For introverts, opening up to someone when dating can be a challenge. But give us some time — it’ll be worth the wait.
Ah, dating: meeting new people, going to crowded bars, and constantly feeling like you have to be “on”… sounds like an introvert’s worst nightmare. But just because we’re introverts doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to find our special someone, although it does make dating a little more complicated.
If you’re an introvert like me, then you already know that the struggle is real when it comes to dating and opening up to someone new. However, somewhere between the awkward first date and the even more awkward meeting of the date’s family, I’ve picked up a few tips for overcoming the common obstacles that introverts face when trying to find a romantic partner.
5 Introvert Dating Challenges
1. We take longer than others to open up.
Introverts are often called “mysterious” and “alluring.” But in reality, they just take a little extra time to warm up to new people — including their dates.
Introverts are not the type to wear their hearts on their sleeves. Instead, we often have our guard up, and it can take a lot of one-on-one time for us to finally let down those walls. This can make dating difficult, especially when the other person wants to know more than we’re willing to share. In worst-case scenarios, a person might mistake our hesitancy as us not being interested in them or a relationship, which isn’t true.
How to overcome it: The key here — just like in any relationship — is good communication. As introverts, we need to recognize that while we think it’s normal to take some extra time before revealing our many layers, others might not.
Try making a conscious effort to compliment your romantic interest, and don’t be afraid to be the one who initiates a text conversation or the next date — this will prove that you’re interested in pursuing things. You can also let the other person know that it’s normal for you to take a while to open up and that it has nothing to do with them; it’s just how you operate. As long as you’re both on the same page, this shouldn’t cause a rift in your relationship.
2. We like you, but we also like (erm, love) alone time.
Introverts don’t just crave quiet nights at home… they need them to recharge. For an extrovert, hearing “I need a night alone” can make them think that you’re going to end things. But introverts’ alone time has nothing to do with others and everything to do with them recharging their internal batteries. Even introverts who are happily married or in committed relationships need alone time, which can be hard for extroverted types to wrap their heads around.
How to overcome it: Trust me, I love my alone time just as much as the next introvert. However, I also understand that if I want a new relationship to work out, I may need to compromise. So my advice for introverts who are struggling with alone time vs. relationship time is to plan ahead (or at least attempt to).
Dedicate two to three nights to spending time with your new love interest while reserving the other four nights for yourself (or whatever combo works for you). And make sure you take advantage of that alone time — enjoy a hot bath, go for a long walk, or do whatever it is that you need to do to recharge. As a result, you’ll find yourself feeling fulfilled, and your date will see that you’re making an effort to spend time with them.
3. We might need extra time before meeting your friends and family.
Oh, you want me to come to meet your 15 best friends? Sorry, we’re gonna have to work our way up to that one. As an introvert, I’m not comfortable in high-stimulus environments, and the person I’m dating must understand this. But unfortunately, not everyone does, so this can lead to issues.
How to overcome it: If your romantic partner invites you to meet their loved ones, suggest ways to slowly get acquainted with these new people instead… it’s okay to take baby steps! Try some introvert-friendly activities like playing trivia at a bar — to provide a buffer and make the night about more than just introducing you. Or see a movie with a small group — movies are great because they ease some of the stress of making small talk. And when it comes to family members, recommend meeting just the parents or siblings first as opposed to being introduced at a large family gathering.
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4. We go MIA sometimes (but it’s nothing personal).
Getting to know someone over the phone is tough for anyone, but it’s especially challenging for introverts. Because let’s be honest — phones are loud. So as an introvert, I often find myself avoiding them (ahem, I may or may not keep my phone on “do not disturb” mode).
The problem is, however, that people get the wrong idea when it takes hours for you to answer a text message (guilty). Since introverts can be notoriously hard to reach, you may need to make more of an effort to keep the communication flowing with a new love interest.
How to overcome it: If you’re snuggled on the couch with a true crime novel in hand — which many introverts wish they were doing all the time — set an alarm to check your phone and respond to text messages. This will help you keep communication flowing, so the other person doesn’t think you’re blowing them off.
Also, don’t be afraid to tell your new romantic interest that you’re not a text-all-day kind of person. Let them know when you decide to turn off the outside noise and go into an introvert hole. When you emerge, drop a text to say hello — they’ll be happy to hear from you.
5. We feel frustrated when others don’t “get” us.
Introverts know they can be tough cookies to figure out since they tend to be reserved. And while they know their minds are plenty loud, others may mistake their quiet demeanor as being upset or angry. So it’s frustrating for them to be constantly asked, “What’s the matter?” and have to keep explaining that being quiet doesn’t equate to being sad.
How to overcome it: While you may understand what it means to be an introvert, others don’t. Starting from the beginning of your relationship, make sure whomever you’re dating understands that just because you need time alone, doesn’t mean that you’re going to break up with them. And while you navigate the dating world, keep in mind that things that come naturally to introverts — like long walks alone and solo travel — aren’t necessarily “the norm” to others. Be understanding, and try not to feel discouraged if your new flame doesn’t “get” you right away. With time, they will (or else they’re not the right person).
While Dating Is Exhausting, It’s Worth It
Trust me, fellow introverts, I understand that dating is exhausting. But try to be patient with others who might not understand the introverted way of life… they’ll get the hang of it eventually.
Most importantly, don’t feel like you need to change who you are to find a partner. I have no doubt that you’ll be able to find someone who understands your introverted ways and lets you take all the quiet time you need. Because while dating can be mentally exhausting, it’s all worth it once you find that special someone who makes you feel loved.
Are you an introvert who shuts down around the people you’re attracted to?
As an introvert, you actually have the amazing ability to be irresistible, without forcing yourself to talk more. It all starts with recognizing the most common myths about dating and learning a framework for fun, flirty conversations — no extroversion needed. To learn how to connect with your true sensuality, relax, and open up on dates, we recommend Michaela Chung’s online courses for introverted men and introverted women.