How Introverts and Extroverts Can Benefit from One Another

Sometimes I think that introverts and extroverts are from different planets. This is fine, until they find themselves married to one another or working in the same office. If they are not conscious of the differences, they can quickly frustrate one another—or worse.

Green Apple and Orange - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/iSailorr, Image #11794209

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/iSailorr

I am speaking from personal experience here. I have been married to my wife, Gail, for thirty-two years. She is an extrovert; I am an introvert. Early in our marriage, this was a constant source of friction. Frankly, it’s a miracle we survived it.

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Most people assume that I am an extrovert, because I am a CEO of a large company and do a lot of public speaking. But things are not always what they seem. Many leaders I know are introverts. They can “turn it on” when they need to, but are much more comfortable away from the crowds and the lights.

The real difference between introverts and extroverts is in what energizes them. Ask yourself this question, “Where do you get your energy: by being alone or by being with others?” Or conversely, “What drains you: being alone or being with others?”

Introverts—like me—are energized by being alone. People drain us. Extroverts—like Gail—are energized by others. Being alone drains them. These are not hard and fast rules but general tendencies. I also enjoy being with people and she enjoys being alone—this is just not our dominant way of recharging.

For example,

  • I am content to spend time with a small, tight-knit circle of friends. I am not really interested in meeting anyone else. I have enough friends, thank you very much. Gail, on the other hand, views strangers as “friends-she-hasn’t-yet-met.” She loves meeting new people. The more the merrier.
  • My idea of a great vacation is being somewhere alone—just the two of us. I want to spend the time reading or taking quiet walks. She, on the other hand, wants to meet the locals and go on sight-seeing adventures. The more activities, the better.
  • I want to leave immediately after church—being with all those people is exhausting! On the other hand, Gail can’t wait to get to coffee hour. And she takes the hour part seriously. If she is not the last one to leave, she feels cheated.

Which perspective is right?

Neither. The truth is that you need both. Our marriage is so much richer because we are able to draw from two perspectives. My introversion ensures that we go deep and make time to nourish our souls. Her extroversion ensures that we don’t get stuck there, focused exclusively on ourselves. We reach out to others.

The key is learning to appreciate one another—and serve one another.

If your spouse or colleague is an introvert, you need to give him the space to be alone without making him feel guilty for not being more social. If your spouse or colleague is an extrovert, you need to allow him the freedom to socialize without getting annoyed that he isn’t ready to leave when you are.

The key is appreciating your differences rather than resenting them.

Questions: What is your primary orientation? What about your spouse’s? If they are different, how do you cope with them? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://twitter.com/joannamuses joanna

    I have the possibly odd combination of being introvert leaning with the love language of quality time. In practice that means that I need extended time with people I love and feel comfortable around to maintain my sanity but I very often find social events where I am expected to make hours of small talk with people I don’t really know exhausting and uncomfortable. There are occasional times where the vibe of the event is so good that being amoungst so many new people becomes exciting, but that is the exception. Normally it’s just hard.

    I am not married, but the introvert/extrovert dynamic could be a bit problematic in my family. Growing up I would many times be expected to come to parties/events run by my parents friends. I didn’t want to appear antisocial (risking getting my non-introvert parents upset) but found it awkward and exhausting to constantly make chit-chat with people I didn’t really know. Doesn’t help that adults tend to all ask teenagers and students the same questions when making small talk. My student friends and I joke we should get flashcards with the stock small talk answers we can hold up.

    • http://LiveIntentionally.org @PaulSteinbrueck

      Joanna, I think I can relate… I’m an introvert but one of my strengths (as described by Gallops Strengths Finder) is developer. So, for the most part I’m energized by being alone. However, I’m drawn to situations where I can teach, coach, and help people achieve their dreams. I find those situations oddly exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.

      I usually find social events that include meeting new people and making small talk to be draining, but when I get in a room full of dreamers like for example the Catalyst bloggers meet-up, I can’t get enough. This past year, I think I was the last person to leave.

      IMO, the most important things in all of this is to a) recognize what drains and energizes you so you can manage your energy well, and b) recognize what drains and energizes those closest to you so that you enable them to manage their energy well.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        Paul, I can really relate to being in a group of dreamers. I find the flow of ideas to be very stimulating. Just being in a large group though is tough… small talk is draining. That’s why I really enjoy Toastmasters. Most of the members are dreamers and doers, and I love the amazing diversity of ideas. It’s so much easier to talk with others that have new ways of seeing things.

    • Ben

      I don’t think that’s a particularly odd combination. It sounds similar to my wife. She is introverted, but values quality time with certain people. I don’t think introverted means you don’t like people. I think it just means you want your relationship circle to be smaller than an extrovert’s.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Exactly. I love being with my close friends. It is people I don’t know so well who drain me.

      • Liz

        Good point!

    • Allenkmail

      Joanna,
      I grew up the opposite! I had a family that mostly valued quality time together…we had to get outside of ourselves some to build community. As an adult, I married into the opposite family–parties, socializing, etc. are very much a part of their world. On top of that, I married a minister. On top of that, I am a writer, reader, love stories and talking to people in intimate settings about books, ideas, etc. Needless to say, I have struggled in my role…but I am learning to wait on the Lord, to keep close to Christ to refuel and see what he has in store.

      Kimberly

      • A Marie_harris

        Yes! I totally relate to this. I am a youth director at my church. I am quite introverted and while the rest of my team or extroverts. I used to leave our meetings drained and frustrated because I couldn’t keep up with their spontaneous ideas. I certainly get my best ideas when I am alone.

         Now I am ready to learn to flow with them and understand that my role is important, even if I am quiet and thoughtful. I think folks automatically assume I am an extrovert because I am the Worship Leader and Assistant Minister of Music and the Pastor’s daughter. I will tell anyone, though, if I could perform all my ministry duties behind a partition, I would. :) I deal well with people, but I do struggle with embracing who I am because my roles do not always match my personality.  It’s a challenge, but I know I am a valuable part of ministry regardless of being introverted.

        Ashley

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  • http://lynnrush.wordpress.com/ Lynn Rush

    Great post. I’m usually energized by being alone as well. I now have a social job (bookstore assistant) and enjoy interacting with people on that level…but there’s nothing like home! :) My husband is pretty much the same way as well and we’ve managed for going on fifteen years.

    I like how you say, “The key is learning to appreciate one another—and serve one another.” So true.

    Thanks for this post. Have a great day.

  • http://twitter.com/doughibbard Doug Hibbard

    We’re both introverts, but I’m much more inclined to aloneness than Ann is. The challenge that brings us is knowing we need to have a circle of friends as well as relationships beyond those few close-knit friendships, but neither one of us is energized at putting it together.

    I’m with you on Sundays, too. Glad to be with the church, but it can be tough some weeks.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I find that I enjoy church itself; it’s just the socializing afterward that is tough. I am making an effort to see it as an opportunity to serve, to meet new people, and to ask good questions. That helps me better focus and remember, “It’s not all about me.”

      • http://twitter.com/doughibbard Doug Hibbard

        That’s the tough part for me as well, although more of our socializing is before church than afterward. The service itself is, well, not “easy” since I am challenged by God’s Word and have to remember His work for me, His grace, and my needs, but somewhat easier compared to the interaction beforehand.

  • http://twitter.com/acetuk acetuk

    I have the same arrangement in my marriage as Michael. I am introvert, happy to be on my own or with my immediate family, doing my own thing. My wife is extrovert, always wanting to be in touch with her friends (be it in person or Facebook). We are now at year 8 and going well.

    Equally I have a ‘switch’ that turns on an extrovert side. I use to run a team that required regular meetings, training other users in ERP systems. That required an outgoing personality that I had easily to hand. But as soon as the meeting would finish I was happy to be on my own again.

    My time is precious to me. My immediate family are normally all that I need to feel happy.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have a switch that I can turn on, too. However, I have to build in recovery time in order to cope with the energy drain from playing the extrovert. As long as I can do that, I can handle it. (Sometimes, I even enjoy it!)

      • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

        Recovery time is huge for me – after time with people, an event, or even a draining day of work, I thrive on having that time to recoup and re-energize.

  • Sjohnston

    Both my wife and I tend to be more introverted. The challenge for us it to get outside our comfort zone at times and meet new people. We have to work at it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Me, too.

  • http://lancemorgan.me Lance Morgan

    I am definitely the introvert, and my wife is the extrovert.

    It’s been amazing to me to see the saying, “opposites attract” live out in our lives. But, the more I think about that statement, the more I believe that it should read, “opposites are necessary”.

