Extrovert vs. Introvert

I interrupt this normally upbeat and crafty blog with a dose of real life from the woman behind the crafty curtain.

Are you an extrovert or an introvert? An extrovert is someone who gets recharged and refueled by being around other people.  An introvert is someone who is recharged and refueled by being by themselves.  I am an extrovert.  I generally enjoy being around people.  I can be with people all day and not have my fill.  I live for parties, social gatherings, game nights, people…people…people. 

However, the above sentence sounds like death to my husband. 

I think December is an introvert’s worst nightmare.  Parties, family gatherings, and immense social situations…you might have well just said lions and tigers and bears…oh my to an introvert.

My husband’s job just got intense this past month.  He was handed an additional responsibility plus his other normal job duties.  This will be short-lived and there is light at the end of the tunnel. But right now it is just difficult to manage it all.  On top of that he has been on and off sick for three weeks.  Plus he just squeaked past an introvert’s worst month of the year.  To say the least his tank needs refueling.

How does this play out in our marriage? Not good. It is just tough.  I feel like I have to pick up the slack and then I build up resentment.   Then I feel bad for being bitter because after all it isn’t something he can change…he is an introvert who is sucking wind after December.  He comes home exhausted and then just wants to veg.  But we have two ankle biters at home to care for (plus a needy wife ;-) And so every January we begin this cycle.  In a couple of weeks it generally gets better. 

Because I believe opposites attract I am sure many of you can relate.  What do you do to combat this? How do you make sure an extrovert’s social needs are met while giving the introvert the time and space to rejuvenate?  I would love any tidbit or piece of advice.

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Comments

  1. attemptinghardthings says:

    Okay, I'm 15, so I'm obviously not married. But I'm a girl and I'm horribly introverted. I dread holidays for the parties as much as the next introvert.
    But then I get nervous.
    You two, as a couple, work out because you, as the woman, are extroverted so you can put on parties and make friends with the fellow moms so your kids will have playbuddies.
    I'm nervous because, even if I marry an extroverted man, how will my children get playbuddies if their mom is an introvert? How will they have a happy home that has fun birthday parties if their mom is an introvert?!

    So, by the time I'm about 24, I plan to have completely changed myself into an extrovert.. Until then.. I dunno what I'll do.

  2. Jenglamgirl says:

    I am you and your hubby is like my hubby! I think me and my hubs balance out ok. I sometimes can be a home body… but i love PARTIES, laughter, games, and fun! my hubs does a good job in the social situations… Hope all is well and your hubs does well with his job!

  3. [email protected] says:

    MY husband and I are the same way. I admit I am a lot less social now that I am married but I try to get together with mom friends when I can. He knows I NEED to have social time we go to a few things when something comes up. I have to do more to make myself happy (with opportunities to socialize) and not expect him to make me happy (does that make sense?). My sister comes to visit me a lot to and he just lets us do whatever we want and stays out of the way or watches the kids so we can go DO stuff. I don't expect him to go to stuff and he doesn't expect me to stay home because of him and it works out. Friends are really important to an extrovert but He is my best friend and the best husband and that is most important

  4. I'm an introvert due to having high social anxiety. My husband is you and our differences creates problems at times. Having been married 25 years we've worked towards a balance, however, I have to force myself to socialize. After an evening out with others, I'm exhausted and it takes awhile to recover.

  5. I'm the extrovert…enter introvert in the form of my hubby.

    Yeah.

    I've honestly had to learn how to say no to other people in order to keep the peace at home. Even if that means my own family. And it's worth it and I've found that I genuinely like staying home more than I did when I was single.

    We have lots of cousins and family which equals lot of birthdays, so hubby has had to learn to say yes, too. We go into it with lots of slow, steady breathing. :) I'm willing to make an appearance somewhere without him if he's willing to give me a night out without the kids.
    Works for us, but my husband's work doesn't change during the holidays, either.

