When dating an extrovert, instead of feeling like you always have to keep up with them, invite them to slow down with you.
They say opposites attract and we can’t always help who we fall in love with, right? It may seem like a cosmic joke when an introvert and extrovert start dating, but it can work, in its own quirky way.
I just wish someone had given me a few tips when I, as an introvert, started dating an extrovert… and then married said extrovert (though that’s another article!). Maybe it wouldn’t have felt like such a roller coaster. But as it turns out, it doesn’t have to be such a wild ride. So for those introverts catching feelings for the extroverts in their lives, here are a few dating pointers.
5 Tips for Dating an Extrovert (as an Introvert)
1. You don’t have to say yes to every invite.
Here is your permission slip not to say yes every time your extrovert love interest invites you out. And not just because you don’t want to look too eager when you’re first starting out. Contrary to some popular beliefs, you don’t have to play by any “rules” or worry about whether or not you’ll seem too disinterested. You don’t have to toss your own well-being out the window just because you’re dating someone new.
If your energy is low and you just need a night to stay in, say so. It doesn’t have to be a commentary on how much you like the other person. But it is a great way to protect your energy, set boundaries, and let the extrovert get to know how you function. Let them meet you where you are. It’s also a great way to take note of how they respond to boundaries. (Trust me, I know how hard it is for us introverts to say “no”!) So pay attention to their reaction when you explain that you just need a night to decompress after a long day at work. If they’re a keeper, they’ll get it. Plus, this can open the door to a conversation about your introvert needs…
2. Don’t try to keep up with them — instead, invite them to slow down with you
I, unfortunately, did not get that memo when I first started dating Mr. Extrovert. He was funny and busy and loved to go, go, go. Which, of course, I thought was exciting… and I also thought it meant I should try to keep up.
It doesn’t take too much to guess that I crashed and burned fairly quickly. It took a lot of talking and sorting things out to establish a more balanced relationship. I couldn’t really blame him for his confusion, since I was sort of masquerading as an extrovert. A lot of introverts fake it — but then our inner introvert reminds us that we’d rather be home, not out and about.
Once I really owned up to being an introvert, it became an opportunity for me to invite him into my space — or, rather, to go at my pace. Instead of feeling like I always had to keep up with him, I invited him to slow down with me. While he invited me to concerts and parties, I invited him to picnics in the park and morning coffee dates at my favorite coffee shop.
It was a lot of push and pull at first, and finding a middle ground where we both felt comfortable. But I realized it didn’t always have to be one or the other; it can (and should) be both.
3. Appreciate your differences, but don’t forget to indulge in commonalities.
When it comes to introverts and extroverts, it can be a challenge — we can get really caught up in our differences, especially when it comes to getting our needs met. It can get really frustrating and become a point of contention. But one helpful thing to focus on is what the two of you have in common as, you know, human beings. After all, you are more than just an introvert and they are more than just an extrovert.
While being an introvert and extrovert are major differences, they aren’t the sum total of who you are as people. And it doesn’t have to define your relationship either. It turns out that Mr. Extrovert and I are both huge sports fans and watched every single basketball playoff game together the first month we were dating. Now every basketball season reminds us of those beginnings. We can go to a game and be among a huge crowd — or we can watch the game from our living room couch — but either way, we can do it together.
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4. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Communication is huge in any relationship, it’s true. But when you both require very different things in order to thrive — like needing alone time vs. needing to be around people — it’s vital to make sure you’re communicating on a regular basis. Of course, it’s important in the beginning to talk about things like how much alone time you need and making sure that needing space isn’t a reflection of your desire to be in the relationship (or not). But even as you continue dating, it’s a good idea to check in regularly and talk about whether or not things feel balanced for you and what you need more or less of, understanding that those things will ebb and flow.
This doesn’t have to be a formal “performance evaluation” meeting; it can be spontaneous if that works for you. But it might be a good idea to have regular check-ins, perhaps weekly, maybe a stay-in date night that allows for open dialogue without too many distractions. Make these times a priority and try to do them regularly. It’s easy to get caught up in our day-to-day lives and lose track of how we actually feel in the relationship. Check-in dates are a great way to allow for ongoing communication, as well as maintain a sense of ease and balance.
5. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to date — you two get to make your own “rules.”
At the end of the day, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to make it work. We’re all unique — even all of us introverts, with our many shared interests, aren’t all exactly the same. We each have varying amounts of alone time we need or ways in which we prefer to spend our nights in. The point is to find what works for you, and then find what works for you as a couple — and go with it.
Don’t get caught up in the comparison trap either. Whether it’s social media or friends in real life, everyone has their own way of finding happiness. Some introverts swear they could only date introverts and some don’t seem to care if their partner is like them or not. Everyone is different — and that’s okay. Only you know what genuinely makes you happy and allows you to feel fulfilled as a person. Let that be your guide.
While I humbly offer these tips as an introvert who’s “been there” in dating an extrovert, there is no actual guidebook on this (unfortunately). We all get to forge our own paths on this. And whatever extrovert ends up in your life, they’ll bring their own distinct qualities to the table. So don’t be afraid to make up the rules as you go and enjoy whatever quirky things bring happiness to you and your extrovert love. Like I said before, I married mine.
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.