5 Counselor Tips For Navigating A Successful Introvert-Extrovert Relationship

Relationships can be challenging to maintain, even when you and your partner have similar needs. Transitioning from a single state where you only have to worry about your own wants and needs to a partnered state where both of your needs matter equally can be a bit of a rude awakening under the best of circumstances. What happens, then, when you find yourself in a relationship with someone with whom you have fundamental differences?


One common stumbling block for couples is the introversion-extroversion aspect of their personalities. Can an introvert and an extrovert ever truly see eye to eye? Is it possible for both parties' needs to be consistently met within the relationship? To find out, Glam spoke exclusively with Ian Jackson, licensed mental health counselor and clinical director at Recovery Unplugged, and the answer is yes. We asked this expert for advice on navigating relationships between introverts and extroverts and turned the results into a helpful guide.

Education is key

If you want to ensure that a relationship between an introvert and an extrovert will survive for the long haul, you must make sure that both parties understand the concept. It may be impossible for both partners to make accommodations for each other's differences until they know what those differences are. According to Ian Jackson, having a clear understanding of introversion and extroversion is the first important step.


"Introverts and extroverts differ primarily in how they recharge and process stimuli," Jackson exclusively explains to Glam. "Introverts often recharge by spending time alone and can feel drained by too much social interaction ... On the other hand, extroverts gain energy from social interactions and typically enjoy being active and around people." 

Understanding these differences can help to diffuse situations where you and your partner have different immediate needs. When you know that your partner is an introvert, for instance, you'll be less likely to take it personally when they choose to stay home over joining you at a social event to prevent an introvert hangover

Prioritize communication

Once you and your partner understand the differences between your extroverted and introverted needs, it's essential to continue to communicate those needs frequently. "Both partners should express their needs clearly and listen to each other with empathy," Ian Jackson exclusively tells Glam. Since you will both likely continue to default to your own natural tendencies, frequent reminders may be needed on both sides. Keep your reminders gentle, and try to give your partner the benefit of the doubt whenever possible.


When it's your turn to receive a reminder about your partner's needs, do your best to quiet any defensiveness, listen, and accept the fact that it is simply not about you. "It's important to understand that needing time alone (for introverts) or seeking social interaction (for extroverts) isn't a personal slight — it's simply how different individuals recharge," Jackson explains. Take the information your partner is giving you, try to understand it to the best you can, and use it to improve your relationship. 

Mutual support

There is a difference between intellectually understanding the way your partner's needs differ from yours and actually taking action to support them. "Extroverted partners can support their introverted partner by understanding their need for solitude and not pressuring them into constant social activities," Ian Jackson exclusively tells Glam. "Consider having quiet nights in or participating in activities that limit the amount of social interaction, like watching a movie or reading together."


Jackson explains that Introverted partners should support their extroverted other half by "understanding their need for social interaction. This might mean occasionally attending social events or encouraging your partner to go out with friends while you enjoy some alone time."

So, when you approach making your weekend or vacation plans, don't forget to consider ways that you can support your partner's needs. If your partner is introverted, be sure to build in a buffer of downtime between social activities. If your partner is extroverted, be sure to include lively social venues and activities, even if you may not end up joining them. 

Healthy balance

Once you and your partner have become aware of each other's needs and learned how to meet them, it's important to maintain a fair balance within the relationship. If one partner's needs constantly win out over the other's, resentment may eventually build. "It's critical to ensure that both partners' needs are met," Ian Jackson exclusively explains to Glam.


"This may require compromise," Jackson continues. "For example, an introverted partner might agree to attend a social event on the condition that they can have some quiet time afterward. Conversely, an extroverted partner could agree to a quiet night in but plan to catch up with friends the next day."

As long as both partners' needs are treated as equally important, the relationship can thrive. However, if reasonable accommodations are consistently made for one partner and not for the other, or if no compromises are made at all on either end, the relationship is likely to face challenges ahead. 

Conflict management

There is one certainty for every introvert-extrovert relationship (and for every relationship in general), and that is the eventuality of conflict. "Conflict can arise when there's a misunderstanding or lack of acceptance regarding each other's differing needs," Ian Jackson exclusively explains to Glam. "When these situations occur, it's crucial to approach them with empathy and a willingness to compromise."


Educating yourself on the different needs of introverts and extroverts, learning how to best support your partner's needs, and clearly communicating your own needs can help to significantly reduce conflict, but it will not completely prevent it. Occasional conflict is to be expected in any pairing; it is how it's handled that predicts the fate of your relationship.

"Remember, it's okay to have different needs and preferences," Jackson imparts. "The key is to respect your partner's needs and work together to find a balance that suits both of you." Place both of your needs on equal footing, and your relationship is sure to move forward.