The fundamental difference between innies and outies, as they’re sometimes called, is that introverts require alone time to recharge their batteries, while extroverts gain energy by being around other people. So you can see why they occasionally have trouble understanding each other’s needs.
“I’m an introvert while my wife is an extrovert,” relationship writer Seth Adam Smith told HuffPost. “Because of this, the first few years of our marriage were really challenging. I wanted to live in the quiet countryside and spend one-on-one time with her. She, on the other hand, wanted to live in a crowded city and visit with lots and lots of people. In the beginning, our opposing personalities had a negative impact on our relationship.”
Over time, Smith and his wife learned more about what makes the other tick and were able to embrace their differences.
“But after a while ― and, to be honest, after a few ‘heated discussions’ ― we learned that our opposing personalities were actually rooted in the ways we gather strength,” he said. “I gather strength from solitude: reading, hiking by myself or going for long drives. Things like that give me energy, while being around people drains me of energy. As a result, it was difficult for me to understand how my wife gets her strength from being with people. And yet, somehow, she does!”
Below, introverts reveal what they wish their extroverted partners better understood about their “innie” ways.
Note: The last names of some respondents have been withheld to protect their privacy.
1. Small talk is not our cup of tea.
“My wife talks to everyone she meets and always starts conversations with people while we’re out. I just want an invisibility cloak so I don’t have to stand there and laugh awkwardly while screaming inside.” ― Kellie J.
2. But we’re grateful we can lean on you in social situations.
“I’m an introvert in a relationship with a super social extrovert, and after explaining a few things on how we function, he’s incredibly supportive. I feel really safe going out with him. He’s always there to lead conversations when I retreat into my shell and he always makes sure to include me without throwing me into uncomfortable situations. It’s a great combination!” ― Dimitra N.
3. We can turn on our extroverted side when we need to. It’s just really draining for us.
“My extroverted wife always wondered how someone as introverted as I am can be successful at a career that requires a great deal of persuasive human interaction. She would likely believe in my career goals a little more if she understood that introverts often have a secondary personality of sorts that is used to succeed in those situations. Those secondary personalities can effectively communicate with others, but they lack depth.” ― Cody M.
4. We have to mentally prepare before socializing. So try not to spring stuff on us last minute.
“I wish my husband would understand that when we make plans, I’m only mentally prepared to socialize with the people we originally made the plans with. Adding random other people to the mix last-minute can be so mentally exhausting for me, especially if they are people I don’t know well. Although my husband does know this, as an extrovert, he can get excited in the moment and think, ‘The more the merrier’ and invite people out at the last minute like, ‘You are in the area? Come join us!’” ― Nichola Gwon of My Korean Husband
5. Once we’ve hit our limit, we may need to leave the party or event ASAP.
“I’m not someone that is huge on mingling after events. Sometimes my husband would take it as rude when I would go to the car immediately after the event, but I just don’t feel compelled to stay. I don’t like small talk and am already overwhelmed by the actual event, so by the end of it, I am ready to go. I just stay in the car and wait for him to finish. I don’t rush him at all, because I understand that’s his thing and wish he would understand it’s not mine.” ― Temitope Adesina of NaturallyTemi
6. For us, alone time is a necessity. We can’t function without it.
“I hope he understands that when I need alone time, I’m not rejecting him, I’m just recharging. Solitude is a fundamental need for introverts.” ― Marzi Wilson of Introvert Doodles
7. Please, don’t force us to make new friends. We’ll do it our way in our own time.
“My extroverted wife wants couple friends and it would be so much easier to make couple friends if she understood how introverts make friends. Extroverts sometimes try to force the friendship under the belief that an introvert just needs a little help in the friend-making department. That aggressive action usually ruins any possibility of a friendship because it’s way too invasive. If a friendship is going to happen, it will only happen naturally and over time.” ― Cody M.
8. We’re not ‘lazy’ or ‘boring’ just because we need a night in.
“When introverts feel drained, the last thing we want is to be chastised for being lazy or boring. What we truly wish for is a partner with whom we can recharge in tandem. We relish reading or daydreaming in side-by-side silence with the one we love.”― Michaela Chung of Introvert Spring
9. And if we don’t feel like going out, feel free to go without us. We’ll be just fine at home.
“Over the past 18 years, my husband and I have come to an understanding that works for us when it comes to our social calendar. He goes out a lot more often than I do. And it’s important that my alone time be just as sacred on the schedule as his boys’ night out. I am by no means anti-social: I have amazing friends and family that I absolutely adore. But I need quiet time every week to decompress, mentally process all that I’ve taken in and replenish my energy.” ― Kaia Roman, author of The Joy Plan
10. Just because we’re being quiet doesn’t mean we’re mad.
“If I’m quiet and or straight-faced, I’m probably not mad: I’m just people-watching. People fascinate me ― their quirks, mannerisms, inflections in their voice and I’m just observing.” ― Heather T.