    Great post, and interesting perspective on introverted leaders.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is a great point, Lance. On the Myers-Briggs test, Gail and I are opposite on every one of the four dichotomies. We both used to chaff at this, but now we see that our marriage has present all the raw material necessary to meet the challenges we face.

  • http://jeffkclarke.com Jeff Clarke

    I identify with you, Michael. I am an introvert, drawing strength and energy from my alone time. My wife is my polar opposite. How do we make it work? Over time we have created space for the other; we intentionally participate in what the other person enjoys. It will always be a work in progress, but it’s well worth the journey.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I couldn’t agree more. We have done the same.

  • http://twitter.com/Juanbg Juan

    It is about knowing yourself first then you will understand others. I am introvert, though I am in sales, and I love what I do, but first I had to realize who I was; an introvert by nature. A lot of people think to be in sales you have to be extrovert, you have to meet everybody, you have to talk, talk and talk until nobody listens. The key is knowing yourself first to understand others.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep, I agree. Any personalty type can work as long as you know yourself and leverage your strengths.

    • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

      Juan, I can relate to your sales experience. I was in outside sales for over 5 years. As an introvert, I really enjoyed the job with my regular customers. I saw them once a month for a limited period of time and found it very interesting to catch up with them. It was the frequent cold calling that was a challenge. Small talk with strangers you don’t know is exhausting.

  • http://bladeronner.com Ron Dawson

    This is too funny. I’m Gail and MY wife if you. Everything you said (right down to wanting to socialize after church or small group) is like me and my wife. But, because she speaks, has a popular blog, and has appeared in a number of videos, many people who follow her thinks she’s an extrovert.

    The way we cope is give and take. Sometimes I take the kids so she can get a few hours to re-charge. Sometimes she let’s me go to the group events alone so I can go gang-busters in my extrovertedness. There are times when I bring her up to my level because it’s necessary, and vice versa. It can cause stress at times for sure, but overall, we fit like a puzzle.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      “Fit like a puzzle”—perfect description of us as well. It takes both of us to get the whole package.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      That’s interesting. I especially like the puzzle analogy. Heather and I have practiced a lot at meshing together our opposite-ness. We’ve had our conflicts, but I think we’ve done pretty good…

  • http://geoffreywebb.wordpress.com/ Geoff Webb

    I’m an introvert; Sarah’s an extrovert. We recognized this straight away. One place it hits us is when I come home from work. I spend my days with people—training, coaching, giving interactive keynotes—while she spends many days alone with the kids. When I get home I’m completely drained…and she can’t wait to talk to a real, live, adult human being.

    We’ve worked out a system of sorts: When I come home, I immediately greet her and each of our children. I spend a few intentional minutes with the family before going to my room and changing my clothes. I take these 5-10 minutes alone to intentionally recharge by praying and consciously preparing to listen and love my family. When I emerge I’m ready to engage with Sarah (who has been patiently holding back) and the kids.

    It doesn’t always work out that blissfully, but it’s a great jumping off point.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is where I have learned to appreciate my commute. It is my time to veg and recharge. Usually, by the time I get home, I am ready to talk.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      My wife and I can relate – she is an extrovert that spends all day inside the four walls of our house with three kids. By the end of the day (actually more of before the day’s end), she craves a conversation with “a real, live, adult human being”. It’s important for me to remember that and have energy for that time with her. And sometimes, I find that my wife loves a phone call during the day.

  • Sam B

    I am confused by your statement “I enjoy being with people, and she enjoys being alone – ”
    Seems like it should be the other way around. ???

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I should have used the word also (which I have now added): “I also enjoy being with people, and she enjoys being alone …”

  • http://beggartobeggar.blogspot.com/ Eliza Huie

    The last sentence so is key!

    “The key is appreciating your differences rather than resenting them.”

    Life is so much better when we enjoy and celebrate the differences in our spouse rather than trying to re-writing their script so they look more like ourself or the person we think they should be rather than who they have been designed to be.

    Helpful post- thanks!

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Great post, Michael. Both my wife and I are introverts. We enjoy small groups with a limited number of people for a set amount of time. We both are members of a couples growth group at church. My wife leads a Women of Faith group, and I have been involved in leadership with Toastmasters for over 10 years which has smaller groups of 15 to 20 in the average meeting.
    For both of us, the smaller group size and limited time scope are perfect. They are energizing and give us both an outlet for sharing with others. The key is having a group that generally stays the same, where you can really get to know people and a smaller time period that doesn’t wear you out.
    People are amazed that I like public speaking. I am truly energized speaking in front of a group. It’s the interaction afterwards that can be draining. I am glad that many of my friends are extroverts. They introduce me to others, and help me reach out. They provide a great filter to the crush of humanity at large events. So many times an extrovert friend will say… Hey John, you should meet so and so who is interested in … and they will provide the introduction.
    The world certainly needs both types of people and I am truly grateful for those individuals that are different from me. It’s interesting that many bloggers are introverts. I think your introspection is one of the things that makes your blog so interesting. You take the time to dig deeper and that truly makes a difference in your content.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I am just like you with regard to public speaking. I love doing it, but the interaction afterward takes real effort.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      I know exactly what you mean, John. I love public speaking, but need alone/recharge time afterwards. I am constantly surprised at how many leaders are introverts…

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        Me too.

    • http://www.kathink.blogspot.com Kathleen T. Jaeger

      I’m glad to hear that someone else is also the same as their spouse — at least in regards to extrovert vs. introvert. My husband and I are both extroverts. Most of the comments lean towards the opposites attract.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        It would be interesting to know what challenges you face, having the same orientation. Fascinating!

  • Gary

    This has worked so well in our marriage. My wife is more extroverted and has the gift of hospitatlity. Me I love to serve a small group of people I know. So, like you we play on it well. When we have guests to our house, which for my wife means weekly, then I get to use my gift to ensure they are treated like royalty. She gets to visit and I get to serve her and the guests by making sure glasses are full, table set, food served properly, etc. I do take the time to visit as well, but that is not nearly as fullfilling to me as serving and her in talking and making them feel welcome that way. God put us together to serve and encourage people and we try to do that.

  • Jennifer

    I am an extrovert and my husband an introvert. I LOVE to meet new people and try new things while he is content where he is…Makes for an interesting marriage! However, we do pull from one another which gives us each the balance we need.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      I think you hit the nail on the head with the word “balance.” That’s where my wife and I have had to really struggle to find the right amount of each in our marrige.

  • Bwenman

    Great post! I have been doing consulting in this area for over 10 years and people always ask me – “which personality styles are the best together?” I tell them that the ones who work the best together, both personally and professionally are those that understand each other and respect those differences. The best team is the one who can leverage those talents together and that is true in the workplace as well as at home. An example I use when I am working with churches is Moses and his brother Aaron. Two skill sets needed for one very important job! God wanted Moses because he was a detail person who would get that information down on paper and get it right. He used his brother Aaron to help get his message to the people! He created us to need each other because the world would be a very different, and sad, place if we didn’t! Sounds like Gail is like Peter or Aaron! Peter talked more than any one else in the New Testament!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Aaron and Moses are a great example. Like Solomon said, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–10)

  • http://mirrorsandwindowsnow.blogspot.com/ Alicha McHugh

    My husband is a total extrovert. He’s helped me come out of myself over the years to where people are surprised to find I call myself an introvert. I did stage performances through out high school and college but get me up for an oral report, and I’m shaking like a leaf. Very odd, but if I prepare, I’m okay. I like my world small and that seems rather selfish. I have 108 friends on facebook and half of them I’ve “hid” in an effort to actually keep up with my close circle of pals (still working on the guilt of that one ;). Confession, I’ve not worried too much about my manuscript making it to print (and it looks like it’s going that way, yay ;) What I am concerned about are the inevitable book signings. I picture me sitting there and no one coming up (I’ve got a game plan for that one) or WORSE ~as far as introverts go~ lots of people coming and me bracing for each new introduction. QUESTION: As an introvert yourself, how did you~do you~ prepare for such events. Has your methods changed since your literary successes, has it gotten easier?

  • http://www.confessionsofalegalist.com Jeremy Statton

    Appreciating strengths and weaknesses is import for everything in life. Whether it is relationships at home, relationships at work, leading at work, leading at church, or playing scrabble.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree. Realizing that I would never be strong in every area was a huge wake-up call to me. It made me see why I need other people.

  • DrDavidFrisbie

    32 years of honeymoon (so far) between an INFJ (me) and an ESTJ (her). It’s a great mix. Speaking personally, I couldn’t stand being married to me!! I love being married to her. :)

  • Karl Mealor

    Larry Burkett once said, “If both of you are just alike, one of you is unnecessary.”

