If You’re an Introvert Dating an Extrovert

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When Susan first started dating an extrovert after breaking up with her extremely introverted and analytical boyfriend, it was like a breath of fresh air.  This new guy was relaxed and talked and laughed and put her at ease quickly. He did not worry about if they were “making good time” if they drove to the beach, and he did not analyze and critique the things she did. 

Her happiness at the “greener grass on the other side of the fence” soon became a feeling that she was a boring, unsociable person.  She was only 22, yet she found herself exhausted by the nightly – yes nightly – parties and social events his large circle of friends expected them to attend.  Her own friends were more introverted, so they and she considered it sufficient to see each other every week or two.  That meant that almost every night, weekdays and weekends, she was either spending the evening with him and his friends or trying to explain why she was taking a night off and putting up with the jeers of, “You’re no fun!”  She pushed herself more and more to try to keep up with this group.  To make matters worse, he was clueless about the fact that she needed alone time and she never expressed it to him.  One day she told him she was going to go run some errands alone.  Oh, she was looking forward to just wandering around alone all afternoon!  The phone rang before she could leave, and she soon heard him telling one of his friends her plan and agreeing that sure she’d love to have her come along!  Soon she was picking up the other girl to take her along!  The other girl was a very nice person, but it was not the recharge getaway she had planned.  She returned home even more exhausted and burned out than she had been before she left.

If this was me, knowing that I’m an introvert, I would definitely find out what my ratio of people-time to alone-time is.  After a work day, do I need 20 minutes or so to just be alone and go through the mail, etc.?  Do I need to stay home at least one night a week?  Three?  And I would tell him about my need to recharge.  “While you watch the baseball game, I am going to get away to go just be alone.  I will be back, and we can do something fun then, but don’t you dare tell anyone where I am!”   🙂   Likewise, as an extrovert, he’d want to be able to go, go, go, and see as many people as possible, so I would talk honestly to him about which things he really wanted me to go to with him and which he could manage without me while I recharge my battery.  I might still get a few, “Oh come on!”  but it would be his choice which events were the most important to him.  

One advantage for a introvert dating an extrovert is that you can entertain yourself quite well, so the other person is free to have as many nights out with friends or sports activities as he/she likes.  It just means you can curl up with a book and have a delicious unstructured time to yourself.  If only the world could understand and accept our need to recharge alone!

Photo credit: Paul Keleher

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28 Comments

  1. Hmm…I know I’ve had at least one experience like this so far in life, and to be quite honest, the ‘opposites attract’ thing is at least moderately true in my book. Two of the same can compliment at times, but having two ‘worried’ people, or two people who want to have alone time be together, doesn’t really seem to work.

    The bit about how much “recharge time” you need seems like something I need to explore, especially with how my work has been going as of late. An evening at home almost doesn’t seem to make up for the constant chaos, but two days of a weekend alone, or at least mostly alone, seems to get me up and going for another week ahead of me.

    Either way, this seems like something I’ll have to explore myself. Always reassuring to hear someone having a similar experience!

    • Hi Clind, I have even found that different people will drain me to different degrees. Some people seem to suck all the energy right out of me, then others I find “easy to have around.” One thing that occured to me – an introvert female has it a little easier, because her extrovert guy can appreciate his “long leash.” An introvert guy with an extrovert woman must get asked all the time to take her to parties, shows, etc., and it may get pretty bad for both of them. Hopefully if she could understand about the energy she could pick which events were really important. And I’m with you about the weekend recharge. After three days of recharging I can face the office today (but don’t want to). 🙂 Thanks for your comment and please come back soon!

  2. I am an introverted man dating an extroverted woman. I do find that at the end of the evening with her while I have a nice time with her I am exhausted by her talking, her energy. I was driving her home and she fell asleep. She apologized for falling asleep when we arrived at her house. Secretly I was glad she fell asleep as I finally had a break from her talking the entire evening. She is nice, cute and I respect who she is as a person. I just wish her personality didn’t suck the life out of me.

  3. It’s a good thing to consider if people, in spite of their differences, find the chemistry with each other. Maybe opposites do really attract and i have no question with that. Dating someone that’s completely different from you could be fun. You can learn a lot from that person and vice versa.

