Outgoing & Shy Personalities in Relationships

Outgoing and shy individuals can happily co-exist in relationships with mutual respect.
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As the saying goes, "opposites attract." Perhaps your shy best friend is interested in the class clown, or your outgoing brother is in a relationship with a quiet bookworm. Although outgoing and shy personalities may not have a lot in common, there isn't any reason why they can't peacefully co-exist in a relationship. As long as there is mutual respect and an effort to understand and work around the personality differences, this type of relationship can be good for both of you.

1 Shy and Outgoing Can Be Compatible

The primary concern that comes to mind when pairing a shy person with an outgoing mate is that they will want different things when it comes to social obligations. You may prefer to stay home Saturday night and rent a movie while your boyfriend is dying to attend a party at a friend's house. These differences don't have to spell the end of the relationship, however. You can negotiate the differences, by agreeing to spend time apart doing different things or by taking turns joining each other in the activities you each find enjoyable.

2 Taking the Lead

In the "Psychology Today" article, "Are You Dominant or Submissive in Your Romantic Relationship," professor of comparative human development, Dario Maestripieri, Ph.D., argues that relationships in which one partner is dominant and the other submissive can make for good partnerships when it comes to practical aspects like making decisions. If you are shy and your girlfriend is outgoing, she might be best at handling many of the social aspects of your relationship -- which might be fine by you. You and your girlfriend may have issues, however, if you start to feel controlled or if you find the two of you have little in common beyond, working well together as a partnership.

3 Affection Between Shy and Outgoing Types

Although your shy girlfriend may fade into the background when you are out with friends, it is possible that she will flourish inside the safety of a relationship. Don't assume that someone who is shy will be less able to show affection; in fact, the opposite may be true. A shy girl may feel more comfortable being her true self when alone with her boyfriend. In the "Psychology Today" article, "Should You Fall in Love With a Shy Person," philosophy professor Aaron Ben-Zeev, notes the downside of this -- if your shy girlfriend doesn't have a lot of friends, she may lean too much on you emotionally.

4 Mutual Respect

Shy guys and outgoing girls -- and the reverse -- can have healthy relationships with a strong foundation. What is most important is that you are responsive, understanding and are concerned about how your partner is doing. Most importantly, you need to see things through your partner's eyes. For example, a shy guy might need to take some time out at a party and his outgoing partner needs to give him that space -- out of respect and understanding for his unique needs based on his personality.

Arlin Cuncic has been writing about mental health since 2007, specializing in social anxiety disorder and depression topics. She served as the managing editor of the "Journal of Attention Disorders" and has worked in a variety of research settings. Cuncic holds an M.A. in clinical psychology.