Communication

Opposites Attract? Maybe Paula Abdul Was onto Something

August 14, 2015
Opposites Attract

If loves songs from the 80s and 90s taught me anything about being in L-O-V-E, it’s that the possibility of a relationship actually working is nigh impossible. We are all so different that relationships are doomed from the beginning to dissolve into intensely emotional, angst-ridden tidal waves of push, pull and failure. So what gives, Paula Abdul? Do you really believe that opposites attract?

Two of the most notorious opposites out there are the introvert and extrovert pairings. Where introverts prefer quietude, contemplative thought, less frequent social outings, extroverts seek high-energy, unhinged social situations to refuel their batteries. One would think, as per the love songs of the 80s and 90s, that a pairing of such polar opposites would leave us torn, and maybe even lying naked on the floor.

But maybe the 80s and 90s got everything (and the girl) wrong?

5 Reasons Why Introvert-Extrovert Opposites Attract

1) You say foolish game, Jewel, I say fun flirtation.

It isn’t always easy for introverts to meet new people, partly because they attend social events less often, and when they do they tend to gravitate towards the safe corners of the room. Some interpret this heavy interiority as standoffish. They may even take it personally, like Jewel, and respond by getting all ethereal in the desert.

There are, however, certain open-book extroverts who are unfazed, and in fact curious about the aloof disposition of an introvert. This provides an instant fuel for flirtation.

Bottom-line: Opposites attract because they’re curious about each other.

2) Two worlds colliding sounds a little destructive, INXS.

For an extrovert to get to know an introvert, it’s more about orbiting around each other for a while, rather than colliding. But it may take more time and patience than many people are willing to dedicate. The introvert’s need to take things slow can be interpreted as disinterest, spiking many people’s insecurities through the roof.

A confident, goal-oriented extrovert is someone who can approach each passing orbit with a degree of enthusiasm that can endear them to the introvert. Especially when their enthusiasm isn’t dependent on an equal and opposing enthusiasm from the introvert (because they take a bit longer to open up).

Bottom-line: Yes opposites attract, but it’s slow-burning attraction (and will last longer as a result).

 3) Sorry Spice Girls, 2 becoming 1 doesn’t add up.

I don’t mean that introvert-extrovert pairs won’t be close and spend time together, what I mean is that they’ll remain close while not always being together. That’s because an extrovert will likely be out on the town more, while the introvert will prefer to be home more often.

Where equations are involved, an introvert-extrovert pairing is less about the minimizing effects of 2 becoming 1, and more about the amplification of 1 and 1 becoming 2.

Bottom-line: Opposites attract because they remain strong as individuals.

4) With or without you? That’s black-&-white thinking, U2.

Yes, you’re personalities are opposite, but isn’t finding balance what life is all about?

Whereas introverts can become internally cornered, extroverts can be externally unhinged. This yin and yang dynamic can have the effect of moderating the exaggerated qualities of each personality type.

The goal shouldn’t be to try to change the other person, or to favour one personality type over the other. Rather, it should be about honouring each other’s differences, and accommodating each other’s needs. This can be an incredibly bonding experience!

Bottom-line: Opposites attract because they are bound together by an appreciation for difference.

 5) You can do without the whole rebelling against norms thing, Miss Jackson.

That’s because there will be a buzz of curiosity around an introvert-extrovert pairing – not a desire to see it fail. Juxtapositions work because the unique qualities of each are brought to the forefront. Introvert and extrovert differences will be emphasized rather than hidden, transforming them into a thing of rare beauty.

Bottom-line: Opposites attract because mismatched things possess a beauty that uniformity can lack.

Of course being an introvert and an extrovert doesn’t necessarily mean that opposites automatically attract. There are still individual personality traits that just don’t mesh, not to mention the mysterious chemistry that attracts people to each other. Empathy skills will always be key to achieving success with your opposite, and if those are lacking, you oughta know from me that there’s a thin line between love and hate.

Take it away Paula:


I like it quiet
And I love to shout
But when we get together
It just all works out.

– Opposites Attract, Paula Abdul

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2 Comments

  • Reply Christelle ALLEAUME August 18, 2015 at 2:07 am

    Mike,
    You have written a very touching article on introvert and extravert, I agree with what you said in that, I would say I’m someone introvet and my partner is extravert, the empathy between is our first goal.
    So congratulations for your article, if you write others Iwould interested.
    Christelle (France)

    • Reply mdineen August 18, 2015 at 6:49 am

      Thanks for you feedback and thoughts, Christelle! And yes, I agree, empathy is an important skill for any relationship. Please feel free to subscribe to the blog for updates on new postings (the subscribe function is at the top right of your screen).
      Mike

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