    My wife is the extrovert. I’m the introvert. I greatly appreciate how she has taught me to value relationships and to “come out of my shell”. Still need my alone time, though. At some point, when in a group, I tend to reach my limit and shut down. Trying to work on this, because I come across as rude (which, honestly, is true).

    • http://geoffreywebb.wordpress.com/ Geoff Webb

      That is a great quote, Larry—sums it up pretty well, I think. Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Larry Burkett was right! I am so glad my wife is not like me. We would drive one another crazy!

  • Chrisceb

    What a great article! Just to chime in, I’m equal amounts of both…although I prefer the terms outgoing and reserved :) Seems more positive in nature. I get both my energy and am drained from/by people. There’s a great personality profile/behavior style program called the DISC by Dr. Rohm. If you’re in a position of mentoring or leading others it’s a quick and dirty way to evaluate their personality type so you can lead and mentor them. Just ask them 2 simple questions…”Are you outgoing or reserved? Are you task oriented or people oriented?” Then you plug the answer down on a quad graph to find their personality style…I love using it as it doesn’t require them to stress over test answers etc. If you read up on it, I’m an equal balance of a D and an I. Dominant and Influencial ;) Extroverted, and balanced in being task oriented and people oriented. FUN!
    http://www.personality-insights.com/

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love the DiSC test. We use it at Thomas Nelson, along with the Strengths Finder test (Marcus Buckingham) and Myers-Briggs. All of them provide valuable insights.

  • http://www.jillkemerer.com Jill Kemerer

    I’m a socially successful introvert. Like you said, I can be very social, but I’m happiest alone with a book in my hand. Just being aware of what I need to recharge makes my life easier.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep, that was the insight for me, too. I thought there must be something wrong me for not enjoying crowds. Now I do better in social settings and know how to recharge.

  • http://www.speakingagent.com Speaking Agent

    My fiancee is an introvert, and I ‘m an extrovert. WOW how we experience things differently at times. For us too, it has led to a much richer perspective on life. This article in Psychology Today “Revenge of the introverts” (http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201008/revenge-the-introvert) really helped me understand some key differences. Thank you, Michael.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This sounds like a great article. I have bookmarked it to read later.

  • jordan

    That’s funny and all too familiar. I am the extrovert and my wife is the introvert. Church is probably where I show this the most. I’m the last one there and she’s reafy to go. She can stay home all day and I go nuts without more human interaction. I probably annoy her on those rainy stay at home days. But it does give us good balance because she reminds me when it’s time to leave and I help bring her out of the shell. It’s a great mix and I am happy to learn from her.

  • Jenny

    My husband is the introvert and I’m the extrovert and it has caused a lot of stress in our relationship. It took quite a few years to make it work. I finally gave him the freedom to be home alone and I stopped feeling guilty for wanting to go out to be with people. Like your last post, I learned to put myself higher in my own priority list because staying home was so draining to me. Even harder than making my relationship work, is being an extravert writer. Writing takes a lot of my undivided attention for long periods of time. The hardest thing about being a writer is blocking out those long periods of time and making writing a priority. When I don’t force myself to stay home, my schedule fills up without any effort at all. It’s good for my psyche, but doesn’t help my writing career at all.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Just an idea, but have you ever tried writing in a crowded spot, like a Starbucks? Obviously, you would have to go to one where people don’t know you; otherwise, you’ll be interrupted. But I wonder if that would meet some of your social needs while you are writing.

    • http://www.kathink.blogspot.com Kathleen T. Jaeger

      Jenny, I can relate to being an extraverted writer. It is an interesting combination because I, too, need undivided attention for blocks of time. And yet, I know that I am energized by being with people. Michael, your suggestion to write at a Starbucks or other crowded place is an interesting suggestion. I have been able to write there at times. Perhaps this is why.

  • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

    I can whole-heartedly identify with this post, Mike. I do a lot of public speaking, so most people assume I am a people person. But actually, I am 100% introvert. Being alone energizes me, and I view groups and crowds as exhausting (even if I may enjoy the event or gathering). Thanks for a great post.

  • http://twitter.com/WorkSurvival Workplace Survival

    My husband and I are both introverts (INFJ for me; INTP for him), but he’s much further on the I-scale than I am. While I definitely need to recharge on my own, I relish time with my girlfriends. I love to go out with small groups. My husband, on the other hand, would prefer to stay in 99% of the time. He’s very content with his small group of friends–even though most of them live in different states! Luckily, it doesn’t bother him at all if I want to go to a dinner party or something like that by myself. It would be nice if he’d come out more (or if we went on more double dates!), but I’m satisfied with the current arrangement. I get my fix. :)

    In terms of personality type issues, though, I’ve always felt like our F/T differences have been more of a challenge. Granted, it’s our biggest difference, as I’m high on the F spectrum and he’s high on the T spectrum. But even if we weren’t such oposites there, I think it’s hard for F’s and T’s to “get” each other.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think the FT thing is a challenge. Gail and I are both Fs, so that doesn’t really come into play. However, I am a J (INFJ) and she is a P (ESFP). That used to create most of the friction for us. I wanted to make decisions and move on. She wanted to explore the options and be more thoughtful. Now we see the value of having both.

  • http://ecclesiamind.com/ Marc Buxton

    I am definitely an introvert, even though I am a missionary, church planter, public speaker, and previously….a professional magician! As you said, it is possible to turn it on when needed, but after the show or service, I’m ready for a good book in a quiet corner…..

    My wife….exactly opposite. I love your point that we need both. It really does make life richer.

  • http://twitter.com/burlw Burl Walker

    Thanks for sharing this. I always thought I was just an odd duck in that I do enjoy acting, and public speaking, but I don’t find any need to be the life of the party. Time alone is cherished time. Preaching in front of crowds is exhilarating, but being in the crowd isn’t. Love your blog, keep up the great work!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Burl. I am like you. I love speaking, but I don’t enjoy the time afterward. I wish I could just speak, then disappear!

    • http://peterpollock.com Peter P

      I’m completely with you there!

      I can get up an preach in front of hundreds but the whole time I’m fearing the time when my message will end and I’ll have to go down and actually interact with them!

      I LOVE people… I’m just shy of actually talking to them!

  • http://www.yuzzi.com Rick Yuzzi

    It’s very true that opposite attract, and that’s usually who winds up together. That’s a good thing, because you benefit from each other’s strengths. My wife and I went through a personality test in a Sunday School class years ago, and in the entire class of 25 couples there was only one couple who said they scored as the same type of personality, although we were skeptical about that, and felt like she actually fit in a different category. The system used a great analogy with animals to make it easy to remember the four main personality types: Lions are the hard-charging leader-types that must have their way, Otters are the serious extroverts (partying, playful animals), Golden Retrievers are the steady, loyal, go-with-the-flow types that nothing seems to phase, and Beavers are the organized, perfectionist types that want everything to fit in a neat little box. It’s actually pretty easy to place people in a dominant category once you know them for a bit, which helps you understand where they’re coming from.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I think Gary Smalley and John Trent first applied the animal examples to the DiSC profile types. It makes them much easier to remember.

  • Anonymous

    What’s strange is when both folks live inside you. I’m ardently both. But I’m never quite sure which Mary will kick in. (Hmmm, this makes me sound crazy). I thrive off meeting new people and discovering their stories, but to write a book I need solitude.

    BTW: Your site is loading really slowly today.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Interesting on the site. I am not seeing it here. I started recently using a CDN, so it may be the node that is delivering the page to you.

  • Ben

    My wife and I dance through this often. She is an introvert and is not comfortable in crowds or with meeting new people. I’m like Gail and find people truly fascinating. When we go to parties, she feels abandoned when I mingle with everyone else. I feel rude if I just sit at a table with her and don’t acknowledge everyone in the room personally. To work around this, I try to stay close to her and mingle with the people around us. I also try to make a point to sit down and focus on just her a few times throughout the evening. She is gracious and tries to get around to talk with others, too. Fortunately, she has found some other introverts and they tend to form a huddle.

    Do you feel abandoned when Gail is mingling with others? Do you find yourself huddling with the other introverts you know?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I prefer to hang out with Gail in crowds. She certainly makes it easier. I definitely huddle with other introverts. When I see an extrovert coming, I want to run for cover. I usually just smile and fake it. ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/Susan_Wilkinson Susan Wilkinson

    You’re right… you do seem like an extrovert! I thought you were probably ENTJ (using Myers-Briggs) so this was a very surprising post. And yet, I know exactly why you get mistaken for an extrovert because the same thing happens to me. I’m an introvert (INTJ) and my husband is an extrovert and we experience pretty much what you and Gail do. It can be harder for me, I think because I have 2 little boys right now (and I’m 46 so this is exhausting) so I’m virtually never really alone.

