I’m not dating an introvert, but I have been married to one for almost 22 years. I do remember the dating years with my husband, and I have learned quite a bit a long the way how to live with an introvert when I am absolutely an extrovert.
I met my husband in college. He played baseball and I was rooming with the baseball coach’s daughter. It all worked out in my favor. We dated three years before we got married and when we did pre-marital counseling our pastor had us take the Myers Briggs personality test. We tested so far apart on extrovert and introvert, it was comical. To this day people still tease about how opposite we are. But for us, it works.
By definition, an extrovert is someone who is energized by being with people.
We like events, to have people over for dinner. We are okay with music and stimulation. I leave a party and I’m jazzed to hit the next one.
By definition, an introvert is someone who is energized, fills up their tank, by having time alone.
Introverts are fine to go to events. They’re friendly and enjoy themselves, but then they leave and need down time to restore themselves.
As an extrovert in a relationship with an introvert, this is what I know to be true:
1) Introverts need alone time - As an extrovert, I don’t necessarily prefer to be alone. At the end of a long day, I want to sit and talk, unpack things. It took me a bit to learn that my husband needs time to come down from his day before chatting. So he comes home, goes for a run or does a workout, we have dinner, then he’s ready to talk. It works. And extroverts, don’t take it personally. He loves me. He wants time with me. He just needs to recharge from his day in a different way than me.
2) Be aware of unintentionally embarrassing your significant other – As an extrovert, not a whole lot embarrasses me. A spotlight is welcomed rather than feared. This is not true for most introverts.
Your introverted date may not appreciate being sung to on their birthday in a restaurant as much as you would.
3) Large groups can zap an introverts energy - In some ways, this is an area where personalities can compliment each other. Because of work, we attend large social functions. A room full of people where an introvert only knows two of them, is quite frankly a nightmare. As an extrovert, I see a room full of people I don’t know as an adventure. How many friends can I make in one night? My husband a
Be aware of social situations your date isn’t comfortable with and be understanding. In social settings, as an extrovert take the lead. Your introverted date won’t mind.
4) Being an introvert doesn’t mean you are shy and quiet – We have three kids. A daughter who is 17 and twin boys who are 15. I believe they are all what’s now being called Outgoing Introverts. I say to people that my kids are introverts and they go, “What? No way,” because my kids are super friendly and outgoing. But outgoing does not an extrovert make. All three of my kids still know when they’ve hit their social limit, they’re energy is zapped, and they need some down time. Two of them like to hang out in their rooms, reading or listening to music. One likes to be in the room with us and around us, but he’s quiet. Mellow. It’s where he gets his energy restored.
It’s easy to mistake an outgoing person for an extrovert, but you’ll learn as you spend more time with them just what things restore their energy and what zaps it.
5) Introverts live in their heads – Coax some of it to come out of their mouths. They don’t mind talking, but they don’t always realize they are ignoring you.
The key in any relationship is communication. We try to really talk through our perceptions of situations, and ask specifically what each other needs. And like any relationship, it takes compromise. My husband would be fine to not go out and be social sometimes, but he does it for me. And vice versa. Some things he likes aren’t up high on my list, but he is, so I do it for him. It’s a two way street of giving.
Some relationships work when two people are a lot alike. Some work where you are from two separate planets. But I enjoy nothing more than continuing to get to know this man I fell in love with, what makes him tick.
When you are an extrovert dating an introvert, or the other way around, there’s always something new, and it’s never boring. (Even after 22 years)