How to date if you’re an introvert

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“I just can’t do the whole dating thing,” confesses Sarah, 32. “It’s not that I don’t want to find love, it’s more that I’m shy and awkward so I find the whole dating process torturous. I need a lot of alone time, and that’s not really what dating is about!”

Sarah isn’t a freak. In fact, she’s like thousands of others out there in the dating world: an introvert. If you’re an introvert too, you can probably relate to Sarah and might find comfort knowing that what you’re feeling is normal. Sophia Dembling, introvert and author of Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After, says that dating can be exhausting.

“Introverts tend to prefer one-on-one and small group interactions to large groups; we need solitude to recharge and regain energy; we find small talk difficult and unpleasant,” she says.

But fear not! Dating for introverts is still possible – “We are not misanthropes – we like people, just in controlled doses,” says Sophia.

The trick is learning how to date so it doesn’t wreak havoc on your health. How? Like this:

Set up your profile honestly

Since a lot of people still misunderstand introversion, you’re better off skipping the label and being more specific about what that means to you. Sophia advises writing things like, “I’d much rather go for a hike than to a party”; or “I’m terrible at small talk but love philosophical conversation” or “I don’t need a lot of friends, just a few good ones” on your profile, which is more easily understood.

Just do YOU

“Introverts might worry that it’s hopeless to compete with the razzle-dazzle of extroverts, or they might push themselves to act more extroverted than they are in order to get attention, which I call false advertising,” says Sophia. “But if you accept and respect your own introversion, you will draw people who are attracted to your quiet glow.”

Pick the right kind of date

“The introverts I spoke to for my book who were in relationships were pretty evenly divided between those in relationships with extroverts and those with other introverts,” says Sophia. “It’s a question worth considering: Are you looking for someone who will want to hunker down at home with you? You might be happiest with another introvert. But if you want someone who will do the heavy lifting in building a social life for you both, look to the extroverts.”

Pick the right kind of place to date

Stuck for date ideas? Consider an activity for a first date such as visiting a museum, seeing a show or going to a sports match. This is because side-by-side conversation might flow more easily than face-to-face conversation over a restaurant table, which can feel like a lot of pressure. Plus, an activity gives you stuff to talk about that’s not, “So, how many siblings do you have?”

Know that everyone – introvert or not – can feel nervous and awkward about dating!

It’s true. No matter how comfortable you feel talking to strangers, dating is different because the stakes are higher. Relax, breathe, and try to have fun instead.

Date as little or as much as you want

The secret to living successfully as an introvert is learning to manage your energy. That includes deciding where you want to direct it at any given moment. “So if you’re in searching-for-happily-ever-after mode, then you have to realise that it will take energy and figure out from there how to make it work,” says Sophia. “Maybe you plan a week or two of focus on dating then pull back for a week or two. Maybe you see if there are other energy drains in your life you can minimise.

Don’t give up hope!

And the good news is that once you have met someone and got through all the stressful, small-talky beginnings and settle into a relationship, many introverts find that the energy drain of being together lessens.

Are you an introvert? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation @eHarmony_AU or on Facebook.com/eHarmonyaustralia.


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