    Anyway, thank you for posting this. I found it very interesting to know!

    • http://peterpollock.com Peter P

      It’s fascinating how we judge people by what we see in the media or on the web.

      I originally thought Mike was an extrovert, too.

      I wonder how many other people I misjudge every day!?!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I actually used to be an INTJ; however, after raising five girls, my borderline T morphed to an F, so now I test as an INFJ.

  • Laceyraewilcox

    This is some great thoughts for any couple, whether about to be married, or married for awhile. I know I have found myself guilty, more than once, of trying to change my husband’s tendencies, rather than allowing them to bring out the best in me.

  • http://www.pedalion.co.uk Aled

    My wife and I are completely different and I am grateful for it. I am an introvert and without her I would have far fewer relationships and my life would be poorer as a result. At the same time, my wife needs me to help her hold back once and a while to avoid burning out.

  • http://familysynergy.wordpress.com JD Eddins

    My wife and I are the same combination; she’s the extrovert and I am the introvert. One of the things we have both noticed over 10 years of marriage is that we have drifted towards the middle. Maybe it was my role as a minister, of having to “turn it on” as you said, that helped bring me out of shell more. However I still like having my quiet time, alone.
    One way we address this is to go to bed together and talk. My wife consistently goes to sleep about an hour before I do, so get my alone time after she is in bed.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think that is true for us, too. We have sharpened one another and now drift toward the middle.

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  • Anonymous

    Definitely an Introvert. If I don’t get my alone time I get crazy. I’m single. I used to be attracted to extroverts, lately I’ve been drawn to introverted men with big dreams.

    Introverts are outnumbered 2 to 1. We have to adapt and learn to survive in an extroverted world. I cope by making sure my needs are met by getting some down time. Your post yesterday was a reminder balance and boundaries. When I’ve dated extroverted men, and all they wanted to do was go, go ,go – they wore me out. I’ve learned to flip a switch and be more extroverted when necessary. But stand my ground when I need to be alone.

    I think it’s important to understand the differences. Years ago I would have told you my father was an extrovert. He is not. I think he drank heavily because he wanted to fit in with his co-workers and be more extroverted. He punished me for not talking and wanting to be alone. I look back on my childhood and realized that he was an introvert trying to adapt to an extroverted world.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I had no idea we were so outnumbered! Just thinking about all those extroverts wears me out! ;-)

      • Anonymous

        I read that in “The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World” by Dr. Marti Laney. After reading that, I had to surrender – it’s there world. Now the overly talkative Starbucks Barista doesn’t bother me so much. :-)

  • http://lauramcampbell.blogspot.com Laura Campbell

    Wow! You couldn’t have said it better. I’m the extrovert and my boyfriend is the introvert. By the end of the week of writing alone I’m stir crazy. My skin is crawling with the need to talk to people. My boyfriend doesn’t need to be around people all the time. He enjoys being alone. It can be very confusing and frustrating leading to misunderstanding. Unintentionally hurt feelings often enter the scene. I constantly try to understand his side, but I need to voice my concerns sooner to avoid problems. This article really put our differences in a new light. Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It might be worth reading the post together and then talking about your needs and one you can do to serve one another better. Just a thought.

  • http://studio27b.net Dave Nash of Studio27b.net

    Thanks for the thoghts Mike. Well, first off, I’m a lot like your wife – extrovert to the max! I can’t wait to get to know new people! My wife is more of an introvert like yourself. She definately has her moments of “extroversion” but they revolve around times she feels safe. Silence disturbs me…it’s fine for her. There are plenty of areas where we think each of us is from another planet, but fortunately we’ve discovered some pretty cool things when we’ve explored the other’s orbit.

    Being married to her for nearly 15 years has been fantastic! I’ve learned a lot from her and can’t wait to learn more!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you for making it work!

  • http://joeandancy.com Joe Abraham

    I agree with you Michael. Cultivating attitudes of appreciation and service – that’s the key to enjoying the God-designed difference! Thanks for the post.

  • Allenkmail

    My spouse is the extravert, but also a priest, which makes it even more crazy sometimes. I often feel I am in the wrong role altogether…I’ve suffered all my life from “painful” introversion. I’ve come a long way–when I’m supported, encouraged, loved–I have no problem being in front of people. For instance, when I taught middle school, I was so extraverted and ALIVE in the classroom! But at church functions, small talk, etc, I feel completely alone and almost sad. But I am learning to just talk to a few folks, different ones every week, as opposed to feeling the need to go around the room. There is definitely a constant tension because many people think the priest’s wife should “make the rounds” to show impartiality.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is indeed a tough role. It’s good that you know this about yourself, so you can build time in to recharge.

  • Deborah

    Growing up, I thought I was an extrovert. As an adult, I have found that I used that as a shield for my own protection. My husband tells me I need and “inordinant amount of quiet time”. True, I can be pretty cranky without it. On the other side, when our now grown daughter was only four, she asked “Daddy, do you know everyone?” He never meets a stranger. Without him, I would never leave home and without me, he would never come home. We balance each other nicely, enjoying our friends and then returning home. Sometimes two cars are very helpful!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I like two cars, too. Occasionally, we have to go to church at different times. I am always the first one to leave!

  • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

    I am definitely the introvert and my wife is definitely the extrovert. I thrive on having “me” time – that time where I can do things at my pace without a bunch of other people that I have to interact with. My wife thrives on interacting with other other people and, after a long day of being “in-the-house” with three kids, she loves getting out and doing stuff.

    So, I am learning to save my personal time for the end of the day…after I have come home from work and given time to my wife and family.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    Honestly, I’m not sure what I am exactly. A few years ago, I would have emphatically said I was an introvert. But now I’m not so sure. I’ve had to learn to enjoy being with people for some of my ministry positions, and as a result, now I love it. But the other side still is visible occasionally. For example, I’m like you when it comes to vacation ideas. Alone, quiet, with my family and a good book or two, or ten, and I’m happy.

    My wife is definitely an introvert. And so, we sometimes conflict. One of our strategies has been to divide and conquer. When we go to church for example, we take both our vehicles. When she’s ready to leave, she takes part of our kids and goes. I linger and visit, with the rest of our kids, for a while longer. It seems to work pretty well, especially since we only live a couple of miles from the church.

    This is an interesting thought for me today. Thanks for posting.

    • http://2020visiononline.org Josh Hood

      There are so many elements that make up our personality- gender, introvert/extrovert, self esteem, organized/disorganized… and on top of all that, I think we gradually change through the years as well…

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        I agree. I know I have…

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        That’s why being married never gets boring—if you can learn to appreciate your differences.

  • http://twitter.com/NewEnglandHiker Roy Wallen

    Greetings from another introvert and thanks for another great post. Vive la difference.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Roy.

  • http://twitter.com/ThatGuyKC K.C. Pro

    I guess it’s true what they say. Opposites do attract.

    My wife and I are similarly complementary and I thank God for bringing us together. Thank you for the great post.

    “If she is not the last one to leave, she feels cheated.” Haha!

  • http://www.thequietquill.blogspot.com D.J. Hughes

    My husband and I are both introverts, but I have learned many of these same lessons by raising an off-the-charts-extroverted daughter. Through my relationship with her, I have learned so much about team-building and the need for a diversity of strengths within leadership teams. My daughter, who is now a teen, and other extroverts like her can bring strengths to the table that I don’t have. Together, we can accomplish so much more than I ever could on my own.

  • http://jillsavage.org Jill Savage

    Once my husband and I learned this several years ago (I’m an introvert and he’s an extrovert) it completely transformed our marriage! We saw the other one as “flawed” or “wrong” and we had to learn that we were just different…and that’s ok! Great post, Michael!

  • http://jillsavage.org Jill Savage

    Once my husband and I learned this several years ago (I’m an introvert and he’s an extrovert) it completely transformed our marriage! We saw the other one as “flawed” or “wrong” and we had to learn that we were just different…and that’s ok! Great post, Michael!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      We went through the same thing, Jill.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    I am introvery by nature. I am shy and quiet. I like to be alone and genrally not comfortable in mingled with new faces. I think this characteristics does not work positively in work place. I am trying to change myself nowadays. Many assume introvert as non competent and assume things in a different way. Being emplyed, I strongly feel that I need to change myself for better.

