Can Introverts Be Successful in Relationships?

There are a number of things that can prevent a relationship from being successful, and sometimes it comes down to the people involved. Aspects of a person’s personality or character can act as major obstacles just as much as outside forces can interfere with the relationship’s health and stability. But does having those same personality traits and characteristics mean that you can never have a successful relationship?


It’s often questionable as to whether introverts are self-sabotaging their relationships into failing due to the traits they have as an introvert. These individuals are those who lean more towards environments that are not heavily stimulating, typically requiring a lot of energy in order to socialize. Basically, these are people who prefer and need their alone time.

It is because of this that many people—including introverts themselves—do not believe that they can consistently maintain a relationship. This belief persists regardless of if the other person involved is another introvert, an extrovert—someone who does have the energy for socialization and environmental stimulation—or an ambivert—someone who has characteristics of both introverts and extroverts. But is this belief actually true?

 Fact or Fiction?

It’s unlikely that introversion isn’t as anti-relationship as people think it is. Awareness of introversion is growing, and a lot of people are realizing that they have a lot of the traits typical of an introvert. This has led to quite a bit of hindsight as people look back on their lives in an effort to determine if and when there were noticeable signs. As a result, their introversion becomes a scapegoat for their unsuccessful relationships even if there were other issues at play. It’s an answer—albeit not necessarily the right one.

The differences two people have can serve as opposing forces when they are in a relationship, especially if they are not fully aware of those differences or how to balance them. Without this balance, it can be easy to blame the root causes of those differences for why the relationship ultimately didn’t work out. Yet it does not mean that there is something inherently wrong with either person or anyone’s introversion. Relationships fail all the time for different reasons; if you want to make it work, then you have to put the effort into it.

 How to Make It Work

Having an introvert in the relationship does not mean that things are doomed from the start or that there are special rules involved. Relationships have basic needs that must be met, and the inclusion of introversion simply means that the approach taken for those needs might require a bit of an adjustment.

If your relationship includes an introvert, then you might want to pay special attention to these areas:

Communication: This is key in any relationship, regardless of who is involved or what traits they may have. Introverts are not ones to bare all of their feelings from the get-go and might not share information that has not been explicitly asked for. They might not be the ones to initiate a conversation unless there’s something on their mind. This is especially true early on in the relationship as an introvert gets used to the other person. You can ask an introvert questions or gently prompt them into joining the conversation but understand that they will expect you to really and truly listen to what they have to say. They’ll do the same for you.

Personal Boundaries: Socializing can use up a lot of energy for an introvert, so don’t be surprised that they might not want to spend every single second of their free time with you. Alone time is how introverts energize themselves, and they place a lot of value in being able to do that. Having personal boundaries in place in a relationship allows them to be able to have that time to recoup, and it will be necessary for keeping the relationship healthy. Introverts get better at using the energy they have the more they get used to the person they’re using it with, so these boundaries are going to be crucial in the early stages of the relationship.

Patience: The non-introverted persons in the relationship might not be used to or understand a lot of the habits of introverts, which can be frustrating. Patience is really important to have when you have a relationship with an introvert as it can take time for them to get used to you. Don’t try to force them into being comfortable with you if they’re not yet there. They will expect trust and respect and will give it to you in kind if you make an effort to do so.

Theresa Smith, CASAC, CRC, LMFT, LPC

Theresa Smith is a relationship expert with over 20 years of experience. She has worked in different areas including clinical work, and more recently a writer. She has a passion for happy relationships and feels that it’s an attainable goal for everyone.

Theresa has several professional credentials centered around mental health, psychology, dating, relationships, and addiction treatment. She has written thousands of articles and many e-books on many facets of dating and relationships.

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