There is so much written on compatibility in romantic relationships that most people focus on main factors like interests, values, culture, and goals.
However, astrological charts also offer a huge insight into compatibility. Not all people of the same star sign are the same, but there are a lot of patterns in personality types.
It should come as no surprise that some prefer to look at the role that personality type plays in a relationship, namely how being an introvert or an extrovert can affect the relationship dynamic.
First defined as personality types in the 1920s by the psychologist Carl Jung, these two types – introverts and extroverts – are divided by how people prefer to spend their energy or where they get their energy from.
Dating someone who seems like your polar opposite usually comes with a warning. People might tell you that there’s no way you will agree on anything if you are that different.
However, there’s a lot of proof that opposites do actually attract, and they can find healthy ways to complement one another.
Some of the most beautiful relationships are between people who seem completely different yet find ways to build a strong union.
Any successful relationship is built on balance, compromise, and communication.
Introverts and extroverts have different needs, which present a unique tension when it comes to connecting with one another. However, the standard rules still apply.
Let’s take a look at this type of relationship in a bit more detail and establish how to make it work.
What is an introvert?
An introverted person is more comfortable focusing on their inner life (thoughts and ideas) than on their external life (people and relationships).
Introverts prefer to spend their time in a small group of people (one or two people) than in large groups or crowds.
That doesn’t mean that they are unable to hang out with a lot of people or enjoy a busy party, only that their natural preference is towards smaller, more intimate groups.
The typical signs of an introvert include:
- Reflective and imaginative
- Self-aware and observant
- Needs quiet time to focus and work
- Takes time to make decisions
- Comfortable being alone
- Dislikes group work
- Prefers to listen than talk
- Prefers to write than talk
- Feels tired being in a crowd
- Has fewer friendships
- Imaginative and tends to daydream
- Retreats into their mind to rest
- Takes longer to recharge their batteries after socializing
What is an extrovert?
The exact opposite of the introvert is the extrovert, often described as the life of a party.
They are outgoing, chatty, vibrant, and seem to have endless energy for people, events, and interactions of all sorts.
An extroverted person can still get tired after socializing but takes significantly less time to recharge and is usually excited to hang out with people often.
An extroverted person doesn’t mind spending their time with large groups of people, as they thrive on social interactions.
The typical signs of an extrovert include:
- Friends with many people
- Outgoing and optimistic
- Flexible and adaptable
- Doesn’t need a lot of alone time
- Enjoys social settings
- Gets bored quickly
- Prefers to talk than listen
- Prefers to talk out problems
- More emotional or reactive to triggers
How can you find out if you are an introvert or an extrovert?
The best way to find out which personality type you have is to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test, which classifies people into 16 personality types with four different dichotomies, based on preference.
However, after reading the signs of introverts and extroverts above, you probably have a pretty clear idea of your type.
Stereotyping the personality types
While these two personality types are quite indicative of what a person is like and what their preference is when it comes to energy and interaction, they can also have a negative impact on relationships due to their stereotypical nature.
At the end of the day, no one wants to be put inside a box and classified as one of two types. People are a lot richer than that.
However, introverts usually get labeled as anti-social, nervous, or timid, which is a huge overgeneralization. Many introverts make great leaders, managers, or celebrities.
Introverts aren’t necessarily reserved, shy, or aloof people, it’s just that they gain their energy from the inside, rather than the outside.
The same can be said about extroverts, who are usually classified as loud, wanting to be the center of attention, too talkative, and having fewer boundaries.
Now, let’s take a look at the dynamics of introvert–extrovert relationships and what it takes to make a relationship like that work.
You are an extrovert, dating an introvert
Extroverts naturally feel energized by engaging with others and spending their time communicating and doing different things.
The more stimulating the activity, the better! The bigger the group with friends, the merrier!
Therefore, your idea of unwinding is probably catching up with friends or going to a busy bar or a concert.
While this is your preference, you need to recognize that your partner might find the idea of doing any of these activities totally counterproductive.
He’d much rather sit at home with a good book and just chill.
Other common situations between an extrovert and an introvert dating include:
- The extrovert wants to plan holidays and events months in advance, while the introvert feels like that is too much pressure. He’d like to go with the flow which could trigger the extrovert and make him feel like they’re not being taken seriously.
- After a busy day at work, the extrovert comes home to a boring fridge and wants to eat out instead. The introvert finds this too spontaneous and the two get into a fight. This couple can often disagree as to how they wish to spend their time.
