How to Date an Introvert

An introvert couple cuddling on the couch

Our need for alone time does not in any way indicate that we’re unhappy with you.  

As an introverted man, I used to come across as the shy type. I was not comfortable walking up and approaching women, and not just because I didn’t know what to say — I could come up with many killer lines in my head. But I didn’t have much practice chatting with strangers at all. Once you added in the pressure of trying to approach a woman I was attracted to, it was a lost cause. I just didn’t know how to start.

That was a long time ago and I eventually built up my confidence and my social skills in general (not just with flirting). But it was one of the many ways that my natural introversion affected my dating life.

And, while not all introverts are the same, I think there are some experiences many of us share — some of which can make us harder to approach (or be approached by), and others which might leave our romantic partner scratching their heads. 

So how exactly do you date an introvert? And what do they need from you as a partner? The answer starts with understanding what you should — and should not — expect as part of the introvert package. 

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What to Expect From Dating an Introvert 

The most important thing you need to know about introverts if you’re going to date one is that they are each unique individuals and they are not all going to fit the same mold. In particular, there are some stereotypes and misconceptions about introverts that many introverts don’t fit at all — and you’re going to save us both a lot of time if you can just get rid of them from the start. For example:

  • No, introverts don’t hate people. The truth is, we get mentally tired if we spend too much time socializing. That’s it. Tired. Tired is not the same thing as hating people. It just means we need downtime to recharge. 
  • No, we’re not shy. Well, some of us are. But many are not. Here’s the difference
  • No, we’re not always quiet. Many introverts do have a quiet, soft-spoken demeanor — with strangers. But give that same introvert a night with their two best friends and you’ll hear a different story. Or catch them singing in the shower, talking to someone they’ve known their whole life, or get them talking about something they’re passionate about. You’ll see that your introvert can pour out words, sometimes loud and excited words, if they’re in the right setting. 

At the same time, there are some things you can expect from most introverts: 

  • We need alone time. This is how our brains rest, refresh and recharge as introverts. To some people, alone time might feel boring, but to us, it feels like a sense of freedom, peace, and joy. For introverts, alone time is a necessity in life. 
  • We will sometimes say no to spending time with you. This can be the hardest thing for many partners to accept. As introverts, alone time doesn’t just mean time at home. It might mean time alone — away from everyone, even the people we love… even you. (Don’t worry, we’ll love you all the more when we’re recharged, and we look forward to togetherness, too.) 
  • We will sometimes say no to fun events. We know it sounds fun. We know it’s a rare opportunity. We know lots of people we like will be there. But sometimes we’re just not feeling it. Help us avoid the Fear Of Missing out (FOMO) and feel empowered to go on your own. 
  • We are thoughtful partners. One of the benefits of all our alone time is we spend a lot of time thinking. We might think about a need you expressed, a desire you have, a problem we’re facing together, a conflict we need to resolve, and the list goes on. We also think about how to surprise you for your birthday, how to create the perfect anniversary night, and where we could maybe find that thing you want that seems to be sold out. In short: Introverts can be thoughtful partners who show our love and appreciation for our partners in big, deep, touching ways. 

If that package sounds good to you, then congrats: You’re ready to date an introvert! How? Well…

7 Things You Need to Know to Date an Introvert

1. Support each other’s social needs.

If you’re an extrovert, we want you to get your social time needs met just as much as we want our own quiet time needs met. And this can actually work out quite well, because if you’re out and about with friends, we’ll have a quiet home to ourselves

The key here, though, is to make a pact with each other: We won’t get mad at you for going out without us, or guilt you to stay in, and you won’t get mad at us for not coming with you, or pressure us to come out. See how nice and fair that is? Talk about this policy with your introvert and you’ll already be off to a strong start as you date each other. 

2. Big event? We can handle it — to a point. 

That concert for your birthday? That party you really want to go to as a couple? The work holiday party? If it’s important to you, yes, we’ll be there — or in the right circumstances, we might even suggest it ourselves! 

But do us a favor and ask us (in advance) how we want to handle our introvert battery. We might say we’d like to leave by a certain time, or we might have a plan for what we’ll do if we’re overwhelmed. No matter what our preference, just the fact that you asked will mean a lot to us. 

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.

3. But… we never need to hear an introvert joke.

You know what vibe most introverts hate? The one where the person we’re dating makes a big deal out of us being introverts in every social situation. And then makes jokes about it

Guess what? Doing this puts us on the spot, turns all eyes unexpectedly on us, and icks us out. Instead, introduce us by how we met, our interests, or something you admire about us. 

4. We need you to have our back when we run out of battery life.

Sometimes, we are going to run out of battery life in the middle of an event. When that happens, we’re going to look to you to have our backs and help us out. Some ways you might do that include:

  • Tell us it’s fine if we go, and make sure we have a safe way to get home. 
  • Tell us you’ll cover for us if we just “Irish goodbye” out the door without telling anyone. 
  • Don’t offer to leave with us unless you’re really okay with it. We don’t want you to miss out or feel resentment just because you have a different social battery than us. 

5. Don’t take our need for alone time personally.

Our need for alone time does not in any way indicate that we’re unhappy with you. In fact, the more you respect and support it, the closer we will feel to you — because we’ll know we can trust you. 

(If you’re feeling lonely, though, or just want more quality time together, it’s totally fine to express that — and help us figure out a solution together where we can both get our needs met.) 

6. There are certain activities we really, really want to do with you. 

It depends on the introvert, but oftentimes, we do want to snuggle on the couch while we watch a show. We do want to have dinner together and chat. We do want to quietly do two different activities near each other. 

In fact, one of my favorite introvert-introvert couples actually does a book club together — as in, just the two of them, no one else — where they separately read the same book and then take a long, leisurely Sunday brunch to discuss it. This strikes me as a good introvert/extrovert activity, too — you’re both doing one solitary activity (reading) and one together activity (discussing). 

7. Showing us that you understand us is the key to our hearts.

It’s amazing how far just understanding someone (and showing it) can go — especially for introverts who often aren’t accepted for who we are. Show the introvert you’re dating that you understand them, you’re willing to go deep, and you accept them (just as they are), and you will truly win them over.

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