At first glance, a relationship with an introvert may seem like a daunting endeavor to undertake. How will I know if they like me? What will we do together? How will I know if they’re having fun? But in truth, a relationship with an introvert can be incredibly rewarding. They are thoughtful, attentive, and caring once they’ve gotten to know and care for you. But as the relationship unfolds, here are some things you may want to remember:

Respect home court advantage.

Especially in the early stages of dating, going places or participating in activities that make the introvert comfortable will help you see the best version of them. If you are both introverts, seek common ground and try to find places where both parties are comfortable. And if that’s hard to come by? A quiet night in, making dinner or playing games is just fine too!

Don’t coddle.

A common impulse for those that care about introverts is to count them out of activities that they fear may be out of their comfort zone (public speaking, parties, and other large-scale events). While your intent may be good, it’s important to know that there are many types of introverts as there are people in the world. What may drain one introvert, may come easily to another because of frequent exposure. Don’t assume, ask questions and listen to the responses.

Don’t capitulate either.

At the same time, inertia is powerful, and a relationship that is comfortable may result in a risk-free, potentially stagnant relationship. Seek to balance new endeavors and activities, with the management of energy that is so important to introverts. Taking on new adventures with someone they’re comfortable with, is the best case scenario for an introvert.

Seek to understand silence.

Sophia Dembling says in The Introvert’s Way, “one of the risks of being quiet is that other people can fill your silence with their own interpretations.” And indeed, silence in relationships that may simply be pensive or energizing can be mistaken for anger, standoffishness, or indifference. Even if your partner may not want to talk right away, seek to understand the quiet moments between conversations, rather than making assumptions. When the words come, they’ll mean a great deal.

Appreciate the space between.

In addition to needing quiet time, introverts will need more space in their relationships. Where some may be accustomed to spending long stretches of time together, those who are more introverted may need time to themselves. Be respectful of this need, and understand that your partner will be better for having had that time to recharge. And as the relationship becomes more comfortable, that need for time may lessen…or you may be a part of their recharging routine. It’s a wonderful place to find yourself, so be patient and they’ll appreciate it.

Understand privacy.

In a world where social media seemingly rewards us for sharing tidbits of our relationships online, introverts may view these gestures as more performance than showings of affection. As such, they may want to keep elements of their relationships private. Be respectful of these wishes where you can, and if you can’t- let your partner know so they can manage their energy accordingly.

Compromise.

As relationships develop, you may find that disagreements arise over whether to embrace your introverted or extroverted sides. In these moments, I strongly urge you to compromise. Are there some times when your partner can go without you, or you can go out without them? Can you agree that if an outing is truly important, that you’ll go along ask them to come with you? These sorts of cooperation, grounded in respect of one another’s wishes and priorities, create a strong foundation that a loving relationship can stand on.

Person first.

An introvert isn’t just an introvert, any more than an extrovert is just an extrovert. Temperament is only one element of a personality, and there are many more parts of someone to fall in love with. Keep this in mind as you continue to get to know your prospective partner. Respect their introversion (or extroversion!), but also respect their interests, values, and goals. Don’t let their energy source outweigh any other element of who they are.

 

Written by Amma Marfo.