16 Things To Know When Dating An Introvert
With up to 50% of the US population being introverted, there’s a high chance you’ll end up dating at least one introvert. Knowing what to expect and how to accommodate their personality will help them feel comfortable with you and give your relationship the best chance of thriving.
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What is an introvert?
An introvert typically focuses heavily on internal feelings over external sources of stimulation. They’re likely to have strong relationships with a small group of people, enjoy hanging out one-on-one or in an intimate group rather than a large crowd, crave plenty of alone time to recharge, and are great at listening and observing. Introversion is not the same as being antisocial, anxious, or shy, but an introvert may suffer from one or more of these conditions.
If you are an introvert, you probably had at least one experience in school where your teacher wrote on your report card that you need to “speak up in class,” or “raise your hand more,” or that “(your name) is very quiet…” implying that all of those things are bad. It doesn’t take long before you start to believe that.
Because introverts need regular periods of solitude and enjoy being quiet and observing others, they’re often labeled antisocial or aloof. But this is a massive misconception. While extroverts desire to be the center of attention and often gain validation from others, introverts are usually more reserved and take longer to open up to others. Both personalities have their strengths, and it’s important to be accepting of these key differences.
Key characteristics of introverts
- Strong listening skills
- Process things at a deep level
- Enjoy solitude and alone time
- Prefer smaller groups of people to large crowds
- Feel exhausted and drained by large groups of people
- Prefer written communication over verbal communication (most writers tend to be introverts, while most public speakers are extroverts)
- They recharge their energy reserves by spending time alone
- Have a small circle of friends
- Enjoy getting to know people on a deep level
- Prefer meaningful conversations over small talk
How do you know if an introvert likes you?
This is another great question because most introverts display less physical affection than extroverts and are less likely to verbally communicate their feelings, especially in the early stages of dating.
The best thing to do is to pay attention to signs. For example, if they want to spend quality time with you regularly, this is a good sign because introverts are unwilling to waste this precious resource with people they don’t care for. Secondly, if they welcome you into their home, this is another great sign because an introvert’s home is usually their sacred sanctuary. They won’t invite everyone to share that space with them.
Can introverts date other introverts?
Although you might think that an introvert dating a fellow introvert might be a recipe for a relationship that’s too quiet, you’d be mistaken. Introverts get each other. This means they immediately understand and respect each other’s need to leave a party early (or skip it altogether in favor of a night home with Netflix) and spend time alone. They listen to each other intently and remember things that others may easily miss. Dates are likely to be incredibly thoughtful, and “awkward” silences won’t be awkward at all; they’ll be a welcome breather.
So if you’re an introvert, don’t be afraid of dating another introvert.
16 tips for dating an introvert
1. Recognize that introversion is not a weakness
The first tip for dating an introvert is to get it clear in your mind that introversion is not a weakness. In other words, get off your “extrovert high horse” and accept that it takes different people to make an interesting and innovative world.
Did you know that introverts make greater leaders than extroverts because they tend to be more emotionally intelligent? And at least 40% of leaders in the world today are introverted. That alone should be enough to help you see that introverts operate differently than extroverts and don’t deserve to be criticized for this.
If you can’t get your head around this, you’re not ready to date an introvert.
2. If you don’t want to date an introvert, don’t date an introvert!
When you go on a first date with someone, you’re likely putting your best self forward and showcasing the traits and behaviors you know will gain the most validation while hiding things you think others won’t like. We do this because we want to impress the person we’re on a date with and hopefully score a second date.
And it’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re a woman who loves to nibble on your fingernails when nervous, resisting the urge to do this on a date will make you look more confident. Plus, it will also stop you from potentially grossing a guy out.
But this also means it can be tricky to figure out if you’re dating an introvert. They might be pretty good at hiding it, or you might be pretty clueless when it comes to picking up on subtle cues!
