12 Things to Know About Being in a Relationship With an Introvert

IntrovertDear.com introvert relationship

She was the one at the party hanging back from the crowd, but she wasn’t doing nothing. From the look in her eyes, you could tell she was watching the scene and not missing a thing. When you talked to her, she didn’t bore you with superficial chatter about her weekend — she actually had something meaningful to say.

Or maybe he was the quiet guy in the cubicle next to you. You almost always had to start the conversation, but when you did, it was worth it. He was witty and smart — a little unconventional — and you knew right away there was something different about this one.

However you met your introvert, one thing’s for sure: His or her quiet charm drew you in, and now you’re here to stay. Maybe you’re an extrovert who relishes your introverted partner’s depth and ability to listen, or maybe you’re an introvert yourself who finds quiet companionship with your like-minded lover. Whether you’ve been with your introvert for one week or one decade, here are 12 things you should know about being in a relationship with an introvert:

1. We take things slowly. If extroverts are the hares, then introverts are the tortoises. Introverts tend to open up to new people more slowly than extroverts. We may be slower to make a move, like asking you out or getting physical. Also, we may be slower to reach relationship milestones, like saying “I love you” for the first time or proposing. That’s because we like to think things through and carefully consider all aspects of a situation before we make a decision. We need time to process our experiences and reflect. Relationships are no exception.

2. We may have trouble talking about ourselves. Seriously. If we’re on a date with you, especially a first or second date, we may stutter and fumble for words when you ask us about ourselves. Introverts are like onions — our personality has many layers, and it takes a while to discover them all, especially the hidden layers closest to the core. We’re private and we won’t reveal the most personal parts of us until we fully trust you. Give us time.

3. We flirt differently. Think subtle moves, not bold. A sly smile. A gaze that lingers. Listening intensely and asking thoughtful questions. Revealing our secret inner world to you. What we probably won’t do: aggressively hit on you or make overtly sexual remarks.

4. Introverts don’t like being the center of attention. It’s probably not a good idea to propose live on a Jumbotron during the big game or ask the servers to sing “Happy Birthday” to us in a crowded restaurant. You may look around only to find your introvert hiding under their seat!

5. Want to truly connect with us? Talk about ideas. There will always be some level of small talk in a relationship: “How was your day?” or “How are you?” But introverts tire quickly of mundane chitchat. We truly feel connected to others when we can talk about big ideas or other meaningful topics. Try asking your introvert some deeper questions: What in your life are you most proud of? Do you have a dream or goal that you’ve never shared or thought was possible? Have you ever read a book that changed you? Your introvert will likely light up at the chance to talk about something meaningful.

6. We won’t go to every single party, happy hour, or family get-together. If you’re an extrovert who loves a party, this is something you’ll have to accept and respect about us, because it’s probably not something that will change. Of course, as a partner who cares about you, we will go to some social events — but we may want to leave early because we’re “peopled” out. Remember, large crowds, busy environments, and socializing drain us because we have a less active dopamine reward system than extroverts. Look for ways to compromise.

7. We may be sensitive to conflict. In fact, many introverts struggle to meet conflict head-on, because arguing can be overstimulating and stressful. We may bottle up our feelings and revert to people-pleasing behaviors to avoid disagreements, or we may shut down when an argument does erupt. Tread gently. Some introverts find it helpful to write about their feelings or to step away from the conflict for a bit to process things. Don’t take it personally if we need a brief time-out.

8. We think. A lot. We practically live inside our heads — and we get lost in there sometimes! If we go quiet on you, don’t assume that we’re mad at you or feeling depressed. We may be just thinking.

9. A busy schedule with no downtime will poison us. A weekend full of activities is what dopamine-loving extroverts crave, but for introverts, it can be too much. Our internal resources get depleted, and we feel the need to retreat alone to a quiet space to recharge. Sometimes we’ll want to be completely alone, while other times, we may enjoy having you join us in quiet solidarity.

10. Know that introversion and extroversion aren’t all-or-nothing traits. In other words, most people don’t fit perfectly into one category or the other. Just like extroverts can have their quiet moments, introverts can also enjoy socializing. It’s really just a matter of dosage. So don’t intentionally leave your introvert at home while you go to gatherings because you think they won’t enjoy them. Likewise, don’t be surprised if your introvert wants to go out or host a party. Introverts get lonely, too.