  • http://twitter.com/obihaive Joseph Sanchez

    Just out of curiosity, how did your kids turn out? My parents are just like you guys. My dad is really introverted and my mother way extroverted. As for myself, I came out with a balance of both. I love to go to parties and I love being alone. Weird, huh? But I do need to have a balance of the two or else I’ll go crazy.
    I think this works out well for my wife and I as well. She’s more on the introverted side but does great at interacting with people. So far it has been a great combo.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have five daughters and they are all different. Two are extroverted; three are introverted. All them are very flexible.

  • http://www.christopherscottblog.typepad.com/ Christopher Scott

    I’m definitely an introvert. I’ve always been that way.

    When I was young and playing golf around Northern California, I was known as the kid who “Never speaks.” Literally!

    My girlfriend is also an introvert. However, she does enjoy people more than I do. She likes to meet new people and spend time with friends. But this isn’t how she is energized, she just likes to see her friends more than I do mine.

    The benefit is that she helps get me out of the house and enjoy life with people. Often I get so busy working and spending time with people while working that I don’t want to see anyone outside of work. That can be an unhealthy habit.

  • TNeal

    You said or did something in an earlier blog that highlighted the fact you are an introvert so this time’s disclosure didn’t surprise me.

    I understand the early marital friction between you and Gail. My wife Ellen (introvert) and I (extrovert) endured the transition and I’m thankful we did. On the Myers-Brigg scale we are polar opposites in every category but the differences have helped to enlarge my soul and broaden my life.

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylelreed

    I use to think I was energized by being alone…that was until I was alone for a while and was completely empty.
    I have realized over time that people energize me greatly.
    What is hard for me is in my job I have a lot of interaction but its not face to face. So I have to constantly look for that human interaction.
    But I am not married so I do not know what it is like to have someone as the opposite. I will just take your word for it

  • Kymlc

    Great post!

    My hubby and I are polar opposites who also experienced lots of friction, frustration and confusion early on in our marriage.

    Happy to say gaining an awareness of our uniqueness and how we, as a team, can capitalize on both, has made us so much stronger!

    I know he needs time to internally process decisions, while he knows i need to talk things out as a means of reaching a conclusion.

    I had a huge epiphany when I realized I could do my “talking it out” through prayer, while he did his internal processing.

    Thankfully, he is still great about respecting my need to process face to face too.

    Thank you for sharing and for clarifying that true introversion/extroversion is really about how you get energized.

    • TNeal

      You’ve reminded me of a benefit an introvert has over an extrovert. Because we extroverts process by talking it out, while introverts think it over, we have a tendency to speak out our decisions before we’ve really come to a conclusion. So I might say, “I’m going to [blank],” then follow it with, “No, actually I better [blank] instead.” Each time my introvert wife will think I’ve made a decision because I’ve said what I will do. My actual decision may come a day or two later. She’s surprised, and, if it involves her, she may have made plans. Then I have to apologize. My wife rarely has to apologize while I often do (although I’ve learned to internalize more of the decision process).

  • TNeal

    I remember from a post late last week or earlier this week an introverted mother who stressed over guilt if she didn’t go throw ball with Dad and the kids and the need for alone time to recharge.

    My introverted wife tends to feel guilt to a greater degree than I the extrovert do. I think we extroverts get off easier in the world because we appear “friendly” as opposed to aloof. I’ve learned to give my wife more space (currently I’m in Texas and she’s in Wisconsin) so she can recharge.

    I also think both of us have moved closer to the center and a more balanced lifestyle thanks to bumping–and at times bruising–up against one another for 28 years.

    Just in case you didn’t catch the tongue-in-cheek comment, I’m escaping Wisconsin winter’s grip and visiting family in my natural habitat in South Texas.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It was that introverted mother who inspired this post!

  • http://www.estherfeng.com Esther Feng

    I suppose I am the more extroverted one and my husband the introvert. We can both “turn it on” when needed. I’ve noticed though, that after 10+ years of marriage, we’ve morphed a little bit!! I’m becoming more introverted and he more extroverted. I guess you do become like each other when you’re married long enough. I’m curious to see what will happen in the years to come.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      We’ve changed over time, too. Hopefully, for the better.

  • http://peterpollock.com Peter P

    My wife and I are both introverts.

    Both being introverts has its benefits and problems:

    Benefits:
    1) We understand each other
    2) We don’t push each other into situations we’re not comfortable with

    Problems:
    1) Some things don’t get done because both of us are too shy to do it
    2) We have no real close friends because we’re both too hermit-like to develop friendships.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I can see where that would create its own issues. Perhaps you can encourage one another to be brave and then offer the support.

  • http://show-me-your-ways.blogspot.com/ Amethyst Tb

    Interesting post. My default position would be as an introvert. I work with young people and over the years have had to learn how to be more communicative than an introvert sometimes likes to be. I find it much easier in a work role that provides a focus for conversation. I struggle much more with social situations, particularly with large groups of people. Like others, I find it physically and mentally draining. I definitely need alone times where I can recharge my batteries.

    I agree with you that having a shared understanding is vital to avoid misunderstanding and frustration on both sides, although this can occur where there are two people of the same temperament. Both my ex partner and I share similar introvert temperaments. He thought I was too quiet and I thought the same of him. Being similar temperaments didn’t work for us

  • Mark Martin

    Although I am in a position of leadership, I’m the introvert, and my wife is the extrovert. I hadn’t thought of introvert vs. extrovert as the tendency toward the way you recharge. That helps our differences make more sense.

    Thank you for the post!

  • http://www.mikehickerson.com Micheal Hickerson

    For anyone interested in this topic – whether you’re an introvert OR an extrovert – I recommend Adam McHugh’s excellent book Introverts in the Church (from IVP – sorry, Michael!). I’m a mild extrovert, but my wife is an introvert, and the book helped me understand her personality as well as my own: why I go batty if I’m in my home office for too long, why my wife is exhausted after 3 hours at our 1,800-member church, why it’s important to separate “leadership ability” from “personality type,” and so on. It’s an especially important book if you’re involved in professional ministry or a parachurch organization.

    Here’s a link to the book:
    http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=3702

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for the recommendation. I have been known to read IVP books on occasion. ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/micahbgreen micahbgreen

    Thank you for some great thoughts on relating to those on the other end of the spectrum! My wife and I both tend towards being introverted, but we are finding that our daughter (our first) is displaying some extroverted tendencies! I deal with these differences at work as well, and I constantly find that God does a sanctifying work in me through my need to deal with (or, more correctly, appreciate) these differences. Also, it is extremely encouraging to know that you consider yourself more of an introvert! I think that too often we can buy into the myth that you must be an extrovert to succeed in the area of leadership, but some of the best leaders-leaders, not “managers”-have not been extroverted, but could “turn it on” as you noted.

    Looking forward to you being in Lynchburg for Convocation at Liberty by the way! I’ll be working at the other end of campus unfortunately, but I’ll definitely be watching the replay online!

  • mrwilliams18

    Michael,

    Thanks for this post! My wife and I were just talking about how we can seem so different sometimes, and much of it stems from this exact thing – introvert vs. extrovert, among other differing personality traits. We have been married under a year so we are still getting used to communicating through it all, however I also think it’s one of our greatest strengths! Our differing perspectives ensure that we will see various things from different angles, and (ideally) lead to better outcomes.

    It’s great to hear you calling us to appreciate our differing perspectives and use them as a blessing.

    Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/manyhatsmommyMI Jenny Herman

    I am an introvert by birth. However, my business w/Premier Designs Jewelry has really stretched me in this area. I believe one of the reasons God brought me to Premier is to strengthen my confidence. Now I use the serve-others approach they teach us and the people skills to help advocate for autism in my local community. My husband is great around people, but based on your suggested scenarios I think he may be more of an introvert than I realized.

  • http://levittmike.wordpress.com/ Michael Levitt

    Brilliant post, and I too am in the introvert camp, while my bride loves to socialize. We’re rookies in the marriage camp, approaching our 16th anniversary this spring.

    Over time, we’ve figured each other out, and our differences provide a rich environment for our daughters to grow up and witness.

    I’m in a senior leadership role as well, and I don’t have many opportunities to find solitude at work, but when I do, it’s great to see what I can accomplish, through His blessings.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    My idea of a great vacation is being somewhere alone—just the one of me.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Now THAT’s introversion!

    • Anonymous

      LOL…my wife would love that kind of alone-cation! For me, that would be eternal damnation.

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

        I suppose this means your wife and I are too similarly verted to be a good match. Thanks for the heads-up. I’ll keep looking then.

