Post # 1
I’m cohabitating with the kindest, most thoughtful, funniest man in the world. He is an ACTUAL introvert- not just shy but it takes a lot of energy and recharging after he does social things, even with HIS friends. His friends are all married, geeks and pretty calm & happy. Hanging out with them is fun for me because the women are all funny, outgoing non-geeks married to geeks. I feel supported and peaceful when we’re with his friends because their relationships are so similar to ours.
MY friends are different. They are funny, loud, highly inappropriate and… loud. Really really loud. I’m pretty extroverted and even I am exhausted after hanging out with them. SO & I went on a double date with one couple who like to tease and yell at each other and it was just so awkward and uncomfortable. That is how most of my friends interact with their SOs… yelling, teasing… they feel fine with it but it doesn’t look anything like who my SO & I interact.
Everyone is super happy for me because I’m in such a great relationship and, naturally, they want to hang out with me & SO. Two of my closest friends, who are also two of the loudest/most inappropriate, are pressuring me to have a triple date with them & their boyfriends. SO doesn’t want to because it’s “too much” for him. I don’t want to because I know it’ll make him uncomfortable… and honestly, now that I’m in a calm, happy relationship it makes ME uncomfortable being around them.
So what do I do? For now, I’ve tried to push for a “girls night” (not really, since my friends are gay, but there’s no good substitute term!) and told them SO is really busy, I can be the 5th wheel, blah blah. But I can’t keep doing this because they want to love my SO! I don’t want to offend them by saying “Ya’ll are draining!!!”. HELP!!
Post # 3
@MexiPino: I’m the quiet, reserved one in our relationship, my SO would be more like you.
We’ve been together two years, and early on he wasnt aware how much I deteste a)crowds b)drunks c)loud noise d)small spaces e)screaming females and so on…..so he’d merrily take me out to concerts and big shindigs with his 20+ group of friends and I’d sit there like a little overwelmed wallflower. After a few near-panic attacks, I had to let him know that I’m a total social basket case and he and his friends were giving me stomach ulcers.
He took the news like the sweet champ he is, but still kept bringing me out, except he started to take a more active role in picking the venue. Like instead of a crazy packed bar, he’d tell everyone to meet a bigger but more open hole-in-the-wall. He also is very good about letting people know that I’m just more reserved and its in no way personal. I guess a few times people have asked if i was having fun and hes said “Yeah, she’s just not a huge talker.”
We’ve been dating over 2 years and its just how things are. I try not to be such a weirdo, but it helps that he fills people in and tries to find happy mediums. I think if you adopted some of those techniques your SO would have a fine time with your loud and fun friends 🙂
Post # 4
Aww… thanks for your suggestions. I think I will try to set up things that I know wouldn’t be as hard for him. In our situation, I think it’s more the smaller group settings that get to him. Like the in-your-face double/triple dates where EVERYONE else is super loud & annoying. He did ok at a small party we went to a month back. It’s just tough because, while my friends usually roam in packs, they do put a lot of stock in one-on-one or double date type things to form more solid bonds. Going out to dinner with just two or three people kind of “proves” closeness to them. SIIIIGH. I’m already getting shit for not going out as much… which has way more to do with being old than having a boyfriend.
Post # 5
I’m like your SO and I’m a true introvert as well. I schedule my girls’ nights in advance and I do mentally prep myself ahead of time because like your SO, it gets exhausting. My SO’s family is like your friends – loud, exuberant, energetic. Even after all these years, after a major family gathering, I immediately need time alone to recharge and I feel like even my ears are ringing! When we’re out with others, SO is the big talker and I’m usually sitting back observing and enjoying the conversation.
Anyway, it’s great that you are so understanding and you want to help your SO adjust and make sure he’s comfortable. I think if you can schedule these outings with all the friends ahead of time, it’ll help your SO prepare mentally and physically. It’s also all in the frame of mind, meaning if he goes in feeling positive and thinking it’ll be fun, he’s more likely to have fun than if he went in there feeling like he’s going to be drained. I think it’s okay to tell your friends that your SO isn’t into “girls nights” and to nicely explain why. I don’t think it’s a shameful thing to note that someone is an introvert and prefers quiet, small group/solo activities. When we are out, we’re always in sync and he’s always checking on me to make sure I’m feeling okay. The moment I feel mentally exhausted, he’s quick to make up an excuse and get us out of there.
Post # 6
@lilbluebird: That’s a really good point. I’m probably underestimating my friends, thinking that they’d judge him or something. But they see how stinking happy I am, even though he’s very different (or maybe BECAUSE he is so different) than other men I’ve dated. Thanks for pointing out that it isn’t something to be ashamed of… because it really isn’t.
It’s so nice to get feedback from other introverts. Thanks ladies!
Post # 7
Is it possible to give them a head’s up that he’s an introvert? I’m an introvert, too, and part of the stress in dealing with extroverts is when they don’t know/understand how I work. The first few meetings are always awkward and, for me, exhausting as hell, but once we’ve all figured each other out, it gets better. Have you also explained to your SO that this is how your friends form deeper bonds? If he sees it as just another outing no different from any other, I can see why it wouldn’t seem necessary to him to go. I think with the right balance of knowledge and scheduling, a multi-dating outing should be possible. Good luck!
Post # 8
I totally feel you on this…when FI and I first started dating, he would try and come out with me and my friends but the only way he could stand to be out in loud, crowded places was to get drunk and then he would get belligerant and obnoxious and I couldn’t stand being around him. OR we would make plans to go out and he would end up having a major anxiety attack beforehand and we would end up getting into massive blow out fights and he would end up staying home and I would have to make excuses for him.
