It’s not easy to be an introvert in a world which values extroversion and which does not reward introversion. It is often said that opposites attract and while this may be true during the initial stages of attraction, it often does not hold up in the long haul without quite a few bumps and bruises if so.

If one is an introvert, a relationship with a fellow introvert will be more harmonious since there will be more in common. The same holds true for extroverts. This is not to say that a relationship will not be possible or will not work out. There will definitely just be more things to work out if the enjoyment of social contact is at different levels for each partner and this may probably turn out to be a point of contention within the relationship.

Extroverts are fun and vibrant and as an introvert in a extrovert-centric culture they certainly hold a certain appeal since this quality is one of the ideal qualities extolled by modern culture. During one’s younger years, there will be less misgivings in entering a relationship with an extrovert since the priority would be attraction and infatuation and perhaps even what can be thought of as love, with all the youthful idealistic belief that everything can be worked out when both parties are in love.

However in one’s thirties, reality comes knocking and one’s criteria for what is important in a relationship gets revised accordingly through experience and the humble beginnings of what can be hoped as maturity. Aside from love, compatibility is an essential consideration in a relationship with the realization that sometimes love isn’t enough to sustain over the long haul.

It is during this time when one is less flexible and have more ingrained habits and therefore finding a partner who has the same enthusiasm for going out or staying in would make for a more harmonious relationship. During our thirties, we most likely don’t find the idea of editing ourselves for the sake of our partner very appealing for whatever reason and trying to keep up with an extroverted partner’s zest for initiating and maintaining social contacts and connection may wear on us, even as much as we admire their gregariousness.

We may eventually feel that we are disappointing them by preferring to stay in on most nights and weekends instead of socialising or interacting with people. We may attempt to keep up with them as we accompany them to different social events and activities even as we feel drained by dealing with many people. We may start to worry that they may find us boring and eventually lose interest. We may be concerned that they would feel that getting us to interact more with friends is too much of an ordeal–which it is because being out and about often saps our energy. These issues may eventually crop up in the relationship.

Many people mistake introversion as being unsociable or anti-social but it is not the case. Being an introvert, one gains energy or feels revitalised when one is engaged in solitary pursuits while extroverts feel for energised when in the company of many people. Introverts can be well-socialised and congenial folks who simply feel drained after social interactions and who need alone time to revitalise themselves.

Keeping up with an oppositely inclined introverted/extroverted partner can put a strain on the relationship with an introvert since the choice of activities during one’s free time including weekends and holidays would differ greatly and a lot of compromise would need to be given.

The varying preferences might also mean that less time is spent together and this might affect the quality of the relationship altogether. This might be something to consider when starting a significant relationship.

(c) Niconica 2012

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