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Thread: Introverted girlfriend, doesn’t engage socially with my friends

  1. #1

    Introverted girlfriend, doesn’t engage socially with my friends

    Hope someone here can offer some advice. Been seeing my girlfriend for a while now, 18 months - so it’s pretty serious. I love her company when it’s just the two of us - she’s loving and extremely sweet and kind.

    The problem is when we go out socially. She doesn’t seem to understand how a conversation is supposed to work. She’s absolutely fine talking about herself, but never really seems to take much interest in other people - doesn’t ask them how they are, nor what they’ve been up to, etc. This creates lots of dead-end conversations.

    We just spent a week away with a large group of (my) friends over new year (she doesn’t seem to have so many friends of her own). Anytime we were sitting in a group for dinner or around a table chatting over drinks, she barely said a word. I tend to have to carry the conversation for the both of us and it’s quite tiring, not to mention a little awkward for other people as they wonder why she isn’t asking them anything - so puts added pressure on them as well.

    I try to involve her by getting her to open up about herself, so that all the focus and pressure of talking isn’t entirely on me, but again - that’s not really the same as if she were to show an interest in others. She clearly finds groups quite tiring, and is probably rather an introvert, but I still feel it’s a question of common courtesy to at least attempt to show some interest in other people.

    Ideally I want a deepening relationship with my friends over the years... couple friendships tend to work differently to single friendships in that many future social invitations will likely be based on our dynamics as a couple. We’re of the age when most of my friends are in couples and several now have children.

    I love her, but this situation makes me quite sad. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

  2. #2
    Gold Member maew's Avatar
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    I have had a similar experience... with my self. I used to be that girl, super socially awkward, very quiet among groups... my ex was an extrovert and used to shame me for it after we left whatever gathering we were at... basically saying I was some sort of freak of nature.

    Some people are just not good in groups or at socializing. If it's something she wants to work on, it will still take her time to develop the necessary skills. It took me a very long time and a lot of practice to become better at socializing... which sounds odd to someone it comes naturally to, but that's the reality for many of us introverts.

    Unfortunately for introverts, the world views people from an extroverted point of view... introverts are often seen as anti-social, or weird, and miss opportunities because they are more quiet and don't speak up as often.

    This ted talk was one of my all time favorites... does a fantastic job at describing the power of being introverted and how we can start to see introverts in a different way.

    [Register to see the link]

  3. #3
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    Have you talked to her about this at all, OP?

    Wondering what her response was, if you have discussed this.

    If you haven’t discussed this, she may not be aware of her behaviour around others and how her lack of social skills are affecting you.

  4. #4
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    This isn't just about her being an introvert. I'm an extroverted introvert, where when I'm in a group of people, or at a party, etc., I engage a lot, but then I recharge via alone time.

    This is more about her simply not engaging at all. She takes no interest in others, and she relies completely on you for entertainment, social life, and for you to carry the two of you as a couple when with others. The fact that, at 18 months, you feel she has no friends, is very telling.

    She's making too much of her life revolve around you, and no one can bear that burden for long.

    No wonder you're getting weary.

    This is who she is. She came to you 18 months ago with no friends, and only engaging with you, but not others. It's frankly quite selfish to talk only about oneself without stopping to ask the other person anything about themselves.

    I don't have much advice other than to empathize with you, and let you know that it's ok if you decide that this will not work for you long term. It wouldn't work for me, so I get it.

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  6. #5
    Yes, I’ve mentioned it a few times in the past quite subtly, i.e. “my dad would love it if you asked him about X thing, because he loves to talk about that...” - which sort of works, albeit with no follow-up questions.

    In situations where she’s completely silent all the way through a group social event, I’ve tried telling her it would be nice to have some more support from her, and I think she’d enjoy things more if she asked people about themselves etc, but she just got upset and felt I was trying to change her.

    It’s been really very hard to broach the subject - the last thing I want is to upset her. Perhaps I’m not very good with choosing the right words.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member melancholy123's Avatar
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    Does she seem bothered by how she is or is she ok with it? She'd drive me nuts.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear this, but she's right.
    Originally Posted by Kenit2019
    she just got upset and felt I was trying to change her.

  9. #8
    I think she’s pretty OK with how she is. She’s happy not to go out much, and tends to avoid socialising really. I’ve suggested it would be nice if she invited her work colleague along to X social event (who she gets along really well with), but she doesn’t seem interested in forging friendships outside of work. She’s left that job now, so I guess they’ll lose touch.

  10. #9
    Gold Member maew's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Kenit2019
    Yes, I’ve mentioned it a few times in the past quite subtly, i.e. “my dad would love it if you asked him about X thing, because he loves to talk about that...” - which sort of works, albeit with no follow-up questions.

    In situations where she’s completely silent all the way through a group social event, I’ve tried telling her it would be nice to have some more support from her, and I think she’d enjoy things more if she asked people about themselves etc, but she just got upset and felt I was trying to change her.

    It’s been really very hard to broach the subject - the last thing I want is to upset her. Perhaps I’m not very good with choosing the right words.
    You are trying to change her. You aren't comfortable with her behavior and want her to change it to make you and others feel more comfortable. You are a very social person... she is very socially awkward and either doesn't have the skills or isn't interested in socializing with your friends.

    At the end of the day, given how important socializing is to you, it probably means you likely won't be compatible for a long term relationship.

  11. #10
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    Originally Posted by Kenit2019
    I think she’s pretty OK with how she is. She’s happy not to go out much, and tends to avoid socialising really. I’ve suggested it would be nice if she invited her work colleague along to X social event (who she gets along really well with), but she doesn’t seem interested in forging friendships outside of work. She’s left that job now, so I guess they’ll lose touch.
    You're missing the point.

    She doesn't want to invite work colleagues, or anyone else.

    She only wants to be with you. If this isn't something you want, then you'll have a decision to make.

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