Each of us gives and receives love in our own unique way. This is one of the very things that makes us who we are, and makes our love special. However, in a lasting relationship, it’s as important to adapt to our partner’s love language as it is to teach them our own. Couples that contain both an introvert and an extrovert tend to work well together. They each balance out the other, and they often have different strengths. However, the introverted partner might not be as comfortable expressing their needs, and the more extroverted partner may not realize when or how they are failing to meet them. For this reason, I’ve compiled the following list.
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Here are seven ways to ensure that your introverted partner feels as loved as they are:
1. Don’t over-schedule yourselves.
An extrovert may excitedly book a full weekend of activities, oblivious to the nightmare they are creating for their significant other. This kind of rush will deplete an introvert’s energy levels and leave them feeling scattered, overstimulated, and ultimately dissatisfied. If you must plan every moment of your weekend, make sure to balance your social activities with quiet time at home. Your partner needs this, and so does your relationship.
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2. Have a code word – and respect it.
An introvert has limited social energy, and will likely want to leave a party long before their extroverted partner does. Before going out, plan a code word and a believable excuse to leave the situation. This will make your partner feel safe and keep them from building resentment at your hard-partying ways. Remember that your introvert is experiencing a very different party than you are. As Laurie A. Helgoe wrote, “I am rarely bored alone; I am often bored in groups and crowds.”
3. Write letters and emails.
Extroverts often consider face-to-face communication to be optimal – but this is not always true for an introvert. Many introverts are able to express their feelings more accurately and completely through writing than they could verbally. If you are struggling to understand your introverted partner’s emotions and opinions, give them the option of writing their feelings out rather than saying them aloud. You might be surprised at the depth you discover.
4. Ask questions.
Introverts are not inclined to dump information in the same way that extroverts do. This can leave their partner feeling disconnected from the realities of their daily life. Open-ended questions, such as “How was your day?” or “How do you feel?” do not work well for introverts. They will most likely respond to these with a short answer that will not provide you much in the way of insight. Instead, ask your partner something specific. “What surprised you today?” or “What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing at work?” will bring you a better sense of insight into your partner’s world. There is a trick at work here. If the question includes an emotion, the answer will have to, as well.
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5. Make plans via texting, as opposed to phone calls.
This gives your introvert more time to process their thoughts and formulate a response. Making plans is a bigger commitment for an introvert than an extrovert, since their social energy is more strictly limited. Don’t catch them off guard with a phone call. Give them time to consider the reality of what you are asking them to do. Allow your partner to make a decision that they are fully comfortable with. This simple act will help to avoid a lot of unnecessary resentment later on.
6. Don’t interrupt.
It’s super rude to interrupt anyone, but this is an especially unkind thing to do to an introvert. Because they put so much thought into what they are going to say, an introvert is losing more when they are interrupted than an extrovert would. Listen closely to what your partner is saying. Maybe even take a few seconds after they’ve finished speaking to process their words before you respond with your own thoughts. Isn’t that what they often do for you?
7. Embrace the silence.
Your introvert needs quiet time to recharge. If you want to spend more time with them, embrace the concept of being together without having to speak. Read a book, listen to music on your headphones, or work on a project. The act of sharing in this quiet space will bring you and your partner much closer together.
Treasure your introvert, and care for them attentively. Introverts love deeply and completely, and they make wonderful life partners. As Anne Lamott said, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”