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.Tony Gaskin
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.
- 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!