They say opposites attract, and this is especially true when it comes to dating someone whose personality type is opposite yours. For instance, if you’re dating an extrovert, they may prefer to be as social as possible at a party while you prefer less social gatherings. However, that doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed. Instead, it’s good to know how to date an extrovert so you can be prepared for any potential relationship issues that come up.
Adam C. Earnheardt, Ph.D., Chair and Professor of the Department of Communication at Youngstown State University, is an extrovert and has been with his introvert wife for more than 20 years. “All relationships are about finding balance, and this includes finding balance in new-ish relationships, when we’re trying to figure out the other person’s personality type,” he tells Bustle. “Ultimately, as an introvert-extrovert couple, you’re trying to find the happy place between introversion and extroversion, and you can only do this through open lines of communication, and through trial and error.”
Dr. Earnheardt says that it’s important to recognize your personality differences, and the nuances that come along with them. “It means that despite those differences, you really like each other and want to make it work,” he says. Of course, if you’re not sure if you’re more of an introvert or extrovert, you can always take the Meyers-Briggs test so you can figure out your personality type. You can either do so with a professional, like a therapist, or do the test online.
If you’re an introvert and find yourself dating or in a relationship with an extrovert, here are 13 ways to make it work.
1. Find Balance Through Communication
Communication is at the top tier of what makes or breaks a relationship, and it’s essential when you’re an introvert dating an extrovert — and vice-versa. Dr. Earnheardt recommends talking openly about your differences and finding a balance that works for you.
“Introvert or extrovert, dating is hard, really hard,” he says. “Avoid languishing over thoughts like ‘I wish I would have talked more’ or ‘I wonder what their friends think of me after that party.’ The fact is, if this extrovert likes you, they’re not thinking these things about you; they’re actually thinking about the next time they get to be with you.”
2. Just Because An Extrovert Is Social Doesn’t Mean You’re Not Important, Too
While your introverted self may prefer a low-key date activity, your extroverted partner may want to party-hop — a person’s birthday here and an engagement party there. Dan Neuharth, PhD, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, founder of DrDanMFTCounseling.com, and author of If You Had Controlling Parents: How to Make Peace with Your Past and Take Your Place in the World, says it’s not personal.
“An extrovert’s desire to socialize doesn’t mean you are not important to the extrovert,” he tells Bustle. “Many extroverts thrive by social interaction and novelty while introverts need alone and quiet time.” You each need to recharge in your own way, Dr. Dan says.
3. Say “Yes” To Things
While it may be easy to refuse social invitation after social invitation, it’s good to say “yes” to things, too, says Jessica Cline, psychotherapist at Cline Counseling & Consulting, LLC, specializing in relationship therapy/coaching with experience working with introverts and HSPs.
“Say ‘yes’ to things even if you can only attend for an hour,” she tells Bustle. “The more we stay home and away from people, the lower the threshold is for how much we can handle. Continuing to push yourself (in a healthy way) to try new activities is important.”
4. Be Honest About How You’re Feeling
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with how social your extroverted partner has kept you two lately, say something. “It’s OK to say, ‘I am overstimulated and need some quiet time’ just as it’s OK if your extroverted significant other says, ‘I am restless and need more stimulation,’” Dr. Dan says.
He adds that two people with such different personality styles won’t know how the other is feeling unless they tell each other, so it’s best to be honest and open.
5. Let Your Extrovert Partner Talk
While introverts tend to process things internally more often than not — sharing in response to questions rather than volunteering their thoughts — extroverts tend to do the opposite. “Many extroverts are not as in touch with their feelings as introverts and often best identify what they are feeling through talking it through and processing out loud,” Dr. Dan says. “It’s important to give them the space to do so.”
