an extreme introvert
It’s a well-known fact that introverts are extremely sensitive to their surroundings. They don’t like big crowds, loud music, or having to scream at the top of their lungs to make conversation. If you’re in a relationship with an extreme introvert, you’ll have to learn to respect their choice in the matter. Figuring out alternative ways of dating an introvert as an extrovert is fairly simple. You just need to try to understand their basic reservations.
Plan your dates in a quieter environment. If you want them to socialize with your friends, keep the gatherings small and intimate. For example, when dating an introverted man or woman, the assumption that throwing a surprise Super Bowl hangout with a ton of people is a good idea will leave them feeling flustered and even annoyed. If you want to enjoy it in a group amongst fans, take them out for a public viewing at a pub instead. There will be people but your introverted partner will not have the obligation to make conversations with anyone.
3. Dating an introvert? Take it slow and steady
An introvert takes their time to open up and let anyone into the sanctum sanctorum of their life. That includes their romantic partners too. It’s not that they don’t trust you or love you enough to let you in. It is just beyond them to open up too soon. To get over the introvert-extrovert relationship conflict you have to understand this side of an introvert really well.
They need their partners to be patient and take a slow and steady approach in moving ahead. Saying “I love you” too soon or barging into their personal space before they’ve welcomed you in can scare an introvert off. They may also take time to show their romantic side to you. If you want your relationship to work out, patience is your best friend.
4. Be sensitive toward your introvert partner
When your personalities are poles apart, how can an extrovert understand an introvert? That’s a legitimate concern. But you have to understand that your partner is going through the same thing. They may love your bubbly personality or your penchant to soak up every outgoing experience but they cannot imbibe it.
An introvert needs their partner to be sensitive to their feelings and outlook toward life. They don’t like conflict and don’t express feelings easily. As their partner, you have to respect those boundaries. For example, when dating an introvert woman or man, be sure to check in with them when they meet your family or friends. Ensure that you are providing the fundamentals of support to help them handle the overwhelming attention.
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5. Don’t take their personality personally
One of the biggest introvert dating problems is that some of them have the tendency to over-analyze the minutest of things and overthinking to an extent that they get caught in their thoughts. As their partners, they expect you to not take this personally.
It’s not that they’re not interested in what you’re saying or doing. They don’t mean to be emotionally distant and aloof. It’s just who they are. It would help you to remind yourself that that they don’t mean ill toward you. It may be helpful to figure out an appropriate response every time they demonstrate this personality quirk, and learn how to communicate with an introvert partner.
6. Give them their space
Introverts thrive on personal space and they expect their partners to not violate it. If they need to be alone for a while after being in a room full of people, understand that it’s their way of recharging and recuperating. Pulling them out of this cocoon or solitude or pushing them too hard to engage with you can become a reason for introvert extrovert relationship conflict.
Dating for an introvert is doubly hard. They depend on you to understand and value their sentiments. See their need for space as a healthy relationship boundary they have set for themselves. For example, when dating an introvert as an extrovert, it may help you to have an open conversation around this topic. The two of you can have pre-decided phrases that you may use to communicate non-negotiable need for space.
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7. Spend quality time together
No matter how much it may seem that introverts prefer nothing more than their own company, they too crave a deep, meaningful connection. Even more so with their partners. However, for them, it is the quality of the time spent together that matters the most. They don’t care for checking items on a bucket list. If you are in a relationship with an introvert, you need to know this.
That can prove to be one of the biggest benefits of dating an introvert, provided you learn to appreciate it. For them, sitting on a couch and having a heart-to-heart conversation with their significant other trumps being at the most happening event in town.
11 Communication Strategies To Use If You’re Dating An Introvert
Dating an introvert if you’re an extrovert can seem like treading in an alien universe every single day. Their tendency to bottle up can drive you up the wall. However, once you make a breakthrough and connect with them at a deeper level, you will realize that despite your differences and the introvert-extrovert relationship clashes, having a relationship with an introvert is one of the most rewarding experiences.
