Relationships are not easy. And then somehow we end up being attracted to someone who is the opposite of us, well, because ‘opposites attract.’ It is no secret that effective communication is key, not only in relationships but in life in general, and although introverts tend to be creative think-outside-the-box people, they struggle with the constant conversations and “check-ins” that a relationship may require.
Communication to a relationship is like what oxygen is to life.
Have you ever felt lost, stuck and maybe confused, yet unsure about how to communicate your inner world with your significant other? Have you ever been misunderstood or called “too sensitive” by a partner?
These are problems many introverts go through at some point in time. Introverts recharge their energy alone. Their strength lies in focusing inward and putting them in touch with their thoughts and feelings. They tend to prefer smaller intimate groups rather than bigger ones. They also love deep, meaningful conversations. As much as they love their own company and prefer being by themselves, they too crave deep, meaningful connection, especially with their partners.
Where some introverts are shy, others are charismatic – they just recharge their batteries through time alone. However, because introverts tend to be in touch with their feelings or highly sensitive, their partners might initially misunderstand them. While being misunderstood might be frustrating at first, there are ways you and your partner can improve the communication in your relationship.
Here’s how to improve your relationship communication as an introvert:
Get to know yourself better. One of the best things you can do as an introvert is to get to know yourself better. Journal regularly so you can figure out your strengths and blind spots. Knowing yourself better will help you communicate with your partner and speak up for yourself.
What gives you energy?
Observe yourself what part of the day you crave time to yourself the most – morning, evenings, just after everyone has gone out, those last minutes of silence before everyone is back home?
What activities drain you a lot faster?
Is there anywhere in life where you feel exhausted?
How did that make you feel? What would you change about that?
Do you have a certain rhythm of being ‘off’ and ‘on’ – maybe around your period or towards the end of the month when you are waiting for your monthly income or around the holidays?
Accept and compromise. You and your partner are entitled to two different experiences. If you and your partner see things differently, learn where you need to accept and compromise! And doing this is a big win because most times it is complementary and not antagonistic.
Celebrate your strengths. Your strengths as an introvert may be under-appreciated or overlooked. Recognise and celebrate your strengths and find ways to use them to improve your relationship! As an introvert, you probably are:
Empathetic. You understand when others need time alone. You have an easy time putting yourself in others’ shoes. Taking the time to get to know yourself and your feelings better will help you feel more confident communicating them to your significant other. The key is to feel with people with discernment of your feelings.
Open and deep. You can be open, vulnerable (when you feel safe) and transparent about how you feel.
Connected. Because you recharge alone and think inward, you can be connected to your body and mind.
A great listener plus you notice the details.You are a great listener and pay attention to others. This might mean you also have a great memory! People might be surprised by the details you tend to remember. “The colour of your partner’s shirt when they said that hurtful comment.”
Ask questions. Sometimes, introverts tend to rely on others to lead the conversation. Be curious about how your partner feels, in and out of arguments. “What” or “Why” questions can usually lead to a defensive response. So, you can play even safer and start by saying, ‘Help me understand…..’
Understand and embrace how you naturally express and receive love. People don’t believe it but sometimes you don’t necessarily give love the way you want to receive it. I love the work on the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. It is a great tool for understanding how you most naturally express and receive love. They love languages are:
Quality Time: Meaningful and fun time spent together. Like sitting with your partner and enjoying deep conversations.
Physical Touch: Affection through touch and physical closeness. A gentle rub of your shoulder as your spouse passes you hard at work at the table or cooking in the kitchen.
Words of Affirmation: Compliments, verbal encouragement, affirmations and loving acknowledgement. “I love you so much. Thank you for tolerating me.“
Gifts: Physical gifts, great or small. “So I was passing by a book store and I got you this book.“
Acts of Service: Helpful gestures that make another’s life easier and more enjoyable. “Wow! You sorted all of that laundry and without me asking?!”
Give yourself alone time when you need it. If you find yourself needing time or space to process emotions alone, clear your mind, or recharge, create that space for yourself! Sometimes it might be right after an argument with your spouse or just after your toddler’s fifth tantrum of the day and you would appreciate time to recharge. However, it can be perceived as a reaction to what just happened so go ahead and communicate that you just need the time. Taking this a step further, notice what fills your cup quicker so you can maximize the time you have. And sometimes it might be as simple as putting your phone away for five minutes.
Speak up. Introverts are less likely to speak up because they are mostly in their head. Sometimes, introverts will wait until they are asked before speaking up. You and your partner are a team! When you’re stressed or there’s an argument, request gracefully for time to be by yourself. Your partner will be at ease since they know you’re not walking away; you’re just taking the time you need so you can have a good discussion. Also share you views about the low-stakes situation like dinner plans and you will start to feel more confident about having those bigger discussions.
Learn to say “No”. It is important to know your limits. Don’t say yes to activities and gatherings that you know will drain you. “No” is healthy for you.
Just because you are an introvert does not mean that you are unable to communicate. Everyone needs a reminder of their inner awesome, it is how we become better people. Effective communication requires engagement, self-awareness, and creativity, all of which comes naturally for an introvert. It is not about quantity but about quality. So the goal is not to go out and start making a lot of noise. Talking does not equal communication. Going out everyday does not guarantee lasting connections.
