Extroverts and introverts are well known for responding to the same situation in very different ways. What may have an extrovert buzzing with energy may leave an introvert exhausted. What an introvert finds peaceful and relaxing may leave an extrovert nearly in tears of boredom. Both, however, often have a difficult time understanding why the other does things that seem so utterly baffling. This fundamental misunderstanding of how the other person works can wreak havoc in a romantic relationship. That does not, however, mean that introverts and extroverts should never mingle or date. It means that both parties need to make sure they understand one another at the beginning of the relationship.
Extroversion and introversion both lie on the ends of a spectrum. As such, few people truly fit the stereotypes of the shy introvert and the gregarious extrovert. It is true that introverts require time to themselves and that extroverts tend to be more outgoing, but that does not mean introverts cannot be the life of the party or that extroverts cannot enjoy a few minutes of solitude. The differences do mean, however, that some things need to be made clear before the two people in a relationship wind up at each other’s throats. Here is an extrovert’s guide to dating an introvert without driving each other crazy.
Introverts need time alone to recharge.
Extroverts get their energy from being around other people. When they are tired or have had a bad day, they want to be around other people. They seek out their friends or activities where they know they have a good chance of running into people they know and like. Introverts, however, are the complete opposite. Introverts need to be alone to recharge. While extroverts get their energy from being around and interacting with others, this drains introverts of their energy. Quiet time to themselves is what gives introverts the energy they need to be able to interact with others and what helps them feel better when they are down in the dumps. Extroverts sometimes wonder why an introvert is hiding from them. In reality, the introvert is not avoiding the extrovert. They are simply recharging so they can enjoy the time they spend with the extrovert rather than trying to force themselves to function like a college student powering through an exam on three hours of sleep.
Introverts hate small talk.
Extroverts like to interact with other people. They like to spend time with them and talk to them about anything and everything. As such, extroverts are not normally bothered by spending an evening making small talk with others at a cocktail party. For introverts, however, this is the sort of torture that they would have expected the Inquisition to design. A cocktail party full of people they do not know is exhausting, and the fact that such places normally only involve small talk makes it worse. Introverts hate small talk. They find it shallow, boring and a waste of time. They are capable of following the social pleasantries it represents, but that does not mean they enjoy it. They would rather discuss deeper and more meaningful topics than are typically accepted in public such as the purpose of existence or what constitutes art or beauty. Small talk is not found to be any more palatable when it comes through a text message, so extroverts should not be surprised if an introvert does not respond to a message that simply says, “how r u?”
Introverts rarely want to stay out as long as extroverts.
Most couples go to parties and functions together while they are dating. They are each other’s plus ones for weddings, office Christmas parties and everything else. When introverts and extroverts go to an event together, however, they need to have a plan for how to handle things when the introvert is ready to be done. Introverts tend to have much less energy for social interaction. As such, they rarely want to stay at social events from start to finish. An extrovert on the other hand may well want to stay the entire time and then go out for a round of drinks afterward. Neither of these preferences are right or wrong, but it can make things complicated. Extrovert-introvert pairs should have a plan for how to handle the introvert wanting to leave early. This could be deciding that they have to stay until a certain time for the extrovert but after that, the introvert decides when to call it a night. It could also be something as simple as taking two cars to a function so both parties can leave whenever they desire.
Introverts do not want to spend every minute with their partner.
Extroverts are, as a general rule, people people. In terms of extreme stereotypes, an extrovert would be a golden retriever. They are always looking for people to be with and always excited to have the opportunity to interact. Introverts, on the other hand, would be cats. They enjoy being around a small group of people, but only on their terms. Otherwise, they would prefer to be left alone. Both of those, of course, are stereotypes. Extroverts are perfectly capable of being misanthropes, and introverts can certainly be gregarious or even clingy. As a general rule, however, introverts do not want to spend every minute of the day with other people. This includes texting or messaging people all day long. Extroverts sometimes wonder why an introvert does not want to spend time with them or is not answering their text messages. The reason is that when an introvert says they want to be alone, they do not mean they still want to text people. They want a complete absence of human contact.
Introverts tend to be more reserved.
As a general rule, extroverts are more outgoing and gregarious than introverts. Extroverts are more likely to be able to carry a conversation on their own and to wear their hearts on their sleeves. Introverts tend to hold their cards close until they are sure that they can trust the other person and that they want the other person in their lives. Once that happens, the introvert might well stick to the extrovert like a particularly stubborn vine, but that will not happen immediately. Until then, extroverts might accidentally talk over introverts or cut them out of conversations. The introvert might not be able to reinsert themselves in the conversation, or they may not see it as being worth the effort if the extrovert cuts them off repeatedly. People should always make sure they are not dominating a conversation or cutting off their date, but extroverts who are dating introverts need to be especially certain of this.
Introverts generally do not like spontaneity.
As a general rule, introverts are normally planners. They like to know what is going to happen throughout their day, week or month, and they do not enjoy changing those plans. They are not inflexible, but they do not enjoy altering things at the last minute. Extroverts, on the other hand, tend to enjoy spontaneity and have no issue with last minute changes. This can cause all sorts of potential trouble as extroverts may think that they are giving introverts a great treat by surprising introverts with a date night or other outing. The introvert, meanwhile, can accidentally hurt the extrovert’s feelings when they respond rather less than enthusiastically. For extroverts who enjoy surprising their partner, make sure the introvert knows ahead of time that there will be a date on their birthday. The surprise can be going to a nicer restaurant than expected or that the extrovert has tickets to the introvert’s favorite play rather than springing the entire night on them.
Introverts do not need fixing.
Society tends to favor extroverts. They are the ones who are visible, talkative and certainly look more likely to be doing important and exciting things. The stereotype of introverts as shy, withdrawn, insecure people does not help matters. This can lead to well-meaning extroverts trying to fix their introverted friends. The extrovert may think that the introvert is shy and simply needs help coming out of their shell. The reality, however, is that many introverts are not shy at all. They are simply picky with their company and prefer to recharge on their own rather than in a crowded room. They are more than capable of leading, loving and being the life of the party. They do not need changing or saving, and few things are going to get under their skin faster than implying that they need to become an extrovert.
For an extrovert, dating an introvert definitely requires a bit of a worldview shift, but it can actually be good for both people to date someone who is so different from them. An introvert will normally be pushed to try new things and put themselves out there by dating an extrovert. An extrovert, on the other hand, may come to better appreciate moments of silence and peace when they are in a relationship with an introvert. Both parties grow through their relationship with each other which, of course, is one of the keys to any successful relationship.