In romantic relationships, compatibility is a key factor to consider. Aside from assessing your compatibility in terms of values and beliefs, you also need to consider if your personalities are compatible.
Some people prefer to date people who have a similar personality to theirs, while others prefer someone with a different personality. In the former scenario, introvert-extrovert relationships are quite common.
In most cases, introverts and extroverts find attraction in their differences. While these differences can be a blessing in the relationship as you complement each other, they can also be a mismatch that leads to issues in the relationship.
Below is a look at the most common problems in introvert-extrovert relationships and tips for making the kind of relationship work.
3 Most Common Issues in Introvert-Extrovert Relationships
When it comes to social engagements, introverts and extroverts are worlds apart.
Socializing energizes an extrovert, but it drains an introvert. An extrovert comes into a relationship with a broad network of friends and acquaintances and is eager to keep making more.
On the other hand, introverts only have a couple of close friends who understand that they do not need to spend time together in a social situation for their relationship to stay strong. Therefore, when an extrovert and an introvert get into a relationship, the extrovert is always going out to hang out with their friends, and the introvert feels like they are constantly being dragged out of their comfort zone, which can build discord.
If a couple has an invite to a social gathering, the extroverted partner will likely accept the invitation immediately, while the introvert will most likely pass it. Introverts find it difficult to leave the comfort of their home, their favorite pajamas, and spot on the couch for a social gathering.
Even if the introvert says yes, it will take lots of thinking and mental and emotional preparation to prepare for the event. Therefore, they require several days or even weeks to be ready. Conversely, an extrovert partner is ready for a social gathering anytime. For them, an impromptu invite is always welcome.
During the event, an introvert partner may want to keep to themselves. If they must interact, they prefer that it be minimal and with people, they already know. On the other hand, extroverts are social butterflies. They will speak with everyone to no end. For them, the more, the merrier and the better opportunity it is to meet old friends and make new ones.
Introverts tend to get a hangover, especially if a social gathering was overstimulating. The hangover can last several days up to a few weeks. They want to be left alone to process their thoughts and replenish their energy during the hangover.
This can be irritating for the extroverted partner, who will most likely want to discuss the event’s highlights. For an extrovert, life continues as usual with no need for time out.
Like with social engagements, extroverts and introverts approach conflicts differently. It takes lots of compromise from both partners to resolve issues.
Extroverts are typically confrontational. They want to handle the issue as soon as it comes up. They tend to say whatever comes to their mind immediately it comes up. Yet, you both might need some time to cool off and think through the issue before talking about it.
Contrarily, introverts tend to bottle up issues. It takes a lot of effort on their part to bring up an issue. Even when they do, they want it to be done fast, and may find it difficult to express how they feel clearly.
Often, when an extrovert wants to talk the issue out, the introvert is not ready. The extrovert may feel unheard and dismissed, adding to the discord. On the other hand, the introvert may not appreciate an extrovert’s passion for handling things.
Space becomes an issue if you move in with your partner. An introvert loves their space and needs lots of alone time.
If you are introverted, you may feel like you do not have any private quiet time and space once you move on with your extroverted partner. You may also experience the pressure to be “on” to keep up with their energy and conversation, which can be draining over time. On the other hand, the extrovert may constantly want to invite their friends to your house.
Nevertheless, an introvert and an extrovert can share a home comfortably. However, it takes communication and understanding each other’s personalities and needs.
The extroverted partner needs to respect the introvert’s need for alone time. If you want to host your friends in your house, give your partner notice in advance. Also, allow them to opt-out if they do not feel up to it. On the other hand, as an introvert, manage your energy wisely to be able to say “yes” at least every so often to your partner’s social needs at home.
Tips for Making an Introvert-Extrovert Relationship Work
Reach a Social Compromise
Understand each other’s needs for social interaction and in social settings. If you are an extrovert, understand that your partner does not have to accompany you to each and every social gathering. Be ok with going for some alone.
Also, discuss the kind of social engagements they may be interested in to get a better understanding of what to fit them into.
Tell them about the event as early as possible if they must accompany you to give them ample time to get ready.
On the other hand, if you are an introvert, don’t expect your partner to cozy up with you on the couch watching movies all weekend. They may do it once in a while, but it can be quite unexciting for them if that is the norm each weekend. Therefore, let your partner leave the house often.
