Introverts often find themselves in romantic relationships with extroverts, despite their fundamental differences in temperament.
Perhaps it’s because they balance each other out. Introverts (or “innies”) ― who gain energy by spending time alone ― are drawn to extroverts because of their easy-breezy social nature. Extroverts (or “outies”) ― who recharge their batteries by spending time with other people ― may find themselves attracted to introverts because of their ability to listen and ground the more restless parts of the extrovert’s personality.
If you’re married to, dating or even just romantically interested in an introvert, below are 10 things our self-proclaimed “innie” readers want you to know.
1. Please don’t take our need for alone time personally.
“An introvert needs time alone, and it has nothing to do with you. She’s not mad, she’s not holding anything in and she certainly doesn’t need to ‘talk it out.’ She just needs to recharge so that when she does come back, she can be 100 percent in the moment with you. Giving her the space to do this without guilt or nagging means you both win in the end. My husband gladly backs off when I’m ‘introverting’ because he knows the payoff for our relationship is huge.” ― Betsy Talbot
2. Small talk is not our strong suit. Deeper conversations are where we shine.
“The general small talk chit-chat grates on my nerves ― I don’t like it and feel awkward trying to engage in it. However, discussions on more meaningful topics truly catch my interest and I can ramble on and on or listen at length with keen interest.” ― Julie Lombard
3. Don’t try to change us.
“Just let your introvert partner be him or herself. Understand that our personalities are different and that we have our own way of loving.” ― CM Dimen
4. That said, the occasional nudge to help us come out of our shells is welcome.
“While we might complain and whine, getting out is good for the balance of introvert-extrovert dating. It is ideal in a balanced relationship. If my wife never got me out, I might never go.” ― Darcy Johnston
5. Sometimes silence really is golden.
“It’s okay not to talk all the time. Sometimes the greatest intimacy is just being together in comfortable silence. It can be cuddling or it can be separate, but it’s okay to be quiet.”― Jenna Schulcz
6. We might be slow to warm up so just be patient, OK?
“I may appear quite serious at first; however, once I feel comfortable around you, then I open up more and reveal my rather quirky, silly and witty side. I truly am such a friendly, sweet-natured oddball that yearns for friendships and a boyfriend but I need to be invited to join a discussion or event otherwise I feel like I am being a bother or intrusive.” ― Julie Lombard
7. Understand our need to decompress after a long day.
“Most of us are out in the world all day and are drained when we get home. We need some quiet recharge time, and having someone ask us how our day was, what happened, etc. is very off-putting. Give us 15 to 30 minutes just to be quiet and recharge a bit. We’ll be happy to talk and catch up, we just need some time first.” ― Jenna Schulcz
8. You don’t need to tell us we’re quiet ― we already know.
“Please, for the love of god, don’t comment on how quiet we are. We know. Sometimes we just need quiet time. When we’re ready to talk we will, just have some patience.” ― Mia Montez Lopez
9. We might require more low-key nights at home than you do.
“Don’t challenge your partner’s desire to spend a few nights at home by pointing out that ‘normal people’ go out on weekends.” ― Nicholas Mercuro
10. We prefer to gather our thoughts instead of thinking out loud.
“An introvert likes to think about things, so if you spring a new topic or pick a fight, don’t be surprised if you don’t get the level of participation you want from your introvert lover. Our default stance is to consider, to play things out in our heads before opening our mouths. Give us time to do that, and you’ll get the kind of conversation or debate you were looking for. We have some of our best conversations and liveliest arguments on our morning walks because my extrovert husband will lay the groundwork for the topic the afternoon before (politics, personal matters, where to go on vacation next, etc.)” ― Betsy Talbot
*Some responses have been edited/condensed for clarity.