Hospitality Tips for the Introvert Wife with an Extrovert Husband

I am enjoying Kristin Schell’s series on Outrageous Hospitality so much! Her questions at the end of each post really get me evaluating how I can open my home (and myself) up to more opportunities to welcome others. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about the last few days …

I’ve mentioned my INTJ tendencies (INTJs spend a lot of time inside their own minds, and may have little interest in the other people’s thoughts or feelings)  and my husband’s ENFJ personality (ENFJs are people-focused individuals. More so than any other type, they have excellent people skills. ENFJ’s main interest in life is giving love, support, and a good time to other people).

You can see how our hospitality personalities might clash. 

Every weekend he wants to open our front door and throw some meat on the grill. I want to close the blinds and only look up from my book to watch my favorite football team score a touchdown. How can we meet somewhere in the middle of having everyone over and having no one over? We’ve come up with a plan for outrageous hospitality that makes us both happy.

First, we invite small groups over. I much prefer having just a couple families over for a relaxed time of real conversation and real life. Lee can still enjoy people and I can enjoy not being overwhelmed by too many of them at the same time. We focus on investing, not entertaining. It’s also better for our boys, especially James (who has autism). He doesn’t like too much noise and disruptions to his routine (like someone sitting in his seat at the table).

Second, I give myself a job or a purpose, and invite guests to join me. So, when they get to our house, I’m still pulling something out of the oven or setting the table. I don’t automatically have to jump into conversations or come up with small talk. I can invite people to help me do what I’m doing. This is especially important to me if we’re having people over I don’t know well. I feel more comfortable (and therefore make our guests feel more comfortable) if  at first we’re aren’t face to face but rather side by side. I like face to face when we get into deeper conversation and I’m ready to give my full attention to our guests.

Third, I let extroverts be extroverts. The truth is, I need to be around people who truly laugh out loud. People who encourage everyone to let their guards down a little. People who want to talk about reality TV instead of book characters. Even though I like what’s happening inside my own head, I need to remember the outside world is nice to visit too. I am happy to listen more than I speak, so those who like to speak more than they listen can feel like they were really heard.

Fourth, I give myself alone time when everyone leaves. Lee will take care of the dishes or put the boys to bed. I’ll put my sweatpants on and sit in silence for a little while. I’ll probably write in my journal. I’ll go to bed early. I’m wiped out, and Lee understands that. Our oldest son David seems to have inherited my introvert tendencies and usually heads to his room alone when people leave too. We recharge alone so we’re easier to be around when we’re with people again. 

Studies show that introverts often have more fun than they think they will have when they get around other people. I know that’s true for me. It’s worth it to invite people over and allow my husband to use his natural gifts to help people have a good time.

If you’re an introvert who is married to an extrovert, maybe the lessons I’ve learned will help you too!

More posts on introverts:

21 thoughts on “Hospitality Tips for the Introvert Wife with an Extrovert Husband

  1. I love this post, Sandra. It helps me get inside my introvert Husband’s mind! I love how you collaborated to find a common ground, meeting in the middle so both of your needs are met regarding hospitality! xo, K

  2. Oh, yes, I get this. My husband is actually an introvert along with me, but he’s just slightly more extroverted than I am on the spectrum. These tips are still good for us, too!

  3. Thanks for the paragraph on extroverts. There is so much talk about introvertedness these days that sometimes I feel like a freak for liking spending time with others! 🙂 I want you to know, though, that I’d still talk about books over reality tv. 😉 Introverts and extroverts both like reality tv and books!

    • Good point! I was being unfair to my book reading, extrovert friends. Plus, my best friend is an introvert who would watch reality TV over reading a book any day. Glad we all have each other!

  4. I am a big introvert. I am a mommy of 5 kids and my husband is the 3rd of 7 kids. Both our families live close. During birthday season we have family over for birthdays once a month so that is close to 30 people. I usually end up sick in bed after it is all over and It takes a week or more for my fibro to calm down. We still haven’t found a good balance for this issue honestly. Maybe things will balance out better when the kids are older.

    • Would having the parties at a local park help? Less fuss and mess at your home? And maybe set a time when YOU need to leave the party, so you can get home earlier than the rest of the family. If the parties need to be at your home, maybe do a mid afternoon cake and ice cream, and put a boundary on how long the party will last (2-4pm). The first several times you MAY/WILL need to schedule somewhere for your immediate family to GO at the end time, so there is an actual boundary there….and people HAVE to leave. Eventually, they will get used to leaving at the end of your time. Or ask to have the party at another’s house? Or yard? Or in your yard, vs in your house. My mil did this with a big party….everything was set up outside and everyone was expected to stay outside except for the bathrooms. It let her have her space indoors, where she was cooking…and hiding. (I hid with her, lol.).

  5. I am an INTJ and my husband is an ENFP. I totally get this.

  6. I am an INTJ and my husband is an ENFP also!! This is something that I really struggle with also.

  7. I absolutely can relate. I’m married to a major extrovert. I couldn’t be more opposite. I run and hide when someone is at the door. I do NOT like people coming over unannounced and even announced it irritates me if I didn’t do the inviting and don’t feel like visiting….which is nearly all the time. 🙂 I feel selfish about it sometimes, but after almost 20 years of marriage my husband finally understands a lil more and doesn’t push the issue as often. Great post! I love knowing there’s more “like me” out there. 🙂

    • Don’t you feel same way when you are in a public place especially with loud music? Whatever the majority of people call ” fun” I feel it like irritating noise . Whatever people call others friends I see them just strangers. I don’t need many friends, I just need one soul….just one.

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I am an introvert that frequently has to act as an extrovert and it can get very taxing. I am so, so encouraged after reading this. Thank you.

  9. I am a hard one to figure out. I LOVE being around people, because the fellowship fills up my spirit’s “tank” (so to speak). Yet, I can only handle them in small doses. IE) Sunday’s tap me out between Sunday school and evening service – but I love that time… It just means serious recharging. Right now, I am aware of how “empty” I am – introvertedly speaking. I need to just be alone. I haven’t made time to write or be by myself with my new part time “job”/ministry. This article really just speaks to me. Thank you!

  10. I’m obsessed with this picture. That’s my dream table! I want to seat like 40 people! Great tips even though I e have this problem reversed!

  11. Great post Sandra! (which I happened upon by surfing Pinterest). It is exactly our situation, & I so related to your comment about husband thriving on people, and I would rather curl up with a book! We frustrate each other sometimes!
    I’m seeing more stuff written lately from the perspective of introverts & I think it’s important. Over the years, I’ve noticed that introverts tend to be devalued over extroverts, and made to feel “less than.” In fact, I wrote an article on my own blog about “introvert’s guide to haggling yard sales” if you care to check me out.
    Enjoyed your post!

  12. Some great ideas here thank you.
    I hate having anyone over at my house unless it’s immediate family . My other half is the exact opposite!

  13. This is very enlightening…
    I’m kinda a grand mixture. Lol

    In ways I love people and try to empathize with them (maybe because they are the only thing that we can influence for heaven). And yet even though I can be chatty I can feel quite introverted. I’d rather stay home. Going away is not a picnic to me. And having people over can just overwhelm me…

    My hubby comes from twelve kids (he’s the number 6 of the first half dozen ). So when they all decide to make a trip, we are the only ones who live in the middle. So yes they almost always stop here overnight. My hubby is very sweet and helps me tremendously. But it can still put a spin on me and I can sometimes need to recuperate mentally and emotionally.

    I come from a family that’s only a fraction of his (3 to be exact). And we all grew up in a more relaxed atmosphere. So anyway…

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