Dating For Introverts

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I give a lot of advice on going out and meeting people that involves going out and being as social as possible, which is great if you’re naturally an outgoing person (or willing to fake it). Sure, it’s relatively simple to meet strangers at parties and bars… if you’re the sort of person who thrives on crowds. But what if you’re the sort of person who’s drained by crowds or just doesn’t like having to introduce themselves and have to make the same small-talk over and over again?

It’s an unspoken truth that our society is geared more towards the outgoing among us; being able to mingle and hop from conversation to conversation or group to group like a social butterfly on crank is a valued skill when it comes to in-person social networking. People who tend to make the most noise and attract the most visibility also tend to be the ones who get the most attention… and thus the most success when it comes to dating.

But just because you’re more introverted doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to a life alone. It doesn’t even have to be that difficult. Sometimes it just means having to change your dating strategy to play to your strengths.

What An Introvert Is / What An Introvert Isn’t

Before we talk about dating tips for introverts, it’s best to define at least some terms here… and the first and foremost is the mistaken idea that introverts are somehow shy or have social anxieties.

An introvert is – very simply – someone who’s personal energy (physical as well as mental) tends to be drained by social interaction and recharged through more solitary pursuits. Introverts tend to prefer, or even thrive in, more solitary activities rather than dealing with large groups of people. On the whole they tend to be a more reserved and less outspoken than extroverts. Some introverts prefer lower levels of stimulation and find incredibly busy venues – such as loud noisy bars or parties – to be stressful and disorienting and can be prone to overstimulation.

Someone who’s shy on the other hand tends to avoid social gatherings or interactions out of fear or anxiety. They tend to shun large groups or encounters out of a phobia while introverts tend to prefer solitary pursuits.

Behold the introvert, at his most comfortable in his natural environment…

Obviously, like many things, introversion and extroversion tend to fall on a sliding scale. Some people are just the quiet type who tend to be quiet and not speak unless they have something specific to contribute, while others are dedicated loners who’d rather avoid people as much as possible.

Introversion may be mistaken for shyness… but it can also be seen as “reserve”, the “strong, silent type” or even appealingly hidden depths. Still waters run deep, after all and there’s no reason why you can’t make that work for you. A little bit of mystery and a reputation for being observant and clever – if a little reserved – can work wonders.

Where To Meet People?

The first and seemingly most daunting challenge for an introvert is: where are the best places to meet people?

While there is value in being able to break out of one’s comfort zone on occasion, most introverts aren’t going to be comfortable with making what’s known as a cold approach: that is, approaching a complete stranger and attempting to start a conversation that hopefully leads to a relationship. If you’re not the sort of person who likes small talk or approaching strangers, what are your best options? Well, the best places are ones that not only benefit your temperament and play to your strengths… not to mention find people you’re likely to actually connect with. You’re not going to dig for oil in a city street1 and the odds are that an introvert isn’t going to find true love at a shot bar.

“‘Come out with us!’ they said. ‘You’ll have fun,’ they said. The only reason I’m still here is to see if I can learn to set everybody’s hair on fire with my brain.”

So where do you start looking?

Online Dating

The first and most obvious answer are online dating sites. Online dating can help ease some of the pressures of trying to maintain a constant conversation; you’re able to take your time to consider what you want to say rather than trying to be clever off the cuff. You’re also better able to narrow down your field of search to specific interests or personality types rather than trying your luck with a cute random stranger at the Whole Foods or your friend’s party. If you’re a writer, then online dating even plays to your strengths; you can use your way with words to reach people more effectively than you could if you happened to approach them in person.

Now, in fairness, online dating does tend towards more extroverted behavior – after all, you do have to make the initial attempt to talk to someone (especially if you’re a guy) and there’s a certain level of expected “getting to know you” chit-chat. However, if you’re someone who prefers to take his or her time about getting to know someone, online dating is a great way to meet people.

Classes

Taking a class, whether it be studying a new language, brushing up on an old hobby or trying a new activity like yoga is a great way to meet new and interesting people in a low-pressure, low-stress environment. A shared goal or activity gives you something you can talk about and relate to right off the bat. More interactive classes, like cooking or art courses means you’ll likely be working in smaller groups, which provides an opportunity to get to know people in a more organic, natural way rather than trying to ask the usual “interview” questions that bore all of us to tears. Social clubs can also be a great way of meeting new people in a smaller, more controlled manner.