    I think it helps that we both recognize our snippy-ness towards each other during more stressful times is just temporary and it makes it that much easier to say "I'm sorry" and "let's try harder" but most importantly to say, "Let's pray about it together so we don't spend the time we have together fighting about it." Walls come down, girl!

    Love you for being real!

  6. ModernBelle says:

    I'm currently earning my master's degree in counseling and these kinds of personality traits are something we talk about a lot. Introvert/extrovert differences can definitely place a strain on relationships, but it can also be a great asset, too. There's a wonderful book called The Introvert Advantage written for introverts and their partners. I think it cld be a good resource for you and your husband as you all decide how to navigate this aspect of your relationship.

    All my best to you! MB

  7. Oh, Beckie, I feel for both of you. Speaking as 1/2 of a fellow ministry couple where we have 1 introvert (me) and one extrovert (him), I know the extra srress that expectations in the ministry can add. I guess my best advice is to allow each other a free pass every now and then. You know that there will be times when social stuff is just necessary, but there are times it can be avoided. Allow a Tim a "Not today" pass and ask him to grant you the same. It will mean that you will have to stay in when you would rather go out and he will go out when he would rather stay in and you will have to converse with Kayla and Isaac when you need an adult and he will hear noise when he would rather hear quiet, but compromise really is the name of the game.

  8. little bird says:

    it's crazy that i read this today, because i was just thinking about this last night. I'm an extrovert he's an intovert. It doesn't bother me that he is because I feel fine doing things without him if he does not want to go. But it bothers him that i'm and extrovert. I was thinking last night that it's like buying an oak tree and then getting upset because it's not a maple tree. I've always been an extrovert and always will be, I can't change that.

  9. lfhcreative says:

    Sounds like my house. My hubby is an off the charts introvert and spends 24 hours straight hanging around a firehouse with 9 other guys. By the time he gets home he is ready to check out and have some downtime. Of course, after 26 hours of straight mommy duty to a 1 and 3 year old…. I am ready to be social, talk, and leave the house! I try to go out to a coffee shop, to scrapbook, dinner, or shopping with friends after we get the kids in bed a few times a month. If we both get a chance to refuel seperately, we are much more loving and enjoyable to be around! Hang in there, being a ministry family can be so emotionally draining. I love your blog!

  10. Coloradolady says:

    This very thing causes lots of arguments….I get tired of staying home, he gets tired of me wanting to do something other than stay home…..I wish I had an answer.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This year, God gave me a new perspective…my husband is not only introverted but suffers from depression related to bipolar. I had to lean on God to find a solution for us because I was really floundering.

    Fortunately, my husband knows that exercise (going running alone in the woods, etc.) helps him deal better with his emotional well being. So, starting at Thanksgiving, anytime we had an event (whether I was hosting or not)I sent him out that morning to get some good exercise and alone time. In return, he would commit to at least help me with the kids or a few specific preparations.

    It turned out that he felt so much better, not only did he engage our kiddos, but he had a better time with guests both at home and away. He also smiled more often! It doesn't work every time, but it has sure made a big difference for us overall. The prayer part was probably the most influential, for both of us :-)

    God bless…He's got you covered :-)

  12. Deb_in_oz says:

    The Introvert Advantage is an AMAZING book to read – highky recommend. I am an introvert and my hubby is the extrovert IN TERMS OF RECHARGE – on the surface you would guess the opposite because people tend to think of extrovert as outgoing (which i am). I just need lots of alone time to recharge and counter the outings and people.

    With my hubby one thing we do when i get too much going on or too much time with the kids etc is that he takes them on his own for an outing – he will take them to a museum or swimming etc while i stay home and clean, read, watch DVDs etc and become human again. You could just schedule in downtime for your hubby where you and the kids either go somewhere or he goes off on his own (i also find wandering bookstores restorative as long as i don't talk to anyone LOL)

  13. You could meet your friends during the day and stay home during week ends (or meet your friends during the day on week ends while he enjoys a quiet day.) hugs.

