As an introvert, I oddly find myself drawn to people who are much more outgoing than I am. It’s been pretty beneficial in many ways, from helping me get out of the house when I’m going through a months-long hermit crab phase to allowing me to meet wonderful people through my more exuberant friends. However, navigating the introvert-extrovert dynamic doesn’t come without its challenges, especially when it comes to dating — but I’ve found a way to make it work. Here’s how to survive a romantic relationship with an extrovert when you’re very much an introvert:
1. MAKE SURE THEY KNOW “THE SIGNAL.” There are times when you’re stuck nodding your head along to someone who isn’t picking up your subtle cues of discomfort when you’ve had more of a party than you can stomach. The marvelous part about extroverts is they know how to dance their way around a conversation and peace out of a party without appearing rude. You aren’t necessarily as suave, which is why you need to your partner to know what’s up.
2. LET THEM IN. Your thoughts are most likely running a million miles a minute, but your silence can be confusing and frustrating for an extroverted partner. Extroverts love conversations and unfortunately aren’t mind readers, so you need to fill them in on what’s going on upstairs. This doesn’t require a long-winded monologue and they’re sure to fill in the silence.
3. GENTLY EXPLAIN YOUR NEED FOR SOLITUDE. This should be done early on to ensure nothing is misunderstood and feelings aren’t hurt. If explained too late or defensively, all they’ll hear is, “I don’t feel like spending time with you.” Remember, extroverts draw energy from being around other people while we introverts recharge with alone time. Let them know that you want to and will spend time with them. All you need every once in a while is time for yourself.
4. COMMUNICATE AND COMPROMISE.There will be plenty of times when your extroverted S.O. wants to go out when all you want is to stay in your fortress of solitude. After all, their social calendars are pretty impressive while you’ve probably scheduled in a full day of naps and reading. All relationships require a bit of compromise once in a while. Attend their social events, even if they leave you feeling a little drained and spend the rest of your weekend with them alone cuddled on the couch. Maybe they have three plans in one week, but you only attend one or two. Find a middle ground that works best for the two of you and be willing to make sacrifices every so often.
5. FIND ACTIVITIES YOU’LL BOTH ENJOY. If you’re not feeling a social activity and all they want to do is get out of the house with you, seeing a movie or going for a hike might suit both of your needs. You can get lost in a film or nature and they can be by your side somewhere other than your living room. It’ll take a little compromise and a fair bit of maneuvering, but it’s possible if you’re both willing to try.
6. KNOW THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE THE LIFE OF THE PARTY. No pressure, because that’s their job. Extroverts are social conversation wizards but that doesn’t mean you have to keep up with them. Have fun and watch them shine in their element. As long as you’re comfortable with yourself, you’ll be able to relax and have a good time in or out of the spotlight.
7. DON’T BE UPTIGHT ABOUT THEM GOING PLACES WITHOUT YOU. If you aren’t always in the mood to go out, you have to be comfortable with them going without you. It’s a win-win, really. They get to have a night out with their friends and you can enjoy the peace and quiet to be alone with your thoughts (or shamelessly eat junk food pantless while binge watching Netflix).
8. TAKE COMFORT IN BEING A RELAXING PRESENCE. With all the hustle and bustle associated with an extrovert’s life, you’ll be the person they turn to when they need a break from it all. Knowing you’re one who helps them relax after the stress of a long, busy week is a phenomenal feeling. Take pride in filling that role because not just anyone could.
9. JUST LISTEN. Introverts are often great listeners and your extroverted partner most likely has a lot to say, making you two a match made in heaven. Bonus: you also give the best advice.
10. GO ALONG FOR THE RIDE. Strap in and enjoy yourself, because extroverts aren’t dull and will surely take you to places you’ve never been before. They might inadvertantly bring you out of your shell or maybe not, but either way, they’re sure to broaden your horizons.