Opposites attract, or so the saying goes, and when an Introvert and an Extravert are dating, they may start to find out how opposite their basic personalities and needs are.
After all, Introverts find social activities tiring, and Extraverts need them to feel energized and alive. These basic differences in our needs and desires could become a real source of conflict.
But our differences can also be an asset. We balance each other out and fill in each other's gaps. We can also learn from each other, and our differences make life interesting.
Still, we may baffle each other sometimes. Introverts especially can seem like a rare, odd species that leave our Extravert partners puzzled and frustrated. Introverts, on the other hand, often feel misunderstood and pressured to be what they’re not.
So what do Introverts want, and need, in a relationship? And what do we want you to know about us, to help make the relationship work? Here are a few things most Introverts would say to their extraverted partner, if they got around to talking that much.
1. “A few friends” doesn’t mean twelve
If you’re an Introvert, you might be willing to go out for a quiet evening with your partner and another two or three people. Anything more than that turns it into a large group, and makes it far from quiet and relaxing to us.
We’ll choose quality over quantity any day. So please don’t spring half a dozen extra people on us, especially people who aren’t our close friends, and call it a quiet little evening out with a few friends.
2. We still want to be heard
Just because we’re not the loudest voice in the room, doesn’t mean we don’t have something to say. When we do talk, we want you to really listen to us. And we don’t want to have to shout over other voices to compete for a chance to be heard.
Please make time for quiet conversation with us, and really listen. We like to take time to find the right words, so be patient, even if there are more pauses than you’re comfortable with, and please don’t try to fill in the gaps for us.
We usually put a lot of thought into what we say, and we want to feel that our thoughts and words are important to you, and worth waiting for.
3. Sometimes we want to spend time just with you
While Introverts need plenty of time alone, we also, of course, want to spend time with you. And while some of that time may also be spent in the company of others, we want plenty of time with only you.
This may be even more true in a new relationship, when we’re getting to know each other. But even if we’ve been married a long time, we want to spend time alone with you.
Quality, one-on-one time is how we nurture our relationship, feel valued, and are able to really relax and enjoy your company.
4. When we do go out with you, please don’t abandon us
If we go to a party or other group event with you, we’re probably doing it to please you, and we’ll depend on you to shield us when things get to be too much.
So please, don’t get so caught up in mingling that we feel stranded. You can introduce us to one or two people you think we’d enjoy a quiet conversation with, or help us get situated in a corner where we can comfortably observe on our own.
Then you’re free to go off and get your people fix. We’ll be glad that you’re getting what you need, and that we don’t have to talk to every single person in the room. But do come check on us now and then, and be prepared if we need to leave sooner than you do.
5. We’re fine if you go out without us
We understand that you need (a lot) more social stimulation than we do, and we like it when you find other ways to meet that need some of the time.
As long as we know we’re your top priority, and you always come back to us, please feel free to meet some of your social needs without us. That way we’ll both feel refreshed and taken care of.
6. We’re not rejecting you
When we ask for time to be by ourselves, it doesn’t mean we don’t value you. We just enjoy and need time alone to recharge, and we’ll be better companions if we get that time.
It may be hard not to take it personally, but we really require our time alone. It’s not that we don’t want to be with you. We simply need time away from anyone, on a regular basis.
As Truity writer Megan Malone puts it, “I need time alone to recharge. Yes, this means “alone alone.” And even my favorite person doesn’t get a free pass to disrupt this need.”
7. It’s not merely a preference
We don’t just prefer to stay in and spend time alone. We have to. Like a diabetic needs a low sugar diet and medicine, or certain plants need extra sunshine, we need solitude in order to survive and thrive.
If you try to guilt us out of honoring that need, that’s one more thing that robs us of energy and makes us feel bad for being ourselves. We also won’t be very good company if we’re worn out from too much “people time.”
8. We might have fun at a party for a while, but it comes with an energy cost for us
The fact that we enjoyed the last event, or seemed to enjoy it, doesn't mean you should push us to go again, thinking we would really be happier if we did.
Socializing in large groups is something we can enjoy now and then, but a little goes a long way.
Even if we have a good time, it wears us out. It’s absolutely necessary for us to have plenty of time alone to recharge our energy afterwards, and not to have to do it again too soon.
So please don’t use, “but you had fun last time” as an argument when we opt out of a social event.
9. We don’t need “fixing”
There’s not something wrong with us. We’re just wired differently. And no, we’re really not sad and lonely if we choose to stay home alone to read a book by the fire while you go to the party.
Trust us, we’ll have a great time.
We aren’t antisocial, and we don’t dislike people. We simply get tired and overstimulated from socializing, even when we enjoy it. And for us, less is definitely more – less time with people, and fewer people at a time.
And we do have a lot to offer, even if it isn’t as obvious. We may not be the life of the party or the first one to speak up, but we’re good listeners and deep thinkers with a skill set that compliments yours.
10. We really do appreciate what you bring to the relationship
You balance us out and help us find ways to express ourselves. In that sense you bring out the best in us, which we might otherwise hide behind our natural reserve.
So even though we don’t always like to do the things you do, we value you, including (most of the time) your extraversion.
And the fact that we chose you, and want to spend time with you is a real compliment, because Introverts don’t willingly spend time with just anyone. When we give up some of our solitary time to be with you, it’s because you are important to us.