Remember, relationships are a partnership! If you are not able to effectively communicate, your relationship will be based on assumption and that is not healthy at all. Be transparent with your partner about how you feel and where you struggle. Together, you can not just survive but thrive and weather all the storms that come your way.
O my Lord! Open for me my chest (grant me self-confidence, contentment, and boldness); Ease my task for me; And remove the impediment from my speech, so they may understand what I say. Amin!
If this was beneficial, please drop a comment, like the post or share to an introvert in your life.
I will be talking a lot about the differences in our personalities in adults and children, how they show up and how to communicate effectively irrespective of these difference in a workshop – The basis of relationships. Get your early bird discount today!
Grief… [trigger] It doesn’t mean only one thing. It can be a lot of things. The loss of a loved one. The loss of a life that we planned in our head. The end of a marriage. The end of a friendship. The end of a relationship. Moving on from one season to the next. The miscarriage. The negative pregnancy test after that hopeful slight positive result. A move. Moving on. And not to forget the changes, growth, stops and pauses that come with any of these. The opportunities we lost because we chose to love and support a loved one. The life we thought we will have The memories we thought we will make And sometimes you may feel so angry because the world seems to be moving on just fine…. No one can tell that as you pushed the trolley in the supermarket, there was a contraction and a loss of what would have been a baby. Your baby. Somedays it is easy for you to identify what you are feeling, you are in your room with the windows covered just sitting in the darkness and somedays, you get through your day with love and laugher and then all of a sudden, as you lay on your bed, you feel a tightness in your chest and you seek the mercy of tears and it just doesn’t come. Then there is people telling you how strong you are but you can barely lift the blankets off and start your day. Grief is for loss. It is your loss whatever that means for you. And it is valid. (ٱلَّذِینَ إِذَاۤ أَصَـٰبَتۡهُم مُّصِیبَةࣱ قَالُوۤا۟ إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّاۤ إِلَیۡهِ رَ ٰجِعُونَ) [Surah Al-Baqarah 156] those who say, when afflicted with a calamity, ‘We belong to God and to Him we shall return.’
It has been exactly 12 months since I announced my idea for women of tadabbur to the world. I don’t even know where the idea came from, oh actually I do know. Alhamdulillah. I also remember thinking it was a bad time to start cos I was also starting Arabic full time and then I had my day job and the agents and my family…and…and… I put it out anyway and then one person signed up and then the second and then… and then it morphed into a beautiful community of amazing and supportive women. And even more communities have been born of that. The doubts come in sometimes but I have learnt so much. SubhanAllah! To mention a few,
Taking a leap of faith means doesn’t mean you trust yourself, it means you trust Allah ﷻ
Take the first step even if you do not see the whole staircase.
The power of one. Allah ﷻ has always sent me that one sign, maybe a person that will just say something that I didn’t even know that I needed to hear. “Aisha! it is one at a time, one sign, one person, one feeling, one idea, one theme, one moment of gratitude, one community, one foot in front of the other and that is how we change the world.” Please say a du’a for all of these special ladies – all of them – new and old, present and those who had to take their leave. I pray that Allah ﷻ fixes all our hearts. He is indeed Al-Jabbar.
I remember a few years ago, Abu Agents was attending a training in Lagos (this was pre-agents) when he called me with a huge warm apology and I was surprised because there was no current issue but he promised to explain later.
It turns out they took a personality assessment and a total stranger (the facilitator) told him everything his wife had been telling him about him (sans the nagging but I mean). And that was the beginning of it…
He would read so much about the human beings and their psychology and then he eventually found DISC. He got certified and then I took an assessment. I couldn’t believe how a bunch of random questions could tell so much about me.
I felt like it wasn’t a level playing ground because I knew him but I didn’t “get” him, and I could see that he was starting to get me. I mean, I know how he acts but I didn’t know why… so we had a conversation with both our reports. I was intrigued.
One day, he said to me, “you will be a better DISC coach than I am.” I laughed because I wasn’t even interested in being a coach. Let’s just say the rest is history…
There is a comfort in getting to understand you. Would you like to here more about this? Sign up for the Basis of Relationship [Early bird for a few hours+ a gift]
So last week, I had just served my toddlers some pap. Where my daughter sat with hers (which is strange), her twin was uninterested. She finished her meal and came to hand me the cup but she kicked his cup which was on the floor as she brought hers. I saw when it fell and I felt sad, maybe even some anger.
It had been a long week. Abu Agents had been away for work, I was ill and there was no nanny.
Anyways, I took a deep breath as she handed me her cup and spoon and I said “thank you”. She turned round to go back and as soon as she saw the cup with the pap spilled, She exclaimed, “Oh!Oh!!” something we say when we make a mistake and she went over to try to scoop it back into the cup.
I felt ashamed. Ashamed that my first feeling was sad+/-anger over an honest mistake.
I went and we cleaned it up together. And I gave her a big hug.
I was not in a good place and I wasn’t thinking the best of my toddler. Toddlers make it hard tbh…
It helps to create a pause between the trigger and the reaction.
A reminder for me to press pause between the trigger and the reaction.