  4. Hi! i actually find it unique when two people having different qualities are able to stay intact together. Yes it’s true that similarities creates an understanding but differences hold them together. together they can draw inspiration and motivation from each other.

  5. I don’t know if it’s considerably a “date” so I prefer to use the term “hanging out”.

    But he’s not an extrovert all the while. He’s actually also introverted – he’s somewhere in between. He likes traveling alone, it gives him privacy with his thoughts. He also likes to stay in places with a serene atmosphere. However, he is very active in meetings. In fact, he makes use of this and got himself into the position of an organization coordinator or simply the Chairman of many of our organizations inside the building. I guess you can’t identify to him as being a solid extrovert on his part being one or at least the “stereotype like of extrovert”. For mostly in his part when he has to talk, it’s more on the intuitive side. Meaning to say, he just doesn’t say something for the benefit of having to say something, but because he has something to say. Also, he takes pauses and lets the rest of the body talk, then he’d enter politely again for his return in the conversation. He is also very active in many public services and he likes meeting many people (he tries to expand his connection as much as he can) not only for the benefit of his work but also because he likes meeting new people.

    It may not turn out what you wanted it to be if you were to date or get along with someone who is extremely extroverted (to the point that he or she does not understand your introverted needs). In my case, the extrovert introvert will do. I don’t want anybody who is too introverted, for I think I am one already. Having a conversation with someone who can pull a thread off and listen to you at the same time is a healthy thing. So, yeah ; )

  6. It is an interesting point that you bring up. I think that the older you get the more this ‘divide’ will widen as well. I know that when I was younger I would actively look for an extrovert to balance my introverted personality. These days however my priority would be for someone to have the same aims as me, and that includes how often we go out/stay in/have alone time.
    Sam@mature dating´s last post ..Senior Dating & Online Flirting

  7. Unfortunately my marriage in crisis brings me to this website and not pure curiosity. My wife of 7 years is quite extroverted….to the point of over the top you could say at times. Me, im more the avoid the crowds, stay at home, watch the sports channel, etc etc. Now we complemented each other quite well, or so i thought but we had been growing distant as she returned to being a full time student and i the sole income earner to support the household. Being that the college she is studying at is over 50 mins away travel – 5 days a week, it was decided that she stay with an old neighbour of ours when we used to live that way. So for the last 2 years i only got to see her on the weekends. Now shes saying that im too introverted and she cant stand it…and possibly wants out. So while in the beginning we balanced each other out quite well, as we got older those same traits have started working against each other. I guess what im trying to say is be wary of the opposites attract ….it may work at first but later on………..

  8. I`m dating or was dating an introvert and I only know he is one bc of research I have done. He is very shy and qiet and responds in his time. He thinks I talk alot and never really tells me how he feels or communicates that great. I have to force all or if not most contact with him and beg to see him. Being introvert will break a relationship apart bc they do not express their self and it makes it hard. This man is perfect in everyday except his horrible introverted side.

  9. Correct me if I am wrong, but introverts can and do express their feelings too, if they feel safe and comfortable enough to do so ie they know they won’t be judged etc.
    That said, couldn’t help but agree with the paragraph on needing to set the expectations right about the relationship from the onset and gettting the other party to accept your need to recharge alone; if you are an introvert wishing to date or court an extrovert, at the appropriate time, such needs must be communicated.

  10. I think it’s great if you can be different. Look at it this way, if one is introvert and the other extrovert, there will be times when support from the other is needed, such as if you are at a party and you suddenly appreciate your extrovert partner, especially if you aren’t in the mood to be the life & soul of the party! In contrast, the introverted one can also have a ‘calming’ effect when it is sometimes needed, if for example there is a crisis, and calm is required as opposed to panic! So to look positively, I think they can compliment each other very well in a relationship and it will truly become a partnership if both can respect and value the other’s qualities 🙂

  11. I’m an introvert and my gf is incredibly extroverted. We were on the rocks for awhile due to this, but we finally figured out how to make it work. Took awhile though. Great content on this site!

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