- When he’s got a problem to solve, the extrovert needs to talk it out loud, no matter how long that takes, while the introvert is mainly focused on solutions and will naturally move into a “listening” mode, followed by a “fix-it” mode. More often than not, the extrovert simply wants to whine and let off steam.
As an extrovert dating an introvert, it’s important for you to create the right balance and respect their boundaries. When they really need a quiet night in, go and see your friends without them.
The worst thing to do to an introvert is to drag them everywhere and assume that just because you are dating you have to do everything together.
Create the space that both of you need in order to make the relationship successful and create more balance.
When it comes to dealing with conflict, you probably feel like shouting and expressing every thought that comes to your mind, while your introverted partner is more reflective and looks for solutions.
You need to learn to give your partner the time they need to think things through. You can’t demand a response on the spot just because that’s the way you work things out.
You are an introvert, dating an extrovert
If you are the one who prefers alone time, you need to make that clear to your extroverted partner. This is all about compromise and quality communication.
It may come naturally to you to stay quiet until you’ve decided exactly what you want to say in a certain situation but remember that it might also be counterproductive.
One of the biggest challenges will always be how you deal with conflict versus how your partner deals with conflict.
You probably prefer to mull things over and not address conflict right away, while your partner is the opposite.
If you feel pushed into a corner, simply communicate your needs to your partner – you need more space before you can express things outwardly.
That’s fine! In fact, it might help diffuse the situation. If you aren’t ready to fight, how will your partner fight with you?
Understanding each other’s needs
When you date someone whose way of gaining energy is opposite to yours, there’s bound to be misunderstanding and communication issues.
For example, an introvert might need to withdraw more often and get the space they need to be with their thoughts.
A more sensitive extrovert could perceive this as emotional withdraw, or even rejection.
One of the most important rules of any relationship is to accept your partner as they are, and not try to change them.
Instead, work on understanding each other’s needs and being able to support each other, not fighting each other’s differences.
What introverts wish their extroverted partners knew
If your partner is an introvert and you struggle to understand them fully, this list will be the ultimate guide to all the things they wish you knew.
- Small talk is not their cup of tea
Just because you feel like talking to everyone you meet doesn’t mean that your partner finds it that easy or enjoyable.
While you are chatting away to a stranger on the plane or at a queue, your partner wishes they had an invisibility cloak.
- They are grateful to lean on you
There will be social situations where your partner wishes he could disappear and the only reason they are there is that you are their strength.
It’s incredibly supportive to be able to lean on someone who is a social extrovert and can naturally fit in most social situations.
- They can be extroverted when they want to, but it is draining
What your introverted partner wants you to know is that they can be sociable and outgoing too, they just feel a lot more drained after it than you.
Your partner may want to use that energy for the right situations, e.g., chasing their career goals, not necessarily attending large parties.
- They have to mentally prepare before a social setting
The best way to support your partner is not to spring stuff on them last minute.
They’d much rather know when they are about to socialize so that they feel mentally prepared. Spontaneity really isn’t their forte.
- The more isn’t the merrier
Yes, your partner would much rather spend their time with a couple of friends (think double date night) than tens of people, especially ones they barely know.
- Once they’ve reached their limit, the rest is torture
If your partner has had enough of a party (and socializing) they’ll be dying to go home. You probably won’t notice it amongst all your chatting.
You have to respect their limitations though, and if they’d prefer to go home, don’t make a big deal about it.
- Alone time isn’t a “nice to have,” it’s a necessity
Your introverted partner wishes that you knew how important alone time is for them. It’s an absolutely necessity.
It’s how they recharge their batteries, connect with their inner world and re-balance. It’s a fundamental need for an introvert.
Don’t sabotage their alone time. Make sure you respect it and don’t make fun of it.
If your partner would rather stay home on a Saturday night, nothing’s stopping you from making plans with your friends. It’s a win-win!
- They don’t want to be forced to make friends
Don’t assume that your introverted partner wants your help in making friends. Usually, they are perfectly capable of making new friends, they just don’t feel the need to.
If a friendship is bound to happen for them, it will develop naturally over time.
- They aren’t lazy just because they love a night in
When your introverted partner prefers to stay in and chill, don’t call him boring or lazy. He’d love it if you could join him, sit in silence, and recharge together.
- Their silence isn’t necessarily a sign of anger
When your introverted partner stays quiet it isn’t necessarily because they are mad at you.
He might just be assessing a situation and getting his thoughts in order. Give him the space he needs.