It is no secret that Greg and I are very different people. Over our five years together we've had to learn to do a lot of give and take and learn how how to meet in the middle so that both of us are happy. Who would have thought that merging two totally different people could be difficult?
I would say our biggest differences are:
1. He's sees big picture/ I see details (dreaming vs. planning maybe? Not real sure how to word this one... optimist vs. pessimist? But I don't think I'm pessimistic, I just like to be prepared!)
2. The way we spend money
3. Introvert vs. Extrovert
The good thing is we also have lots in common. Like how much we love each other and how committed we are to our marriage and family. That's probably the biggest one. We also have very similar senses of humor, love going on vacations together, and we are both sensitive. We are feelers which means when we argue we both get our feelings hurt easily, but are also very aware of how we might be hurting the other and are quick to apologize. Let's just say our disagreements can be quite emotional. We're different but differences aren't everything. (Although it can sometimes feel that way.)
Greg and I do both love going on vacations, but our introvert/ extrovert personalities take vacations very differently. When Greg is on vacation he wants to take it easy- sleep in, do some casual sight seeing, eat at a slow restaurant, take a nap in the afternoon, go back out at night to eat or do something casual. We might turn in early and watch a movie or just relax. I'm the total opposite- I want to be up at 6 am and literally do every single there is to do in the city we're visiting. Napping and resting feels like a waste of time to me- we came all this way and spent all this money, now we must go out and do all the things!!! If I had my way we'd literally go from activity to activity with no rest inbetween!
At the beginning of this month Greg and I enjoyed a week long cruise. We celebrated five years of being together and a year of being parents. June stayed home with her grandparents and Greg and I were really able to just soak up the good times. We went with my cousin and her husband, who are both extroverts, (Sorry, Marianne, I refuse to believe you are an introvert!) and it really took me by surprise to see how far Greg and I have come in that department. Have we finally mastered the perfect introvert + extrovert balance on vacations?!
Probably not. In ten years I'll read this post and laugh at my 29 year old face and say, "Oh Bonnie, you knew nothing you stupid little fool." But right now I feel like we maybe kind of figured out a thing or two, so I want to share it with the rest of you out there who might be in extroverted/introverted relationships are afraid you will never have an enjoyable vacation together.
8 Ways to have a perfect introverted + extroverted vacation:
(From an extrovert's POV)
1. Save high energy activities for when less people are doing them. I always want to do things that are more high energy- hiking, swimming, snorkeling, dancing, karaoke, etc. This is the extrovert in me, but it is hard for an introvert like Greg to always hop on board. I have discovered that Greg will do these things and enjoy doing these things with me as long as there are not a million other people trying to do them, too. We figured out that the best time to go swimming on our cruise was around 6 or 7 in the evening... most people were getting ready for dinner and we could have the pool practically to ourselves. If we tried to go swimming at 1 or 2 in the afternoon it was packed and miserable and Greg's introverted energies were quickly depleted.
The times where most people were doing extroverted activities were the times when we would play cards with Marianne and Adam, take naps, or just do something more low key. (Also best time to go hot tubbing for us was RIGHT after dinner. We'd literally book it out of the dining room, change into our suits and get to the hot tubs about 9:30. Most of the time we had the hot tub all to ourselves compared with sharing with twenty other couples.)
Up on the deck when no one else is- the secret to an introvert's heart!
2. Be willing to go places alone. The craziest thing about Greg's intense introvertism is that I have learned that I might be a little bit introverted too. Maybe?!? Like sometimes I just wanted to go up to the deck by myself and read a book. I would always be happy to have Greg there with me if he wanted, but I really enjoyed my quiet moments of reflection, studying, and reading- especially in the evening hours when the decks were pretty empty. On lots of our vacations I have gone on walks alone, gone to get ice cream alone, or just enjoyed a tourist attraction on my own. Sometimes it's really awesome to do things by yourself. Don't get me wrong, I'd always rather have Greg with me but if it's do it alone or do it not at all I'm all about doing it alone!
These pics were taken while I was *gasp* alone reading on the deck.
