When we hear the word introvert, most of us imagine a person with robot-like social skills. Such extremes, however, are relatively rare, which is exactly what makes them extreme. In reality, there’s a continuous scale between absolute introversion and extroversion and almost all of us fall somewhere in between. Nevertheless, the fact that we gravitate towards one or the other end strongly shapes the way we interact with others, and especially the way we form romantic and sexual connections.
Am I an introvert?
At some point in your life you might realize you do not need to be around a bunch of people to have fun. Or that you might, in an increasing number of situations, prefer to stay home doing something quiet instead of having a wild night out, hitting bars or clubbing. This might likely mean that you are an introvert, most simply described as someone who prefers less intense social situations. It is not a diagnosis and it is neither a good or bad thing. It is simply a personality trait, although an important one.
What is the difference between introverts and extroverts?
The essential difference is how much you crave other people’s company, which directly influences the size of your social circle. All the other differences might, or might not be there. Regardless of being somewhat of an introvert myself, I have no problems with striking or maintaining a conversation. I also tend to enjoy socializing with people I find agreeable and love dancing, parties and, to a reasonable degree, even meeting new people. However, there’s one thing that has always set me apart from every extrovert that I know. It is the amount of energy required to maintain a wide and active social circle. I was always fascinated with the ease with which a true extrovert maintains a massive and very active social circle. For me, it has always required lots of work, while for them, it seems a source of personal energy.
Introverts and relationships
We might fall into a trap of trying to predict the probability of success of a relationship based on the level of introversion or extroversion of each partner. But the truth is that emotional investment has nothing to do with how introverted any of you are. Some introverts are truly elusive and hard to reach by their partners, others are perfectly emotionally available. The same goes for extroverts. I know some that are prone to very superficial and short relationships, and others that are completely dedicated to their partners and fully resistant to any temptation their lively social life might bring upon them. Real life often resists stereotypes. For instance, the study exploring if and why people remain friends after a breakup, somewhat surprisingly, discovered that introverts are more likely to stay friendly with their exes. A possible explanation being that extroverts find new friends more easily, thus finding individual friendship as a less valuable resource.
Types of relationships
The success of your relationship does not depend on how aligned you and your partner are in the matters of extroversion. It mostly depends on the type of connection the two of you have. Relationship experts recognize two main types of relationships and one that is a combination of those two. Symmetrical relationships in which people tend to mirror each other, as you might guess, work best for people with similar personalities.
As opposed to that, in complementary relationships their differences are what makes them work. For instance, imagine the classic example of a marriage in which one partner makes lots of money and the other person takes care of the household.
The third type, the parallel relationship, combines what works well in each approach and is thus considered the healthiest type – allowing lots of breathing space for each individual, but still moving in the same direction in life. Being an extrovert with an introvert partner (or the other way around) might bring more balance to both of you if you can properly communicate your needs.
Who gets more sex?
One thing extroverts can rejoice is that, as a group, they undoubtedly enjoy more sex. The reason is simple – meeting lots of people is still the best way to find a potential sex partner, or in other words, to win a lottery, you must buy a ticket. But introverts have their strong sides as well; they excel at introspection and often have more vivid and intense emotional worlds. Many of the famous creative minds – writers, painters or musicians are known for being both introverts and great lovers.
Do introverts cheat?
Personally, I’ve never really bought into the old “accident” excuse for cheating. “Sexidents” do happen, but, as far as I see it, the outcome is often decided by factors like repeated choice to go to a dark club, drink tons of booze and squeeze against strangers’ bodies while screaming nonsense into their ears, as opposed to, say, reading a book on your couch. Most experts agree that more opportunity produces more cheating, but in the long run it always comes down to one’s own personality. It is true that if you are open to infidelity, you will find the opportunity to “pull the trigger” more easily if you are very extroverted, but it is also true that introverts’ infidelity often comes from a more toxic place for a relationship – emotional distancing, planning, secret plotting and lots of lying.