You fell in love with your one-and-only because they’re friendly, energetic and magnetic. But they’re a textbook extrovert, and you’re the total opposite. What happens when your partner’s life-of-the-party personality gets in the way of your need for quality time with your new book? Here’s how to deal.
1. Make a shared calendar…with limits. For your social butterfly spouse, no amount of after-dinner drinks and marathon brunches is too many. For you, a looming coffee date with your old college roommate has been giving you jitters for weeks. Set a limit on how many social events you feel comfortable attending per week without feeling stressed—let’s say three—and make sure your S.O. is clued in. If they’ve invited you to five dinners next week, pick the top three you’re most interested in and calmly remind them of your new rule. (It might take a bit for you both to get into the groove, but it’ll stick.)
2. Work with, not against, your spouse’s friends. Your S.O. invited you to their law school buddy’s birthday, but you’re not feeling it tonight. Instead of sulking until your partner finally agrees to stay home with you and binge Ugly Delicious, encourage them to go solo—your partner’s friends are extremely useful introvert tools. While you get some much-needed recharging time, they’ll get to socialize and won’t be irked that you stood in the way. Oh, and the best way to bail, but still get bonus points? Send a nice birthday email to the law school friend. He’ll be impressed you made the effort, and let’s face it—three drinks in, he probably won’t remember who was there anyway.
3. Get really comfortable with saying ‘no.’ Some introverts are soft-spoken and don’t want to rock the boat, so we totally understand if this is a tough one for you. But chances are, your extroverted spouse is inviting you to a ton of social stuff that isn’t life-or-death important to them, just things they thought could be fun. So don’t sweat turning down a Saturday full of activities when you desperately need some self-care. Tell your S.O. what you need, and work to figure out a compromise that makes you both happy.
4. Create a quiet space that’s just for you. Have you ever tried reading a novel with an extrovert in the house? Good luck—by page two, they’ll be regaling you with stories about eighth-grade band camp. Instead of expecting your partner to read your mind when you need some quiet time, retreat to a cozy, tucked-away space that’s just for you (we’re big fans of the reading nook). Ask your partner to give you some time alone until you emerge from your hiding spot—then they can finish telling you all about Bob the tuba player.
5. Pick your battles. As much as you’d love to spend the rest of your life bailing on birthday invites and hanging out on the couch in your swoveralls, the best introvert/extrovert pairings thrive on compromise. If you want to be part of a team, you have to take one for the team every once in a while, too. Yep, that means you’ll probably have to go to a few family dinners you’re not really that psyched about, and your S.O. might have to sit quietly through your favorite movies. But you love each other, and it’s a small price to pay for the happy, supportive relationship you’ll be rewarded with.