I’ve met men who can talk for Africa, but I’ve also dated men who are introverted. It took me time to notice this pattern. I realized that my father was expressive, hence I felt all men would be that way.
All my ex-partners were introverted, and so is my husband, so I had to learn by experience before I realized there were materials to guide me.
If you’re expressive and have dated men who are introverted, you’ll sure understand the frustration that comes from all the silent treatment, the need for time to process matters, the few words they say.
Here are a few tips to make communication with and understanding your introverted partner easier.
Timing is everything
I’ve realized that when my husband is busy with work or anything he loves doing with full attention, it’s always best not to talk to him at that point. There are days when I wish to talk ASAP and I can sense that he’s disturbed from work or clients who are giving him stress, so I have to keep quiet and wait for a better time. I didn’t understand in the beginning though; I would just approach him and start talking. I would notice his indifference and increase my pitch, thinking maybe he’d get my point, but it never worked. We’d either end up arguing, or he wouldn’t even listen to me.
I thought it was him, but I realized we were different and didn’t process communication the same way. This has taught me timing. Some of the things I’ve learned to do to create the right atmosphere is to take interest in what he likes and use that as my entry point. I do this when I know I need to deal with the issues immediately. I could try talking about his work, use some encouraging words, or talk about anything he’s willing to talk about. That would set the entrance to a deeper conversation. Can you figure out something he likes?
Tonality is important
For expressive people, we sometimes don’t know when we go a little overboard. If you start your conversation by shouting or being rude, you may lose your partner that way. Tonality is the pitch at which you speak when communicating. Since introverted people are calm, it’s better to also use a calm tone when delivering a heavy discussion. If you notice that you’re getting tense, take some time to be calm and listen to his point of view, or shift your discussion to a better time.
Watch your body language
When talking to your introverted partner, take your time to gesticulate properly without coming off as rude. If you get carried away by your gesticulating, he may feel you’re trying to be controlling or domineering. To avoid losing him by your body language, take some time to sit and calmly present your opinions on your topic. Practice active listening too. Introverts shut down when they notice you want to dominate the conversation and express yourself alone. When it’s time for your partner to respond, listen carefully and note the points. Don’t listen to react but to understand.
Use positive anchors
If you want your introverted partner to show interest in your points, learn to start with some notes of encouragement or positive belief in him. If you appear to be condescending, he might shut down. To avoid him being defensive, it may be better for you to filter your communication by focusing on the issue without playing the blame game. Even if he was at fault, look for ways to communicate your expectations in a positive light. Remove the focus from “You” to “I.” For instance, “Whenever you forget our special dates, I feel ignored and unloved.” That’s better than “You always forget our special dates, you don’t care about me and you’re not committed to this relationship.”
The latter statement may sound like a great way to communicate your discontent, but it may leave him feeling inadequate and unable to make the relationship work, and that usually leads to unnecessary defensiveness. You should also avoid confrontation because that’s the first and best way to lose their attention.
Learn to enjoy your “Me-time and friends time”
Introverts don’t always want to talk about everything. They would rather leave some stories out. To deal with that, you could balance things out by initiating the conversation. Or you could just learn to discuss certain issues with your friends, or even let them be. You don’t have to change or pretend to cope with an introvert, but discussing how something happened in your office for two hours straight might be unnecessary. You can just learn to filter out the side stories and focus on the message. That simply means that you should engage in quality conversations over quantity.
Agree on quality time schedule
Regardless of how understanding and patient you may be with your partner, you would definitely want to have days where you can be free to talk about anything in whatever quantity. Agree with your partner on the best timing for that. It could be your weekend hangout or video calls if it’s a long distance relationship.
Give him time to process his thoughts
This was the hardest for me because I wanted a now conversation. I’d tell him we needed to sort things out at that moment, but it’d be unproductive, so when we discussed and he didn’t seem ready to talk, I’d ask for a better time when we could discuss and I’d follow up. In that way, I would still talk about what I wanted to, but at an agreed time. Introverts get their energy from their alone time, unlike extroverts who enjoy socializing, hence you may need to absorb this difference and use it well.
Let me say that you have to learn how not to get hurt by these differences because it can look like your partner is difficult. Take time to understand your own strengths and build yourself while you learn. These tips can also help men with their introverted partner, and you can also apply these tips in all other kinds of relationships in life.
I believe that with these tips, you will become a better partner to your significant other. What is the most difficult part of communication with your introverted partner? And what other tips have worked for you?