To be honest, this almost broke us up quite a few times. We went to counselling to work on things and I started to be a lot more understanding of how serious social anxiety can be for some people. He went on medication for awhile (he’s off now and has been for some time as he has also worked on his anxiety issues) and I had to be more patient and understanding of how difficult it is for him to be in large social groups.
It took some time but he’s slowly gotten better and while initially people didn’t understand, everyone that is important to me seems to understand how he is now and that he does much better with 1-2 other people than in a big group. And we compromised – I don’t ask him to go out to big social events with me unless it is REALLY important to me and he doesn’t give me a hard time when I go out with my loud, crazy theatre friends (usually overnight). I love him even though we are super different personalities and I just accepted that my loud, exciting social life would have to carry on without him for the most part. And he compromises by going to important events a couple of times a year.
Sure it would be nice if we were one of those couples that go out to bars and big parties all the time but that just isn’t us. We’re lovey dovey homebodies (it’s hard to even get him to go out to a movie sometimes) and we respect and accept each other for exactly who we are – if other people have a problem with our relationship and how we live our lives, then I guess that’s their cross to bear.
It’s certainly a difficult thing to deal with when introverts and extroverts get together but it is possible to have a really successful, loving relationship with some compromise, patience and understanding.
Post # 9
We’re exactly the same! DH loves my friends and my friendships, but if they’re over at the house he comes out to say hi and awkwardly participate in converation for two minutes then he’s in his office or the garage until everyone leaves. I don’t think he’s being rude; I just want him to be comfortable so I’m not going to force/guilt him into hanging out if it’s not fun for him.
I don’t make him go to things he won’t enjoy (murder mystery dinner, masquerade party, flag football) and I’m just totally up front with my friends about it. They all know him, love him, love me, love us, but they get that mile-a-minute talking and squawking about high school and Bravo TV shows just isn’t his scene. I think that at first my friends wondered why I didn’t make him come with me everywhere, but five years later they all get it.
I’m totally used to being the fifth wheel and I just flat out say “I don’t invite him to things he won’t have fun at” and usually I get praise from other peoples’ husbands/boyfriends, haha. Or when I just don’t want to go out, I don’t go out. I used to get crap from them about it, but they know I’ll be there for birthdays and important stuff…we do ‘girl dates’ and weekday lunches and game nights and stuff, but they know that drinking vodka sodas and talking shit about your sister in law every Thursday/Friday/Saturday night just isn’t fun anymore.
Post # 10
@HisMoon: They know he’s an introvert and are fine with that. We even went on a double date with one of the couples. They loved him. The feeling was not exactly mutual. 😛 The problem is that his introvertedness doesn’t make THEM uncomfortable… he is uncomfortable with their insanity. I wish I could explain how crazy they are… but there are two best friends involved who ONLY communicate by yelling at each other & making jokes at the other’s expense. Then one couple pretty much behaves the same way, except now they have a kid so sometimes the anger/frustration is REAL. I don’t know the other friend’s partner well enough to know how they interact.
It’s all a bit much for ME and I’ve known them for 6+ years and am pretty extroverted. I really don’t blame SO for wanting to bow out (and always make it easy for him to) but it is starting to feel like we ONLY hang out with his friends and my friends pressuring me to hang out is starting to wear on me. While I’m not bitter about it NOW, I’m thinking several months or years from now I might be mad at SO for not making more of an effort.
Post # 11
@Ellegee: Thanks for that. It’s good to know that years later you’re still able to make him comfortable AND maintain relationships with your friends. We’re still pretty early in our relationship (6 months) but it got really serious really quick and I’m sure this is who I’m spending my life with, so I just really REALLY want my friends to like him and not be put off by me saying he doesn’t want to hang out with them, ya know?
Post # 12
@LibbyLoo: Awww… we’re lovey dovey homebodies too 🙂 I think it’s just that we’re ALL in transition. We met when we were all in our 20s and would spend literally 4 nights a week dancing and drinking. Obviously that was going to change at some point, but now that I have a serious boyfriend it’s as though it’s ME that isn’t hanging out… when the most demanding friend just had a baby!!! They have NO time, but magically it’s me that isn’t available? SIGH…
Post # 13
I am very much like your SO.
I would say that the key is to expose him to your friends in small doses, and as PPs have said, at planned times.
So, for example, if you plan a date with them all, try to make it time limited, so it won’t go on indefinitely, but will last say 3 hours.
As an introvert, I can enjoy socialising with loud and outgoing people very much, but only now and then, and only for a certain amount of time. Then I kind of run out of energy and start needing to retreat. Being aware of his limits and meeting them will really help.
I think you can just be honest with your friends and say he likes them but is not overly social. Hopefully they will be understanding and appreciate that he makes the effort to see them now and then.
Also, perhaps you can meet up with them alone say 3 out of 4 times, so that you see them lots, but he doesn’t have to come every time. That way he can have those times to recharge alone.
Hope that helps a bit!
Post # 14
@MexiPino: Aww well then I have to respectfully say that it’s not fair of your SO to put you in that position. He should make the effort. I don’t say that with any high and mighty-ness, just stating a relationship fact. Re: your friends, if they really understood what being an intense introvert means, I’m sure they’d be happy to work with you on more acceptable (for lack of a better term) outings for your SO.
An example, based on an outing I’ve had in the past, is the beach (could also be park, zoo, etc). It’s a wide open space that will help spread out the loudness. Also, if he needs a moment, y’all can go for a short walk to look for shells or look at that one bird over there or whatever. Bonus points for a place that could allow folks to go play a game or sport with him being able to sit on the sideline cheering and getting some alone time.
Post # 15
Can you do dinner (at a nice not loud place) and a movie?