  14. Lynn from For Love or Funny says:

    I think you'll get a lot of comments from this post, because many of us can relate. I find that if I can fill my "extrovert" cup during the day, I'm more content in the evenings to chill out with my introvert husband.

    Viva la difference!!

  15. My husband is an extreme extrovert and I am more of an introvert. We're TOTAL opposites in just about everything but somehow, after 19 years, it just works…we balance each other out well. He draws me out of my shell and I calm him down a bit. Sorry I don't have any answers for you but I do understand and will be praying for you guys! (Btw, Happy Belated New Year to you :)

  16. Happy Momma says:

    I completely understand! My hubby is an extreme extrovert and I am introverted. It can really be stressful for us because he is SO social. Even after he is home for the evening, he likes to catch up with everyone via phone, texting, and facebook. It can get overwhelming for me. Sometimes it feels as though he is choosing others over me. When I step back and see the real picture I realize that it is a gift from God that he is able to connect with so many people. It isn't just surface level relationships that he has, but instead deep relationships where he is able to be a witness and an accountability partner. I think Satan will try to use any situation to his advantage. We call it laying bait around here. Satan is just laying the bait trying to get me upset about hubbys socialness. If I choose to take that bait – and get upset – then Satan has been successful at trying to create unrest in our relationship. But if I stop and recognize the bait, I am able to pray about it first and see where my heart needs to be changed and pray about whether I should talk to hubby about it. After prayer – our conversations about it are always more calm and much more productive! Don't take the Bait Becky!!!!

  17. Nina Patricia @ The Adventures of Nina Patricia says:

    In our case I think we both have a little of both. I do have to say my hubs works longer hours and most of the time he just wants to relax. We do try really hard to balance things out (specially now with our living situation) We spent 5 days in NYC for the holidays, surounded by people, parties, family and more people. By New years we had more plans to go out but we agreed to stay put and recharge instead.
    After the Holidays I think you need to give him a break…

  18. [email protected] says:

    My advice is to take advantage of the newly near grandparents. If either of them is retired or has free time during the day, ask them to come once a week for lunch or play time in which they have the kids so you can go around the house picking up the slack in the chores without hangers on. And / or, ask them to take the kids once a week for dinner so you can have a girls'-night-out with your friends and Tim can have the house to himself for a while.

  19. agree with Sarah… get family or even a babysitter to take the kids to chuckie cheese for a few hours while you have lunch with your girl friends and you hubby can relax at home. Or you take the kids away and set up play dates where the kids can play and the moms can chat. or drop the kids off with family or neighbors and take a weekend to the beach (i know its cold but its still "away"- well i dont know where you live so it might not be haha but you get where its going). that way he can have a weekend full of nothing and you can have a weekend full of fun and by the time the weekend is over you will probably want to be home and he will probably want your company.

  20. Just Rhonda says:

    Another extrovert married to an introvert here!! I am less now just like Sizzle. He gives in when I need some socialness (and I have a lot of ladies lunches during the day when he is too busy or needs a break from people). And I have found with my husband that certain people make him more tired. Like if I really want to socialize and he doesn't, If I invite someone over that he really gets along with and likes it is easier to convince him to do so, kwim? i've always thought it was a good balance to have one and the other. Or else both of us would be talking all the time instead of just one of us :)

  21. TheOldPostRoad says:

    Opposites definitely attract. I am an introvert married to an extroverted husband. He loves events – I hate them. I love to be alone or just with my family. He doesn't understand. I MAKE myself attend social events, whether it is PTO, garden club, tennis lessons, etc. unless I can avoid going- but once I get there, I can usually be just fine and typically am glad that I made myself leave my lair. Most women are not this way, so they do not understand why they don't see me more. They do not know I am an introvert unless I tell them – because I am fine in conversation – it is just the "getting to the event" that I try to avoid. We watch our kids – they have inherited from each of us – so we have a really extroverted kid, and introverted kid, and one that is a mixture. I have to arrange playdates for the introvert. I have to tell the other two "no, you are not going out with your friends AGAIN, today." Let him rest in his lair, a little, before you drag him out again. I love CHristmastime, but hate the parties.

