You may have never stopped and considered the temperament of the people around you. And if you’re an outgoing extrovert, it may be especially challenging to rationalize with the softly spoken, quiet relative of extroversion. Introversion is not simply shyness; it’s a more complex set of preferences in which the individual tends to extract more reward from intimate social interactions and small groups. Dating an introvert is simple, as long as you’re aware of the characteristics of your introverted partner.
1. Forget about the social stigma surrounding introversion.
Many people tend to think that introversion is a negative quality; it’s often associated with quiet, hard-to-talk-to individuals. This is incredibly inaccurate. Introverts are very easy people to talk to, especially in the proper setting. In fact, people are often drawn towards introverts to have conversations about personal experiences and events they’ve experienced. This is because introverts are typically great listeners. The point here is to forget about introversion as a defining characteristic with a negative connotation. Introverts can do very extroverted things, sometimes better than extroverts. The difference is, the introverted person may need time to recharge.
2. Find a balance between your need for socializing and your partner’s need for solitude.
One of the largest challenges that an introvert-extrovert couple can have is striking a balance between socializing and alone time. This is especially true if your introverted partner works a job that is mentally demanding and requires a significant amount of socializing with clients and customers during the workday. If the demand for mental capacity to socialize exists at work and at home, five or six days a week, your partner can never find the time to recharge.
Appreciate the fact that your partner may not have the energy and desire to entertain and socialize constantly with friends and family. Recognize that this is not anti-social behavior. The need for intimacy or human interaction is present in both personality types. It has been found by psychologists that people who tend to value intimacy highly are people with a smaller circle of friends who prefer sincerity as opposed to parties.
3. Do activities that value the traits and capabilities of your introverted partner.
This can really be anything; however, a few activities come to mind immediately. Introverts are extremely good listeners and can offer advice that is genuine and sincere. This becomes apparent in a smaller gathering or one-on-one sessions. Instead of a massive, once-a-month dinner party, perhaps more frequent, smaller gatherings would help ease the pressure.
Reading is also a great activity that couples can do together on a Sunday afternoon. You can explore the endless realm of books and imagination in your own minds, but also enjoy the warmth of your partner simultaneously.
4. Experiment with conflict resolution.
In conflict resolution, many introverts try to minimize aggression, while extroverts typically raise their voice as they become more engaged in finding a resolution. The more the extrovert raises his/her voice, the more the introvert is likely to retreat in an attempt to minimize aggression. I think this cycle is understandable because no one likes to feel dominated, but at the same time, the extrovert doesn’t want to feel disrespected because it appears his/her partner doesn’t seem to care about the conflict. The solution: Perhaps the extrovert needs to approach the conflict with calmness and a mild manner, whereas the introvert needs to become comfortable with disharmony.
5. Read the non-fiction book Quiet by Susan Cain.
You and your partner should read Quiet. It’s an excellent read that is full of actionable advice for couples and people of both personality types. Prior to reading, watch the TED Talk given by Susan Cain, which provides a good idea of the subjects covered in the book: Susan Cain: The power of introverts.
Are you in an introvert-extrovert relationship? Feel free to share your tips for making it work in the comments below.