  • http://www.crossdrivenhome.com MB

    My spouse and I are both introverts, however I think I’m more social than he is. But people do drain me. If I have to do any kind of group thing, I am exhausted. Getting to know new people? Too much work! I enjoy my alone time. It makes me feel “centered” or something. My husband is also like this so you would think we would be more alike with less fighting, but I think he feels I should be more outgoing and a people person. His mom was. And maybe he sees the things he doesn’t like about himself, i.e. the introvert nature, and dislikes it. I don’t know, but he pushes me to be social and my argument is that he should go find some friends first. Really irritates me. He has stopped pestering me to be social and find friend. I think he thinks all women need multiple friends but I really only need one or two and I’m good. Sometimes even that is too much work. I can really relate with this post though. You make good points.

    I have a friend that tries to draw me out and be more extroverted. Otherwise, I could care less. I feel like God made me this way, so why do I have to change. Why is the world so concerned with socializing anyway? There is something to be said about both quiet contemplation and being friendly to people, so you go your way and let me go mine.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The only thing I would say is that God did create us to dwell together in community. It might not have to be crowds, but we need people.

  • Rachel

    I am an introvert, and my husband is even more so.

    I grew up with an extrovert older brother and it wasn’t until adulthood that we understood each other at all. We got on well inside the house but were alien to each other when we were in social situations.

    These childhood experiences have been so valuable to me in recognising the need for both. There are times I need to force an extrovert side to ensure a balanced, healthy life for my family.

  • Anonymous

    I remember this information helped me a long time ago when I first learn Myers-Briggs. Before that, being labeled an introvert had many negative connotations, but the idea that it was more about where each gain their energy was very helpful. It also helped me in balancing and strengthening my speaking skills and engagement. Once I knew that I just needed some solitude to recharge, it made the more outgoing activities easier for me. Great reminders in this post…

    Dale

  • http://twitter.com/williemacster William McPherson

    Haha, what if you are half and half? I am the weird phenomenon of balance which seems to be completely forgotten in our postmodern age of extremes (we are all gravitating to extremes rather than the middle, what Leonard Sweet termed, “The Well Curve”). I have found though that being around people can energize me and being by myself can as well. In fact, I would say I need a good 50/50 balance to operate at my best. I blame the kindergarten teacher who switched my pencil from left hand to my right hand when I was a kid. Not really, but seriously.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Introversion/Extroversion is definitely a scale. You can be an extreme on either end or more in the middle. The key is understanding yourself and then working with the way God made you.

  • http://twitter.com/randy_walton Randy Walton

    Great thoughts Michael! Interestingly, my wife married an extrovert, which is how I would have described myself as well. But as time has passed I have become more and more an introvert. Fortunately for me she is gracious and accommodating of my shifting balance in that regard. She would definitely have cause to accuse me of a bait and switch.

    I am wondering if others have seen themselves move along the scale as I have?

    • Ned

      Myers-Briggs theory would say that a person doen’t change their core preference. That preference is hardwired from birth. However, as we grow we do learn more about who we really are so we more clearly understand ourselves (which could result in a “switch” in preference to what we really are from what maybe was expected in our family). With maturity we also learn to appreciate and act out of the other side of the scale so we’re better able to act introverted or extraverted as the need dictates.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve learnt that you also need to keep your introvert / extrovert -ness in mind in the workplace too. For this introvert, I find that when I have had jobs where I am on the phone all day or in meetings all day I come home cranky as I’ve just had too much people! So I now I choose jobs that don’t demand I’m interacting with people all day and book some “desk time” into my calendar so I don’t have days and days of back to back meetings (very draining).

  • http://twitter.com/caferebee Chris Ferebee

    Excellent post. My wife and I have the exact same issue. Your most important statement, regardless of personality style: “serve one another.”

  • Doug Kizer

    We’re both highly introverted, and both have “people” jobs…she is a physician and I’m a pastor. We can’t imagine being married to an opposite in this regard. For either of us to come home and WANT the other to go be with more people would be devastating. But, we totally agree that we must acknowledge our (intros and extros) differences. My closest extroverted friends are ones that ackowledge (as I do) our differences. I just read the book, Introverts in the Church” and it has been a great way to bring the topic up to others. In this way, we can begin the dialogue to appreciate the differences.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are the second person to recommend this book. I guess I will have to get it! Thanks.

  • http://yoursuccessfulfamily.blogspot.com Atscott72

    Great post! My DH and I are opposites, too. I’m the introvert and he’s the extrovert. He works nights and sleeps days, so time when we are together is more rare than in the past. In this season of our life together, I balance our introvert/extrovert tendencies by taking advantage of being alone when he’s working/sleeping and “planning to be spontaneous” on days I know we’ll spend together. For now, it works!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for putting this so succinctly, will be sharing this with all my friends on Facebook. I fall into the same perceptions that you do, being a business owner and ministry leader, people assume that I am an extrovert because I network and meet with people a lot. My wife knows that if I have a day full of back to back meetings to be completely drained when I get home, whereas when I have an office day with few phone calls I am amped up and charged up by the time the day is over.

  • http://www.cdenning.com Chris Denning

    I really find this interesting, because for me, I am an extrovert as is my girlfriend. However, we are extroverts in the contexts we are comfortable with. At my work and with people I’m familiar with, I am very outgoing and can spend hours socializing, where she would rather get going sooner. Vice versa with her comfortable contexts. I think we just need to learn how to engage in each other’s contexts.

  • http://relevantbrokenness.com Marni Arnold

    Both my husband and I are introverts – by nature. But you nailed it well by describing yourself in that you can turn on the extroversion when necessary. We both operate that way – and considering I was raised by an an extroverted mother, I learned the ability to understand that it is necessary to reach out when I don’t feel like it. So though I’d rather just go home directly after Church service…I intentionally place myself out there to connect with people in our Church for about 10-15 mins. before I leave, and my husband will connect with others as well (just not as much as I intentionally set out to do). But when I get home, I am sincerely drained. I get most of my energy by being alone, one on one time with a dear friend or family member, or a small group of very close friends – and I am very content with this. I actually frustrate a few extroverts at our Church, but oh well…haha! I am who I am!

  • Anonymous

    Great post on an often misunderstood topic. My wife and I are opposites as well: she is an introvert and I’m the extrovert. When I tell people that Lisa is an introvert, they usually say something like, “Really? But she seems to like people.” Few people understand that it’s an issue of energy drain/refill.
    We were married about seven years before we discovered that it wasn’t a right/wrong issue, but an issue of God’s design. Discovering this and learning to appreciate the difference and allow one another to be ourselves when we needed to was one of the discoveries that saved our marriage.

  • http://goinswriter.com Jeff Goins

    Amen. Understanding that being an extrovert didn’t necessarily mean that I had to be a chipper person but rather that I draw energy from being around people was life-changing for me.

  • http://reflectionswithcoffee.com BettyMc

    Michael, after seeing the picture of Clown Gail, (still chuckling), I agree — she’s the extrovert.

    I’m more of an extrovert than my husband who is more introvert to the point of me calling him an hermit. But I do enjoy and relish my alone time.

  • http://shine4himphoto.wordpress.com Nicole

    I’m an introvert, but am told I’m an “enthusiastic” one. I actually enjoy public speaking and keeping up with 500+ Facebook friends. But spending very long with my dad’s loud family will wipe me out! I’m not married yet, so I don’t have anything to compare with.

  • Pat Callahan

    For the longest time I thought of myself because I was “that guy.” I could turn it on when I needed to (and I was pod at it, thank you very much).

    The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized that whil I can function as an extrovert, I am, in actuality, an introvert. That had actually been very freeing for me to understand. I now try to make time to be ALONE to recharge, rather than trying to force it to happen in the context if large groups.

    Introverts unite! Oh wait… forget I said that. You would just wear me out.

  • http://www.kathink.blogspot.com Kathleen T. Jaeger

    I am certainly an extrovert. I agree with Gail that “strangers are friends she hasn’t met yet. ” I love to meet new people. My husband is also an extrovert. We are always the last ones to leave everywhere we go!

  • http://twitter.com/quirkycity Heather Fitz

    Wow that’s neat. I have a friend who was an extrovert who amazed me with how she connected with people, including me, the introvert. But one thing I learned early on, was that she journalled. Through our friendship together, I realized that she, in fact, needed her alone time to be the social extrovert that came so naturally. She needed that time to process her thoughts. I, on the other hand, being extremely introverted, realized I needed to be with people to get out of my own head every once in a while. That distraction led to me being able to process my thoughts and be inspired creatively.

  • http://twitter.com/mdmaurer MaDonna Maurer

    Great thoughts. My husband is the introvert and I’m more of the extrovert. I’m not sure we have it all figured out, but we haven’t given up. =) We both try to be observant of the other’s social needs. I liked what you said about “serve one another”. That is probably the key point. Not looking at our own interests, but to others. Loving our neighbor…what closer neighbor do we have then our spouse?

