1. You are the designated talking head of the relationship in social settings. You are the one who orders the appetizer, explains how you met, answers questions about the vacation you guys took, sets up plans, tells the server that the food is fine, and even tells his stories for him. Generally, you take care of all questions directed at both of you, and at least half of the questions directed at the introvert.
2. They never loudly embarrass you in public. A super-perk of dating an introvert: he never loses control and makes a big scene in front of a crowd of friends and strangers. Downside: half your friends’ first impression of him is that he didn’t like them, found them boring, judged them, and was laughing at inside jokes with himself all night. (Also see: #11 — “Sometimes you can’t tell if they’re upset with you.”)
3. “Fights” are more like “intense discussions.” Fights that normally result in a huff and 10-minute relationship time-out are replaced by quiet discussions that seek resolution through discourse (as opposed to resolution through “cooling off,” an equally legit way of feeling better again). You can never get the introvert to yell back at you. This is both a relief and super frustrating.
4. People who don’t know them just assume they’re quiet or shy, but you don’t see them that way, and you feel the need to explain that to people. Introverts are just as talkative as everyone else. It’s just that they’re talkative around fewer people. Dating an introvert, you’re always a little defensive about people labeling her “quiet” or “shy,” because you know that if people actually did know her, they wouldn’t think that.
5. Their default level of scrutiny toward ANY plan you throw their way is always extremely high. You can actually see the instantaneous mental flinch at the suggestion of any sort of social gathering that involves more than one other person (and even that’s hard to get them to agree to). It’s as if, for some reason, they’re suspicious of all human beings, or maybe that, if they go out and meet new people, something terrifying and traumatic will happen that will forever scar them. The most interesting aspect here is that even their good friends — tried and true individuals, if you will — are subject to the same level of scrutiny as complete strangers. Uh huh, they nod when you bring up a potential dinner with someone you’ve both known for years, I’m not sure… what restaurant is it again? Isn’t that pretty expensive? I might be too tired that day…
6. They ALWAYS need an exit strategy from social obligations. Social obligations without an exit strategy make introverts squirm. Before going out, they make you pin down 1) when you guys are going to leave and 2) the excuse you guys are gonna give. Another one of their tricks is that they’ll minimize the time they’re actually at the social obligation by bookending it with a one-on-one dinner first and then one-on-one drinks after. (Also see: #5 — “Their default level of scrutiny toward ANY plan you throw their way is always extremely high.”)
7. You do silent “activities” “together.” Your perfect day is taking the train to the city, shopping, and grabbing a drink before going back home. His is sitting in a dark coffee shop and reading a book, with you next to him, without any talking, for two+ hours.
8. Going out with large groups of people is not high on their list of priorities. Large groups of people scare introverts. The chance of being blindsided by suddenly becoming the center of 10+ people’s attention is way too real.
9. You have a bond they don’t share with a million other people. You never get the feeling that someone else has the same thing you have with your introverted significant other. The introvert’s affection is only for you — all bonds outside of your relationship are real, but they’re distinct from yours. You’re free from feeling threatened by what other people share with him, because you’re positive that what you have together is unique.
10. You lose fights because you’re not thinking about your answers before you say them, but they are. “Losing” any one fight is a totally superficial and unhealthy way to judge your relationship, but as it’s happening, most people in relationships sorta want to win. This sucks for you, because when you’re fighting with your introverted significant other, her words are measured, disarming jabs that continually burst your logical bubble, while your words are stream-of-consciousness emergency-style fight-to-win psychobabble that you swear the introvert’s laughing at with her internal monologue.
11. They have Resting Bitchface Syndrome. It’s a thing that’s always happening to their face that causes them to look super upset or really bored, despite feeling totally fine on the inside or even on fire with happiness and joy. It’s real. When you’re dating someone who’s always wandering the vast trajectories of their quiet internal monologue, you’re constantly fighting back questions. Is he mad? Holy shit, she looks so bored. Is he having a good time? What is she thinking about? I knew I shouldn’t have made her come out with my friends…
12. You can’t help feeling judged by their silence. Controlling feeling judged by silence is pretty much a survival skill when you’re in a relationship with an introvert. Just remember who you’re dealing with. She’s not judging you. She’s figuring out how to best say what she’s thinking.
13. They are thoughtful at problem solving and less reactionary during fights. While you’re saying the first thing that comes to mind, she’s just trying to figure out how to mitigate the problem. (See also: #3 — “‘Fights’ are more like ‘intense discussions.'”)
14. They make you play 20 Questions before agreeing to plans. Who is going to be there? Do I know them? Are they in any way annoying or unseemly? What is the potential of getting stuck with them? Will it be awkward? List the ways they could possibly be terrible to hang out with. Will it be expensive? How are we going to get out of the situation? How will we get home? Will the subway be crowded? Don’t you want to read a book in a dark coffee shop instead?