  22. I'm an introvert and my husband is an extrovert. He has asked me from time to time if I am ever going to 'get a life' or 'make some friends'. It irritates me because he just doesn't understand my need to be alone (or with a close core group of people). Online, I am a lot different than I am in person. I am quite outgoing and make friends easily. He doesn't understand how it is that I can be so extroverted online while I am not in person. I think it is because I can do things on MY time and MY terms. If I'm not feeling talkative or don't want to participate in a conversation its easier to just walk away, not post on a bulletin board or tell my friends during an IM chat that I need to do something else.

    I think I'll look for the book recommended.

    And to the 15 year old who worries about how you will do when you have kids… I must say that I am WAY more outgoing and social after having kids. I learned right away that I have to be their voice so its something I just do. It came easier for me than I expected. I am still quite introverted when it comes to my relationships but I do make sure my children are not effected by this.

  23. Kara@ Creations by Kara says:

    We are like the two of you, (but my husband is not super introverted). I try to get out with my girlfriends sometimes so I can get the socializing I need without dragging my hubbie along. I also find that if I invite at least one person that my hubbie really clicks with, he enjoys the party much more.

    I hope things turn around soon for the two of you. Hang in there! :)

  24. Whew – lots of stress for Tim right now… and you by extension! My hubs has a job with varying stress like that, coming home just drained every night during some seasons. I have learned to psych myself up for his arrival home by being content in my own heart and trying not to overwhelm him with my own needs first thing as he walks in the door. I know – hard. He is SO much more able to meet my needs after he's had a half hour of veg time, though!

    Praying for you both!

  25. Tracy Suzanne says:

    What a wonderfully honest post and you express it so well. I can truly relate with you. I am an extrovert and he is an introvert. I enjoy being around other people or at least I used to. But after 21 years of adjusting to his life more than him adjusting to mine I have learned how to enjoy the quiet time. However there are periods where I feel like I'm going to lose it. I'll get depressed because I feel like I lived someone else's life instead of my own. But you work through it and go on.

    It sounds like you've got a good handle on it knowing that it will pass. Just remind him if that it takes work on both of your parts to get safely through the booby trapped part of the year.

    I hope your husbands stress eases soon and that you both feel back in sync. I'll be sure to say a prayer.

    Hugs & warm wishes….Tracy :)

  26. Ok, Beck, I think you and I are more alike than we really know! I love social situations, but the husband basically, loathes them…Family or not, he tries though, even though he doesn't understand my need for it, he still tries. I am sure your hubby, love of your life, father or your children, head of your house (whether we like to admit that or not), and your best friend, is YOUR balance.

    Not sayin' that he should be exempt from recognizing your needs, but all considered, maybe this weird wiring that both our husbands seem to have IS something we need….just sayin'

  27. Kelly Morris says:

    This is our marriage as well. I am the introvert and my husband is the extrovert. One example of how we have worked things out is when we were teaching finances at our church. I hated whenever the classes started, the whole thing just sucked the life out of me. Hubs could teach the class, take questions after and mingle with the class forever if I didn't drag him to the car. I realize that he has the gift of teaching and I want to give him an outlet, but I would nearly have a nervous breakdown once the 12-week class was over. I hid in the house for weeks not wanting to talk to anyone. :0

    One tip I would give you is to let your husband heal as he needs to. When December comes, you may need to go to some parties by yourself. Let him choose which ones he can tolerate, THEN make up your minds BEFORE you get there as to what time you will leave, and stick to it. You'll get to go with him and yet not burn him out. This helps tremendously for us. Good luck!