  • http://twitter.com/jrheimbigner Jack Heimbigner

    I am a hands-down extrovert, and though I am not married I have noticed how people easily I can drain the energy of my introvert friends. I have found that I need to give more opportunity for smaller groups or time for them to be away from people. I also know that these are good times for me to build other friendships too.

  • http://twitter.com/TMatlack Thomas Matlack

    *love* this piece. As a strong introvert I have needed a strong extrovert to bring me out of my cave (which I love and hate all at the same time) to see the light of day.

    You might be interested in this piece about when guys found the One, which hits this topic over and over again: (http://bit.ly/shes-the-one) as well as my Good is Good for relationship series. (http://bit.ly/good-is-good)

    Thanks!
    @tmatlack

  • http://www.momentsofgracelotr.com Anne Marie

    I am just like you! I’m not married so can’t speak to that part.

    God bless, Anne Marie :)

  • TNeal

    I keep coming back to this topic because the introvert-extrovert differences have strongly influenced my marriage. I’ve grown in understanding how my introverted wife works.

    Her extroverted mother, on the other hand, still makes comments I have to redirect. Grace assumes I’m simpatico with her opinions on what my wife needs. According to Grace, my wife needs more friends, should get out more, shouldn’t enjoy being home alone so much. It’s just not natural.

    I asked her once, “Don’t you want Ellen to be happy?”

    Of course she did. Well, Ellen’s happy.

    For Grace, an incredible extrovert, Ellen couldn’t be happy working a job she loves then coming home and not wanting to go out and visit friends.

  • http://www.elizabethingersoll.blogspot.com Anonymous

    Thanks, Mike. You totally wrote that for me!

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  • Anonymous

    I (an introverted pastor) am currently reading “The Introverted Leader” by Jennifer Kahnweiler right now. Have you read it? What were/are you thoughts?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have not. It sounds like something I need to read. What do you think?

      • Anonymous

        I have really liked it. As an introvert, I can really connect with a lot of things she says. On another hand, she is an admitted extrovert. So there are still a few elements of her challenges to introverts, which make you think, “I’m not sure you (an extrovert) understand what you’re asking us introverts to do.”

  • http://twitter.com/DanielBecerra Daniel Becerra

    I admit that I have feared this. I am quite an introvert and reading this gave me relief :)

  • Dean

    Thanks for the honesty of saying you were surprised your marriage made it because of the differences between you and your wife. My wife and I are introvert and extrovert. I find that the balance of each and its affect on each other can be aggravating at times. I also find it balances us out as people. She has become more extrovert and I more introvert and some how has given us more equilibrium personally. One trait can tend to dominate the other but I think God’s goal is to moderate and balance out personality traits by the tug of war between the two God given but in need of sanctification personality traits.

  • http://coachradio.tv/ Justin Lukasavige

    My wife and I worked through the same thing. Similarly, I lead a company, speak around the world, and am an introvert. It’s hard to understand the other person sometimes, but when you do and work together, great things happen.

  • Jeff Jones

    I often laugh at the notion that God made us in his image and yet there are so many different images. It heightens the mysterious ways of God in my head and, at times, frustrates me to no end while dealing with people. I have learned to remember that we are all God’s creation and he gave us each what he wanted us to have so I should learn to appreciate that in others while also working to use what he gave me to prepare myself for his will in my life. I’m certainly more introverted working in an office dominated by extroverts. Oh, how I long for the moments when everyone goes to lunch or the roads are icy and I’m the only one here. I find the ways to get what I need while also seeking the ways to help my colleagues succeed using their talents and strengths. It’s a funny little world at times.

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  • Anonymous

    Like you and your wife, my husband tends to be the introvert while I am more of an extrovert. But honestly, I’m a bit introverted myself. I love having time to myself, but since it is so rare (stay-at-home mom with two preschoolers), I never know what to do with myself.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    I love this topic. I think the more information, the more testimonials and stories, the better.

    I am an extrovert and my boyfriend is an introvert. Like you, he is a public figure at his company (Community Manager) and doesn’t seem like your “typical” introvert. But exactly, he is literally drained by being social frequently and around a lot of people. He prefers his alone time. Although I need alone time too, I don’t need near as much as him.

    We always go back and forth and the biggest lesson has been learning to respect and understand the others’ needs. I don’t want someone just like me (outgoing, social, etc.) and I think a balance is nice.

    The challenges we face sometimes are when a group of friends get together and we’re out, and he doesn’t feel comfortable. He doesn’t enjoy crowds of people and he begins to withdraw. Friends automatically assume he is being rude or something is “wrong” when really, it’s just not his bag. It frustrates me, because I want to help and let him enjoy but understanding where he can be comfortable is also something I need to gauge. We are different people with different needs and I think striking a balance HELPS.

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  • http://twitter.com/bdorman264 Bill Dorman

    It can be challenging but it can be done. I’m the extrovert and attend a multitude of social functions. Because my wife doesn’t necessarily enjoy this (depending on the event and who will be there) I attend more than half of these solo. Which is good and bad, it gives me the freedom to roam and I don’t feel like I have to babysit my wife; but being solo is a drag at times. We’ve made it 27+ years, so I guess we’ve figured out what works for both of us.

    Maybe a topic for another day, but my challenge is because I’m the social one is when I am at an event and talking to someone and see all these people I know walking by me is to make sure I give this person in front of me my undivided attention and my eyes are not looking all over the room. And if I accomplish this, then find an appropriate way to disengage. Whew, I’m working very hard at it……….so many people and so little time…….:)

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  • http://modernservantleader.com/ Benjamin Lichtenwalner

    Trina and I share your challenge – in reverse. I am more the extrovert, she the introvert, though as you say, it varies. I’ve learned a great deal from amazing wife and her introverted tendencies. The vacation example is perfect. I always used to want to meet people and network everywhere we went. However, we quickly learned to also build in an equal amount of quiet alone time. Now, many of my fondest vacation memories are of secluded beaches.

    At the office, I’ve learned to identify the different styles on the team. I am rarely worried about hearing opinions and suggestions from extroverts. The introverts, however, I try my best to pull out feedback from with pointed questions.

    A great reminder that is relevant to both public and private life. Thank you for sharing, Michael.

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  • Tinaia17

    WOW, thank you for this post….id loose my fiancee if i didnt found out shes an introvert, cause it looked like she was just being sick of me, while at the same time she says she loves me…and continues to ignore me :) lol shes bad with words too, pretty closed person, so she cant really explain this or many other things about her, well actually doesnt want to. I do believe conversation and communication is the key to a good relationship, how do i get her to open up to me and should i even try since she never ever opened up or talked about any intimate things with anyone, friends or family?

  • http://www.eileenknowles.com/ Eileen

    I’ve always had a hard time putting myself in either category.  I guess I’m a selective extrovert.  I am naturally pretty shy and yet have found myself in more extroverted type roles…like leading small groups.  I love getting to church early to say hi (and I’m also on the greeter team) .  I also enjoy spending time with my circle of friends.  However,  I NEED my quiet alone time too.  Too much “extroverting” exhausts me.   My husband, on the other hand, doesn’t understand why we have to get to church 15 minutes early every week!  

  • Vika

    I agree with you Sir. that’s really happen in my life, between me and my partner..
    ^^

  • rbodenstab

    What if you and your spouse are introverts?  We have to make a strategic effort to “go out” and connect with others!  

  • Troop1120

    Check out Susan Cain’s new book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts.  Very enlightening. 

  • http://twitter.com/jonstallings Jon Stallings

    It seems my wife and I both tend to be introverts, but it seems to work well for us (25 years in June) We have out differences in other areas.

    Since I am Pastor who preaches in front of crowds, people have a hard time believing I am an introvert. For me, I am more comfortable speaking in front of a large crowd than in one on one situations.

  • Alycia Morales

    I’m an introvert. Hubby’s an extrovert. I love to be home alone. He loves to be out and active. People drain me, but I do love to spend time with my closest friends and our family. He gets cabin fever if he’s not out doing something or interacting with other people. He walks up to a stranger and strikes up conversation. I shy away in the corner or on the sidelines until I hear something I can relate to and talk about. Both of us are strong leaders, though. At home, in ministry, and at work.

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  • A. mokh

    well.. this is the topic i’ve looking for…
    me and my fiance are facing this bid deal.. he is a pure introvert and i am a pure extrovert.. and we always have fights about that..
    can u help us to get closer.. we love many things in each other and very matching.. but we cant handle this point..
    so what do u advice us to do..

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Welcome to the club! My wife and I are the same way as well. She’s an introvert and I like to be an extrovert. 

