An Extrovert Asks: How to relate to his introverted girlfriend

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An extrovert submitted the following question. This is a pretty common situation, where a couple is mixed introvert/extrovert and the extrovert almost drives the introvert away by trying to get reassurance about the relationship’s status or find out what the other person wants.

Well, to make this long story short I believe my gf is introvert and i am extrovert. Therefore, not knowing this we have collided alot. To the point now, she believes we will never be together. I am too needy… Always asking and trying feedback from her. So recently just read up on introvert and realized I was doing so many things wrong. Explained in a letter to her this and said I was sorry.. Any thoughts on if she would reply? I love this woman.

Photo credit: Dennis Wong

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24 Comments

  1. I’m very glad you wrote all that in a letter and didn’t start calling her on the phone when she didn’t want to talk. Although of course we want to see and talk to our friends and loved ones in person most of the time, we can take a lot more of written communication than we can the other kind, and it also gives us a chance to soak it in and let our brains work on what you said.

    She may need to sleep on it in order to know how she wants to respond – so don’t get scared if you don’t hear anything today. If she knows that you’re aware of the personality type difference now and are trying to learn something, I’m hopeful that she’ll give your relationship a real chance – because she’ll know that when she needs an evening alone she can just tell you so and you’ll know it’s not that she doesn’t love you; it’s that she just NEEDS the evening alone. There are a lot of couples where one person is an introvert and one is an extrovert, and I think the main keys to success are mutual communication, understanding, and respect for the differences.

  2. You’ll have to learn to be comfortable in each other’s silence. I once had an introverted friend over for a week and there were many periods like that. He didn’t feel uncomfortable, and I didn’t feel the constant need to entertain him. We were both completely at ease. This way, we could recharge even though we were together.

    To quote Pulp Fiction:

    Mia: Don’t you hate that?
    Vincent: What?
    Mia: Uncomfortable silences. Why do we feel it’s necessary to yak about bull**** in order to be comfortable?
    Vincent: I don’t know. That’s a good question.
    Mia: That’s when you know you’ve found somebody special. When you can just shut the f*** up for a minute and comfortably enjoy the silence.

    You have read up on introversion, this is excellent, I often wish everyone would understand 🙂 Many people retreat from others, but no-one sees ’em do it, so it appears rare.

    When it’s about dates, it might be best to center the date about a certain activity. It can be anything. Dancing. Eating. Cano0-ing. Gaming. Sports. Watching a movie. Plenty of stuff to do together really.

    If I, as an introvert, run out of things to say, no problem, we’re not just talking, we’re doing something together too. Plus, the shared activity gives you both something to talk about should you need a topic. For the introvert it’s nice if it’s not just talking for the sake of talking.

  3. I’m an introvert. My husband of 18 years is an extreme extrovert. Yes, he drives me crazy sometimes. The constant need for affirmation is really annoying. One day I wrote down all the nice things I love about him and gave him the list. After that when he needed affirmation I referred him to the list. Sometimes he holds it up and says, “Still?” Yes, still. “Okay, just checking.”

    • Valerie, I love that! In my relationship, he is the introvert and I am the extrovert (not extreme, just “social”) and I SO get the need for affirmation thing. You have nailed it, woman!

      For my part, I am doing all I can to learn about introverts and how to love them. He is the best man I have ever known and I want to keep him. <3

  4. Speaking from an introvert perspective… Your doing the right thing by learning more about the other half (introverts).

    You stated that you love her so it sounds like you’re willing to do what it takes. Understanding where she is coming from is much easier said then done, I know. Our minds work in such opposite ways (in certain respects). Understand this one thing, for us, needing alone time is not a bad thing.

    Understand that and you will have a great relationship.
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  5. I guess you did a great job of giving her a letter and apologizing for your fault. I guess after that letter you try to reach out by talking to her to make it more sincere with your gesture. Let is cross our fingers about this. I hope you get her back.

  6. Well, we all have differences and that make us individuals. By now, she might be feeling that you have crossed the line and everything is all about you. Give her more understanding and value her principles. If you love each other, everything will turn out right. Don’t let her slip away!

  7. A certain type of person needs to say something and cannot just sit quiet in a room with another, that type of person drives me crazy, you dont need to talk to me to try and get my approval of your existance. The worst of all is the kind of person who feels the need to ramble about their personal business to someone who they dont know at all (usually me).

