How to Date an Extrovert when You’re an Introvert
Hello, fellow introvert (or maybe visiting extrovert).
If you’re an introvert like I am, you may think that the dating world is more suited for the extroverts among us. Small talk, sparking conversation, wading through crowded restaurants—most of those simply aren’t as comfortable for introverts. Your ideal type of evening might be watching a favorite TV show with the best take-out in the city.
However, as the saying goes, opposites attract! There’s a wide variety of personality types in the online dating world. If you’re an introvert, you may end up dating an extrovert thanks to the different strengths you bring to the relationship (although your match may be a bit more refined than just an introvert/extrovert).
I’ve been dating an extrovert for seven months and here are a few tips that I’ve picked up along the way.
A common trait of introversion is empathy. Attention to detail makes it feel sometimes like we can almost read people’s minds. Introverts generally understand how those around them feel, and have a burning desire to make everyone happy.
However, mind-reading isn’t real. Forgetting that we’re not telepathic is a common trap for us introverts.
The fact is, an extrovert is often not as in tuned empathetically as you may be.
It’s very easy to tell yourself, “If s/he truly understood me, they’d know how I feel about this.” Whether it’s a social interaction, a shared opportunity, or even something as simple as how to spend a Friday night, we may believe that our extroverted partner should just know what we do or don’t want to do. Because we tend to know that about other people.
It’s vital to communicate what you need. Never assume that your partner (regardless of social persuasion) can read your mind or should know how you feel. That’s a recipe for miscommunication and disaster.
In fact, it doesn’t even matter if your partner is an introvert or extrovert. Working on strong communication skills is vital for any relationship.
You can communicate proactively or reactively. But be clear either way. Given the differences in an introvert and extrovert relationship, don’t worry necessarily about anticipating issues. Focus, rather, on being clear for the most effective communication.
For instance, my boyfriend knows that I do not do social things on Sundays. I have proactively communicated to him that Sundays are the day I need to rest and recharge. Except in the event of very special occasions, he won’t plan things for Sundays because I explicitly communicated this.
There’s also plenty of opportunities to be reactive. In this case, there may be times when you feel social and excited about meeting new people. But there may be times when it sounds horrible. The reason it’s called introversion is because it has to do with how we feel inside, less than the external experience itself.
So if your extrovert partner asks you, “Do you want to go to this awesome party tonight and meet all my workplace friends?” and you don’t want to, communicate that you’d rather not and explain why.
But keep in mind the next tip:
Negotiate with your extrovert
Communication is a pillar of any strong relationship. But negotiation is just as powerful. Negotiation will be a saving grace for your partnership, especially where your interests don’t intersect.
In the event of the scenario mentioned above, recognize that if your partner is inviting you to a party to meet their colleagues, it’s not intended to put you in a situation you may hate. You may hate social activities like these, but your partner is likely excited and wants to share an experience with you. This is just one of the tendencies and differences that comes with a relationship between an introvert and extrovert.
Keeping that in mind, operate under the “give a little, get a little” mindset.
Instead of saying, “No,” opt for: “I’m pretty tired tonight, but maybe we could go for an hour or two and then come back to watch a movie.”
There’s a lot of power in compromise. But it’s impossible to get to this place without communication.
Time alone is the primary way that introverts recharge. No matter how much you love your extrovert boyfriend or girlfriend, you need time for yourself to rest your mind.
You can either take my approach and choose ahead of time, saying “I need Sunday afternoons alone.” Or you can find something else that works for you.
Another tool I use is to say, “I need ten minutes of quiet.” When I feel overwhelmed, I don’t always need to be physically alone as I do mentally alone.
In those moments, I will say to my boyfriend, “I need ten minutes of quiet, please.” We’ll sit for ten minutes doing whatever we were doing before—the dishes, scrolling through our phones, enjoying the breeze on the back porch—but we’ll do it quietly. It’s a perfect reset that avoids me getting to the breaking point of feeling like I simply can’t be around anyone.
Challenge one another for the better
It can be an incredible experience to date someone who is opposite of you. My boyfriend leads me out of my comfort zone and encourages me to try new things often. I experience more fun because of what he challenges me to try. On the flip side, he’s learned from me the value of peace, quiet, and not being afraid to be alone with your own thoughts.
The personality traits that God bakes into each one of us makes us unique. This uniqueness allows for real complementarity in our relationships if we learn to challenge ourselves to different activities.
God never asks us to stay still. So while your personality might be that of an introvert, God still wants to challenge you to grow in many ways. Dating an extrovert might just be one tool that God is using to bring you closer to him!
Erin is a Catholic writer living on the windy plains of Kansas. She loves reading, dark chocolate, sunflowers, and learning to cook.