Ultimately, have a clear discussion of your expectations of each other socially. For instance, an introvert may feel abandoned in a social setting when their partner leaves to mingle with other people. Therefore, you may agree that if your introverted partner accompanies you to an event, you must keep them close by.
You could also agree to leave by a specific time to prevent the introvert from suffering from social fatigue. Or, you can agree to have the introvert spend some time alone periodically during the event while the extrovert mingles with everyone else.
A word of caution for extroverts, your introverted partner will not necessarily warm up to everyone you introduce them to. Therefore, manage your expectations about how you want them to respond and interact with people. It would be best to prioritize who you will introduce them to. Also, most introverts do not enjoy small talk.
Explore various social arrangements and establish what works for both of you. Revisit this issue regularly to see if there is any need for adjustments depending on how your life is at a given point. Or, you could have a conversation about how to show up ahead of the party or event.
Communication is key to the success of any relationship. Both partners should be able to talk openly about their needs, preferences, and expectations. You should also be good listeners to accurately understand what each other is saying both verbally and non-verbally.
Remember, no matter how much your partner loves you, they cannot read your mind. It is up to you to communicate clearly to them to avoid misunderstandings, confusion, and resentment. Think about what you want to say and how to say it to deliver the message effectively.
Understand each other’s communication styles and provide a conducive environment for both of you to speak up. For instance, set aside time to talk to each other uninterruptedly. Catch up about what is happening in your lives and how it affects your relationship.
Address issues as early as possible to prevent them from spiraling out of control. Most importantly, share positive and affirming words with each other.
Find Ways to Deal With Conflict Effectively
Conflict is a natural part of human interactions. They are unavoidable in romantic relationships regardless of whether you are in an extrovert-extrovert, extrovert-introvert, or introvert-introvert relationship. Therefore, if you are introverted, don’t think you would have less conflict if you had an introverted partner and vice versa.
It takes great emotional intelligence to deal with conflict effectively, no matter your personality traits. Understand how each other deals and communicates in a conflict situation and endeavor to meet them as they are. The goal is to give room for everyone to feel heard and understood. Beware of your tone of voice to prevent aggravating the issue further.
One of the principles of conflict management is that the issue at hand is only the tip of the iceberg. Therefore, you want to focus on the underlying issues causing the conflict. That way, you resolve the conflict at its core and eliminate or minimize the symptomatic issues.
If you have wronged your partner, take responsibility for your mistakes and apologize to them. Negotiate with each other. Keep in mind that you will not always reach an agreement. Sometimes, you have to give up your way completely; other times, you have to reach a compromise or agree to disagree and move away from the issue.
Do Not Try to Change Each Other
To have a successful introvert-extrovert relationship, you have to be unconditionally accepting of each other, including the differences in your personalities. While there are a few things you can inspire your partner to change, you cannot change who they are at the core unless it is something they want to change themselves.
When it comes to personality traits in an introvert extrovert relationship, it is almost impossible to change them. Therefore, if you are an introvert, it is unrealistic to expect your extroverted partner to become introverted and vice versa.
Spend Quality Time Together
One-on-one time is crucial for your relationship. It is how you reconnect with each other. However, due to the differences in your personalities, your idea of what quality time looks like may differ.
The introverted partner may want something intimate such as a picnic, dinner at home or in a quiet restaurant, or simply cuddling up on the couch as you catch up. On the other hand, the extroverted partner may want something more out there, such as an elaborate dinner with everyone at your service, a surprise trip to a random location, or dancing the night away.
Discuss what each of you needs to feel like you have spent quality time together and identify options that work for you both.
Keep Dating Your Partner
When you first get to know your partner, you are eager to get to know them, spend quality time with them, and engage in fun activities. However, the longer you stay in the relationship, you may begin to feel that you know them well enough and stop dating them actively. The danger is that you may start to take them for granted, leading to a disconnect.
Be intentional about continuing to know and understand your partner. Spend time with them. Show them appreciation. Constantly remind them that you love and care for them. Get creative about how you show them your love. Make time to connect intimately.
A relationship between an introvert and an extrovert can work. In fact, it can be exciting as partners get to know each other and understand the differences in their personality traits.
However, these differences in personalities present specific issues due to individual social needs, communication styles, and conflicting management styles. Therefore, both partners have to be aware of this and consistently work towards overcoming them.