5 Relationship Red Flags No Introvert Should Ignore

An introvert considers a red flag in her relationship

You deserve someone who not only accepts your introverted nature, but loves you even more because of it.

We introverts tend to be patient and empathetic — sometimes to a fault. Without consciously realizing it, we may end up putting others’ needs before our own, perhaps because we’re accustomed to the extrovert ideal. Introverts, we’re told, are the ones who should adapt to an extroverted world.

In romantic relationships, we might err on the side of over-compromising, allowing certain behaviors to slide because we’re used to being told our needs are “too much.” As a result, we may settle for relationships that aren’t right for us.

Well, not anymore! Here are five relationship red flags that every introvert should be aware of. Whether it’s a bad first date or a long-term relationship that you’re beginning to question, know that you never have to settle for a partner who does any of these things.

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5 Relationship Red Flags No Introvert Should Ignore

1. They don’t really hear you.

Sure, maybe they’re “not like you” and don’t excel at listening… but that’s no excuse for them not to try, talk over you, or blatantly ignore or dismiss something you’ve said.

I think that, as introverts, we may let things slide because we recognize that not everyone is as sensitive and considerate as we are. Personally, I give people the benefit of the doubt when they don’t hear me, blaming myself for not speaking up loudly or clearly enough.

But I’m here to tell you to stop accepting that kind of treatment, especially when it comes to romantic relationships! Just because someone speaks louder than you, it doesn’t mean that what they’re saying is more important or that their needs matter more than yours. If you find yourself constantly acting as a sounding board for your partner and not getting your emotional needs met in return, that’s a sign that your relationship is one-sided — and it could be a red flag.

A healthy relationship is built on a foundation of solid communication. You deserve a partner who not only listens to you but who is deeply interested in hearing what you have to say. Introverts have so much to offer, and there are people out there — introverts and extroverts — who will see your value and eagerly lean in to hear it. Don’t settle for less.

2. They leave you out of social events or make you feel unwanted.

Embarrassing story time: I dated a guy in college who used to invite me over to his place to watch movies and order takeout. The first red flag should have been the fact that he kept a jar of nacho cheese — which was clearly labeled “refrigerate after opening” — in his bedroom, decidedly open and unrefrigerated, and ate it throughout the week.

But the bigger, more pressing issue was that he and his housemates threw parties every weekend… and I was never invited. When the last slice of pizza had been consumed and the lid had gone back on the jar of — and I cannot emphasize this enough — unrefrigerated nacho cheese, he would turn to me and say, “The party’s starting soon. Will you be okay walking home by yourself?”

Now, to be fair, I was not exactly what one might consider a “partier.” But this whole kicking-me-out-of-the-house-before-the-party-started thing became a pattern, and it bothered me that he seemed not to want me there. When I confronted him about it, he actually had the nerve to use my introversion as an excuse for leaving me out. “I know that’s not really your thing,” he’d say. (To be clear, I knew, even at the time, that this was just a very weak justification for him to party freely, without me there to cramp his style.)

Of course, the person you’re dating might not come right out and wave their red flag in your face as blatantly as this guy did, but the moral of the story is this: In case you weren’t already aware, you deserve a partner who actually wants to spend time with you.

Sometimes, that might mean they skip the party to spend a quiet evening with you instead, browsing a bookstore, cooking a meal together, or hanging out and chatting with your smaller circle of friends. Other times, it might mean bringing you into their world — even if that means showing you off at the occasional party that wouldn’t necessarily be your scene otherwise.

While it’s perfectly healthy to have different interests and to spend time apart (in fact, it’s something introverts need in relationships), there should be balance. A good partner will want to integrate you into their life (and vice-versa). They should want to include you in their world and to be included in yours.

Never settle for anyone who leaves you out or makes you feel unwanted — especially if they use your introverted personality to justify treating you that way.

3. They don’t respect your needs, like your need for alone time.

It’s a fact of life for introverts: We need time alone to replenish our energy.

