I am extremely extroverted. I thrive off time with others, especially my friends. They make me feel happy, fulfilled, and safe. I love them with all my heart, and I wouldn’t want to change anything about them.
However, one minor issue sometimes impacts our relationships: all of my closest friends are introverts.
Personally, it took some time (and a few emotional fights) to learn how to effectively get my needs met as an extrovert with very introverted friends, especially given my extreme fear of abandonment and other insecurities. Eventually, though, I learned some valuable skills to help me get these needs met while still considering my introverted friends’ needs.
1. Communicate Your Needs Clearly
I spent many years trying to get my needs met in ways that were both extreme and ineffective. I lost many friends and experienced several failed romantic relationships because I didn’t realize how harmful my constant pushing and nagging were. However, I eventually realized that I could get my needs met much easier by just communicating my needs.
Clear communication is the most important part of any relationship. But it’s crucial if you’re an extrovert who is mostly surrounded by introverts. Because introverts’ needs look very different, they don’t always know or understand what extroverts need. However, by explaining how you feel and what you need, your introverted loved ones can help meet your needs.
When communicating your needs to the introverts in your life, make sure you’re clear about the “why” behind those needs. Doing so adds a layer of communication that can help your introverted friends and family truly understand what you need and help them meet those needs for you in the most effective way.
2. Check In Regularly
Like me, most of my friends are people-pleasers. Unfortunately, this desire to make each other happy can sometimes cause issues, especially if meeting others’ needs means sacrificing your own in the process. For this reason, it’s important for me to check in with my introverted friends regularly to make sure they aren’t sacrificing what they need just to make me happy.
When my friends and I go out for a night, I try to pay attention to their nonverbal communication and body language. If I notice changes, I ask if they’re okay or if we need to leave. When we talk on the phone for hours, and they start growing silent, I ask if they want to hang up to have some alone time. I listen when they say they feel overwhelmed or they need space, and I respect their needs when they express them.
If you are close with introverts, it’s important to check in with them regularly, especially if they try to make sure others are happy. You can simply ask them how they feel and remind them that it’s okay to express their needs to you, just like you express your needs to them. By checking in with each other regularly, you and your introverted loved ones can both get your needs met while providing for each other in the process.
3. Compromise, Compromise, Compromise
If there’s one thing I’ve learned through having four introverted close friends, it’s this: We recharge in very different ways. While I love going out with all of my friends for a night on the town or spending an entire day staying busy with lots of activities, my friends much prefer binge-watching a series on Netflix or curling up with a good book.
However, that doesn’t mean that my introverted friends don’t enjoy spending time with me as much as I enjoy their company too. It just means we have to find ways to compromise from time to time.
If you mainly just want quality time with your friends or family, there are ways to do that without making your introverted friends uncomfortable or overwhelmed. If you really need a night out, ask your introverted loved ones if they’d be willing to go out for a few hours and agree to leave when they feel like they’ve had enough. Compromise can help you get your needs met without draining the introverts in your life.
4. Don’t Take Their Distance Personally
I am the kind of person who enjoys talking to my friends every single day because I love them and appreciate the relationships we all share. Sometimes, though, my introverted friends simply don’t have the energy to talk to me for hours on end or even respond to messages. While this initially provoked my fear of abandonment, I eventually learned that their lack of communication wasn’t a reflection on me — they just needed time to introvert.
If your introverted loved ones ask for space or spend a day or two alone, don’t take it personally. Instead, just remind yourself that their needs look different than yours, and that’s okay. It’s not that they don’t love you or want to be with you; they just require time alone to recharge.
In those moments you’re apart, you can always take a moment to tell the introverts in your life that you love them and that you’d like to talk to them when they feel up to it.
Getting your needs met as an extrovert can feel complicated, especially if you’re surrounded by introverts. But it doesn’t make it impossible — you just need the right approach. As someone whose closest friends are all introverts, I can say with confidence that it’s possible if you’re willing and able to put in the work and communicate clearly.
Previously Published on The Mighty