Are introverts and extroverts a bad match?
One of my favorite tools to use with couples is the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, which is similar to the popular Myers Briggs Type Indicator. The Keirsey Temperament Sorter basically evaluates how a person 1) recharges, 2) receives and uses information, 3) makes decisions, and 4) goes through life.
The introversion/extroversion category, or how a person recharges, can be a helpful concept to consider within a couple relationship.
Do they recharge by being around people (extroversion), or do they recharge by being alone or with just one other person (introversion)?
Most of us have at least some extroversion and some introversion in us, ranging on a continuum.
So, where do you fall on the continuum? How do you recharge? Do you crave social interaction at the end of the day, or do you crave some alone time?
Many people think partners need to match one another when it comes to introversion and extroversion. They think introverts need to become more extroverted, or extroverts need to become more introverted.
But, this is not necessarily true! In fact, many couples are opposite in this way and it works out quite well.
Introvert partners balance out the extrovert partners, and vice versa.
Extroverts tend to have difficulty slowing down and finding alone time, while introverts can find themselves isolating and closing themselves off from the outside world. Even though it is important to take the time to recharge in your own way, too much of one thing can cause problems.
Extroverts help introverts:
- step out of their comfort zone
- experience more adventures
- get to know different people they may not have known otherwise
Introverts help extroverts become more:
- thoughtful about how they spend quality time
- aware of what is going on around them in social situations
- reflective and exploratory of their internal world
Introverts can help extroverts have deeper relationships, while extroverts can help introverts have broader relationships.
What about the challenges of being an introvert/extrovert couple?
If you are an introvert/extrovert combination couple, one of the greatest challenges you face is finding the balance between socializing and taking down-time. One of you wants to attend every party you’re ever invited to, while the other wants to hang out at home or go out to a quiet dinner. This may drive you nuts sometimes!
BUT, this can be easily navigated.
First, start by recognizing both you and your partner’s introvert/extrovert levels.
Do you or your partner lean more toward extroversion or introversion?
Second, appreciate what each of you bring to the table.
Both introverts and extroverts have wonderful qualities that can contribute to having a rich relationship and life together.
Third, recognize these differences, challenges, and advantages you face, AS A COUPLE.
Talk about it!
Knowing what you and your partner needs can help inform the way you spend your time together and individually. Maybe one night is spent at a dinner party while one night is spent watching a movie at home. Perhaps one partner stays home to read, while the other partner meets a couple of friends for coffee.
Together, you can explore how to live in a way that helps you both thrive as individuals and as a couple.
Click here to take the Keirsey Temperament Sorter online. I recommend both partners take it separately and discuss the results together. Keep in mind, every category is on a continuum, so hold the results with some flexibility. They are not 100% accurate. To get a more accurate idea of your temperaments, you would need to evaluate the raw data with someone who is well-versed with the Keirsey Temperament Sorter.
If you need help with exploring the differences between you and your partner and learning how to navigate them, contact me for couples therapy.