Volunteer

Volunteering your time can help you give back to your community while also introducing you to new people at the same time. While some volunteer opportunities – such as working for political campaigns – may not necessarily be of interest to someone who tends to be more introverted, donating your time to the Red Cross, homeless shelters, your local museum or the Humane Society can be ideal. Much like with classes, volunteering gives you the means to meet and get to know someone in an organic and natural way without feeling like you’re obligated to put on a performance, as well as helping to ensure that they likely have the same goals and interests as you do.

Plus, it’s hard to be intimidated or anxious around someone who just helped you muck out the puppy kennels.

Use Your Social Circle

Being an introvert doesn’t mean that you don’t have friends; you just tend to prefer to interact with them one-on-one or in small groups. Your friends can be one of your most valuable untapped resources when it comes to meeting new people in a comfortable environment without the pressure of having to go out and approach strangers. Rather than asking to be set up on a blind date or trying to force yourself to be more outgoing at a party,  try letting your friends know you’re interested in meeting some new people… so maybe they could bring another person or two they think you might get along with the next time you all go to the movies or have a Game of Thrones marathon.

  1. Sorry, I’ve been listening to a LOT of Meat Loaf lately []

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Comments

  1. I'm a major introvert, and what few girls I've been involved with have been extroverts. There's a kind of extrovert that makes you feel like shit for not being as much of a loud non-stop party animal as they are, and another kind who is so cheerfully being themselves and not holding anything back and not caring if they occasionally come off as ridiculous, that it gives you the space to be yourself as well – that is the kind of person I'm drawn to.

  2. I'd like to offer one additional piece of advice to fellow introverts. I think it's particularly easy for introverts to put a lot of pressure on meeting people and first dates–since we find social interaction draining, we want to be sure it's "worth it", especially if we know we want a long term relationship and not just some casual flings. I found that when I was first getting into online dating, I was focused on trying to figure out if any given guy would be a good long term partner for me right from the beginning. But thinking about that sort of thing early on can make you inadvertently come off as too serious or needy (even if you're not expressing those thoughts, the fact that it's on your mind can color your conversations and behavior), and mean you're more stressed out on dates and more upset if they don't work out.

    When I was able to reframe my thinking, approaching first dates as a chance to have fun and get to know someone new (and hey, if it leads to something more down the road, great), I was much more relaxed during those dates, and did have more fun, and didn't feel so invested if I liked a guy but he didn't feel the same connection. If you can approach it as "Hey, I enjoy talking with this person online, let's see if it's even more enjoyable in person" rather than "I think this man (or woman) has long term potential, let's test them out as a potential life partner" I suspect you'll have more success. Or at least be happier while you're doing it. :)

    • I had the same problem.

      • Jonathan White says:

        I to have the same problem and its draining. I think cause it takes so much energy and effort to break out of myself and start talking to someone I kind of start to think immediately long term relationship and I put a lot of pressure on myself to impress this person and i become needy and emotionally attached immediately and I end up chasing the person away.

  3. Thanks for this article, Doc. Truly helps.

  4. Great article, Doc. But I gotta say, a lot of this is truer for male introverts than for women, especially this bit: Introversion may be mistaken for shyness… but it can also be seen as “reserve”, the “strong, silent type” or even appealingly hidden depths.

    Sadly, female introverts face much more social pressure than male introverts to appear extroverted, and will often be labeled bitchy/snobby/unapproachable/standoffish if they do not push themselves into these overwhelming social situations. I am a female introvert, and while I have no problem with this aspect of my personality, I spent years training myself to appear extroverted simply because I kept being labeled as "unapproachable/bitchy" when I was content with just doing my thing. So much so that a friend was like "You're not an introvert!" and I was like "Lol yeah I am I've just been training myself to adhere to social norms for the past six years."

    • I get "intimidating" a lot from guys who know absolutely nothing about me except that I'm quiet. But maybe that's a good way to weed people out. Not sure I'd want to date someone who was intimidated that easily! It's still a disappointing response, especially when you put a lot of effort into being friendly and smiley and the building-up-of-egos.

    • Very true! Especially if you're a woman who's accomplished in some area (that you could be snobby about). I've always been quiet and reserved, and I also did very well academically. I had a friend in high school tell me that before we became friends, she assumed that the reason I didn't talk much in class was because I thought I was better than other people. :(

      Something that factors into this: it's generally seen as okay or even a sign of confidence for successful guys to be choosy about who they talk to and spend time with, but women are often called "bitchy" if they're not open and friendly with absolutely everyone.