    Kelly
    http://www.themorristribe.net

  28. First off, just to encourage you…I think you do a lot right. I know that you are really conscientious about date nights…and getting away…It's important to get away from who's what(intro/extro), just "BEING" together is so important. Sometimes TIME is the greatest healer…and only solution. As you said yourself…things will even out in a few weeks. Dig your heels in and remember, "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Phil. 4:13

  29. Sex. Have as much sex as you can handle. It will recharge him, give him confidence, and in my experience make him infinitely more helpful around the house.

  30. Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick says:

    I'm such a weird mix and so is my husband. I guess that's why we work. I LOVE being by myself. LOVE IT. But I also love social situations. My husband travels all over the country speaking to large groups and is the BEST speaker I've ever heard, but he would always rather be at home with us than out with people. We are weird. :) So, I can't really help but I do think the fact you two are different is probably a good thing the other months of the year. :)

  31. Pearl Girl says:

    WOW I can't believe how many of us are married to Introverts, isn't it so nice to have the blogging world. My friends are all in teh same boat as me. We have monthly girls nights whenever there is a Bday or something to celebrate, and our husbands are all GLAD to stay home wiht the kiddos. My husband and I have (after 13 years) learned to see the humor in it. I only throw about 2 partys a year, and he knows he is going to have to suck it up and try to be social. and I know there are nights where I might want to go to a function and he might not want to. I always make sure to invite someone that I know he will beable to hold a conversation with. hahahaha. He has it pretty bad.

  32. Colleen @ MuralMaker&More says:

    I'm the introvert & hubby is extrovert. Although when people first meet us they think it's the other way around.
    He loves to go, go, go, parties, people, etc. I'm most comfortable shut in my own home.
    We've found a balance after 20 years. Took us some time, tho. We just 'get' each other now and do a little 'give n take'.

  33. Colleen @ MuralMaker&More says:

    I'm the introvert & hubby is extrovert. Although when people first meet us they think it's the other way around.
    He loves to go, go, go, parties, people, etc. I'm most comfortable shut in my own home.
    We've found a balance after 20 years. Took us some time, tho. We just 'get' each other now and do a little 'give n take'.

  34. Colleen @ MuralMaker&More says:

    I'm the introvert & hubby is extrovert. Although when people first meet us they think it's the other way around.
    He loves to go, go, go, parties, people, etc. I'm most comfortable shut in my own home.
    We've found a balance after 20 years. Took us some time, tho. We just 'get' each other now and do a little 'give n take'.

  35. Colleen @ MuralMaker&More says:

    I'm the introvert & hubby is extrovert. Although when people first meet us they think it's the other way around.
    He loves to go, go, go, parties, people, etc. I'm most comfortable shut in my own home.
    We've found a balance after 20 years. Took us some time, tho. We just 'get' each other now and do a little 'give n take'.

  36. Great question! I think the answer is simple and very much the same for any relationship: do things apart from each other! Let the introvert stay at home and rest, please, and go to some parties alone! :-) I'm an introvert and just came by to say hi!

  37. Pat & Ron Harris says:

    I am an introvert and I always thought my ex was the extrovert. I never wanted to go out and socialize but would force myself and end up enjoying most of it. Now that I'm divorced, I can see where ex-hubby was just as much an introvert as I only he never let it show. I think as a couple, it's one of those things you agree to disagree on. Both sides have to give a little. As an introvert, I don't have any social needs. lol. I love my home, my family, and my pets. All my needs are met in those.

  38. Pat & Ron Harris says:

    I am an introvert and I always thought my ex was the extrovert. I never wanted to go out and socialize but would force myself and end up enjoying most of it. Now that I'm divorced, I can see where ex-hubby was just as much an introvert as I only he never let it show. I think as a couple, it's one of those things you agree to disagree on. Both sides have to give a little. As an introvert, I don't have any social needs. lol. I love my home, my family, and my pets. All my needs are met in those.