3. Travel with other people (if you don't want to always go on the laid back, introverted schedule.) I loved that we had Marianne and Adam with us on this cruise because if Greg wanted to recharge and I wanted to go to an activity I could usually tag along with my other very extroverted friends. It's always great to have more people around who like to do the same things you do. The summer after we got married we did a study abroad in London and Scotland. I remember several times where Greg just kind of wanted to chill and relax but other kids that we were with were going to museums, castles, etc. I'd often go with them and let Greg rest up so that neither of us resented the other for making him (or me) go along with my (or his) own plan.
Dinner was always quite the extroverted activity- lots of conversation, people everywhere, talkative waiters. I love it and so does Greg, but I know this sort of thing takes his energy instead of restores his energy. Also, isn't my cousin, Marianne, so pretty?
4. Don't plan multiple extroverted activities in a row I've learned that if we do a high energy, super extroverted activity that I need to give Greg time to recharge before I unleash us on the next high energy activity. I kind of have to pick the activities that are most important to me and then the other things we will get to if we get to. Our first day on on island we went on an awesome hike along the shore. (We purposely chose something that not a lot of other people would be doing and we practically had the trail to ourselves.) It was beautiful, but it was definitely draining as it was extremely hot and humid. Instead of pushing for the next high energy activity, we went back to the boat, had pizza for lunch, took a quick dip in the pool (every one was on shore so the boat was pretty much empty) and then took an hour nap in our pitch dark, air conditioned cabin. Before I met Greg I would never agree to take a nap in the middle of the day on vacation like this, but by doing so we were both recharged for the afternoon. We enjoyed the afternoon swimming and playing in the sand, but only after I let Greg have a bit of recharge time. (When we were in Prague last summer our days went like this: go out for three hours in morning, have slow relaxing lunch, go back to hotel and take long afternoon nap, go back out for dinner and night activities. I hated to admit to Greg that I enjoyed that much more than I enjoy the constant go go go of my usual vacations.)
5. Don't expect multiple high energy days in a row. Just like the breaking up high energy activities, we have to break up high energy days too. On a cruise this usually works itself out because there's a day on shore and then a day on a boat, day on shore, day on boat. This cruise though we had three shore days on a row. I knew Greg's introverted soul would struggle with so many high energy days on a row so when he wanted to stay in and snooze on the second day (also he wasn't feeling well) I said yah that's fine. I went along with Marianne and Adam and was still able to have a great time while Greg restored his energy.
The coolest hike along the shore on St. Maarten.
High energy morning called for more low key afternoon.
High energy morning called for more low key afternoon.
6. Let your introvert nap. I have learned that when I let Greg recharge, and especially when I let him nap then he is so much more pleasant and has so much more energy for all the high energy activities that I want to do. Greg napped like a little baby on our trip (that's what vacations are for he says!) and I would always just let him be. I think he fell asleep for two hours on the beach in St. John's. And then he was happy as can be the rest of the afternoon!
This is me reading in the shade while Greg napped on.
7. Be flexible// Be willing to mix things up. One of the nights of our cruise Greg was begging to not go to dinner in the formal dining room. He wanted to do something more casual, not take such a long time eating, and not have to make conversation for over an hour. I loved dinner in the dining room and especially wanted to go this night because it was a formal night. I have serious FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) so just the fact that everybody else was going to be there, and I wasn't made me sad. But I told Greg I'd be okay without the formal dinner and instead we ate spaghetti by ourselves in the buffet restaurant and then swam and hot tubbed just the two of us for over an hour. It was probably my favorite night of the cruise- we had the back of the cruise ship completely to ourselves while everyone was dressed to the nines in the dining room. The night was way more low key for Greg and allowed him to restore his energy while at the same time ended up being way more fun (and romantic!) than the dining room.
8. Thank your introvert for using so much of his energy on extroverted activities. Our cruise was the perfect balance of introvert and extrovert, high energy and low energy. We were able to do lots of activities that I love- karaoke, dinner, swimming, snorkeling, hiking, and even riding scooters around the island while still getting in lots of quiet recharge time. I know all the extroverted activities were exhausting for Greg so I tried to be really grateful and thank him out loud for the energy he was constantly putting in to extroverted activities. I feel like when I make an effort to show appreciation for Greg's efforts then he puts in more effort. Make sense? It's a lot of effort!
This is from an afternoon where we took it easy...
shopped, ate, and walked around Nassau
This picture has nothing to do with the extrovert/ introvert dynamic,
I just had to show off my cool tattoo!
May your vacation days be filled with the perfect introvert/ extrovert balance!