      • Ha! This was me too! You are my secret lost internet twin, Mel.

        Beyond the "bitchy/cold" problem, some other female introvert problems I've had to deal with include the impression that I was a prude just because I wasn't outwardly flirty. At this time this was both frustrating and laughable as I had a very healthy sense of my own sexuality.

        Then there is the fact that if you aren't deliberately calling attention to yourself, introverted girls tend to not be seen at all by guys. That was also very frustrating.

        • I think there's a similar kind of pressure on guys. If you don't talk a lot, they assume you don't care about them or you're an asshole and not a bro and such. Ladies may be intrigued by strong and silent, but you're still expected to make the move as a guy and usually the introversion has led to less smoothness in social situations and how much of a traditionally fun life you have outside of dating, both of which can run a woman on pretty quickly.

          I'm speaking out of turn here because I didn't know many quiet ladies back when I was in school (probably the last time I was in any kind of regular social situation), but I always figured quiet girls could still get guys to approach them and such because some introvert features like "shyness" can still be considered attractive feminine qualities (now whether it's the right kind of guy approaching, I dunno). Or it might just be that stone-faced girl intrigues me and I don't think like regular guys do. I'm welcome to getting slapped down by any of ya'll, because I have even less experience with quiet girls than I do extraverted girls.

          • As for "intimidating" while you're accomplished, part of it's going to be because you're accomplished and the guy will worry that he can't measure up. I don't make a lot of money, so I always think I'll be auto-disqualified because of that, or even if things went further, I'd be cognizant of the fact that at some point she may start considering me as a dependant (or even worse, like she's the mother) instead of being a partner and a lover. I've heard horror stories about this kind of thing.

          • That totally makes sense, and it's an unfortunate side effect of the culture we live in–where for the most part men are still expected to be the primary provider in a couple. Which leaves men feeling they've never accomplished enough, and women feeling they shouldn't accomplish very much for risk of turning off partners. I really hope we're at least starting to move away from that.

            There are definitely women who think that way and would be unhappy if they made more money or had a better job than their partner. But I think you'll find that a lot of the appeal (or lack thereof) comes down to attitude. At the moment, I'm earning quite a bit more than my husband, because while we're both pursuing creative careers on the side, mine's really taken off in the last few years and his hasn't yet. And I'm fine with that, because I know that he's working just as hard as I am, he's supported my creative work and celebrated my achievements rather than being resentful, and he's contributing as much financially as he reasonably can without overworking himself at the day job and being miserable. If you present yourself as someone who's working at being successful (however you choose to define success), optimistic that it'll happen, and happy in other areas of your life, you'll be a lot more appealing to women regardless of how much money you make than if you present yourself as defeated, down-trodden, or pessimistic.

          • I think maybe quiet girls will still get noticed if they're particularly attractive. But my experience in school was that myself and my also quiet and reserved friends were never asked out, never asked to dance at the school dances, never got any signals at all that any guy liked us. And I'd be friendly with guys, make a point of talking with and smiling at guys I was interested in, be at all the dances on the floor except during the slow songs, hoping to seem approachable. I'd say my friends and I were reasonably attractive–maybe 7 out of 10 if we're going to try to quantify it–but not supermodel good-looking by any means. And I wasn't waiting for some popular jock to notice me–the guys I had crushes on and tried to get to notice me were all fairly quiet, reserved people themselves.

            It's quite possible there were boys who noticed us and had crushes on us, but if so they were guys who didn't make the slightest move to pursue that, so there was no way for us to know. Actually, I worked with a guy from my school the year after we graduated, and he *told* me that he knew a guy who'd been interested in me, but that guy had never shown any sign of it. Which didn't actually make me feel better. If I, despite being shy and reserved, could get myself to go up to and start conversations with guys I liked, then it seemed to me a guy couldn't really like me that much if he wouldn't make the slightest effort for me.

            The only guys who showed any interest in me while I was in my teens were random inappropriately older (mid twenties or later) guys in public places who did weird things like talking about marriage immediately. I had great friends and great grades, but I spent a large portion of high school worrying that I was somehow inherently unappealing to boys. I do think the majority of high school boys, at least, mainly notice the girls who are outgoing and flirty, because they're making themselves easier to notice.