Sometimes, this can be difficult for others to understand, which is fair (after all, I am sometimes baffled by extroverts’ ability to socialize non-stop with Energizer-bunny levels of enthusiasm). We all operate differently, and figuring out a new partner’s unique needs and boundaries is part of establishing any relationship.

But if you’ve clearly expressed your needs as an introvert to your partner, and they just can’t seem to accept or respect them? It might be a sign that the relationship isn’t meant to be. If your partner does any of these things, after you’ve explained why it’s important for you to have time alone, it’s probably worth taking a closer look at whether this is the right relationship for you:   

  • Taking your need for space personally (especially if they fight with you or try to make you feel guilty about it)
  • Forcing or guilting you into spend more time with them than you’re comfortable with
  • Pressuring you into uncomfortable social situations or large gatherings when you’re not prepared
  • Judging or criticizing you for your introversion
  • Interrupting you when you’ve asked for quiet time and space to focus on an important task
  • Ignoring your need for downtime to recharge in between social events or outings
  • Anything on this list of things extroverts should never do to their introverted partners 

Of course, other people can’t read our minds. It’s important to clearly communicate your needs and boundaries to your partner. Just as important is for us to be honest and reasonable about our needs. As tempting as it may be to skip dinner with your in-laws — again — it’s not fair to use your introversion to get out of it every single time.

(If you’re curious, here’s the science behind why introverts love spending time alone.)

Are you an introvert who shuts down around the people you’re attracted to?

As an introvert, you actually have the amazing ability to be irresistible, without forcing yourself to talk more. It all starts with recognizing the most common myths about dating and learning a framework for fun, flirty conversations — no extroversion needed. To learn how to connect with your true sensuality, relax, and open up on dates, we recommend Michaela Chung’s online courses for introverted men and introverted women.

4. They put you down or make subtle, hurtful comments.

This one might sound obvious, but in a world dominated by extroverts, it can be easy to overlook hurtful comments or make excuses for people who “just don’t get” us quiet types. After all, we’ve all heard annoying, ignorant, and sometimes downright rude comments about our introversion enough times that they may not even register anymore. So, when your partner says something insulting, you might think, “Oh, I’m sure they didn’t mean that,” or “They probably didn’t realize how that came across.”

But if your partner berates you for not being more outgoing or social, criticizes you because you don’t have a larger circle of friends, or makes comments about you being “a hermit,” “weird,” or “boring” — even if it’s supposedly said in jest — that’s a red flag you shouldn’t ignore.  

Do not settle for a relationship where you feel disrespected or invalidated. You deserve respect, and if the person you’re with starts to make you doubt yourself or feel inadequate, that’s a sign that the relationship will likely become toxic, if it isn’t already.

5. They don’t fully embrace and support you as you are right now.

In the best relationships, partners inspire each other to grow. They encourage each other to chase their goals and dreams, and to become the best possible versions of themselves. But, to clarify: This does not mean trying to change who the other person is at their core.

Introverts aren’t broken, and we don’t need to be fixed. If you’re seeing someone who seems to believe that you “just need to loosen up” or “come out of your shell,” it could signal that this person doesn’t understand what it really means to be an introvert.

Unless they make a serious effort to learn about you, your personality, and your needs — and then fully embrace you — it’s likely going to be difficult for you to forge a meaningful, long-term connection with them. Remember, you deserve someone who not only accepts your introverted nature, but loves you even more because of it!

(Speaking of a healthy, fulfilling relationship, here are seven signs you’re in a good relationship as an introvert.)

You Deserve a Partner Who Gets You

The good news? It may be possible to talk through some of these issues with your significant other. Some people really are clueless about introversion, and it may be worth a conversation to bring some of these issues to their attention and give them a chance to fix them. But if you’ve had that conversation and the other person still isn’t making the effort, it’s okay to move on.  

At the end of the day, you deserve a partner who gets you — someone who respects, understands, and loves you for who you are. Whether that’s an emotionally intelligent extrovert or a like-minded introvert, trust that the right person for you is out there — and by weeding out the bad dates who exhibit these red flags, you’ll be that much closer to finding them.

Introverts, are there any red flags you’d add to the list? Feel free to comment below!

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