Either way, if you’ve created your love vision (Little Love Step #2) and you know that dating an introvert is not for you because you’re most attracted to an alpha-male personality, that’s okay. Comprises can be made in an introvert/extrovert couple, but neither person will ever fundamentally change. So if you’re not willing to compromise as much as you need to for it to work, it’s time to say NEXT!
3. Accept and appreciate their gifts
Introverts have a history of teachers, parents, coworkers, and maybe even exes trying to mold them into something they’re not. This sends the message that there’s something wrong with their innate personality. This has got to stop, and if you find yourself dating an introvert, you can be one of the first people to appreciate and celebrate their unique gifts. So when they listen intently to you, offer a meaningful response, or write you a beautiful text, recognize these as gifts and appreciate them. We don’t all have these skills!
4. Give them time to open up
It’s easy to skip right past someone introverted when on a dating app or first date because they’re naturally quiet and in their shells around people they don’t know. This can lead to them being labeled boring, cold, or stand-offish, but the truth is, introverts need time to warm up and feel comfortable revealing all their layers (and there are a lot of them).
So if you go on a first date with a guy who’s quieter than you’d like, and you get the impression he’s not into you or that the connection isn’t there, be patient. Ask him if he’s an introvert. Go on a second date and see if he’s more open with you. Be genuine and try and put him at ease because introverts can spot insincerity a mile away.
5. Focus on making a meaningful connection with your partner
Introverts crave thoughtful, meaningful conversations on topics and issues that matter to them. So one of the best ways to get them talking is to ask them what their interests are, then ask them thoughtful questions about those things. Or if you share certain interests, then talk about that.
Questions are a great tool when dating an introvert because they generally find it easier to volunteer information in response to a question rather than outright.
Whatever you do, be sure to listen to their responses, and don’t pressure them to answer anything they don’t yet feel comfortable with.
If you’re an extrovert dating an introvert, there is a risk of stealing all the limelight and talking 90 miles an hour, and your date will be left trying to compete with you to be heard. It won’t take long before an introvert gives up this fight and loses interest because being listened to matters greatly to them.
So regularly take the focus off you and put it on them. Ask questions, listen to their responses, and the more you do this, the more they will open up to you because they’ll feel comfortable doing so. The more you listen to an introvert, the more you’ll learn about them, the more interesting they will become, and their gifts will shine through.
7. Make them feel safe
An introvert will only open up with a person when they feel safe to do so and when they are sure they will be listened to. So if you’re dating an introvert, you’ve got to provide that safe space and support for them. If they don’t feel safe, they will stay quiet.
Make sure you communicate that you want to listen and understand them, recognize your differences, and aren’t passing judgment on them.
8. Plan dates that suit them
It wouldn’t be true to say that introverts hate all parties, gigs, and sports matches where massive groups of people congregate. However, most introverts will only enjoy events like these in small doses and need some solitude afterward to recharge.
So once you know you’re dating an introvert, plan more intimate dates that they’ll appreciate, and create an environment where they’ll feel more comfortable opening up to you.
For example, book a more low-key restaurant than the hottest place in town. Instead of booking tickets to a stadium gig, take them to a chilled acoustic night in a bar. Things like picnics, hikes, and intimate drinks or dinner dates are perfect, plus the ambiance will be much more conducive to you forming a connection. We’ve all gone to a concert and ended up bellowing in our date’s ear only to have them scrunch their face up and still not have a clue what we’ve just said!
9. Give them space
The thing about introverts is they need regular pockets of alone time to recharge and get back to their normal selves. This feeds them. In contrast, extroverts feed off the energy of other people, which is why they prefer to always be around others.
So don’t take it personally if your date declines the offer to join you at a friend’s party, leaves early, or tells you they need to be alone. It’s probably not about you; it’s about them! So even when you know they have no other plans on Saturday night, but they still don’t want to hang out with you, don’t jump to conclusions.
