Relationships

Introverts, This Is How To Explain Your Social Battery To An Extrovert

By Hannah Leah··  5 min read
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Introverts and extroverts make a great team, but they have to learn to understand each other in order to work together.

Introversion is a personality trait in which there is a focus on internal feelings rather than on external sources of stimulation, while the extrovert thrives best from external sources and social environments. If you’re an introvert who has some form of relationship with an extrovert, you might find it difficult to explain to them the need to recharge your social battery in order to function. You need that alone time in order to thrive in a social situation. Here are some tips to explain this best to an extrovert. 

Analogies You Can Use

Simon Sinek, author and international speaker, explains it best with an analogy. He says, “An introvert wakes up in the morning with five coins. Every social interaction they spend a coin. At the end, they are depleted. An extrovert wakes up with no coins. Every social interaction, they gain a coin. At the end, they feel rich.” 

james cordon throwing coins

Or, imagine two people running in a 5k. One of these people is an experienced marathon runner, and the other has never run long distance before. It takes much more effort for the inexperienced runner to complete the 5k, while the marathon runner may feel that the 5k is an easy task compared to 26 miles. It’s the same concept in a social environment, where the extrovert leaves the night still full of energy, but the introvert leaves feeling depleted.  

running on treadmill tired vs not

For the introvert, it’s physically and mentally taxing to be in a social environment. Though they can still appreciate the people and conversation, it can be draining for them. Without time alone to unwind and recharge, they have nothing left of themselves to give.

For an extrovert, socializing can feel like a natural thing. They’re not using much energy to talk to people or present themselves in a crowd. But for an introvert, they’re putting forth lots of energy and effort to be social. 

Here are some signs that an introvert has reached their point of exhaustion:

  • detachment from other people

  • inability to focus

  • intense headaches or migraines

  • low energy or fatigue

  • difficulty sleeping

  • emotional meltdown

  • irritability

  • depression

  • anxiety

Introvert-Extrovert Relationships Are Common

Studies have shown that it’s not unusual for introverts and extroverts to be attracted to each other. This can be shown in friendships or romantic relationships. Relationship therapist Tracy Ross states, “Introverts and extroverts are attracted to each other because of the differences.” You can imagine how an extrovert can draw out an introvert, or how an introvert can help an extrovert not get overwhelmed with commitments.

Ross says that making these relationships work is all about communication: “Communication really means understanding each other's needs, understanding how you're different, and knowing yourself well enough to know [how you can] accommodate [each other].” 

It's important for the extrovert to understand that their introvert boyfriend or friend may need time alone. It doesn’t mean they’re upset or trying to distance themselves from the relationship, but rather they’re overstimulated and need time to disengage from everything around them. With that being said, it’s also important for the introvert to recognize the needs of their extrovert boyfriend or friend. Though the introvert needs time to themselves, they also need to invest in their friend in order for the relationship to work, which means they need to engage in some social activity sometimes even if it's not always comfortable for them. Together, the two personalities are a great balance. 

leslie knope happy nod

Here are some tips for navigating the relationship to support both personalities:

  • Communicate with each other. Don’t just ignore the issues. When you feel you’re being over- or under-stimulated, talk to each other about it and find ways to support the other. 

  • Understand their needs. For a relationship to be successful, there has to be some sacrifices on both ends. Try to understand your boyfriend’s needs and do your best to accommodate them.

  • Don’t try to change each other. An extrovert might not understand why it’s hard for an introvert to be social (and vice versa) but that doesn’t mean they're wrong for being that way. This is their personality, and that’s okay. If you aren’t willing to accept someone for who they are, your relationship won’t work.

  • Make a plan when going to a social event. It might sound silly, but plan for social events. Talk about how long you plan on being there (this gives an introvert some peace, knowing there is a set end time when they can relax) and what the night will look like as a whole. Share your expectations with each other.

jim halpert leave party early

Closing Thoughts

With these things in mind, remember that no one is perfect. It can be difficult to understand someone who is completely different from you, but knowing that we're all hard-wired with certain personality traits, we can try to accommodate each other to the best of our abilities.

Take a look at yourself. Are you an introvert? And is the person you spend lots of time with an extrovert? If this is the case, have a conversation about your differences and how you can align your lifestyles. If someone cares about you, they will do their best to understand you. Sometimes relationships require sacrifice on both sides, but this is what makes a great team. 

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