11. We want quality time with you. This means time with you and you only — no friends, family members, or kids around for a while. We may be quiet in groups, but we can be masterful at connecting one-on-one. We’ll use this time to try to reconnect with you authentically. “When an introvert cares about someone, she also wants contact, not so much to keep up with the events of the other person’s life, but to keep up with what’s inside: the evolution of ideas, values, thoughts, and feelings,” writes Laurie Helgoe in Introvert Power.

12. Although we may not be the best at expressing it, we love you deeply. “Introverts treasure the close relationships they have stretched so much to make,” writes Adam S. McHugh in Introverts in the Church.

Did you enjoy this article? Sign up for our newsletters to get more stories like this.

Read this: 21 Undeniable Signs That You’re an Introvert

Learn more: The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World, by Jenn Granneman  retina_favicon1

  • isa

    very insightful this is me all the way

  • Thanks for expressing what i think of all the time 😉

  • Diana

    This is too true!

  • nina

    This is me too. I used to feel depressed over having few friends, but really know that’s all I have energy for. Thanks for a very insightful article.

  • Alonda

    This describes me

  • Reading your posts, I don’t find myself weird anymore. Thanks !

  • Matt

    Reading these posts has been one of the best things that I’ve ever done. It has helped me understand myself very well, and in doing that it has helped me with my relationships with others and given me a sense of peace.

    • Rose

      Me too! Especially with the sense of peace…If I’d rather spend my day reading a book, that’s ok.

  • Bobbie adsms

    Feeling much better about myself thanks

  • Doreen

    Thanks! This helps to understand myself…

  • Thank you, this validates me and I don’t feel wrong for it. A lot of people completely misunderstand me, taking me at face value, when I know there are always more reasons for my actions than people see. I’ts actually quite simple though-don’t crowd me and we’re good. My girlfriend has a hard time accepting the fact that I need time alone to regroup, she sees it as a an insult to her but that’s the way I’ve always been. I feel much refreshed when given space as long as I don’t have to be blunt to get it ’cause that never comes out right! People are generallly very draining without meaning to be and/or I am not able to effectively shield myself from being drained.

  • Maria

    Thank you so much.

  • Jerry K

    Finally an honest article on some difficult stuff with introverts. Nice work
    I always smile each time i see an articel about the advantages of dating an introvert. And trust me, they are more of such articles than on the disadvantages. I think is because the many people, who know that such relationships are difficult, try to convince them selves or others.
    Have you ever looked at all the ADVANTAGES of having an intro? 80% of them spin around (listening to partner, deep conversations and qualitytime/reflection). Now look at the DISADVANTAGES (they are slow, dont initiat; very passive, hardly express emotions, hardly open up, have to pull everything out of them, their socializinging skills are poor, dont know how to small talk, mostly alone, not spontaneous, have to sleep on every small decision, very low self esteem/confidence, always in their heads, very sensitive (can be positive or negative), cant really multitast, have to concerntrate on one thing or they soon feel over tasked, you have to mystically understand them, without hem openning their mouths) these are spread acrossed many different life directions/situations and am talking about the Cons and Pros at HOME not work place. Now tell me, what is good for a relationship to work??
    It takes hardwork to be with an introvert, especially if u are not one.
    I have been for 4 yrs with an introverted female. I am ambiverted, so inbetween. This have been the hardest relationship in my life so far. I am 31 now, she 30. And i adore her, but its just so difficult and drains my energy. Its like i literally have to have energy for 2 people. Above all, i have to pull every emotion from her. There is a difference between knowing someone loves u, and expirecing emotions of love from someone. i the first case, i really have to search my brain and convince my self she loves me, even if shes not showing it cuz shes introverted. and the more you figth to get her attention, the more you sink in to love with her.

    • Hye Kan Chu

      you should break up. Relationships shouldnt be has hard as you describe. Your probably not a match.

  • christina durant-lowery

    This was a great article. I’m grateful that it mentioned that no one fits perfectly in one category. This helped a lot and brought clarity to a few questions I had!

  • Rahul Reddy

    This is written by a women for sure!