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5 Ways Introvert-Extrovert Couples Can Improve Communication

5 Ways Introvert-Extrovert Couples Can Improve Communication

If he’s the yin to your yang, there’s a good chance you are partnered with your exact opposite. In the beginning, this introvert-extrovert connection is delightful as you experience an attitude different from your own.

Over time, though, it can test your patience and make you question your compatibility.

  • Your mate wants to socialize while you want to stay home together. Aren’t you enough for him?
  • He wants to talk things out while you need time to process. Can’t she give you space to breathe?
  • It hurts your feelings when she tells you she needs time to herself. What is she not telling me?

It’s easy to take these differences personally or think your mate is just being difficult. That’s how my husband and I felt for a long time. It wasn’t until we began traveling the world together in 2010 – working, traveling, and being together 24/7 – that we learned the lessons it might have taken us years to notice and absorb in our old lifestyle.

Before you get to the communication hacks we’ve learned from being together 24/7 the past few years, first take the introvert-extrovert test to verify your hunch about yourself and your mate from introvert expert and author Susan Cain.

Know How Your Mate Recharges

I was sitting in a farmhouse in Slovenia, visiting with a friend at her kitchen table about books, life, and love. It was an introvert’s dream: a calm setting and an intimate conversation catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen in some time.

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As we were discussing relationships and life, I mentioned that I’d recently learned the difference between introverts and extroverts through a book. It helped me realize what I needed to function at a better level, and I’d been implementing some new strategies with good result. My friend, also an introvert, shared her experience.

During our conversation, my husband walked through the kitchen, overhearing a part of our conversation. Later that night as we were lying in bed, he told me it was the single most important bit of information he’d ever learned about me. (And we’ve been together for 10 years.) It was like a light bulb went on in our relationship, erasing the shadows that were distorting our actions.

You see, when I told him earlier I was an introvert, he didn’t quite understand what I meant and I didn’t fully explain it. I also didn’t bother to figure out he was an extrovert. We both missed the introvert-extrovert connection that could drastically improve our communication.

  • Introverts get their energy from being alone and it is drained by being with other people. This doesn’t mean introverts don’t like being around people or that they are shy, just that the effort of being around them is a drain on their energy.
  • Extroverts get their energy from being with other people and it is drained by being alone. This doesn’t mean extroverts cannot be alone or that they are social butterflies, just that the interaction with other people is what energizes them.

Most people fall closer to the middle of the continuum from introvert to extrovert, so you needn’t worry that extroverts need to talk all the time or introverts just want to be left alone. But when you know where your partner is coming from and what helps them be at their best, it’s easier to create the right environment for them to excel (and reap the reward of having them at their best more often).

When you know how your mate needs to recharge and honor it, you’ll notice a drastic improvement in the mood and level of tension in your relationship.

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Pick Your Moment

Need to talk about something important with your partner? For the most productive outcome, pick your timing based on his or her best mood, not yours. This is especially true if you have a complaint or bad news to deliver.

If your mate is an extrovert, you have to allow plenty of time to talk it through. You can’t drop a bomb on the way out the door from work and expect to pick up the conversation later after you’ve had a chance to mull it over. He or she doesn’t want to mull. They want to work it out with you.

If your partner is more of an introvert, he or she will want some time to process and think things through, so giving them a heads up about a conversation beforehand will give them the necessary time to think it through before talking it out.

Don’t Take It Personally

It’s not about you. Your mate is who he is independent of you. Her need to talk things out when you want to be quiet, or his desire to go to the garage and tinker when you want to be together is not about you.

It is simply the way they recharge and get energy.

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Once you understand it’s all about them, it makes it easier to manage and less of a personal attack. In fact, once you start noticing your mate’s energy levels and how they recharge, you’ll want to encourage what they need so you can have more of them at their best.

In an introvert-extrovert relationship, your way is not the best way, and neither is your mate’s. It’s simply a different way of being in the world.

Compromise on Styles

It’s one thing to know your introvert/extrovert status and manage your own energy levels. It is an entirely other thing to merge that style with your mate.

After all, you can’t demand that since you’re an introvert, all conversations are scheduled out so you can have time to think them over. If you’re an extrovert, you can’t keep working to bring your mate ‘out of her shell’ because that’s never going to happen. We are who we are, and even though there are some very social introverts and somewhat shy extroverts, the way we get our energy doesn’t change.

In a relationship, this means compromise. The introvert has to talk about things before she gets enough time to process. The extrovert has to give his partner some space when he wants to be together.

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It’s hard to strike a 50/50 balance, so the more reasonable goal is to lean a bit one way or the other on an alternating basis. The extrovert gives the introvert space on a Saturday afternoon before a party so she can relax and recharge. The introvert stays at the party an hour longer for her partner so he can socialize more.

It doesn’t take much effort to reach a compromise when you understand what your partner needs to function at their best. And you know this small favor on your part will reap huge dividends for your partner and your relationship.

Appreciate Your Mate’s Influence

He’s the yin to your yang, and her influence makes you a better person. He may draw you into more social situations than you like, but it gives you the chance to meet more people you can then follow up with one-to-one and develop great friendships. She may be quieter and more observant, and you benefit from her keen insight into challenging situations.

Different is good, and appreciating how your mate differs from you can add a richness to your life you don’t have on your own. Rather than working to change the other person, it’s important to realize how your mate is changing you simply by being part of your life.

Once you know where you’re mate is coming from, you can much more easily travel down life’s road together.

Are you in a introvert-extrovert relationship? What is your favorite communication hack?

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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