How to Date Introverts, From an Introvert
Dear Prospective Dates,
We need to talk. After a string of meh encounters, it’s time to clear the air: I’m a lady introvert*, and the way you’ve been going about courtship just isn’t working. As an introvert, I need a much lower level of mental stimulation to operate than ambiverts or extroverts require. Though everyone is different, you should know that we introverts don’t like “typical” dating approaches. If you want to get to know us, you have to go about things differently, and in return, we’ll be fiercely loyal and communicative partners. This letter is an attempt to outline some tips that will endear you to your introverted love interests. Take heed!
1 Cut the small talk. Cut. It. Out.
Let it be known once and for all that introverts hate small talk. Whether you are using a dating app or you approach us in line at the grocery store (meeting in a bar, are you kidding?), don’t spew cliches. You’ll get a lot further with us if you cut typical “pick-up” strategies. Instead, strike up a conversation on something more personal and relevant. “I love that flavor of Ben & Jerry’s. Have you tried the new flavor?” is far better than “Looks like a wild night. Need company?” Humor is good, but can be off-putting from strangers.
2 Take me somewhere quiet, away from the crowd.
Assuming you’ve landed a date, don’t take me to a busy restaurant or crowded bar. I will notice Every. Little. Thing. I won’t be able to focus. For introverts, getting acquainted with people is a deep investment. From the start, we prioritize the quality of communication. We much prefer to do this in spaces with limited distraction. So, a walk in the park, a visit to a new bookstore, or a calm, cosy cafe are much better options for making your introvert date comfortable from the get-go.
3 Show me your brain.
As I said earlier, getting to know someone is an investment for an introvert. If that investment isn’t reciprocated early on, we’re often left feeling that the interaction is just too shallow and uninteresting. Introverts are less likely to be interested in discussing work or home at length (unless you happen to be a librarian or your home is full of rescue animals). Instead, tell us about something you’re learning or reading. The more you show your inner world, the easier it is for an introvert to feel a connection.
4 Be careful with compliments.
Introverts rarely are comfortable as the center of attention or when they feel they’re being judged—particularly for characteristics that they themselves don’t strongly identify with. For example, you may be tempted to compliment your introverted love interest on looking nice, but it can fall flat if your date doesn’t actually identify with a strong investment in appearance.
Additionally, superficial compliments can signal to an introvert that you pay attention to something that they haven’t developed. As a result, an introvert can become self-conscious. As a rule, introverts (and probably most people) respond best to insightful, concrete compliments on their strengths, e.g., “You have great taste in music. I loved that album you told me about.”
5 Practice patience.
Because our tolerance for mental stimulation is lower than that of other personality types, if we’re unexpectedly caught in a noisy, crowded, or chaotic situation, we can have trouble functioning. It may seem like we are very quiet, zoned out, distracted, or bored. The truth is we want to continue focusing on you, but we’re flooded with details. It can be helpful for all parties to recognize that deep conversation (or, sometimes, all conversation) should be put on hold until the level of stimulation decreases.
On a related note, introverts are likely to avoid substances that heighten stimulation—excess caffeine, sugar, drugs, that really hyper dude in the corner . . . Respect our decision to abstain from additional stimulation.
In sum, we introverts function optimally in low-stimulant environments, value deep interactions over superficial ones, and genuinely don’t appreciate social pressure. In return for making the effort, we’ll be loyal, supportive, and engaged partners.
Your Next Introverted Date
If you’re an introvert or have successfully dated one, what tips would you add?
*These tips are written from the perspective of a heterosexual female. Some of the examples may not be applicable to other perspectives, but the general ideas should still hold.