  39. Pat & Ron Harris says:

    I am an introvert and I always thought my ex was the extrovert. I never wanted to go out and socialize but would force myself and end up enjoying most of it. Now that I'm divorced, I can see where ex-hubby was just as much an introvert as I only he never let it show. I think as a couple, it's one of those things you agree to disagree on. Both sides have to give a little. As an introvert, I don't have any social needs. lol. I love my home, my family, and my pets. All my needs are met in those.

  40. Pat & Ron Harris says:

    I am an introvert and I always thought my ex was the extrovert. I never wanted to go out and socialize but would force myself and end up enjoying most of it. Now that I'm divorced, I can see where ex-hubby was just as much an introvert as I only he never let it show. I think as a couple, it's one of those things you agree to disagree on. Both sides have to give a little. As an introvert, I don't have any social needs. lol. I love my home, my family, and my pets. All my needs are met in those.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I am a introvert. I rather be at home than anywhere else in the world. My husband does like to go to social functions, but not to many..he still likes his alone time. And that means alone in his own space! We have a room that is just his, no wife allowed. He goes into his space whenever he needs to recharge. Sure I use to be resentful of his time alone, but I looked at things thru his eyes. He has a really tough tough, he talks to cranky, upset people for 12 hours…why would he want to come home and listen to another person? He doesn't. After he takes him time alone, we have better quality time together. I would rather see him when he is recharged than the other, so I have learned to enjoy my time when he is alone.
    This makes our marriage better, we are closer than ever and love each other more deeply.
    We wives just have to really look at life thru our husband's eyes and do what is needed so we have the best of our men!

  42. I am a extrovert by day *as I am a hairstylist. I am a introvert by shifts end. I get my best ideas and creative inspiration after being exposed in the extrovert hours and then settling down to relax in the splendor that is introvert-ness. :)

  43. I’m not sure where exactly I fall between these categories (I’m a gemini [II], so…) Thing is, I enjoy people and parties, but without my fair share of down time I get out of sorts and am prone to migraines and tension headaches. I only say all of this because, from my experience, there are three things I’ve found that can be somewhat helpful: having an abundance of seperate seating areas, one or more of them serene, such as a bedroom, and off-limits to the general public, (ie: houseguests), pre-planned events/activities that corral everyone to a certain location (could be out to see Christmas lights, or in to watch the peanuts Christmas special, the point is to have a locale for most everyone to congregate to). Also, boundaries, physical and emotional. Generally people would rather have a small amount of good quality time with someone they love than a ton of time where their beloved introvert is miserable. This means that an introvert must self preserve and seek out ‘breaks’ in stimuli. Just like a smoke break, it’s important to either sneak off, or even excuse yourself and assess your level of stress. We often neglect our emotional health on the grounds that you can’t gauge it with a scale or thermometer. But this unwise. Everyone knows that prolonged exposure to stress has a detrimental affect on our health and studies have shown that repeat offenses to our nervous system can cause irreversible changes in the brain. That said, compromise is king! Husbands don’t just get to skirt every social encounter between Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day! Come up with a plan you can agree on ahead of time. Such as for every social gathering he willingly and happily participates in you’ll agree to let him off the hook for another later event. Or, he cannot skip more than 2 occasions in a row, or for every one that he does attend he gets to pick what you watch on netflix next together. And so on. I have personally been practicing not talking so much to my husband in attempt to not overload his brain with pesky words! ; ) He is a brilliant man, but, like your husband he is overburdened with work and also school. This leaves him unable to enjoy the out doors near so much as he we like, which is where he recharges his batteries hunting and fishing. And anyways, as you can see I’m over-word-y and like to discuss things in exhaustive detail; such as the myriad examples suited for use with ‘ombre’! = D This conversation would give my poor husband a nosebleed!!
    Anyway, a book to check out might be “the highly sensitive person” … while the author definitely distinguishes between introverted and highly sensitive, informing us that both extros and intros alike may be cast as highly sensitive, she does give some excellent advice for managing those anxious times when the world doesn’t feel so welcoming to us.
    wish you the best and thankyou so much for sharing yourself with us! you’re a true inspiration!

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