          • It's only recently that I've learned about "signals." I didn't know that girls and women were socialized to not tell guys how they feel about them. To not ask for what they want. To do nothing if they want a guy. I didn't understand how severe this crippling problem was, and still is. I had no idea.

          • I think "quiet coquettishness" is a kind of trope-like Admirable Feminine Quality, but that's a separate trait from shy (as in, uncomfortable talking to people one doesn't know – I'm phrasing this a bit less pathologically than the doctor) is actually not, in my opinion / experience, a cute or attractive attribute. I am shy (not introverted – I love people and I feel bad and uncomfortable if I don't go out enough [by my internal standards that I cannot quanitfy]), and I am even not shy in all situations – but I am uncomfortable in unstructured social situations, and I am not very good at masking my discomfort, and I am very uncomfortable making eye contact with people I don't know. So there's more to being a "cute and shy girl" that just being shy – there's behavior around the "cute" part that doesn't always come packaged with the shy. You often need the eye contact skills, and the looking comfortable skills, to get people to approach you.

          • I'm a very shy, quiet, introverted girl and I'm also fairly attractive. So when I tell people that I can count on one hand the number of times I've been approached or hit on by a stranger (outside of the online dating world), they are often shocked. They assume that just because I'm attractive, that number should be significantly higher. But the truth is, when you're as quiet as I am and have more solitary habits, you're generally not really noticed much, if at all. Even if I do get noticed by someone, I'm probably sending off signals that I'm the shy and solitary type–that I don't want to be talked to–and this might be seen as intimidating. So I do think that shyness in women can reduce the amount they get approached, even if they are physically attractive.

          • So is there an ideal way shy girls like you ladies want to be approached? Or even something to look for?

            I've been actively trying to rid myself of shyness and figuring out how to maintain social balance, but I'm still an introverted guy first and foremost. It seems like an introverted girl might "fit" better or have more common ground, so I'd at least like to have the option. But it also seems like it'd take a determined extrovert to get through the "exterior" (which I understand completely, considering I've been called "cold" before)

          • Actually I (personally, can't speak for all shy women of course) often find extroverts kind of overwhelming… What's true of my own experience from when I was single:

            -I vastly preferred to be approached in settings where socialization is expected. If I wanted to be meeting people in person (I did a lot of my meeting guys online), I'd go out to places where I knew that was likely to happen–classes, social events around topics of interest, friends' parties, concerts, occasionally clubs. I wouldn't be there if I didn't want to talk with people, but I wouldn't always be comfortable enough to approach someone, so having someone approach me would be welcome. On the other hand, a lot of the time when I was just going about my business on the public transit/walking down the street/shopping/etc., I wasn't in "social mode", and might very well be occupied with something I wanted to give my attention to (a book, music, or just thoughts about something I was working through). So I didn't really (and still don't) enjoy being interrupted.

            Thus: If you're looking around a social setting and seeing a woman who's maybe talking a little and smiling and so on but seeming a little off to herself, apart from the crowd, this is a good time to try to approach her. In non-social settings, it's hard to tell anything about her personality anyway, and if she *is* an introvert, there's a pretty good chance she won't welcome the intrusion.

            -I'm quiet when I'm uncomfortable in a situation, and being surrounded by strangers tends to make me uncomfortable. But if someone starts talking to me and obviously is interested in hearing what I have to say and doesn't seem to be expecting anything from me other than a fun conversational partner, I feel more at ease very quickly and can actually be very animated and talkative. But that doesn't mean the other person has to be super extroverted. If the other person is pushy or overbearing, that just makes me more uncomfortable.

            You want to have a decent opening comment or question to make (an observation about the setting you happen to be in usually works just fine, or a question to do with why the person's there), and you need to be able to continue the conversation by drawing on her initial responses. I think most introverts can open up pretty easily if you make it easy for them to find things to say–by asking questions, smiling, responding to their comments with enthusiasm and sharing related thoughts of your own. (Note: Enthusiasm = a moderate level of animation in your voice, friendly facial expression, etc. If you go overboard and act as if everything she says is the most brilliant thing in the universe, it'll come off as fake.)

