7 Dating Tips for Introverts Who Are Tired of Being Single

An introvert on a date

Dating can feel like you’re putting on a show, which can be draining for introverts, who prefer real and meaningful connections.

Dating in online swipe culture isn’t easy for anyone, but it can be especially challenging for us introverts.

You might feel pressured to condense descriptions of yourself into neat, compact self-marketing bundles.

You may also feel the need to be constantly “on” to attract and connect with someone, which requires significant energy, especially for introverts.

It can be discouraging to feel like you can’t be your authentic self. Essentially, dating can seem like a big game or performance.

Like everyone, though, introverts deserve love and connection. Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re an introvert navigating modern dating.

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7 Essential Dating Tips for Introverts

1. Come prepared with good questions.

On first dates, silence is often viewed as an awkward conversation killer to be avoided at all costs. However, it’s important to accept that the occasional silence will occur, and that’s okay. It’s not necessarily a sign that the date isn’t going well.

In other words, don’t panic.

To keep the conversation flowing, come prepared with questions that could lead to interesting discussions. We introverts, after all, love to plan and think before we speak. This approach can help turn small talk into deeper conversations.

For example, if your date is a preschool teacher, you might ask, “What’s something your kids did today that made you laugh?” If your date posted photos with his cat, ask, “What’s a quirky habit of Alistair?” Or if she has lived abroad, try, “I’m curious about the food there! I’m such a foodie. What are some of their staples?”

(Brush up on your conversation skills by reading this post and this post.)

I enjoy hearing stories about people’s lives. Asking specific questions also shows that you’ve paid attention to their profile or what they’ve shared with you before the date.

So, have your questions ready to avoid resorting to a generic script when the conversation hits a lull.

2. Choose the right environment. 

We introverts often flourish in low-key environments, which help us relax and bring out our best selves.

Personally, I avoid loud, distracting environments. While I can hold my own in such settings with friends, in the company of someone I’m still getting to know, these environments increase my anxiety — and dating is already anxiety-inducing. In these loud places, my quiet voice doesn’t carry, I feel overstimulated, and it becomes difficult to connect with my date. I find it challenging to engage fully, not to mention it’s harder to process and respond to my own internal thoughts.

Knowing this, I intentionally suggest places with comfortable seating, minimal noise, and soft lighting to lessen the chances of system overload. 

Some people are more at ease facing a window or with their back to a wall, allowing them to survey their surroundings for potential threats. (This is your “threat system” at work, explains Jenn Granneman in her book, Sensitive.) It’s important to pay attention to how you feel in different spaces. If it’s within your control to alter these factors, do so. For example, I once asked a date to switch seats with me because a mirror behind her was distracting. She was understanding and accommodating.

3. If things get overwhelming, ground yourself.

If the environment is noisy and inescapable, identifying objects (and their physical characteristics) within the room can help distract you from your thoughts. Silently note these details to yourself.

For example, you might observe a plant with long green leaves nestled between two Smirnoff bottles on the shelf behind the bartender. Or you spot an orange candle flickering on the black, circular table beside you, or notice purple cushions adorning the vintage wooden bar stools.

By concentrating on tangible details, you create mental space, positioning yourself to better absorb what your date is sharing.

4. Do a shared activity to get out of your head.

In the early stages of dating, we are like two people guarding a precious flame within us (our hearts). Connection occurs when these flames unite, which requires both of us to lower our walls.

For introverts, lowering these walls can be challenging. We tend to overthink: Are they having fun? Are we talking enough? Did they laugh at our last joke?

Focusing on an external activity can help divert these thoughts. By concentrating on the activity, the pressure on the date itself is reduced. For instance, I once went on a date where we gathered acorns in Sonoma to aid in replanting trees after historic fires. Other dates have included kayaking, picking blackberries, and visiting a cat café.

Pick an activity you’re passionate about, and you will naturally feel more comfortable and confident. When you’re genuinely enjoying the activity, you’ll worry less about how you’re coming across.

Similarly, selecting a restaurant you’ve been eager to try can boost your enthusiasm about the date. Even if the date is a bust, you’ll still have the experience of trying a dish you’ve been wanting to try, like truffle mac and cheese.

5. Consider in-person ways to meet potential partners.

As an LGBTQ individual, I’ve relied on dating apps since I was 18 years old. Meeting other gay people “in the wild” can be challenging, especially since I often pass as straight. However, on apps, I face the pressure of making quick decisions about attraction, which doesn’t favor the slow-burn attractions I, as an introvert, cherish.

You might find alternative meeting methods more suitable. While group settings, like a friend’s birthday party, can feel overwhelming or boring to us introverts, they offer opportunities to meet like-minded people without the immediate pressure of attraction.

These settings also avoid the “checklist mentality” often inherent in app-based dating. As relationship expert Esther Perel said on Tim Ferris’ podcast (in an episode about intimacy and emotional baggage):

“I think most of the dating that involves a checklist is doomed. It’s anti-romance, it’s anti-story, and stories are the ways we live our lives. Often we find that people match all the items on your list and the feeling isn’t there, because the feeling is something that emerges through interaction, through shared experience, through the creation of a shared story together.” 

Other real-life meeting options include joining hobby or interest-based groups, such as book clubs, cooking classes, hiking groups, sports leagues, fitness classes, or volunteer groups.

Remember, you often meet great people when you’re just doing things you like, even if it means trying something a little different from what you’re used to. (Here’s how you can stop feeling so uncomfortable outside your comfort zone.)

6. Limit pre-meeting communication on dating apps.

When I began online dating, I spent a lot of time exchanging long messages with potential partners before meeting them. This was partly because I love writing and find it cathartic. It’s a medium where I feel in control and can be my authentic self, especially compared to being in an overstimulating public place with someone new.

While getting to know someone through writing appeals to me, I’ve realized that resisting this urge can prevent disappointment. The more time you spend on written communication, the greater the potential disappointment if things don’t work out or the person isn’t who you expected.

Writing does allow you to learn about someone’s values and inner world, often bypassing superficial distractions. However, it only shows one side of a person, without actions to support their words. In-person, you can observe body language, tone of voice, and someone’s general aura, which text and images can’t fully convey. Even if you connect well in writing, it’s difficult to predict if that will translate into real-life chemistry.

So, it’s best to limit your communication before the first date and aim to meet up sooner rather than later.

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.

7. Be aware of fantasy relationships.

My experiences have shown that engaging in extensive written contact too early can lead to fantasy relationships, otherwise known as infatuation. (Read more about the danger of infatuation, and how introverts can avoid it, here.)

As introverts, we often have vivid imaginations, which can be a strength. However, we might fill in gaps and unknowns with our own details. This habit can result in disappointment when the real-life person doesn’t match the idealized version we’ve created in our minds.

For example, you might bond over a supposed shared love for dogs through writing and phone conversations. But upon meeting, you discover their interest is minimal and they only volunteered at a shelter once.

Perhaps we introverts are more prone to thinking the best of someone, shaping them into an ideal rather than seeing them for who they really are. This tendency, though, can lead to problems later on.

Dating Should Be Fun

Above all, remember that dating should be an enjoyable experience. If dating starts to lose its fun, it’s okay to take a break. While extroverts may manage multiple dates a week without breaking a sweat, we introverts need to take things slower and plan ample alone time to recharge.

For introverts, the dating process can be challenging. So, be patient. Once you and your date are completely comfortable with each other, you’ll find that spending time with “your person” is easier and less draining.

Introverts, what dating tips would you add? Let me know in the comments below.

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