Is it better for an introvert to be in a relationship with an extrovert or another introvert? Are some introverts meant to be alone? How can introverts find “the one”? Author and Psychology Today blogger Sophia Dembling tackles these questions commonly asked by introverts and more in her new book, Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After.
Date an extrovert and enjoy the ride.
Dembling writes that the question she’s asked more than any other when it comes to relationships is: should an introvert be in a relationship with an extrovert or a fellow introvert?
“The unsatisfying answer is yes,” Dembling writes. “Yes, birds of a feather flock together, and yes, opposites attract. It just depends.”
If you’re an introvert looking for a partner to complement you in a yin-yang sort of way and do the heavy lifting of your shared social life, choose an extrovert, and enjoy the ride.
“Many introverts have the spirit of adventure but not a lot of oomph when it comes to making stuff happen,” Dembling writes. “Extroverts have ideas, they have energy, and they have a strong desire to get out and do stuff, preferably around people.”
The challenge, of course, is to balance the extrovert’s need to socialize with your need for time alone.
“Sometimes it’s hard for extroverts to understand that you don’t need quiet time to get away from them, but because you need quiet time. It’s not personal,” Dembling tells I, D.
Find quiet companionship with a fellow introvert.
On the other hand, being in a relationship with an introvert means you’ll likely be with someone whose needs are similar to your needs.
“More than anything, many introverts are tremendously relieved to find another soul who understands the pleasure of quiet, a restrained social life, home, and tranquility,” writes Dembling. “An introvert is a lot less likely than an extrovert to fuss if you’re being quiet or if you need some time inside your own head, with your computer, video games, books, or whatever you like to lose yourself in.”
Likewise, introverts understand that you can feel connected with someone even in silence. Two introverts may enjoy similar activities, too, like curling up on the couch with a book, hiking a quiet trail, or visiting an art museum—not to suggest that extroverts don’t enjoy these activities, but their appetite for them will be more quickly satisfied, and then they’re ready to get social.
The challenge can be to make sure you and your introverted partner don’t become isolated. Also, “introverts tend to be fairly non-confrontational and are at risk of sweeping problems under the rug rather than dealing with them straight out,” says Dembling.
Some people are meant to be single or live alone.
Many people choose to be single or live alone, and that’s okay, writes Dembling. In fact, according to Eric Klinenberg, author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, five million people in the United States between ages eighteen and thirty-four live alone—most of them by choice.
However, not everyone who lives alone is strictly single, like 51-year-old Eric, who is featured in Dembling’s book. “I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m the kind of person who needs so much alone time that having a spouse in the house just doesn’t work for me,” Eric says. Eric has been in a committed relationship with a woman—also an introvert—for the past five years, but the two live in separate dwellings.
What makes an introvert feel loved?
Introverts aren’t into grand love gestures, like a proposal on a jumbotron at a baseball game or being serenaded by the wait staff at a crowded restaurant.
“Being the center of attention just isn’t that important to us,” writes Dembling. “The things that make us feel loved and special aren’t big and flashy; they just have to hit the note that gives us a warm tingle.”
If you’re looking for love, say “yes” to social invitations whenever possible.
For single introverts, one of the biggest hurdles to finding love is meeting someone, because we tend to be homebodies.
“Say ‘yes’ to any invitations that don’t sound like torture, and go,” Dembling says. “Just remember this cardinal rule: You can leave when you’ve had enough. If you promise yourself that you can leave when you’ve had enough, it makes going in the first place a lot easier.”
Extroverts may sparkle, but introverts glow.
As an introvert, don’t think you have to compete with extroverts whose big personalities seem to sparkle in social settings like the dating scene. Keep in mind the strengths you can bring to a relationship. Introverts are great listeners, loyal, and deep thinkers—all these things make good dates and deep intimate relationships.
“Remember that you have your own quiet glow,” Dembling says. “You are looking for people who appreciate the introvert you are. Feel confident with what you have to offer and trust that the right person will recognize your gifts.”
“Solitude and intimacy are not mutually exclusive!” Dembling adds. “We can have deep, satisfying relationships while still honoring our introversion.”