An Introvert dating an Extrovert

June 28, 2016

-I've thought for a while before deciding to do this blogpost as it's rather personal but I thought it would be fun and I wanted to remember all the things that I'm grateful for in my relationship. Also, with differences between extroverts and introverts being a common source of tension among couples, I hope that whoever who comes across this post may somehow benefit from it (: -

So yesterday I came across this article on the Net about the things an Introvert has learnt after marrying an Extrovert. According to the Myer-Briggs Personality Test[1], Kings is an extrovert and I'm pretty much an introvert[2] so this article naturally caught my attention and I eagerly read through it.
The operational definition in this case (courtesy of 16personalities): 

Extrovert= Extraverted individuals prefer group activities and get energized by social interaction. They tend to be more enthusiastic and more easily excited than introverts.
 Introvert= Introverted individuals prefer solitary activities and get exhausted by social interaction. They tend to be quite sensitive to external stimulation (e.g. sound, sight or smell) in general.

*Because the headings are so definitive of the behaviour, I kept the headings (in bold) from the original article.

#1: They are always busy, busy, busy, with someone to meet and something to do. Don’t take it personally.

He thrives on meeting new people, loves making new friends and trying out new stuff.
Misunderstanding arose when:
I - wanted to chill and relax with him the whole day AT HOME.
He - wanted to GO OUT kayaking, climbing or meeting people.

I - wanted to spend an entire day with him
He - has something on in the morning, afternoon etc etc

What I learnt from him was that this didn't mean that I was boring or not important. To him, it was more of a "why waste time, the world is waiting for you to explore instead of staying at home" mentality. Which leads me to #2!
#2: Don’t expect them to be able to sit still.

Kings is always looking for fun and adventure. He's either planning the next kayaking expedition, or the next climb or the next travel or resolving problems at work and school in his head or... you get my drift. And this leads to my next point,

#3: They have boundless energy. 
For an introvert to have a partner who is ready to jump out and into something new, this may sound rather scary. Surprisingly, its the opposite. When that person is someone whom you love spending time with, rather then feeling spent, I feel inspired and motivated. I practically feed off his energy (and he feeds off mine haha)

Full time work, classes, and climbing on weekdays; Coaching and climbing on weekends, in addition to FYP and school assignements. With what he has on his plate, I have no idea how he juggles everything. He's really A  M  A  Z  I  N  G. Me? My head hurts just thinking about school.

#4: Extroverts inspire you to strengthen your other relationships.
Being introverted by nature, the comfort and security of my cocoon calls out to me, a hideout from problems or disputes with my family. By being apathetic, nothing is really addressed and resolved. I am always grateful that rather than taking sides and injecting high emotions into the situation, Kings is my anchor, constantly supporting, encouraging and reminding that our family is important.

#5: Prepare to be forced out of your comfort zone

Aye. Word. I was forced out of my comfort zone in the emotional, psychological and physical sense.
Only he would push me and make me want bad enough to grow as a person. This only brought us closer and we have grown so much as a couple over the past year.

The original article summarized this point well so I'm gonna quote it.

"Extroverts are very expressive and comfortable talking about their feelings and being with Jade (Kings in my case) has helped me get more in touch with myself as she (he) pushes me to express my emotions and talk about my feelings as well. This is not always a comfortable experience, but I see the benefits of this rather than bottling everything up."

Being with Kings has led to many “first-times” – exploring Jogja with new friends, jumping off a mini "cliff", clamouring over railings and perching precariously for the thrill and pictures (if you can't stop him, join him), bouldering up the waterfalls and almost killing myself, trying out sport climbing and many more. You can read more about our Jogja adventure here:

#6: Extroverts teach you how to look forward to each day and to enjoy the simple things in life

I'm a hamster content on running in my own little wheel. I love constants and comfort zones. Changes and the future used to set me on edge and drive me into anxiety. On the other hand, Kings "lives in the moment", passionate about each day, unfazed by change.
Whenever I feel afraid of uncertainties and challenges, he pops up in my head saying, "Can you change it? If yes, what are you waiting for. No? Will worrying resolve your problem and make things better?" Being with Kings recharges me, teaches me to look at problems from another perspective, and I love spending time with him because we always have a good time (poking fun at others) together.

#7: Tell an extrovert directly what it is you want – don’t expect them to know and don’t take it personally that you have to tell them things that might seem obvious to you
Yes Ross, pretty sure you are (not).
This was one of the main causes of friction between us, mostly stemming from my lack of directness.
Earlier on in our relationship, I used to get upset when Kings could not see "the obvious". I was devastated when I thought that he was pretending not to see or notice certain "obvious" things.
Truth is, he cares deeply about me and things were mostly an assumption on my part. As soon as we established that this was a thorn, it was easy to tackle it.

"Extroverts are not introspective people. Plus because they are always rushing out somewhere to meet someone (see point #1) they don’t have a lot of down time to sit down and think about the whys and the hows of things.After a while I realised that she is just very different in that she really is not sensitive to things. She has helped this situation along by reminding me constantly to voice out what I want. These days, I’ve learnt to assume she will not pick up on signals (that to me are obvious) and I will just ask or tell her things directly. She appreciates not having to second guess."

Writer phrased it well so there we go. Case closed.
And things are soooooo muchhhhh better when things are voiced out and told as it is.
#8: Extroverts make the best partners/plus ones for introverts in big social situations.
Contrary to belief, being an introvert doesn't mean you hate hanging out with people in social situations. In fact, I rather enjoy meeting new people. However, it can be quite draining for long periods of time. That's when having an extroverted partner like Kings is a godsend. He talks easily to anyone, with anyone and I won't have to worry about him being tired out or feeling awkward haha. Whenever I run out of things to say (because 1. its tiring 2. I can't be bothered) Kings is my knight in shining armor.

*Brownie points: he doubles up as my walking support, I know I can fall back faint on him anytime hehe
"Introverts like myself enjoy ourselves by just being in the presence of people we like. We don’t need to be talking to these same people the whole time – that’s just draining for us. With someone like Jade around who understands this about me, accepts me for me and never forces me to “be social”, she happily picks up the social slack and enjoys herself in the process. Everyone wins."

This sums up my thoughts beautifully.

"When introverts go out, we usually have a goal, a purpose and a set time; it could be to hang out with our loved ones for a couple of hours; to have two drinks; to have dinner; or to stay for one set of a band’s performance."

This was me in the past. Having a partner like Kings has taught me to adjust my expectations and learn how to take things as they come. To just enjoy the moment. I deserve a pat on the back for adapting well to this.

We've come a long way from our first days and there is no one else I'd rather be going through the joyful and sad times with (:


[1] The Myer-Briggs Personality Test was done for fun, but I thought it to be pretty accurate and explanatory of my personality and behaviours.
[2]  Aware of the Barnum Effect, I redid the test, read up on the other personalities, tried to bend them towards myself, but none really struck a chord as deep as ISFP.

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