            I also find for me at least that the "no expectations" part is very important. If I can tell that someone's approached me because they want something from me (more than just "what's the time?" or "do you know where the bathroom is?"), my walls tend to go up. I think it is an introvert thing–that as an introvert I only have so much social energy to go around, and I'm very sensitive to people wanting to hoard a lot of it before they know much of anything about me, or have let me know much of anything about them. It feels intrusive even if they're not making explicit verbal demands. So I think it's much better if you can approach women with the mindset of "this person looks interesting, I bet I'd have a good conversation with her" (much the same way you might think if you approached a guy to make a new friend) rather than "maybe I can get her phone number/a date with her". Actually, I think is true no matter what the personality is of the woman you're approaching. At very least, you'll find it easier to think of things to say (because you'll be focused on the conversation, not where you want it to lead) and it'll mean you'll be less disappointed if the interaction doesn't result in a phone number or date. :) If the conversation *is* good, then you can get to the part about how to see that person again.

            -I'm also sensitive to intrusions on my personal space. I generally only touch (even in a playful way) people I know fairly well; I only enjoy hugging very close friends/family. I would guess that this is probably more common for introverts than extroverts. So if you're approaching a woman who seems to be somewhat reserved, probably good to be particularly careful not to stand closer than you would with a guy acquaintance, not to accidentally box her in, and to keep any playful touches brief and after you've already gotten definite positive signals (real wide smiles, unforced laughter, possibly her moving closer to you of her own accord, flirty comments).

          • (continued from above)

            -I mentioned meeting people online before. I suspect a lot of introverted women at least try out online dating since they find the sort of social situations where you meet people in person draining. And for you, as an introvert as well, there'll also be less pressure. Look for dating sites that seem to encourage longer profiles rather than a bunch of short and sometimes silly questions answered (I preferred Lavalife when I was doing this, but I'm not sure how popular it is now, or how popular it is outside of Canada), and then check the profiles for mentions of interests you share. The guy who's now my husband made his online approach by chatting me up about my favorite anime series, which also happened to be his. But don't hold off on the in person meet up for very long. It's better to find out if you get along in person before you get too invested. If you've exchanged three or four emails each or an extended chat, and you're enjoying the conversation and still have plenty to say, I'd say that's a good time to suggest a meeting.

            And now I've written a whole essay… I hope something above was helpful!

          • It was (Canada represent, btw)

            I honestly don't think I've ever approached a guy in a friendly/talkative way to become friends with either, I think all the friends I've had over the years gravitated towards me in a school setting. Or at least offline that's been the case. Something else that's going to need practice.

          • I think making sure you give her a context for who you are is very important. I like to know who I'm talking to – it doesn't have to be in great detail, it's just depending on the situation, if there's some reason you're there, or if you are somewhat involved in the things I am involved in, I would like to know. This is a great way to introduce yourself to someone. And then you can ask them about why they are there, as Mel said. This context might will make her more likely to remember you, and more comfortable coming up to chat with you when I run into you next – whether it be while out, walking around / doing stuff, or at an event. Also, you can come chat with me, because she knows who you are and what to expect to some extent. That works well for people who are in your social or professional circle or who are associated with an organization you are – like your local hackerspace or whatever. Basically the approach of meeting her briefly and giving her some context turns a cold approach to have a long conversation with a woman to get her contact info into a low-impact approach to say hi and meet her (say how cute her dog is at the dog park … comment on the band … comment on the talk / exhibition, comment on the class), and then the next time you see her around you already know each other. This is way harder if you would have no way of ensuring you see her around, obviously, in which case you might do something like see if you can figure out if you know any of her acquaintances who happen to be there to get an introduction, or even just say hi with your pertinent comment, let whatever conversation you have end (maybe have another conversation in there if it works), and come back later to say you had a good time talking to her, make sure you know each other's names, and ask if she'd mind if you look her up on Facebook because you want to continue the conversation about xyz. I have met people at social events that I did not know and have exchanged contact information with them and connected on Facebook within a day or so of meeting them.

            Also, be really polite. One of the reasons (I think) that I am shy is honestly because I want to have a chance to vet people I get into conversations with, which I do by avoiding meeting people when I don't know who they are and only meeting people in some more structured context like volunteering, where I might be able to pick up the things they do that I really don't like, like teasing, before we're having a more personal conversation. Being polite gives the woman you'd like to meet a chance to see if she thinks your personality is likely one she'll get along with, and vice versa, without you unintentionally pushing some button she has (and even if you have a trait / habit she dislikes, but respect her wish not to be treated that way, she might not care that you are given to the behavior she doesn't like).

