Differences of An Introvert & Extrovert In A Relationship
I see many couples for marriage counselling because at some point in time things have changed in the relationship and someone is not coping with the changes. Now, these changes could be anything from one person experiencing personal growth, or changes when couples are expecting a baby, or when one person finds a new interest which takes up more of their spare time.
There are many internal and external influences that will impact a relationship. My goal is teaching you it’s ok to have changes in a relationship and it’s ok to be different or have differences in the relationship. I would like to focus on how to work with those differences so that it is those differences that make your marriage unique because you understand them and work with them rather than against them. Basically I aim to use the path of least resistance in order to get movement in your marriage.
It’s funny because these differences I talk about are just general differences, the differences that make us all unique individuals. I say it’s funny because in couples counselling one person will tell me all about their partner’s differences as if it’s a bad thing that their partner thinks differently, acts differently or feels differently.
So I wonder, if they know all this stuff about their partner, where is the real problem? I mean, if they know their husband/wife is always late, then why are they so pissed off when they’re going somewhere and their partner is late? If they know that their partner always plans ahead and needs to know all the details ahead of time for a holiday, then why are they pissed off when it’s time for a holiday and their partner is asking 100 questions in order to get all the details? If they know these clues about their partner where is the problem?
If they didn’t have all this information they really don’t know their partner at all and that would be a real problem. You see, if a couple is sitting in front of me and they can rattle off a list of annoying things about their partner, I know there’s a great opportunity of taking this relationship to a higher level of loving, understanding and enjoyment. The more they know about their partner, the more they have taken the time out to get to know their partner and that’s what a relationship is all about.
People are always surprised when I have a big smile on my face as they offload all the problems in the relationship. You see, from where I sit all, I see a great opportunity for improvement and another relationship surviving to grow stronger and stronger. Differences are not a bad thing. Differences are differences. It means your partner can teach you a lot about life and can show you a different perspective and new ways of thinking.
So let’s look at some differences and learn along the way how you can use these differences to strengthen your relationship.
Introverts vs Extroverts
Having an introvert and an extrovert in a marriage is a real challenge and a good case of opposites attract. How does it cause problems in a relationship? Well, for one thing, introverts and extroverts have different levels of energy. An introvert tries to preserve their energy and calculates everything they do (unconsciously) by how much energy they have and how much energy it will take to do certain things. Whereas, an extrovert thrives on going out and can chop and changes their plans easily without any stress.
An introvert would much prefer to stay home or be in a small group of like-minded people. The extrovert, on the other hand, loves to go out. They feel free and can fit into any social situation, they don’t need to know who’s there or how long the event will go for, if there is an event on, count them in! You can see how this could cause conflict in a relationship because the idea of a perfect night together is different for each person.
When we don’t understand these differences we expect our partners to want what we want, think about how we think and do what we do. We’re actually asking them to give us something they don’t have. An easy way to determine if you’re an introvert or extrovert is to find out how you recharge yourself when you feel run down. It all comes down to energy levels.
- An extrovert prefers to be with a group of people and recharges themselves by going out.
- An introvert prefers to spend time on their own and recharges by themselves or with 1-2 like-minded people.
Did you know 75% of the population are extroverts with the remaining 25% being introverts? It’s fair to say that introverts are out-numbered and it also explains why introverts often feel alone and feel like something’s wrong with them.
Let’s look in more detail at the in’s and out’s of the introvert and extrovert for the purpose of using this information to communicate better with each other. If you can use this information to understand yourself and your partner, you’ll see massive changes in your relationship simply because you know what your partner prefers and what will work best in most situations.
- Gains energy from within
- They think before they speak
- Use soft voices and appear calm
- Enjoys time alone
- Recharges by themselves – reading, daydreaming – or in the company of 1-2 people
- Internally processes information
- Will take in a problem and consider it for much longer than others
- Processes information first before answering
- Generally more quiet and reserved
- Prefers to stay home than go out
- Generally talks when they feel they know the subject
- Less outgoing
- Tend to have fewer friends
- Strong sense of self
- Inward focused and always thinking very deeply about something
- They process thoughts and emotions internally
- They’re private and less public people
- Not easily swayed by others opinions
- They march to their own beat
Traits Of An Introvert
- Listens and understands
- Takes in the information internally and processes it before responding so there is sometimes a time delay in responding
- Introverts are very thoughtful and carefully consider their responses
- They’re great listeners
- They offer insightful and interesting conservation
- They’re calm and quiet
- They are more serious in nature
- They are deep people and have deep interests
- They’re very knowledgeable
- They are interesting to talk to because they’re so deep and retain a lot of information.
- They have very good memory recall and remember what people have said in the past almost word for word
- They are observers and are happy to sit back and take it all in.
- They also like to communicate in writing and emails.
How To Improve Your Communication With An Introvert
If your partner is an introvert you will improve your communication with them by using the following tips:
- Use eye contact
- Listen without interrupting
- Give them enough silence so they can process what you’re saying
- Speak less and listen more
- Use a lower tone of voice
- Give them some physical space – don’t crowd them when you’re talking. Remember they observe and take things in and they can’t do that if you’re in their face
- Choose a place to talk to them that has minimal distractions because they can get overwhelmed by too many things going on at the same time
- Ask questions to draw information out from them
- Discuss one issue at a time
- Communicate in writing with them
- Be honest in your communications – Introverts don’t appreciate dishonesty
- Recharges in a group setting
- Is adventurous and generally loud and outgoing
- Needs to be in the company of others
- Talkative and talks to anyone
- Likes to be the centre of attention
- Likes to go out and try new things
- Assertive and gregarious
- Naturally responsive to people and tuned into their environment
- Seeks excitement and adventure
- Uses lots of body language and generally interrupt others when they’re speaking
- Gains energy from other people
- Their energy flows outwards
Traits of An Extrovert
- Extroverts are great entertainers
- Extroverts are happy to do all the talking
- They speak louder than extroverts and much faster
- They react and bounce off other people’s energy and ideas
- You can interrupt an extrovert when they are talking – they don’t mind at all
- Extroverts conversations can vary in subject within minutes because they are excitable and they like to cover a broad range of topics
- They’re more animated in their conversations and will make many facial expressions and change their body language frequently
- They use a lot of eye contact and physical contact
How To Improve Your Communication With An Extrovert
To communicate better with an extrovert follow these tips:
- Ask questions because they love it. It gives them a chance to talk more!
- Acknowledge their opinions and ask open-ended questions. Remember extroverts have a lot to say.
- Tell them stories because they can use all their senses to experience the conversation fully
- Be patient while they’re talking. There is no such thing as the short version when you are talking with an extrovert so be patient – once they start talking they’re not letting you go anywhere!
- Keep the conversation light and change topics to keep them interested but generally let them lead so they can do most of the talking
As you can see there are big differences between introverts and extroverts. Differences are not a bad thing, it means you need to take time to learn what works best for each other. The more you understand your partner the easier it is to accept them and compromise. The quality and happiness in your relationship depend on your ability to understand and communicate with each other respectfully and lovingly.
If you need some help working through the introvert and extrovert personality styles in your relationship you can click here to book an appointment.