When I first started looking for love, I noticed that one of my friends who I always saw flirting and getting dates had the opposite personality that I had. He is very extroverted, and he loves to surround himself with people all the time. When he flirts with women, he is aggressive and makes the conversation overtly sexual very quickly.
That’s not me at all. I’m introverted, and my flirting is reserved and gentle. After watching my friend succeed seemingly all the time while talking to women, I started to become afraid that I would have to change my personality to be more like his if I ever wanted to get a girlfriend.
I tried to behave more like my extroverted friend. However, I didn’t achieve any success, even though I was basically doing the same things he was. I also started to feel like I was being an actor — not the real me — by going against my personality.
Introvert dating shouldn’t be this hard. What was I doing wrong?
The 5 Styles of Flirting
What comes to mind when people talk about flirting? You probably think of stuff like winking, sideways glances, small touches, and double entendre.
It’s true that these types of signals can be considered flirting. However, these only describe one kind of flirting. In his book The Five Flirting Styles: Use the Science of Flirting to Attract the Love You Really Want, Dr. Jeffrey Hall identifies five different types of flirting:
- Playful: Flirting for fun without any expectations that it will lead to sex or a relationship.
- Physical: Flirting through body language and sexual communication.
- Polite: Flirting through proper manners and nonsexual communication.
- Sincere: Displaying sincere interest in the other person to develop an emotional connection.
- Traditional: Displaying interest through traditional courtship rituals and behaving in ways that are “gentlemanly” or “ladylike.”
(Note: You can take an online test to find out which flirting styles you tend towards here.)
So what’s the problem? A lot of flirting advice is centered on the physical and playful styles. There’s a lot of readily available advice about how to approach someone in a bar or club, or what pickup lines to use, or how to get touchy-feely with someone you’ve just met. These styles work well for people who are looking for short-term romance or who are just trying to have fun.
However, this way of flirting can be unnatural for introverts and highly sensitive people. We’re not a fan of using the bar and club scene to find romantic connections. We care more about having real relationships instead of short-term romance or casual flings. When it comes to sex, we’re more interested in doing it with someone we really care about. Since we view sex as something that is mysterious and powerful, we usually dislike crude or dirty ways of flirting.
Which Flirting Styles Are Right for Introverts?
This is going to vary from one introvert to the next, but many introverts feel most natural (and have the most success) with just two flirting styles:
- Hall identifies the “polite” style of flirting as better suited for introverts. About people who are polite flirts, he writes, “They are concerned about their friends and make sure that they are there in their time of need. They are also a bit introverted. Polite flirts don’t need to be the center of attention. In social interactions, they would prefer things to be a bit more controlled and formal.” That sounds a lot like me.
- The “sincere” style is also well suited for introverts. We prefer conversing about meaningful topics instead of making idle chitchat. We’re private people, and we tend to only open up to those that we fully trust. As people with limited social energy to spend, we look for a chosen few who are worth giving our time and attention to. Thus, this type of flirting coincides well with our nature.
But, this is a personal choice. The “best” way to flirt is the way that will attract the love that you desire and be most authentic to yourself.
Some people enjoy flirting for its own sake or are looking to date a lot of people. You might see them in bars and clubs using the physical or playful styles — and that’s totally fine. On the other hand, the polite and sincere styles of flirting are more suited for those of us looking for love and long-term relationships.
How to Flirt Sincerely as an Introvert
Flirting sincerely involves talking to women or men in the way that Dale Carnegie writes about in his book How to Win Friends & Influence People. This means talking in terms of the other person’s interests and listening to them when they talk about themselves. This shows you’re interested in their values, attitudes, experiences, and beliefs. You’re interested in who they are as a person.
Try to find something that they would enjoy telling you about themselves. A great way to do this is by asking open-ended or “why?” questions. When they tell you something about themselves, listen to what they say, then ask follow-up questions based on what they just told you. Or, try relating it to yourself.
If they are interested in you, then they would probably like to learn more about you, too. Do you have an awesome job? An adventurous story? Read something unusual recently? Tell them about it!
When you’re talking to someone you’re interested in, pay attention to their flirting style as well. Try to mirror their style while still being true to your own personality. For example, my extroverted girlfriend took the flirting styles test and her results were playful, physical, polite, and sincere. My own style is sincere and polite. Since we’re both sincere flirts, we both enjoy having a deep emotional connection. She is very touchy-feely as well. Even though I’m not normally as touchy-feely as she is, I do make an effort to give her a surprise hug every so often because I know that she appreciates it.
However, if you’re unable to mirror the other person’s flirting style without being authentic, or if your flirting styles are drastically different, then you may want to consider whether or not you are a good love match.
The Power of Authenticity in Romantic Situations
So, what was I doing wrong that my extroverted friend was doing right? As it turns out, women could sense that I was being inauthentic — and they were turned off by it. Could the way my extroverted friend hit on women be considered sleazy? No doubt about it! However, he was being honest and I wasn’t. The way he acted made it clear that he’s only interested in casual sex rather than a long-term relationship. His behavior was congruent with his intentions, which appealed to certain women who are also just looking for casual sex.
Similarly, I found myself succeeding when I behaved authentically. As an introvert and a highly sensitive person, I care more about developing deeper, meaningful romantic connections than I do about short- term flings. And I was able to succeed when I stopped trying to be someone that I wasn’t.
If you’re interested in more dating advice for introverted men, feel free to check out my website www.charmingintrovert.com.
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Read this: 21 Undeniable Signs That You’re an Introvert
Learn more: The Five Flirting Styles: Use the Science of Flirting to Attract the Love You Really Want, by Jeffrey Hall
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