To pair with an introvert or extrovert, that is the question

I’ve been wrestling with the demise of my ideal partner. The perceived death of my hopes & dreams was heart wrenching but I’m no longer saddened by it. Just keenly interested now in delving into the science of relationships between personalities.

I want to flex my strengths & strengthen my weaknesses. Studying the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has been a fascinating excursion, to say the least.

Long before I met my ex at 17, I’d made a very logical list of needs & wants. He hit all the markers & I ended up with a “successful” 14 year marriage. But he is an extrovert & I’m an introvert and we encountered the exact problems spoken of in this article.

The notion of the attraction of opposites is often romanticized and even encouraged by some. Such pairings are often conceptualized as a balancing of individual strengths and weaknesses. An INFP and an ESTJ pairing, for instance, might be conceived as seizing an opportunity for interpersonal balance. While ES types may be drawn to this notion of interpersonal compensation, Intuitive Introverts tend to be equally concerned with personal growth and self-actualization. Hence, pairing with their typological opposite may in some ways be or feel stunting for IN types. To grow as individuals, Intuitive Introverts need to develop their Extraversion and Sensing functions. However, if they rely to heavily on an ES partner for these things, their personal growth and development could feasibly be impaired.

Compromise, while necessary in any relationship, can also involve a great a price when typological opposites come together. Intuitives tend to be particularly sensitive to this issue, struggling with the idea of sacrificing their individuality for the sake of preserving the relationship. As idealists, persisting in mediocre relationships for the sake of duty or convention is a difficult pill for many Intuitives to swallow.

Ha! So very true for me.

After I divorced my husband, I got swept up in a fantasy of pairing with another extrovert and thusly wrote a dream list based off of his energy. But as his memory fades from my mind I’m beginning to realize new things.

Yes, there were incredible sparks between Wyatt and I, but I couldn’t trust him. Because of his personality he was (for me) unreliable & therefore not stable. He was very mercurial & flighty compared to me. I was constantly planning 20-30 steps ahead to minimize or avoid conflict for/with him. Each encounter sapped my energy.

It was the same situation in my relationship with my ex.

To be fair, introvert/extrovert relationship CAN work but both parties need to be aware of the pitfalls of pairing with an opposite. They both need to actively work towards minimizing them. Unfortunately, it seems like I was the only one putting in the effort. It takes two and a lot of work.

So now after dating both introverts & extroverts and examining the dynamics of our combined personalities, I’m starting to realize & fully appreciate the ease & comfort of pairing with a fellow introvert. Pair up with like minded personalities.

In my view, all types are best paired with mates who align with the needs and values of their dominant and/or auxiliary functions. I also believe that the approach used by an individual to assess potential mates should be rooted in the top two functions of his or her type. Take INTPs, for example. In accordance with their dominant (Ti) and auxiliary (Ne) functions, INTPs tend to value things such as ideas, theories, philosophizing, and intellectual discussions. These are also the sorts of things that INTPs will, and arguably should, consciously value in a partner. After all, if the INTP’s partner does not stimulate his or her mind, what will hold the INTP’s interest in the long term? In sum, if consulting their Ti and Ne, INTPs are seeking what David Keirsey has dubbed a “mindmate.”

This entire concept is exactly what I’ve been chewing on and I’m so grateful to have stumbled upon it. Certainly clears up my thought process.

Now if only I could do a search by MBTI personalities.

Love, Lehua

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4 thoughts on “To pair with an introvert or extrovert, that is the question”

  1. Then years ago i used to be an outspoken INFJ.
    Today when doing similar tests I’m blended. Most values calculated hover between 45 and 55 %. It seems that I have evolved, and I suppose all people do. Do not only look at the end result of the tests, but also at the percentages of your score.
    Best of luck!

  2. I have a theory that opposites actually do work well together – but not “complete” opposites. An INTJ is far too different from an ESFP. However, an INTJ will likely work well with an ENTP. They are both NT’s, “rational” types. Their thinking styles are similar and compatible. The introvert can help reign in the extrovert, while the extrovert can help bring out the introvert.

    Just a theory :) My boyfriend’s an ENTP, so I do admit there may be bias in this theory.

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