Social Question

athenasgriffin's avatar

Introverts, do you ever feel as if you do not understand extroverts? Vice versa?

Asked by athenasgriffin (5944 points ) June 29th, 2012

I’m currently dating an extrovert. Sometimes I am confounded as to his motivations for doing things. Even the reasons why he smiles are different from the reasons why I smile, at least in groups of people. He smiles first in anticipation of social interaction, again when someone begins talking and while they are talking, as if to say “Go on, you’re doing great.” Just talking to people, even if he doesn’t really like them, even if he dislikes them, makes him happy.

In contrast, I only enjoy talking to people who are interesting, who talk about things that I enjoy talking about, or who I have an emotional connection to. I smile after someone has finished talking, either because I enjoyed what they said as a way to express thanks, or because I hope that if they get the affirmation they are looking for, that they will stop talking.

Do you usually have relationships with people who are the same as you socially, i.e. introverted or extroverted?

What differences have you noticed between the way you think and the way extroverts/introverts think?

Or do you think that other things play more of a role? Do you think extroversion/introversion is overplayed?

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15 Answers

LittleLemon's avatar

This is a GQ, and a hard one to answer for me, as I see myself as a bit of both. I suppose when my introverted tendencies are manifesting, it’s both the thought, “I don’t understand where this person is coming from,” coupled with the even stronger, “This person’s extroversion is annoying me.” This is usually prevalent when the extrovert is either expecting something intangible from me that I am uncomfortable giving, or is encroaching on my physical space.

Blackberry's avatar

I’m more introverted. From my experience, the times I put myself out there and went all alphamale extrovert, I got some good results. The bad part is that once I get in the door, I easily tire of keeping up the facade, lol.

downtide's avatar

I’m an extrovert and my partner is an introvert, so we frustrate each other no end, but we have a better understanding of the opposite perspective.

tups's avatar

I’m probably an introvert and yes, sometimes I find some things about extroverts hard to understand. They can also annoy me. I have some friends who are extrovert and I don’t understand how they can be social all the time. I need my quality time with me. I don’t understand how they can take so much from the inside to the outside. I find that very hard.

thorninmud's avatar

I certainly have a hard time understanding the urge to always seek out company. I like my interactions in teeny little doses, interspersed with plenty of downtime. It would be nightmarish for me to have a partner who needed people around all the time.

There is an upside to being around extroverts, though. Put me with another introvert and we quickly run out of stuff to talk about; it becomes awkwardly clear that we’re both just sweating out the ordeal. But an extrovert will always seem to find something to keep the conversational ball rolling, and enjoy it to boot. Like most introverts, listening is my strong suit, so pair me with an extrovert and we get along fine. Just please keep it short.

tedibear's avatar

Might I recommend a website called The Introvert Zone . It’s more about introverts than anyone, but it also talks about extroverts and introverts relating to each other. I’ve not listened to Susan Cain’s TED talk about introverts, but I’ve read very good reviews of it. Same thing for the book “The Introvert Advantage.”

Paradox25's avatar

I’m very introverted, and there are only certain situations and certain types of people that I get motivated to converse with. Even then I need a break after that. I can understand extroversion since there are times when I get in that kick. Most extroverts that I knew, including my brother and sister, even needed breaks from socializing too. I think that we can generally understand each other when it comes to some things, but there will be other things in which we likely will never understand each other as well. It is like mayo, people who love it can’t understand people who don’t, and vice versa.

Blueroses's avatar

Through the course of counselling and a class I took last year with a group of strangers, I learned something a bit different about introvert/extrovert than I had previously understood.

Given a choice, I would withdraw and spend my time alone. I have zero problems with being alone. But, I always test (Myers-Briggs) strongly weighted toward extrovert. I realized that I’m much happier and my mind works faster when I have other people to bounce ideas off.

What I learned is that extrovert and introvert don’t mean what I thought they meant. It doesn’t necessarily indicate a preference for being alone or for seeking out company. It means more about where you draw your energy and ideas. Do you need to be alone to best think things out or do you need interaction?

Some people who are introverts, perform very well in front of a group. Some extroverts would rather die in a fire than give a speech.

tinyfaery's avatar

I am truly introverted; being among a lot people drains all of my energy. My wife is very changeable and when she is feeling sociable she goes out with friends. I much prefer a quiet evening at home, alone or with people who like to talk about things that I find interesting.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I do not understand, as an introvert, the utility of facebook.

I add people to my facebook, and they complain that I share virtually nothing on the service. It is only then do I realize I do not share much in real life communication with people, and they imagine I am only reserved with them, and if I facebook friend them they will find out about the more gregarious me.

I don’t share. Not because I don’t like people. I think people are awesome. I just assume they have interesting things going on, as do I, and I am unaware that they care about my birthday.

flutherother's avatar

I think it is to do with sensitivity and stimulation. I am introverted and being sensitive and don’t need to throw myself at the world to feel stimulated. Small quiet things give me all the stimulation I need. I understand the need for stimulation. If your threshold for what stimulates you is high I can see why you would actively seek out loud and busy environments but for me they are too much.

ccrow's avatar

I have read The Introvert Advantage and got a lot out of it. According to studies cited in the book, brain function is different depending on which one you are. I think I need to get extrovert DH to read it now…

ccrow's avatar

@tedibear thanks for that link!

tom_g's avatar

I have commented a bunch about my introversion. But I have recently learned something. This is a huge generalization, but I find that I get along ok with extroverted women, but find that my relationships with extroverted men have a tendency to turn adversarial rather quickly. I am not entirely sure why. Still trying to work this out.

Blackberry's avatar

@tom_g Extroverted men can be overbearing sometimes.

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