The Best Dating Advice For Introverts, According To Experts
YOU COULD Being the most outgoing person in the world, gaining energy by spending time with others, and dating can always be deeply draining. First, take the time to connect with someone to see if you’re even interested in dating them. Then there’s the preparation for the date, from shaving to choosing an outfit you’ll feel comfortable in. Finally, you’re on the hook and doing your best to engage and see if this person is right for you. That’s a lot, especially for an introvert.
Of course, most people fall somewhere on the spectrum between introvert and extrovert. But, for anyone close to the former, dating can take up a lot of your energy. The process of putting yourself out there, talking to new people, and deciding to go on a date with them is already a lot. Once you’ve added the actual date, you might feel particularly drained. With that in mind, we spoke with eight leading experts, including a dating app founder and a professor of relationship sexual communication, to hear their top tips for dating as an introvert. From ways to stay comfortable while talking to someone to how to conserve your energy, read on for what they had to say.
Expert: Dr Tara Suwinyattichaiporntenured professor of relationship and sexual communication at Cal State Fullerton and a relationship expert.
If going on a date leaves you feeling stressed and exhausted, delay it for a bit. There’s no reason you can’t talk with a potential match online until you get to know each other a little better. “Research shows that introverts are more satisfied with online communication. Chatting with people online can be less tedious and more exciting for introverts,” says Suwinyattichaiporn. “Try chatting with potential dates for a longer period of time until you feel confident and comfortable with them before going on a face-to-face date.” Suwinyattichaiporn recommends setting the intentions of what you’re looking for while virtually talking to the other person. It could be telling them you’re looking for a long-term relationship or finding someone who makes dating fun. Sharing this information before a date can also relieve tension once you meet in person.
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Expert: AJ Qutub, co-founder and chief growth officer at Destination
Once you’ve built a sense of comfort online, it’s time to take the plunge and meet in person. However, there are several ways to make this much less nerve-wracking. To start, be aware of where you choose to meet. Choose a place where you feel comfortable and safe, suggests Qutub. The place can be somewhere you know well, full of people, or close to a friend’s house. Think of anything that would make you feel comfortable. Next, try to stay calm before you even leave the house. “It could be listening to a song that helps you relax, having a few drinks beforehand, or finding a hobby you enjoy doing with others,” says Qutub. You can do it, one step at a time.
Expert: Dr Stephanie Freitaglicensed psychologist at Westchester CAPS and adjunct professor at Emory School of Medicine.
Introversion gets a bad rap, especially in social situations like dating. In fact, introversion is a key part of who you are and is not inferior to extroversion. “You don’t have to be the most outgoing person in the room to be likable or lovable. People want to connect with other genuine human beings,” Freitag explains. no one person has one defining personality factor – we are a unique amalgamation of so many characteristics.” Try not to focus on that one thing and instead accept that someone is going to blend right in with you.
Think about what social activities you enjoy when you put yourself out there. “I always recommend connecting with people through shared hobbies where people are social,” Freitag says. “You’re more likely to connect with people who share similar interests and values if you’re doing something that legitimately brings you joy, because you’re more likely to radiate positive energy.” Do you like writing, sports or quizzes? Lean into it and meet people with similar interests – it may just lead to a date in the end.
Expert: Christine OlsonMSW, registered social worker and psychotherapist.
Many introverts may find it more comfortable to go on a date and spend most of the time listening to what the other person is saying. Active listening is a necessary skill and can show your date that you care about what they are telling you. However, this does not replace the need for reciprocity in conversation. “Balance listening and sharing. Introverts tend to keep everything inside,” says Olsen. “The other person needs to assess whether the introvert is a good fit for them as well. This requires intentional sharing that may not come so naturally. She recommends taking the time before a date to prepare. You can use these times to reflect talking points or interests you might want to share with a potential partner.
Expert: Dr. Ashley Lowe-SimmonsFSW, a licensed clinical social worker.
Introversion stems from situations that energize you or take you away from it. Simmons explains that situations like dates may require you to stretch out further. With that in mind, try to focus all of your attention on the moment while it’s happening (like on a date). This unique act of focus will allow you to be present and give you space to see the effort you put in and how different people make you feel. “Introverts may even schedule dates with themselves to make sure their time is prioritized,” Simmons says. Use this time to recharge and shift all your energy to your inner self.
The above plays into Simmons’ next tip: Take the time to understand who you are. “Spend time with yourself and become more self-aware. Consider what you would like to have in a mate versus what you need – the non-negotiables.
Expert: Joni Ogle, CSATlicensed clinical social worker and CEO of The treatment of heights.
Tell your date if you’re feeling shy, uncomfortable, or exhausted. “Your date won’t be able to read your mind, so it’s important to communicate your feelings and needs openly and honestly,” Ogle says. “The worst thing that can happen is that the other person doesn’t understand, and they might think you’re not interested in them.” If this is someone you want to see again, they will need to like you and get to know you, which involves open and honest communication. Who knows, they may feel the same way and are happy for you to mention it.
Expert: Lanae St. JohnDHS, CSC, ACS, and a sex and relationship coach.
Every person has a certain amount of time to socialize before they want to step back from the person – yes, even extroverts. As an introvert you put yourself in the dating world, you need to set limits for the level of interaction you can handle with pleasure, says St. John. How your date reacts to these boundaries can also tell you a lot about whether they’re the right person for you. “A lot of people put on their best behavior when they meet someone,” St. John says. “If you’re under pressure from the other person now, how much pressure will they exert later when they’re not behaving optimally?”
Expert: Jessica Alderson, relationship expert and co-founder of So synchronized.
You don’t want to date someone who pressures you to become someone you’re not. You want someone who knows and wants to be with you because of who you are. However, it can be tempting to tune out or ignore the warning signs when dating. “Introverts need a partner who understands the intricacies of their personality, including their need for alone time and the fact that they won’t be hanging out with friends every night of the week,” says Alderson. “If someone is disrespecting you, it’s time to move on and find a more understanding partner.”
Sarah Fielding is a New York-based freelance writer who covers a range of topics for outlets including Men’s Health, Bustle and Insider, with a particular love for mental health, sex and relationships. She has also lived in Italy and Australia, writing while travelling.