By Nicolle

On the Myers-Briggs personality scale, I rank as an introvert, which means that I get energy by spending time with myself. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy spending time with groups of people – as long as I don’t have to spend my evening telling jokes from the stage. What it does mean is that dinner parties, large get-togethers and circumstances where I have to meet a lot of new people usually exhaust me.

As a single 20-something, my introverted characteristic feels like one I should keep under wraps. I’m more satisfied with a sharing a home-cooked meal with a date than playing beer pong at a raging kegger; this makes me feel slightly boring and like my introverted tendencies won’t easily win me favor with a guy.

Adding insult to injury, introverts are often characterized as being unable to maintain conversation, something that extroverts want to “save” them from.

Example: A friend of mine isn’t the life of the party. She prefers smaller gatherings with people she knows well to large-group gatherings, especially with people she doesn’t know. Her ex-boyfriend is the opposite: life of the party, able to engage easily with anyone in any setting and comes across as extremely confident. When he got a new job and began taking her to work parties, he felt like he had to watch over and coddle her because, according to him, she wasn’t actively displaying the same confidence he exuded – at least that’s the reason he confessed when he recently broke up with her.

But it seems like the opposite issue is a problem too. In her book, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, writer Lori Gottlieb explains how being on the other side of the introvert spectrum can also cause a relationship to fail: “A cute lawyer broke up with two women whose company he enjoyed very much, except at dinner parties: one was too talkative and the other was too shy (‘I always felt like I was responsible for keeping the conversation going for her’).”

Gottieb makes a great point about her lawyer friend, who justified his two break-ups by saying that he was just looking for a balance between the two: “He didn’t seem to realize that if he got married and had kids, he wouldn’t be going to as many dinner parties and that how much he enjoyed his wife’s company one-on-one would become most important.”

So, it’s quite possible that we’ve got our priorities incorrectly ordered. When we’re looking for long-term relationships, what’s most important isn’t the extent to which your significant other can maintain a conversation with your coworker (and this is just one example of many). Instead, we need to consider how we interact with each other one-on-one – because that’s likely how you’ll be spending the majority of your time. If you’re more focused on her ability to drink your friends into oblivion or whether or not he can talk to your best friends for as long as you can, a long-term relationship won’t be sustainable.

Don’t misread me – it’s still important that you can, as a couple, interact with others. But it’s more important that each other’s company is the company you most want to keep, no matter where you rank on Myers-Briggs.

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