            Mel mentioned talking to the woman you are interested in as another person you might be interested in talking to, male or female, and I can't stress how important this is for me, at least. If a guy is talking with me and all he wants is a potential romantic partner, he can leave me alone, because it doesn't bode well for his general respect / interest in connecting with me as a human, which is a quality I value highly in people I have dealings with in general, but particularly in romantic partners. This applies whether or not I can tell that that is all he is interested in. It doesn't matter to me that the man was looking for love, not another friend – if I don't know him / don't know him well, what I want is an engaging conversation. After having that engaging conversation, he is not beholden to being my bestie if he finds out I am not available / a good love connection, but I would expect him to continue to have interesting conversations with me should we meet in a social setting.

          • And also:

            Anonymous also mentioned not approaching guys in friendly / talkitive ways to make friends – those things normally happen pretty organically with people you think are interesting or will have good conversations with who might make good friends. You just see each other at whatever (class, parties, etc) and gradually start getting more and more familiar with each other – it's just that because it was a friend slot you were filling and you have no particular quota on those, you don't need to single out people and consciously decide to make friends with them in the same way you might have a vacant partner spot that you may want to fill and indeed have to single people out for because it's obviously a more involved interaction. In this case it's just taking that organic way of becoming familiar with someone that happens with your friends and being able to initiate the opening intro / conversation to someone you have consciously chosen as a promising prospect, and turning the natural back and forth that results in closeness with the friend (where you're not as concerned about it fizzling out) into a back and forth that is still natural, but that you can be more intentional about if you're looking for a partner.

            This puts a lot of emphasis on having a great conversation with someone, but I do think that's super important for connecting with someone in any context. I think shared interests / passions can create great conversations between people who are not good at small talk at all.

      • ruinsofbeverast says:

        I've had that exact same reaction to my tendency to not speak often. My coworkers often assume I am stuck up or don't care until they actually get to know me a little better and realize that I just prefer to keep to myself and am not trying to slight them with my reserved nature!

      • Really? I call loud girls who treat every relationship like whore "bitches", not a girl who is quiet. Or maybe that's just because I'm an introvert.

    • why can't you send out positive energy just because you're an introvert? if people perceive you as cold, chances are that it has nothing to do with your introversion and everything to do with your attitude.

      i know a woman who is not only the most extreme introvert i've ever met, but also pretty high up her company's hierarchy. what's more is that she's a wonderful person, and nobody ever perceives her as cold, despite almost never saying a word more than necessary. on the contrary, she's probably perceived as more warm and caring than most people.

      how is that possible? simple. you can tell from her facial expression that she's not harboring any negative thoughts. her facial expression always tells you that she's in a content state, and even though she may not say much to you, she'll at least smile with her eyes if you happen to make eye contact.

      to give you some contrast, i used to date a girl who despite having an AMAZING personality, was always perceived as cold. the reason behind that is that she didn't even reflect over how other people saw her. she just let her neutral facial expression represent her feelings regardless of context, and that WILL put people off and make them think you are cold.

      so to summarize my point, i dont think that this specific issue is gender-specific (unless you are deliberately putting on a cold face to keep people away from you, but it doesn't sound like this is what you're doing). i think it's just something you need to practice in social settings to make people perceive you as kind rather than cold, and i don't think this has anything to do with introversion (i'm an introvert myself).

      hope that helped. :)

      • I have the world's worst case of perma-grin, so positive energy wasn't a problem. In my case the misinterpretation of my personality was to label me as "frigid" as in I was clearly a good girl who would never have sex, and I was quite possibly slated as a future career of a nun or a librarian.

        All this because if someone came on to me too strong, it was a major turn off, and I didn't like to go to "parties" where people acted sexually aggressive and obnoxious.

        I was told over and over, "You're the type of girl guys marry, not the kind they date." WTF?

        Boys, keep an eye out for the introverted girls. They are the ones that will turn down going out to a bar with their friends to play Diablo III at home with you, for hours. They are the ones that won't mind you watching the game and not paying attention to them, because they've got a book to read. If you like your space and don't like being suffocated, introverted girls rock.

        And as they say with the still waters running deep.

        Don't make ANY assumptions about what they are like in bed.

