Introverts are often misunderstood by their extroverted partners because they have different needs in a relationship.
Dating can be a struggle for anyone. But for extroverts, dating an introvert can be challenging. That’s also true the other way around, where an introvert might be struggling to be understood by their more social other half. Being an introvert myself, I sometimes still find myself misunderstood by my extroverted partner of five years, so let’s just say it’s a lifelong learning process.
With that said, compatibility issues in an extrovert-introvert couple might become more obvious when the honeymoon phase passes. Still, if the love is strong enough, your core values align, and you accept one another’s true selves, it can certainly be a thriving relationship. However, there are some basic principles you should follow if you want a happy relationship with your introverted partner.
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6 ‘Rules’ for Dating an Introvert
1. Extroverts, please — just stop talking (for a moment, anyway).
Seriously, this one might be underrated. Extroverts like to talk… a lot. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine to take the spotlight from time to time — as long as there’s some balance. The question is, how are you going to get to know your introverted date if you don’t give them space to express their innermost thoughts?
We introverts only talk when we’ve got something to say, and for the most part, we do have a lot to say. Only, we often don’t get the opportunity to pause our fast-working mind and formulate our thoughts, especially when we’re with an extrovert.
It’s important to note that there are inherent differences between an extrovert’s brain and an introvert’s brain. (Read about those brain differences here.) An introvert’s inner world is constantly going, with many thoughts rushing through their mind at all times. It might be useful to follow these principles.
- After finishing your thought, ask them about their opinion on the topic. It’s a win-win. You’ll get to know how the introvert thinks while also getting some valuable insight. Trust me, we introverts are good observers and know quite a lot about human behavior — we can pick up on subtle details and body language. It’s also good for the introvert to talk, as it’ll be good practice for them to speak their mind and become more socially confident.
- Don’t only talk about yourself. Ask the introvert about their life, but avoid topics that you know won’t be comfortable for them. Ask them about their interests, as well as for their opinions on topics they know a lot about. That’ll give them a sense of familiarity so they’ll be able to talk more easily. It’ll make them feel heard and appreciated, as you obviously noticed what piques their interest. It’ll show that you care and pay attention.
- Don’t interrupt their short pauses between sentences. They might be just taking a quick break, thinking about the best way to express their thoughts.
- Keep the conversation going, but not for too long. Yes, you should encourage an introvert to voice their thoughts and opinions, but they’ll give you clues as to when it’s time to wrap up the convo. Their answers will get shorter, more straight to the point, and they’ll say “yes” and “no” more than actually expanding on the topic with their own input. Pay attention to their conversational cues.
2. Let your introverted partner return to a conflict or disagreement later.
After a conflict or disagreement, introverts will probably want to cool their heads a while to gather their thoughts. Or, if the conflict goes on for too long, they might just be overstimulated and exhausted from the interaction. So let them walk away and come back, and look at the conflict as an opportunity to get along better in the future.
In my experience, sometimes conflicts can arise from the most banal things. Don’t let disagreements — especially over small things — make or break the relationship. Just have a mature discussion about it once your introverted partner has had time away to think about the issue.
3. Plan activities you’ll both enjoy.
I get it — if you’re an extrovert, your idea of fun is to be sociable. Humans are sociable creatures, so why wouldn’t you want to hang out with people? Well, honestly, most introverts don’t socialize the way extroverts do — it’s just the way we function. What we consider “fun” may be different from what an extrovert considers “fun.” No one way is “right” or “wrong” — but compromise is key.
As you know, an introvert’s social battery empties pretty fast, especially when they’re socializing with people they don’t know well or don’t have much in common with. You and your partner will have to set some rules — and then follow them. Healthy boundaries are important, and both of you must (yeah, it’s a must, sorry) respect them if you want to have a good, happy, fulfilling relationship.
- Communicate and determine a timeframe. How long are the two of you willing to participate in whatever social event you want to go to? Compromise. If you want to stay all night, but your introverted partner only wants to stay an hour, find a middle ground and stick to it. If the introvert later changes their mind, that’s great. But they’re much more willing to go in the first place if there is some time frame you’ll both adhere to.
- Don’t force it. If your partner doesn’t like, or have anything in common with, some of your friends (or vice-versa), don’t force it. It’s better to find friends you both like hanging out with together, and stick to your own friends as a separate friend group. Of course, you should still make an effort, and your partner should be open to giving your friends a chance at least a couple of times. If it’s absolutely crucial for your friends and partner to get along, then again, find a middle ground where you all hang out together only once a while.
- Plan activities both of you enjoy, but be open to at least trying the activities your partner suggests. In life, it’s all about being flexible in your mindset and willingness to experience new things. If your partner suggests bungee jumping and you’re terrified of heights, that would be unreasonable (and a little cruel, I might add). The two of you need to keep an open mind and be willing to try activities the other enjoys. Sometimes you can do introvert-friendly activities; other times you can compromise on extrovert-friendly ones (like going to a party).
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. Remember that introverts usually get overstimulated more easily than extroverts.
We introverts are sometimes quite easily overstimulated — bright lights, loud noise, sudden movements, and surprises can startle us. So keep these in mind when spending time with your introvert date. Plus, don’t try to persuade us into doing activities that stretch too far beyond our comfort zones. This point is semi-related to #2 above, but it’s good to understand it’s not just socializing that can wear us out.
5. Respect an introvert’s need for alone time and personal space.
Now that you’ve gained some more understanding of introverts, this one may not be as surprising. Both introverts and extroverts need their personal space. The difference is that introverts might need it more often than extroverts.
When they say they need some alone time, definitely don’t make them explain themselves. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them — and it gives them a chance to regain some of the energy they lost by socializing (even if it was just with you!).
6. Encourage them to pursue their passions, goals, and hobbies.
Introverts may sometimes lack self-confidence; I sure do. The best thing I ever got out of my relationship with my extroverted partner is that he made me believe in myself. He saw my potential more than I could. He encouraged me to keep pursuing my passions, goals, hobbies — and more.
I want to emphasize how important it is to be a cheerleader for your partner, as you can literally change someone’s life. Because of your help, they might reach their potential with less internal pushback; sometimes all we need is a little push. And we will reciprocate, too — you’ll end up having the best, most supportive relationship ever.
Introverts, what “rules” would you add to the list? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
You might like:
- 5 Signs You’re in a Codependent Relationship as an Introvert or a Sensitive Person
- 5 Introvert Dating Challenges (And How to Overcome Them)
- Will I Be Single Forever? 6 Introvert Dating Struggles
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