6. Take More Initiative When It Comes To Planning Dates
Although your extroverted partner may enjoy taking the lead and planning dates, it’s integral that you do, as well. “Choose places that will create a successful date — consider watching a movie at a theater (which is a standby for introverts), check out a low-key coffee house that has acoustic music, go for a quiet walk, or try a horseback ride,” Cline says. “With you in the driver’s seat, you can pick activities that you feel will be pleasant for you, and your partner can sit back, relax, and learn more about you.”
7. Don’t Judge Your Extroverted Partner
No matter if your partner is an extrovert or not, judging your partner is not healthy. Instead, Dr. Dan suggests appreciating what the other person does offer. “Extroverts can offer introverts the opportunity to try new experiences, meet new people, and grow in new ways,” he says. “Meanwhile, your introverted self can offer extroverts the opportunity to slow down, reflect, self-soothe, and increase introspection.”
8. Be Mindful Of Triggers That Cause Conflict
When introverts and extroverts date each other, conflicts may come up, but one way to avoid them is by knowing the triggers that cause them. “For example, an introvert can only take so much time in crowds — being in a crowd for too long can suck energy out of them and cause them to feel anxious and uncomfortable,” Susan Golicic, PhD, Certified Relationship Coach and co-founder of Uninhibited Wellness, tells Bustle. “This can spill over onto their partner if they are feeling this way,” she says. She adds that it’s key to understand these differences and, in this case, perhaps the introverted partner can arrive later or leave earlier so both people have a great experience.
9. Understand How You Each Process Thoughts And Feelings
Naturally, you and your extroverted partner may process thoughts and feelings differently; however, the key is to accept these differences. “An introvert is thoughtful and tends to take more time processing,” Dr. Golicic says. “This may manifest as them moving more slowly in the relationship. On the other hand, an extrovert can process and make decisions more quickly.” She says it is important to understand these varying ways of processing thoughts and feelings.
Dr. Dan expands on this theory. “Extroverts may interpret silence as disapproval or a lack of enthusiasm,” he says. He adds that an easy fix may be an introvert expressing their enthusiasm and gratefulness.
10. Understand How You Each Re-Energize
Since you and your extroverted partner have different personality styles, how you each re-energize is different, too. “An introvert re-energizes or refuels themselves by having alone time — they need time and space to just be alone with themselves,” Dr. Golicic says. “Conversely, an extrovert gets energy from being around people.” She says it’s important that you and your partner understand and accept these varying ways of recharging.
11. Remember That Extroverts Need “Alone Time,” Too
As social as your extrovert partner may be, they sometimes need alone time, too. “Some introverts are used to extroverts being around others so much that if they say they need some time alone, it is taken as a sign the extrovert is losing interest,” David Bennett, counselor and relationship expert with Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. “But nobody is a ‘pure’ extrovert; all extroverts need alone time, as well, to properly enjoy the time they spend around others.”
12. Don’t Forget To Compromise
The ability to compromise is an essential part of any relationship, including an introvert-extrovert one. “Look for win-wins and seek compromise, like taking two cars to social gatherings,” Dr. Dan says. “This allows the introvert to leave early if desired and is better than not going at all.” Additionally, Dr. Dan says it’s OK if extroverts do some social things on their own just as introverts may do things on their own, like have solo time.
Cline agrees. “Tell your partner what you need and accept that your partner may need to socialize without you sometimes,” she says. “The better we know ourself and our needs, the more confident we become in stating our needs.”
13. Remember Why You’re Together
Obviously, certain personality traits attracted you to your partner, and vice-versa. Dr. Dan says to remember why you’re together. “Make time to give each other undivided attention, too,” he says.
All in all, Lisa Olivera, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Oakland, CA, believes that introverts and extroverts can create beautifully balanced, whole, and healthy partnerships together. “It takes honoring each other’s needs and learning about how you each best function in the world,” she tells Bustle. “With the right tips and understanding, blending these two personality traits can lead to wonderful relationships,” she says.
There you have it — 13 ways to date an extrovert if you’re an introvert. With some communication and understanding, the pluses definitely outweigh the cons... but the only way to find out for yourself is to try it!