Now that you know what introverts need in a relationship, use this knowledge to communicate with them more effectively. It will be worth your while to learn how to talk to an introvert boyfriend or girlfriend. These 11 communication strategies will help you along the way.
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1. Practice active listening if you’re dating an introvert
Active listening may well be the gateway to strong communication when dating an introvert if you’re an extrovert. However, the concept of active listening itself is very different for people with such opposing personalities.
Everyone likes to have the other person’s ear and attention when making conversation. But it’s slightly different for introverts. They don’t just want your attention they want your interest too. This is because introverts often feel that they’re not understood, which is why they learn to bottle up over time. Before learning how to talk to an introvert boyfriend or girlfriend, it may be more useful to learn how to listen to them.
So how can an extrovert understand an introvert? When your partner is saying something, nod, lean in, and ask questions. Keep the phone or the laptop away. In a world where most people hear but few listen, this can go a long way in helping you build a strong connection.
2. Weigh your words carefully
Extroverts are by nature talkative people who like to voice their thoughts as they pop in their head and use the other person as a sounding board. This can get both overwhelming and confusing for an introvert. It helps if you make it a habit to weigh your words more carefully before speaking, especially when you’re both settling into the relationship.
If you feel conflicted with your personalities and that you shouldn’t have to change yourself to have a relationship with an introvert, a fair warning is warranted. Just let your partner know that you’re merely thinking out loud. Tell them that you’ll ask for their attention when you have organized your thoughts better. This way, they’ll know better than to start drawing conclusions from your words.
3. Talk slowly and clearly
No, we’re not suggesting that introverts are slow. That said, they take their time to process information. Imagine, you’re at a loud party with them. You can still enjoy a party even when your partner is not a party person. But allow them the space to take in and process their thoughts, try talking slowly in such an overwhelming setting, and convey your thoughts in a clear, concise manner. When dating an introvert woman or man, it may help to prioritize quality over quantity, whether you’re at a party or not.
Talking slowly also helps extroverts choose their rushed words wisely. This helps your introverted partner savor your inputs in a conversation and mull over them before responding. To them, the difference between a slow-paced conversation and continuous, meaningless jabber is akin to savoring gourmet delicacies and hogging on fast food.
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4. Respect your partner’s need for privacy
One of the signs you are dating an introvert is their discomfort with bringing their personal life into the public domain. Respect their boundaries for space and allow them their privacy should they need it from you too. Let them open up to you at their own pace. If there is something of a private nature that you need to discuss with your introvert partner, do it privately.
For instance, when dating an introverted boyfriend or girlfriend, letting them know that something they did hurt you while having dinner with friends is a bad idea. Knowing when to have a private conversation isn’t about their introversion to be honest, this is common decency. Public conflicts can make them feel cornered and only push them further back into their cocoon.
5. Write rather than talk
To understand an introvert, an extrovert needs to know a few things. Introverts tend to express themselves better through the written word than one-on-one conversations. So, if you have been trying to get through to your partner with no success, try writing to them.
Exchanging emails, texts, or even hand-written notes and love letters can be a great way to get an insight into their beautiful mind. This can be especially helpful if you’re dating an introvert long distance. Long phone calls in romantic relationships may be preferred by some introverts but video calls are just not their cup of tea. They may get on board with the idea because they love you but they won’t be able to open up fully in these conversations.
6. Plan dates where you can talk freely
Personal space, quiet surroundings, privacy, and quality time – those are just the pre-requisites for an introvert to be able to communicate. So, when you make plans to hang out with your partner, keep these things in mind and pick a place accordingly.
A quaint café or an al-fresco dining setting works best if you’re out for a meal, for instance. There are no loud noises and enough space between tables for your partner to be able to talk to you without the nagging unease of being overheard. Similarly, if you’re planning something outdoorsy, a hike on a quiet trail or camping is always better than an open-air concert or a fair. If confused, ask! Your partner will only feel heard and seen in the relationship if you ask them for their preference.
