Here’s how an extravert spouse can help:
- Give your introvert alone time to recharge without making him or her feel guilty about it.
- Don’t take your introvert’s need for alone time as a rejection of you or anyone else. It has nothing to do with you.
- Living in an extraverted culture can make introverts feel like they are crazy or there’s something wrong with them. Remind them that is not the case and they are fine as they are.
At the same time, my husband has energy needs too. An afternoon spent quietly reading a book gives me the warm fuzzies, while making him fall asleep from boredom. Just like I need quiet time, he needs a higher level of activity and more human interaction to feel his best.
Here’s how an introvert spouse can help:
- Participate in as many activities as you can without compromising your need for alone time.
- Encourage your extravert to go to social engagements without you if you are not able to go.
- Don’t make your extravert feel guilty for doing things without you.
3. Make Sure Each Person Gets The Kind Of Socializing They Like.
It would be easy to label introverts as anti-social, but few introverts are total hermits. Extraverts and introverts just tend to prefer different kinds of socializing when it comes to both the number of relationships and the style of conversation:
- Extraverts typically have a large number of friends and acquaintances, while introverts do well with a few.
- Extraverts are into fast-paced group discussions, while introverts usually prefer deeper conversation one-on-one.
My husband loves meeting new people and party-banter. He has no problem jumping from person to person and from one topic to another. Although he has a couple of closer friends, he also likes maintaining a giant (in my eyes!) group of acquaintances.
I like focusing on one person at a time and exploring topics in-depth. I would much rather sit on the couch at home and have a two-hour heart-to-heart with a close friend than spend those same hours chit-chatting with 15 different new people at a party. I’m actually very interested in people, but if I can tell that a relationship isn’t going to move beyond small talk and the acquaintance level, it starts feeling a little time-wastey to me.
I want relationships that get real and let it all hang out. All I need to be happy is one or two very close relationships.
The key to making a marriage like this work is accepting that we are different (again!) and figuring out how both people can get the kind of socializing they need and like.
Here are a few things to ponder:
- There is no real good reason the extravert can’t go to the chit-chatting events by him or her extraverted self. My husband used to feel weird doing this because of the expectation that married couples do everything together. And I may have felt an occasional bang of jealousy over him having fun without me. But somewhere along the way we just decided to get over this kind of thinking and do what’s best for both of us.
- Remember that most introverts don’t want to sit at home by themselves ALL the time. Introverts just prefer smaller groups and more in-depth conversation. The danger of following the advice of the bullet above is that the extravert is out chit-chatting so much that the introvert starts getting lonely. So be sure to schedule lots of couple time as well for the introvert craving a deep connection.
- The type of conversation you like doesn’t just depend on the degree of introversion or extraversion. Other personality preferences play a role as well. As an INFJ, I’m not only an introvert but an intuitive feeling introvert. This combo of traits makes my yearning for deep discussions about feelings totally insatiable. I could do it all day every day. My ISTJ mother, on the other hand, a sensing thinking introvert is going to sit down for a heart-to-heart about feelings the same day Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump decide to become besties and start hanging out. (Click here to learn about your other personality preferences.)