    If I was in a relationship with someone like that I would worry that they were telling people who we didnt know everything about our lives.
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  8. I think the most important thing when you’re and extrovert dating an introvert is to be patient and to communicate. Tell the person how you feel without being pushy and that person will gradually feel more confident. Another very important thing is NOT to try and change the other. You either accept him or her for what he or she is or let it go.
    I’m in this situation. I’m an extrovert with an introvert. It was really hard for me at the beginning, but now my partner talks to me more freely. I gave him space and time and now he’s almost more extrovert than I am!

  9. It’s good that you are open to her and that you were able to admit your mistakes and shortcomings. Knowing the problem, i hope that you would do your best to solve this issue within you. As to the girl that you have written to, i think that if she really likes you she would definitely accept your apology. Don’t lose hope yet. Work things out.
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  10. I’m an introvert and my boyfriend is an extrovert but he’s happy to let me have some alone time, and understands I need that. It was tricky when we started dated but now everything is just so comfortable. Stick at it, discuss things and everything will work out ok.

  11. miersunshine on

    Respect the differences..if you knew she was introvert in the first place, and still loved her..then you can go on loving her forever, respecting her being an introvert…she may also complain about your being extrovert…but does she do that?
    These differences in a relationship can make or unmake it..and it’s only up to you and her if it’s worth the effort of working it out.
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  12. I love that you read up on introversion and can admit to going about things the wrong way. It is completely possible for extroverts and introverts to be able to be in a relationship. I had this exact problem with my boyfriend (wrote about it here: http://theintrovertedlawyer.blogspot.com/2011/05/im-in-love-with-extrovert.html), a huge extrovert, to the point where I had to gather articles and make him read them. So long as you both can understand each other’s personalities and respect them, you can make it! I hope your girlfriend accepts your apology!

  13. It must really be a headache and a heartache to be with someone you love so dearly but cannot even communicate well enough…just like introverts and extroverts together..
    you have to adjust..both of you must…
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  14. loving someone is truly amazing,,it’s really difficult though if there is a little misunderstanding and worst if you have irreconcilable differences. I am telling you ..sometimes love is just not good enough.
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  15. Wife of an Extrovert on

    Yes, I agree with the first comment. It’s a good thing you wrote a letter.

    I would simply have patience with her and allow her to have space if she wants or seems to need it. It seems as if a lot of introverts appear to be more independent in the sense that they do not need or desire as much social interaction as some others. So, understand that she enjoys you, it might just be that your idea of social interaction, if she lived like that…it would wear her down and for some, it leads to depression. It’s HEALTHY for introverts to have more time alone.

    In my eyes, my husband is very needy. He likes to do everything together. I am not like that, at all. It can be overwhelming, one reason being I cannot provide that all the time as an introvert.

  16. I have a good book resource for you…Read No More Nr. Nice Guy by Robert Glover. It will help you put your focus in the right place for the relationship to thrive.

  17. I am an introvert. My husband is an extrovert.
    I literally get sick for a long time if I have too many social encounters. When we go out I talk to one person at a time. That technique helped me a lot. He also have friends who live close and he befriended some neighbors, too. So he spends some time with other people, without getting too far away. After social gathering is over once we get home our patterns are different. I rest while he is having too much energy. After an hour or social we are ready for each other. And we are on the same page. He has a romantic side to him. We write letters to each other if we want to express something without hurting each other.

  18. I am an introvert and have always been drawn to extroverts, both in relationships and with female friends. Because of my shyness and awkwardness with strangers, an extrovert creates opportunities for me to meet new people. I don’t need or desire to be the center of attention, which an extrovert often craves, so the combination is healthy. Some extroverts can be insensitive to introverts’ shyness and awkwardness, pushing introverts to be more outgoing, and this can make us feel miserable and lacking in some way. We are not anti-social. Often, we just value honest and close relationships and conversations that are meaningful, so we are more comfortable talking to one person at a time. Extroverts may seem very needy at times, but they are also often willing to take risks with their feelings, are very expressive and often spontaneous, so you can easily know where you stand with them. We are so different from each other, though, that we need to be willing to understand and continually focus on appreciating those differences, rather than trying to change them.

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