I have always been the “shy girl.” From day one, I avoided other humans at all cost. In preschool, I played by myself and I refused to speak a word to any person that wasn’t my mother until Kindergarten. As I got older, I started to engage with other people a little more but I never had more than 2-3 really close friends. That all changed the day I met my boyfriend. When I met my boyfriend, I was 15 years old and had no idea about boys, let alone how to communicate with one. It started out with what I like to call “playground flirtation,” which consists of him making fun of me and my shyness and then I would run away crying. Eventually, though, he just annoyingly put himself in my way during class and after school. Within a month, we were dating. I honestly believe if he wasn’t so “aggressive” with his approach, that I’d still be single to this day. But while I was convinced that my introverted nature was what was holding me back, my boyfriend told me that the reason he liked me in the first place was because I wasn’t an attention seeker like other girls.

My boyfriend was the complete opposite of me. He had a million friends and was the type of person who could (and would) spark a conversation with any random person he met on the street. My father’s affectionate nickname for him was “the mayor” because everywhere we went, he knew someone, and I mean everywhere; the post office, restaurants, sometimes even different states when we would go on vacation. After five years, I still haven’t quite gotten used to being the mayor’s wife but there are a few things I’ve learned along the way.

Communication

This involves defining your comfort zone to your partner and discussing things beyond ”I just don’t feel like socializing tonight.” Why don’t you like going out? Why does your partner enjoy going out? These are important things to know. You may not always see eye-to-eye or even be able to understand each other’s needs, but it’s crucial to have that open kind of communication to avoid disaster every time you want to stay in and they want to go out. With any luck, good communication with your partner could possibly lead to finding an activity you can both enjoy.

Compromise Is Key

When you are in an introvert-extrovert relationship, you can really complement each other. The introvert can show the extrovert that they don’t need other people to make them happy and they can have fun sitting on the couch watching TV. Meanwhile, the extrovert can teach the introvert how to be more social and embrace new opportunities. Unfortunately, though, with conflicting personalities comes conflict. The majority of fights my boyfriend and I have had were over how we were going to spend our weekend. The other night I came home from work exhausted and my boyfriend was waiting for me at the dining room table with two of his friends asking me to go to the movies with him. I wanted to freak out because after a long day, the last thing I wanted to do was go out and be social. However, the past two nights my boyfriend had decided to stay home and cuddle on the couch with me so I felt like I should do something for him. Every relationship has give-and-take and as long as your hubby is willing to stay home alone with you every once in a while and you’re willing to escape your comfort zone, then you two are golden.

Don’t Lose Yourself

Introverts are prone to social anxiety and often feel uncomfortable in large groups. Unfortunately, this tends to be the environment extroverts thrive on. Being that you are in a relationship, chances are you might have to endure a few more social gatherings then you might prefer. Often I have heard the terms “just socialize” or “just have fun” from my extroverted boyfriend. At first, I was convinced that he wanted me to be something I wasn’t and didn’t even know how to pretend to be. Often times, I would just find a place to be alone and hide. I wouldn’t have fun, therefore, he wouldn’t have fun. I would feel awful; like I wasn’t the girl he should be with. But after some explaining, I made him aware that I’m just not the type of person who can blend into a crowd as easy as him. From then on, any huge party we went to, we drove separately so if I got uncomfortable I could leave. It’s important that both of you are yourselves and feel comfortable to be yourselves. Don’t feel like you have to be someone you’re not for your partner.