10. Don’t fear silence
Silence has gotten a bad name over the years, especially when dating someone new. If there’s so much as ten seconds without chit-chat, we’re quick to label it “awkward” and claim that we didn’t click with each other.
This is mostly because extroverts hate silence.
They’re totally comfortable with it. Sometimes they prefer it, especially when they need to think something through.
So if you’re dating an introvert, try not to fear moments of silence. Sit with it. See if you can get comfortable with it, the same way you might try and get comfortable meditating on your own for a few minutes.
11. Focus on what you love about their introversion
If you’re an extrovert and have little to no experience dating an introvert, it’s easy to fixate on all the things you don’t understand about your date.
But what would happen if you shifted your mindset?
What would happen if, instead, you focused on all the unique things you love about your partner and all their gifts?
For example, their ability to be comfortable on their own without feeling lonely. Their super listening skills. How thoughtful and considerate they are with their words.
It’s not often that introverts are praised for their introversion, so this helps them feel valued and appreciated, which in turn will help them open up more to you.
12. Remember that introverts are selectively social
It’s a complete urban myth that introverts are antisocial. The key difference is that introverts prefer to be social with smaller numbers of people, and being social requires more energy, which means they will reach a point of burnout and need to recharge.
This is why they’re so selective about who they spend time with. So like I said, if they want to spend time with you, this is a good sign!
The key thing to remember if you’re an extrovert dating an introvert is to compromise. For example, if you enjoy going to big parties or outdoor festivals, but your partner prefers chilled, low-key activities, you’ve got to meet in the middle. When you first start dating, this will be easier to do, but your differences will become clearer as your relationship builds.
You could drive to a party separately so your partner can go home earlier when they’ve had enough. Or you can take turns on date night to do something introverted, followed by something extroverted the next week.
Having a safe word or pre-determined excuse can put your introverted partner at ease when they are in an overwhelming or draining situation and want to leave.
14. Don’t push them to do things that make them deeply uncomfortable
While it’s good for us all to get out of our comfort zones now and then, it’s important not to push anyone into doing something that makes them deeply uncomfortable.
For example, let’s say you both want to go on holiday with your friends and have mapped out a full itinerary for every day. You’re planning to spend all your time together sightseeing, eating meals, chilling at the beach, and then going for drinks in the evenings. Your introverted partner is likely to find this way too full-on. There’s no breathing room for them to relax, unwind, and be with themselves, which is incredibly important to their mental health and wellbeing.
It would be wrong to push your partner to show up to all of these plans, plus it would completely drain them. Plus, there’s no harm in attending some things on your own and being honest about why they aren’t there.
15. It’s okay to have separate social circles
If you’re an extrovert dating an introvert, chances are high that you won’t be the biggest fans of some of each other’s friends. And that’s okay! Compromise is key here once again.
Maintain separate social circles, and avoid turning every event into a couple’s thing. Independence is vital in any healthy relationship. This means you’re free to go out on a Saturday night with your extroverted friends and do something more social, while your partner stays home on a Saturday night and has a few beers with his buddies.
16. You might need to make the first move
The final thing you need to know when dating a man who’s an introvert is that no matter how much you want him to make the first move, there’s a high chance he won’t! It’s not because he isn’t into you or because he doesn’t want to date you, but he might not feel comfortable putting himself out there that way.
If you meet someone you’re attracted to and get an inkling they’re an introvert, you might need to be the one who makes the first move and initiates a conversation or a first date. Remember, it won’t be like this for the rest of your relationship—once an introvert feels comfortable with you, they’ll come right out of their shell, and you’ll see more signs of interest and commitment.
Remember that everyone you date will be slightly different, whether they’re an extrovert or introvert. You can’t group all introverts together! But by being aware of these common traits, you’ll be prepared to meet and date an introvert and appreciate these differences. And this will lead to a much deeper connection and a healthier relationship.
Have you ever dated an introvert? Tell me something you loved about them and something you learned from the experience in the comments below.