Introverts and extroverts are billed as polar opposites with different needs when it comes to socialization, alone time, and socialization. Do opposites really attract, and can they make it work? Here are some tips for making an introvert-extrovert relationship work.
Tips for making an introvert-extrovert relationship work
Acknowledge your differences from the start
At the beginning of a relationship, people often try to overly accommodate their partners. For example, an introvert could go out to multiple parties and outings when asked out even if they are not comfortable doing it. Knowing and acknowledging these introvert-extrovert differences from the start helps both parties manage their feelings and expectations. Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
Celebrate the quirks
On a light note, celebrate each other’s weird little quirks that aren’t worth fighting over. Laugh and let them go. Be flexible and willing to compromise and try new things with each other.
Encourage introverted partners to open up
Extroverts in relationships can feel like they’re the only ones expressing their feelings, thoughts, and in general talking. In an introvert-extrovert relationship, it’s important to encourage the introverted partner to share what they’re thinking and feeling because they may need some prodding before they open up. Communication like in every other relationship is key. It’s important to let your partner know about your needs, preferences, and even boundaries to avoid having to rely on assumptions.
Seek to understand each other
Be curious about each other and resist the impulse to try and change each other. Seek to understand where your partner derives energy from, and how they handle conflict. Introverts often draw their energy from solitude while extroverts draw it from other people. In an introvert-extrovert relationship, it’s critical to understand how your partner handles conflict and how they communicate in the midst of it.
Extroverts may want to deal with conflict head-on while introverts may need time to think it through alone before facing it, some may default to avoidance and attempts to sweep it under the rug. Understanding how you each deal with it can help you formulate a game plan specific to your relationship regarding how you will handle conflict.
Activities of mutual interest
It is possible to find activities that you both enjoy in an introvert-extrovert relationship. Find activities that will allow you to spend time together and enjoy each other’s company while still ensuring you give each other space to miss each other and enjoy alone time, especially for the introvert.
Align your goals when you go out
When you go out, it’s important to share what your goals are. The extrovert’s intention may be to mingle with friends while the introvert’s goal may be to spend time with their partner. If the goals are not aligned, the introvert may end up feeling abandoned. Agree on things like when you will leave, and if you will leave together, so that in an instance when the introvert is done mingling, you’re both clear about what happens next, preventing potential conflict.
Seek out like-minded friends
It’s important to try and build a mutual base of friends. However, it’s equally important to seek out and maintain a base of friends who are like you as individuals so that you can retreat to your tribe. If the extrovert feels like going out and the introvert wants to be a homebody, they can just call like-minded friends and go out with them. This takes a lot of pressure off the relationship and the partner by not requiring them to meet all your social needs.
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