We often hear that “opposites attract,” but when personalities are different, dating and relationships can get a little more complicated. My husband and I have a lot in common — like being very driven when it comes to work and learning, the happiness of our family, and the basic morality regarding what’s wrong and what’s right.
Where we differ a lot, though, is in our personalities — he is what I’d consider to be more of an extrovert. He likes to be around people and seems to be able to work a crowd, no matter who is there. He gains energy and happiness being around other people and being the center of attention.
However, I am the opposite and consider myself an introvert. I find being the center of attention my own form of torture (yes, even for my wedding day) and find it to be very draining when I’m around too many people. I’d much rather be around only a few people at a time. These are pretty typical characteristics of an introvert, and some other characteristics can sometimes be taken out of context to anyone who does not define themselves as introverted.
It took my husband awhile to understand my personality quirks, and, for him, seeing there were others like me (you know, other introverts), taught him to take these characteristics of mine a lot less personally.
If you find yourself on a date with an introvert and you can’t quite understand why they’re upset with you, read these six important dos and don’ts for some insight.
1. Center of Attention
Don’t: Make them the center of attention — avoid places like karaoke where your date will be expected to sing or to a comedy club where the comedian may point your date out. Being in a crowd and then standing out is an introvert’s worst nightmare. If my husband took me to karaoke and actually expected me to get up there and sing — or worse, sprung that on me, I would feel like I would die.
Do: Help them blend in — going to a bar with a live band is more preferable. You can still enjoy the music and the atmosphere, but by not making your date the center of the attention, you will both be happier.
2. On the Spot
Don’t: As an introvert I can tell you that unless you’re my mom, I am at work, or I’m expecting your call, if you call my phone I am likely going to let it go to voice mail. I can’t explain why that phone ringing raises my guard, but it does, and that’s not totally uncommon for other introverts. If you’re dating an introvert you should be prepared to hear that voice mail message a few times.
Do: Get a good texting plan because that’s the better way to communicate. You’re more likely to get a response right away because your date won’t feel “put on the spot” and they’ll be able to think and formulate what they want to say.
3. You Forget About Me
Don’t: I hate going to parties where I don’t know anyone; I find my husband’s work parties to be especially uncomfortable. He works with lovely people and they’re all very nice, but when I’m there it kind of feels like I’m left out of the inside joke — since I dont’ work with them or even in the same industry. If you’re dating an introvert, understand we’re not that great in these kinds of situations, not only because we don’t know anyone and that’s a terrifying thought, but also because all the people can leave us drained. Do not leave your date alone and expect them to just mingle and go around introducing themselves because that is like a small form of torture— it’s very uncomfortable!
Do: Do stay close to your date, and introduce them to your work mates and friends. Keep the introductions slow and help your date if someone asks an uncomfortable question (like “tell me about yourself”), and allow for some time for just the two of you.
4. Let Me Mull It Over First
Don’t: I hate being put on the spot and I am not good in the moment when I am in a confrontation. If my husband and I are fighting (which is really rare), as an introvert I like to be able to have some time to process and to think on my own. I don’t do well with “demanded apologies” or with questions that ask me to explain myself.
Do: Give your date some time to think it over, quietly in her head. I like to be able to run through what I am feeling and to put that into the right words for what I am trying to express. Most times, introverts like to be able to choose words carefully, and don’t like to just say the same thing over and over — which can happen in an argument.
5. Silence — It IS Golden
Don’t: You don’t need to be talking all the time, I promise. I know that sometimes in early relationships it feels awkward to be sitting in silence, but typically introverts don’t really like small talk — at least I don’t.
Do: Learn to enjoy or at least tolerate some silence. If your date isn’t talking it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re shy, uninterested, or have nothing of substance to say. Introverts like some quiet space to “be in their heads (to think),” and we appreciate that there doesn’t need to be noise all.the.time.
Don’t: Don’t expect your date to be comfortable with all the things that you’re totally okay with. If they want a night off, don’t take it personally. Don’t expect your date to be comfortable with PDA right away and don’t try to turn them into an extrovert — it won’t work.
Do: Respect differences and expect your date to respect yours as well.
::Do you have any tips for dating someone with a different personality-type? Share in the comments!::
Lead photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos
Small photo credits: © Devan McGuinness