An introvert and extrovert relationship is not like they show it in the movies. The idea of “opposites attract” has been romanticized so much, but things are different when it comes to real life. Movies rarely talk about how anxious and overwhelmed introverts feel in a crowd full of loud and outgoing people. They also don’t talk about how being alone in a room during lockdown was the worst nightmare come true for an extrovert.
Then, how does one make an introvert and extrovert relationship work? After all, they are fundamentally different and derive their happiness from opposite sources. Let’s dig into this.
Do Introverts And Extroverts Make A Good Couple?
This reminds me of a scene from an episode called ‘At the Hospital, an Interlude of Clarity’, from Modern Love. Rob and Yasmine share a lot of insecurities related to their personality styles on their first date itself. Rob, being an introvert, talks about his anxiety and overthinking. Yasmine, being an extrovert, wonders in a moment of self-introspection why she has a need to make strangers fall in love with her.
Related Reading: 12 Things You Should Know When Dating An Introvert
The point is that both have their own set of problems. But, that doesn’t mean they can’t make a good couple. In fact, introverts fall in love with extroverts all the damn time. An introvert and extrovert relationship can work if both set aside stereotypes and assumptions about each other. A clean state is required to understand your partner.
Evan Marc Katz, author, points out, “Both introverts and extroverts derive their energies from people. But they need it in different amounts. For example, an introvert can go to a party and be happy by spending an hour or two over there. But an extrovert may need to be the first and last person at a party.
An introvert and extrovert relationship can work if both don’t assume things about each other’s nature. Extroverts think that introverts are aloof, weird, insecure and boring. Introverts think that extroverts are toxic soul-sucking narcissists, tone deaf to other people’s needs.”
So, an introvert and extrovert relationship can work if both don’t judge each other and accept each other. Don’t try to change your partner to match your needs. Also, don’t change for your partners. Obviously, some compromise is required on both sides. Are you an extrovert in love with an introvert? Don’t worry. Communication, honesty, and space are the keys to arrive at a mutual understanding. Let’s dive deeper into the tips to make an introvert and extrovert relationship work.
9 Tips To Make An Introvert And Extrovert Relationship Work
Sophia Dembling, author, has written in her book, Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After, “The reality is that you are not competing with extroverts for attention. Extroverts and introverts are apples and oranges. Extroverts sparkle, introverts glow. Extroverts are fireworks, introverts are a fire in the hearth. Extroverts attract people who like razzle-dazzle, introverts attract people who want to bask in your warmth.”
As she mentions, both introverts and extroverts have their own individuality. How to make an introvert and extrovert relationship work in such a way that you don’t lose your original self? Let’s find out.
1. Understand where your partner derives their energy from
Introvert and extrovert relationship problems may arise if you are not curious or open enough to understand your partner’s needs. You have to see where they are coming from, what makes them happy, and where they draw their energy from. The challenges are totally different when you are dating as an introvert.
For example, my boyfriend is an introvert and I am an extrovert. I become more alive, vivacious, and energetic when I go out and socialize. So, I draw my energy from other people. He, on the other hand, draws his energy from quiet, solitude, and alone time. He processes things when he spends time with himself.
2. Take some time off after work to detox
Dating an extrovert can mean dating someone who would want to rant about their day as soon as they come home from work. But an introvert might need some alone time after having a whole day of interacting with people at work.
So, taking an hour or two after work can actually work wonders in an introvert and extrovert relationship. An extrovert can use that time to catch up on social media or texting. An introvert can use that time to take a nap, watch TV, or enjoy solitude.
Related Reading: How Much Space In A Relationship Is Normal? Balance Is Key!
3. Learn how each style deals with conflict
Mary Jo Rapini, psychotherapist, emphasizes, “The solution to introvert and extrovert relationship problems lies in understanding how your partner deals with conflict. If you need time to cool down, you can set a time when you will revisit the issue rather than ignoring it or pursuing it relentlessly.
