Have a clear definition
When defining what makes a person an introvert or extrovert, it is easy to get lost in stereotypes. Introverts often get labeled as quiet and shy, while extroverts are commonly thought to be social and lively. These perceptions hold true for some but they are not always the standard. Your status as an introvert/extrovert is not determined by your behavior and temperament, but rather, the way you recharge your mental and emotional energy. Introverts require solitude and quiet in order to recharge. Extroverts prefer to recharge by interacting with groups of people. It’s important to note that not every introvert is an aspiring recluse and not every extrovert is a social butterfly.
Introvert-Extrovert couples often face issues when they try to “fix” one another. Fixing usually occurs when a person expects their partner to interact and share the same perspective as they do. Instead of trying to project your perspective, learn to view things through the filter that your partner uses. For example, if you’re a social extrovert it may be hard for you to understand how your introvert mate enjoys so much alone time. If you’re looking at the situation through your own filter, it may look as though your partner is being closed off and antisocial. Switch to your partner’s filter and hopefully you will see that your perception is inaccurate. Accept that the two of you are different and stop judging one another because of this.
Communicate and COMPROMISE
One of the biggest keys to any successful relationship is balance. For introvert-extrovert relationships, this is arguably the most important factor. You both are looking to get your needs met and often times these needs are on opposite planes. It’s important to be able to articulate what you need in order to feel satisfied. What is going to make you feel comfortable? How do you best get charged? These are questions that need to be answered before you can create a balance between each other. Because you both typically have completely different needs, a 50/50 balance is unrealistic. Try and accommodate each other’s needs in an alternating manner. Sometimes you will lean more into the needs of the introvert and the next switch it up to appease the extrovert. Be willing to make certain sacrifices in order to satisfy your partner. Recognize that you may not always feel 100% comfortable and this is fine. Find what works for you both and strive for a happy medium that makes sense for your relationship.
Introvert-Extrovert relationships can be very fulfilling for all parties involved. They take a lot of work to be successful but there aren’t too many relationships that don’t. If you are struggling to strengthen an introvert-extrovert connection, the therapists here at Philadelphia MFT can help. Do not hesitate to contact us!
This Topic of the Week was written by Malyka Cardwell, MFT.