It’s easy to take these differences personally or think your mate is just being difficult. It wasn’t until we began traveling the world together in 2010 – working, traveling, and being together 24/7 – that we learned the lessons it might have taken us years to notice and absorb in our old lifestyle.
Before you get to the communication hacks we’ve learned from being together 24/7 the past few years, first take the introvert-extrovert test to verify your hunch about yourself and your mate from introvert expert and author Susan Cain.
I happen to be married to a classic introvert (someone who is usually drained, rather than energized, by large groups of people), while I tend to be much more outgoing. I don't like being alone with nothing to do, because then I just waste time on the Internet until I get a tension headache from staring at a screen, but planned downtime with a movie, a book, or a long walk is wonderful. One-on-one time together is crucial for any romance, but introverts and extroverts often have different ideas of what that should look like. If you're dating someone who values deep, intimate connections but is stressed out by short, casual interactions with lots of people, don't throw a huge party as a way of introducing your love to your work, grad school, college, and book club buddies in one fell swoop.
Introvert-extrovert relationships can be wonderful and satisfying, but they definitely require communication and compromise, which is one thing they have in common with, oh, every other kind of relationship in existence. Is there a specific event you want to attend or person you want to see? Knowing what's a "maybe" and what's a "hard no" for your partner makes it easier to find middle ground. Your introvert partner is not going to adore every single person in your life, so prioritize!
The first time I met Michael, I thought he hated me.
Don't assume the answer is the same for everyone — you may be feeling like, "We never do anything together," while your partner thinks you're in paradise because there's nothing better than reading your separate books side-by-side every evening.Later that night as we were lying in bed, he told me it was the single most important bit of information he’d ever learned about me.(And we’ve been together for 10 years.) It was like a light bulb went on in our relationship, erasing the shadows that were distorting our actions.Extroverts often exhibit qualities of charm, charisma, and persuasion, while introverts tend to be creative and prefer to work alone.But it’s not always black and white: we all exist on a spectrum between introversion and extroversion, manifesting qualities of each depending on the circumstance.