“For example, if an extrovert man and introvert woman are dating, the extrovert needs to focus on calming down during an argument and on not getting defensive. On the other hand, the introvert needs to focus on trusting their partner and opening up. Also, introverts should avoid sweeping things under the rug or letting them go just so they can avoid talking about them.”
4. Learn from each other in an introvert and extrovert relationship
Make an introvert and extrovert relationship work by considering it as a unique experience to grow, and deepen your relationship with yourself. My friend Sam told me, “My boyfriend is an introvert and I am an extrovert. I have learned a lot from dating an introvert. Having some quiet time to myself has made me explore areas within me that I wasn’t really aware about because all my extra time would go into socializing.
I have started reading more books and even developed an interest in painting. It has been a learning experience for my introverted boyfriend as well. He was a little overwhelmed at first because his social circle expanded. But then, pushing out of the comfort zone actually felt good to him too.”
5. Find activities of mutual interest
Introverts fall in love with extroverts and make it work by finding activities that they both enjoy. Let’s take an example of a relationship between an extrovert man and introvert woman. An introvert might enjoy activities like hiking, biking, playing video games or watching movies. Their extrovert partner might also enjoy doing some of these things. So, both can find a common ground on activities of mutual interest.
Taking care of each other’s needs is one of the examples of mutual respect in a relationship. Spend time together but also give each other space. This space will allow you both to miss each other, and the desire for your partner will only increase. Spending all your time together could get draining. This brings us to the next point.
6. Give space to your partner for individual fun
Healthy boundaries in terms of time and space are the secret behind making an introvert and extrovert relationship work. You don’t have to torture your introverted self to dance on techno music all night and have neon paint all over you.
You can stay in and read a book while your extroverted partner goes out and grabs drinks with their friends. Be very honest about your needs and don’t shy away from telling your extroverted partner about the importance of ‘me time’ in your life. You can communicate clearly instead of making excuses like “I am tired”.
Codependency in relationships is toxic anyway. If you do things that make you happy, you can become a better version of yourself and give more to the relationship. Otherwise, you will lose yourself and not recognize what you’ve become. Then you will blame your partner for draining you and changing you into someone you are not. So, continue being who you are and be true to your soul.
7. Have a signal system
Having code words can actually help an introvert and extrovert relationship to thrive. You both can invent a signal system which could be a subtle cue for the introvert’s extroverted partner that they need a break from all the overwhelming socializing and it’s time to leave. Yes, being overwhelmed is one of the things that happen when an introvert falls in love.
My friend Paula had a code of “mango shake” with her extroverted girlfriend. So whenever they were at a party and any one of them would say, “Let’s go grab a mango shake” or “I am craving a mango shake”, it was a cue to leave.
8. Find comfort in silence
Bliss can be found in an introvert and extrovert relationship in the form of comfortable silence. It’s an art to nurture the ability to be together, without the need to fill every moment with activities or words. It’s one of the communication hacks to use while dating an introvert.
It takes time to get to such a place in an introvert and extrovert relationship. But once you both get comfortable with each other, you can enjoy the other’s company in silence.
9. An introvert and extrovert relationship only gets easier
It is very important to ask questions in an introvert and extrovert relationship. Dating an extrovert would mean dating someone who talks openly about how they feel. But introverts take a little bit more time to analyze and reflect. Their extroverted partner has to allow them the space and be patient for them to open up.
Related Reading: How Do Introverts Flirt? 10 Ways They Try To Get Your Attention
So, give your introvert and extrovert relationship some time to bloom. After you both spend some time together, it will only get better. The mutual comfort will increase, eventually. There will come a point when your introverted self won’t have to worry about what to say next or deal with the pressure to keep a conversation going.
Finally, remember that this introvert and extrovert relationship is a beautiful experience that will help you evolve, if you let it. Finding someone so different from you is after all a unique experience to grow and learn from.
Let’s end with a quote from The Notebook, “They didn’t agree much. In fact they didn’t agree on anything. They fought all the time and challenged each other every day. But despite their differences, they had one important thing in common. They were crazy about each other.”