I knew my husband and I would be a good match early on. We really would have enjoyed “long quiet walks on the beach” – if there had only been a beach in the small city where we lived. But given there were no sandy shores nearby, we settled for other quiet activities in our dating life. We loved to cook together, read or watch a movie.
Admittedly this “wild and crazy” socializing is not every one’s idea of a good time. But it worked for us when we first met. And now, happily married for a long time, we still love it when we have “nothing” planned for a Saturday night.
What is an Introvert?
So, what kind of people would rather stay in and read than party all night? One of the popular personality assessments, the MBTI, classifies people as either “introverts” or “extroverts”. The Meyers & Briggs Foundation explains it this way: “Where do you put your attention and get your energy? Do you like to spend time in the outer world of people and things (Extraversion), or in your inner world of ideas and images (Introversion)?”
As you may have guessed, my husband and I are both introverts.
Tips for Dating an Introvert
But what if you are an extrovert who has fallen in love with an introvert?
If I had fallen in love with an extrovert instead of an introvert, here is what I would have told him.
- No surprises, please!
As an introvert, I’m not as spontaneous as my extroverted friends. I like to make plans in advance, not at the last minute. “Surprises” like surprise birthday parties, surprise drop-ins, or surprise concert tickets are not always good surprises. If you want to throw me a party, great—but please ask me first!
- Let’s avoid Crowds!
Introverts get stimulated much more easily than extroverts. Extroverts are stimulation junkies whereas introverts are not. That means crowds, like at parties, can be overwhelming for us. Sure, I’ll go to a party but don’t feel insulted if I leave before you. And, if we are having a dinner party, let’s keep it small so I can concentrate on the conversation, rather than being distracted by too many people!
- Don’t overschedule me
Introverts can only handle so much time with other people. So, best not to overschedule us because we are more than content with just one activity on our plate. This means not packing too much into an evening. Yes, I want to go to the concert but do we really need to have dinner beforehand, or drinks afterwards?
- Can’t we just read?
Parallel-play is an introvert’s favourite activity! Just knowing our romantic partner is nearby makes us happy; we are content doing things independently side-by-side – and love it when our partners give us space. Reading, knitting, gardening are some of the solo activities that recharge our batteries for more social interaction later!
- Take the Lead
Relationships are all about compromise. This means extroverts should respect an introvert’s preference for quieter pursuits. It also means that introverts should move beyond their comfort zone to socialize in ways that make their extroverted partners happy. But, as an extrovert, you may be disappointed waiting for your introverted partner to be the social convenor in your relationship. Best to take the lead!
While it may feel easier for us introverts to date our “type,” we need extroverts in our life! If you are an extrovert dating an introvert, you may be just the ticket to inject some fun! But remember to allow lots of down time between all those fun activities!