How Introverts and Extroverts can Live in Harmony

Introverts and extroverts are today's Romeo and Juliet. Except without the violence and teenage angst. If you are unfamiliar with the differences between introverts and extroverts, well that is kind of weird but no judgement here. Introverts get their energy from taking time to themselves. They love time alone or with a few other close friends. Extroverts, on the other hand, get their energy being around a lot of people and socializing. They don't like to feel cooped up and prefer to be out and about. These are stark differences in personality, yet extroverts and introverts fall in love all the time. When these differences inevitably clash friends and family can be quick to say marriage is about compromise. Compromise can be healthy, but asking your partner to compromise their personality can be stifling. Relationships need more understanding and support, instead of compromise. This can be hard when the introvert wants more time at home and the extrovert wants do go out and do things. Both of them are in love and they want the other person to be involved in the things they want to do. These differences can lead to statements like "He never wants to go out." "She always leaves me to hang out with her friends." Statements like these can build resentment. In one of my couple's classes in grad school, my professor gave us a personal example that stuck with me on how she and her husband's relationship doesn't compromise their personalities.

She talked about how she is more extroverted and her husband is more introverted. For the most part, this was never a problem except when it came to parties, social events or things of that nature. She loved being with people and hanging out, but for him after a few hours it was exhausting and he would want to leave. This would lead to some arguments between them and they both wanted the other to compromise, stay longer, leave sooner, and so forth. They tried compromising but they both still felt like it wasn't working and would rarely leave happy. So how did they solve it? Before I answer that it is helpful to understand how they approached the problem. If they went into the problem with the mindset of getting what they want "I want you to come home with me sooner." "I want you to stay with me longer at the parties." They would miss the mark of understanding. Instead, they both went in with the mindset of what works best for my partner and how can I support them.

In the end, they solved it with a simple solution that they couldn't believe took them so long to think of, separate cars. Whenever they went to a party, work function, or social event they would take separate cars so they could leave whenever they wanted. Sometimes they would still leave at the same time, but taking separate cars still gave them the comfort to know that they didn't have to compromise their personality, and they supported each other by encouraging their partner to be themselves.

Introverts and extroverts in love shouldn't have to feel like they have to compromise who they are. If your differences in personalities are impacting your relationship talk with your partner on ways you can support each other. Maybe it's taking separate cars, maybe it's being intentional with the 20 minutes you have with your partner before you go meet up with friends, or maybe it's encouraging them to take an evening to them self or to go spend it with friends. Acknowledging your differences and finding ways to encourage and support your partner will strengthen your relationship instead compromising it.