      As you know, that can cause quite a few issues. Wanting to stay home and do nothing while the other wants to be with friends or keeping quiet while the other person wants to hold a conversation.

      During the first few years of our marriage, I tried to get my wife out and about to try new things and meet new people. It didn’t work too well. There was strife and resentment. But I think Michael sums it up well at the end of the post – 

      If your spouse or colleague is an introvert, you need to give him the space to be alone without making him feel guilty for not being more social. If your spouse or colleague is an extrovert, you need to allow him the freedom to
      socialize without getting annoyed that he isn’t ready to leave when you are. 

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  • T.T

    I need advice because my marriage is falling apart. I’ve always been a very social person. I love being out and about around people, listening to other peoples problems, giving advice, and things like that. But my husband on the other hand hates being around other people and always wants it to just be us or us in the kids. He gets mad when other kids come over or I invite friends to go out. I like to hang around after church and talk because most of them I only see there. I’ve always been like that though way before we ever even got married and he knew that when we was dating but never seemed to have much of a problem with it till recently. But we have been married just over 2 years and together for almost 6. I think he is pretty depressed because he has been out of work for a long time so it makes things even worse because he don’t like me to pay for anything especially his way going out to eat and things like that so now he really never wants to go anywhere But I don’t have a problem with it. I try to stay home when I’m not working but sitting in the house drives me nuts! We are falling apart can anyone give me some advice. I don’t want my marriage to fail but at the same time I don’t want to lose my mind sitting in the house. Plus he gets mad at the smallest thing like if we are going the park and one of my friends kids want to come he has a fit! I don’t understand what the big deal is! Someone please help!

  • Smcash33

    Me and my fiance are VERY different.  Im the introvent and he’s the extrovent. Sadly, this different has caused so many problems that the wedding has been postoned forever. It is too hard for me to entertain and he love it.   

  • Jeremieskanu

    The discussion has been great thank you

  • http://toomanymeds.com/ Alex Barker

    Reading good to great by Collins makes me want to be an introvert! I wish I had the humbleness of my wife (introvert). I’m an obviousness high I (DISC) extrovert. I love being the center of attention and accepting praise.
    I believe I’m becoming a great man, but I struggle with the idea that ill take all the glory for myself and not give it back to God. I hope to learn more from my wife’s introverted side

  • Jihoon

    I as introvert remind of where I should get the energy. 
    Truly, I become energetic when alone. This explanation is great stuff to me.
    Thanks. 

  • Ken

    Great article Michael, thanks a lot for this read! Like many I find myself in the same position and it feels very good to read something that sums it up so well. 
    I’m not completely new to this realisation but eager to start handling things even better. Do you have any recommended reading or tips of your own on how to actually appreciate each others differences more? I know realisation is one thing, putting it into reality is another. Personally I can switch very easily and often to my extroverted side so me and my girl go out a lot and do many fun and social activities. But on her part it’s always very hard to stay home, even if it’s just on a sunday after a socially packed weekend. On weekdays she’s home for 1 or 2 evenings, so I’m not completely desperate but I’m looking for points to improve either way. Kind regards.

  • Lakishah1

    I’m an E, my boyfriend I. It’s hard for me, when we first met he was outgoing and fun, texted and called frequently. But about a month in things changed. That is when I started looking up what could be wrong. I found out about our different personalities and I shared it with him, he was offended. After 3 months we broke up. He began to read the info, started contacting me more but ultimately we didn’t get back together although I still loved him. I just felt SO alone, I tried to adjust myself when I learned about his Introvert needs but he was not as flexible.

    Now, 11 months later he is back…wanting to try again. I decided we should try nourishing a friendship where we get to understand each other. But it feels just like before and as much as I still carry a torch for him I see it would wrong and painful to date him again. But he just doesn’t see it. He doesn’t understand why I want his attention, texts or phone calls. I hate that I have to call, text or make plans first. I know logically he cares about my wellbeing but I feel like no more special than that to him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1318834879 Dennis Preston

    I am an introvert, my wife is an extrovert. She used to work in cosmetics at a mall & loved & thrived on the interaction. I work in sales, after her prodding me that I could do. The main thing for us in getting along…okay, for me..is that I’m with myself 24/7, so it would really be bad to be married to someone exactly like me. I love my wife’s approach to life, her being free to speak up when it’s needed. She has learned from me as well. It’s a great combo.

  • http://seekoutwisdom.blogspot.com Joseph Iliff of SeekOutWisdom

    Introverts have a number of qualities that can serve them well as leaders. In Quiet, author Susan Cain describes introverts as people who think before they act, which can be a very beneficial quality in a leader. Two other books I can recommend about leadership and introversion are Quiet Influence and The Introverted Leader by Jennifer Kahnweiler.

  • Diana Smiley Bartkowiak

    Love this article.. to the point for me! I love being Alone, yet god uses us Introverts to speak- God is good! :)

  • Christine Faour

    I have only recently realized that what was “wrong” with me by other peoples’ standards, is that I am an introvert. My husband is very much the extrovert and this had caused friction between us until we both came to understand our differences. Last week was my 60th birthday and for the first time in my life I wanted a party…half way through it, I was in the kitchen, serving. My sis told me that it was my party and ‘just get out there with your guests’. I had to tell her that I was so tired of talking to people that I just needed a break. And then I spent the three days following the party in the house, not really talking to anyone, just basking in the silence. I used to think I was nuts for feeling this way; now I realize that I am just ‘recharging’. My husband realizes this as well and accommodates me. Peace at last! I no longer have to fight for my solitude.
    Also, once a year I go away alone for three days, to be alone to write, read, knit, take walks and not talking to anyone, just enjoying being alone. Hubby understands this as well.

  • slufi

    Michael,

    You mention “it’s a miracle we survived it” regarding learning to live with an introvert and extrovert. Can you recommend specific practices, disciplines, or texts that helped you guys grow through the friction generated by introvert and extrovert marriages?

  • http://www.velocityministrymanagement.com/ Deborah Wipf

    Great point about neither being right – that it’s about leveraging the unique strengths of each personality type. As an introvert and a business owner, I’ve learned from my extroverted friends and have learned to adapt as needed for public speaking and working with my clients. I just make sure to carve-out time alone to recharge so I don’t wear out.

  • skye lite

    The hardest part of being an extrovert with vision & leadership qualities for a women in the Christian world is……she isn’t suppose to be that way! It took me years to realize that God made me just that way and then the Indwelling Holy Spirit continues to balance His work in me. My hubby is the introvert with teaching as his gift ……I go get the people who need to hear him. After 53 yrs of marriage and 40 of them as Christians with 10 in Christian ministry, we can find some balance.

  • davebaldwin

    I have heard the stat that 70% marry opposites. That’s true in our case. Louise is an introvert and I’m an extrovert. We do complement one another well.

    Perhaps it’s because of my perspective, but I do believe extroverts lead better — sorry Michael — even introverts talk about having to be “up” when with people. We extroverts do it better, and people realize that. At least that’s the feedback I’ve gotten from people. What do you think? What has been your experience?

    I love reading and talking about these kinds of things.

    Thank you for the post. There’s a lot to think about.

    Blessings,

    Dave

  • DeborahSPC

    Introvert. That is me. Paul Steinbrueck’s comment describes me perfectly. I love “deep” conversation, in a developed relationship. To get past the small talk, that sucks the life out of me, I really have to put on my game face to make through the small talk on the way to relationship. I really must discern whether this one is worth what it will costs me energy wise. My husband extends much grace for me to be quiet, he definitely sees the value, even though he is an extrovert. I think it’s his super power! Learning these major differences in our personalities has had benefits untold for us.

  • Pamela Slim

    I am a huge extrovert and my husband is a huge introvert. We have learned to really appreciate our differences, and it is a point of strength in our marriage. My whole family are introverts (Mom, Dad, brother, sister), so having a deep relationship with an introvert feels very comfortable to me. :)

  • Nicky

    I think I am an introvert and extrovert at the same time.Is this could be possible?
    Like everything depend on my mood.Like sometimes I need recharging by being me alone just reading book , on my laptop, on my own dancing away,or singing alone. At this point I don’t wanna engage myself to any strangers or even to my family.And sometimes I also wanna go out and meet new people , I enjoy the company of new people and enjoy the limelight.So can I call myself kinda balance between introvert and extrovert?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Google the word “ambivert.” There really is such a thing!

  • LalalaSinging

    Do you know your Myers Briggs types? :) I’m an ENFJ.
    From reading your posts, I get the vibe that you are ISTP and your wife is ENFJ, yes?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      No. ;-)

      I am an INFJ. She is an ESTP.