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7. Give them room to talk
A typical introvert extrovert relationship conflict can take hold when one partner does all the talking and the other doesn’t get a chance to say their piece. This happens because extroverts tend to ramble on whereas introverts struggle to put their thoughts into words. Check the tendency to talk too much. Pause between sentences to allow them to respond.
It also helps to ask open-ended questions. This can encourage your otherwise reserved partner to speak out and share their thoughts with you. If you are in a relationship with an extreme introvert, you need to know this. And if you do end up in a conflict with each other, remember to follow some fair fighting rules.
8. Don’t push for a response
Introverts take their time to mull over things and analyze them before making up their mind on a matter. No matter how big or small the topic. You may be discussing whether to get pizza or Chinese for dinner or contemplating a big life decision such as moving in together. If your partner says “let me think about it”, give them the time to think and respond.
If you push them for an answer or take offense at their lack of readiness to respond, they may withdraw completely. In such situations, it can seem like dating an introvert is hard. But you have to understand where they’re coming from to not let these natural personality traits becoming a sore point in the relationship. After all, they probably find it hard to date an extrovert as well.
9. Steer clear of sensitive topics
You may have a million questions about your partner’s life before you met them. Their past relationships, insecurities, fears, and triggers. Don’t prod and quiz them endlessly if you want to have a relationship with an introvert for the long-term. By doing so, you’ll push them away.
Instead, focus on creating a connection strong enough for them to let you in and share their darkest, deepest thoughts with you. This does not mean that your feelings about wanting to know more about them do not matter. But remind yourself to approach some subjects with care. Communicate clearly what you want to know and why. Give them time to respond, and accept gracefully if they don’t want to open up yet.
10. Pick the right moment for important conversations
As your relationship progresses, there are bound to be conflicts and discussion on touchy topics. To make sure that these conversations don’t get derailed by your partner’s tendency to bottle up, pick the right moment. Time the conversation when they are in the right mind space and likely to be more receptive to your interjections and thoughts. Be patient if you want it to go well.
For instance, when dating an introvert woman or man, pick a time when they are not overwhelmed with external stimuli, such as work calls or emails. Better yet, tell them you want to talk to them and ask them to get back to you at a time they are most comfortable with.
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11. Pillow talk is your best friend when dating an introvert
Want to get to know your partner better and know them like the back of your hand? Want to know how can an extrovert understand an introvert? Make pillow talks a ritual in your relationship. There is no better time and opportunity to get your partner to open up about deep conversation topics than when it’s just you and them in the comfort of your personal space, without a single distraction to take the focus off the conversation.
The long and short of it is that patience is your biggest asset when dating an introvert. Almost all introvert dating problems can be negated if you just hang in there and allow them to reach out to you.
Don’t expect to hang out in a group and go clubbing when you are dating an introvert. Be ready to have dates at quaint coffee shops or go camping by a peaceful lake. When you talk, they would truly listen and take an interest in what you say. Dating an introvert can be fulfilling provided you try to understand them.
It can get a bit difficult to date an introvert because they have the tendency to clam up, live in their own world, and talk very little (initially). When that happens, do not push them. Give them their space and they would make an effort to get out of their shell. Be prepared that they would reach various relationship milestones much later.
Yes. In fact, in that case, they would understand each other better and they would focus on the soulmate connection and the pillow talks instead of socializing or hanging out with too many people.
Why wouldn’t introverts get jealous? They have feelings like any other human being. But the way they express their jealousy might be different. They might become sad and quiet instead of getting angry or throwing a tantrum. You might not even get to know that an introvert is jealous.
Yes, introverts can cheat. Since they are not too expressive, you really don’t know what they are up to. Introverts get into emotional affairs more often than physical ones. Because communicating over text or online comes more easily to them.