So, you think you’ve found “the one.” He’s courted you for a while and you’ve had a successful exclusive relationship. He popped the question and you gave him the answer he was hoping for. As you go about the business of building a lifelong relationship a few things come to light. You realize that your personality differences can lead to disaster if you don’t fully grasp the importance of communication in marriage. You know it’s time to take action and build a solid foundation for your marriage.
Successful Communication in Marriage Between the Introvert and the Extrovert
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We’ve all heard of opposites attract. Essentially, that means that in a relationship, each person experiences the world differently. One person might be introverted while their mate is extroverted. For the extrovert, intense conversations, social interactions, and sharing feelings is their thing. On the other hand, the extrovert is a homebody and every conversation has a specific purpose. In such situations, consulting a relationship expert could provide insight into how to navigate this kind of relationship for a lifetime.
Many relationship experts often focus on potential relationship problems such as communication, finances, spirituality, intimacy, and trustworthiness when providing counseling. And while these and other items are important to examine, personality or psychological preferences such as Extraversion and Introversion should be explored and discussed more often with couples. Discussing introverted and extroverted differences matter because the differences can either make or break a relationship.
It’s important to help couples understand extroverted and introverted preferences in their relationships. By recognizing and understanding personality preferences, couples can create relationships that are filled with harmony, trust, respect and outright enjoyment.
Preferences refer to what individuals like and personality refers to an individual’s way of thinking, emotions, and behaviors that make him/her unique. There are many aspects to explore as it relates to personality preferences between introverted and extroverted individuals, but this article will focus on sources of energy and offer a few different perspectives.
Perspective #1: Too Much Stimuli Can Drain Energy from Introverts and Potentially Impact How They are Viewed In Relationships
Generally speaking, introverts like myself prefer to experience the world and gain energy through our personal affect and introspective processes. Therefore, we are more prone to feeling overwhelmed and drained when presented with too much external stimuli whether it is interpersonal or social in nature.
Engaging in reflection and developing clear ideas before speaking or acting is invigorating for most introverts. Also, some introverts reserve our energy by limiting the number of people we allow into our social circle. This is done more often than not because too much conversation and/or stimulation can make it difficult for us to focus. Unfortunately, our reserved demeanor can contribute to and/or cause our partners to label us as being cold, standoffish, unfriendly, unapproachable and in some situations self-centered. Regrettably, this negative interpersonal phenomenon is widespread in a lot of relationships but can be managed effectively by taking the time to recognize and embrace personality preferences.
Some people prefer to talk a lot and some do not. Others prefer to socialize with a lot of people and some do not. Some people prefer to get moving on projects and some people prefer to think things through thoroughly before acting.
There is no right or wrong personality preference, just wrong ways of coping with them.
When interacting with introverts in a relationship, please try not to overload us by presenting us with too much stimuli (long or back to back intense conversations, etc.) within short timeframes. However, if this unavoidable, please spend some time checking in with us periodically. Periodic checks may help us release pent up feelings and thoughts. Also, remember that introverted individuals are not necessarily shy or reclusive, we just relate to the world from within. “How does this relationship affect me?” is a thought that a lot of us have more often than not. This thought helps us assess and monitor our energy and attitude.
Introverts are capable of having healthy and fun relationships, but we often need some “Me Time” to recharge. This “Me Time” might include limited talking, limited socializing and limited enthusiastic energy. However, this “Me Time” does not mean limited love or appreciation for our partner.
Perspective #2: Energy for Extroverts Typically Flows from Activities and Active Involvement with People
A large percentage of extroverts are good at keeping a pulse on the world around them. In my work as a therapist, I have found that most extroverts are aware of their inner selves, but would rather spend more time socializing and engaging in activities that make them feel alive. Stimuli in forms of social gatherings, group activities, frequent conversations or couple outings offer them opportunities to re-energize.
Unlike some introverts, extroverts are more likely to look for external ways to cope with relationship unhappiness. During phases of unhappiness, extroverts might seek out others and allow their social energy to guide their emotion and behavior.
Generally speaking, extroverted individuals are not very reserved in their demeanor whether it be personal or interpersonal. Some extroverts often speak without hesitation and feel that it is better to be heard than to be quiet. Unfortunately, extroverted individuals can be labeled as being over the top, too energetic, too pushy, arrogant and in some situations, too needy. Disappointingly, their social energy is often misunderstood and causes many of them to withdraw in relationships.
When interacting with extroverts in a relationship, please do not try to shut them down or discourage them from engaging in the extroverted behavior. Instead, spend some time encouraging them to reflect on their behavior and to pay attention to how they might be impacting their partner.
Like introverts, extroverts are capable of having healthy and fun relationships, but they often need reminders to “Look Within” in order to maintain the relationship and personal balance. Looking within involves examining their expectations and views regarding how their partner should or should not behave in their relationship or social situations. Also, looking within involves accepting that everyone does not process or behave with the same level of the enthusiasm as they do.
Please keep in mind that rather you are extroverted or introverted your personality preferences influence your attitude and affect your relationship. When we do the things that we like to do in our relationship, our attitude is typically positive. On the contrary, our attitude is not as positive when we do things in our relationship that we do not like to do. While we do not always get to do the things that we prefer in our relationship, when possible accommodations should be made in order to create a healthy, fun and enjoyable partnership.
Understanding how your partner’s personality preferences affect him or her is essential. Also, how they affect their style of communication, and how they are different from what other people prefer is vital to building rapport and a healthy relationship. Lastly, please keep in mind that preferences allow us to spread our relationship wings. They allow different interests, different ways of behaving, different ways of seeing the world, and different ways of making our relationship better.
BMWK: Who is the introvert and who is the extrovert in your relationship? How are you making it work?
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on January 24, 2018, and has been updated for accuracy and relevancy.