        • The difficulty is always in finding the quiet girl. Especially if you're a quiet guy.

          • Yeah, the first trick is finding them because they won’t be at a bar or party. And then if you do magically spot one (we’re like unicorns) we usually have closed off or defensive body posture. Personally I tend to cross arms and play with necklaces or touch my throat, but I’m always watching everything that is going on very intently. The throat touching is a self-soothing behavior, but it sends the “stay away” message.

            If you notice a girl on the edge of the action watching, give a little wave and see how she responds. It may be the best way to fish out who adamantly doesn’t wish to be bothered, vs. an introvert who is just uncomfortable with the situation.

      • Hi. First of all it IS gender specific because it is all about social expectations of how men and women should behave. Secondly, "sending out positive energy" is harder than it sounds because it requires absolute 100% of body language and facial expressions at all times. When you are a person who enjoys getting lost in your own head and being in your own world, this is INCREDIBLY difficult. It took me 7 years to get a good handle on it.

    • I totally relate to what you said, but I feel like women have it a little easier though, as men are the ones who are usually expected to make the first move and initialize conversation. I've always thought it would be easier as an introvert to be a girl, because guys usually go after girls, not the other way around.

      • The trouble is that guys tend to go after the outgoing women who are making themselves more noticeable… Which means to get noticed and approached by guys, most introverted women need to act more outgoing than they feel comfortable with, just like introverted guys do. Speaking from experience. :)

        Also, introverted women, as noted, are often seen as unfriendly or cold simply because they're not making conversation, smiling in a relaxed way at strangers, etc., so even when they're noticed, they're often dismissed as being not a good possibility for dating. Even though they might very well be open to meeting people, just not relaxed enough in social situations to look completely open.

        I don't think either gender has it easier… Socializing is often hard for introverts of all sorts, if sometimes in different ways.

  5. Great article.

    I would also suggest that if you are an introvert and don't know your strengths or are ashamed of it in any way, to really learn about it. That helped me a lot. "Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that won't stop talking," changed my outlook on the entire thing.

    I'm at times bubbly and appear to be extroverted so it highly confuses people when I mention that I'm an introvert. I can have a lot of fun at a party, club, convention, show, etc but it can overwhelm and over stimulate me to where I need to recharge. Or if I haven't recharged alone enough from my busy life, even going out to dinner can make me irate. Some have been pretty mean about it too.

    The more you understand it, the better you can explain it to others and the less likely you'll allow people to treat you poorly for it.

  6. I've heard that in cramped social situations, taking frequent "bathroom" breaks or smoke breaks (if you do that kind of thing) can help you survive.

  7. Thortok2000 says:

    Another great article.

    Regarding shyness and introversion, I was definitely shy because of the 'draining' sensation from crowds (it was something I would try to avoid), and the bad social skills to get along well in crowds.

    I've thrown myself into crowds and parties a lot in the last couple of years and come out the better for it. Still an introvert, still not big on crowds, but they drain me a little bit less and scare me not at all. I can be myself in a crowd, and myself is sometimes talkative, sometimes not. I can work on all the social skills and approaching skills mentioned on this blog. I step into the other room or go get a snack or find where there's less people when I need to recharge. Then I go right back in.

    So I still get drained, but big whoop, I get drained. It's not scary anymore. Things happen, rejection happens, attention and/or lack of attention happens, that's life, oh well, water off a duck. It's nothing to be afraid of, and there's no reason to be shy just because I'm an introvert.

    Sometimes in the crowd I find one person to give some attention to and have a 'semi-private' conversation with. Those nights are the best nights!

    I'm learning more outgoing skills. This is very apparent in new groups of people that I meet. In my psychology class for instance, it was ironic that they all thought I was an extrovert. I approach people, talk to them, hold conversations. I still haven't gotten to the 'flirt' level yet but that's just a skill I don't have yet.

    Last Monday (and for the next few Mondays) I'm even attending a Tango class! There aren't really any women my age there but it's still fun.

    There's nothing wrong with being an introvert. The thing you should focus on 'fixing', if anything, is the shyness, the irrational fear of crowds and/or attention. To quote Morpheus:

    Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us. But if we are to be prepared for it, we must first shed our fear of it!

  8. This is great advice for anyone. Heck, I'm as extroverted as they come — I had a college career counselor tell me I was "so extroverted it's almost a handicap," and I actually get tired and headachy if I have to be alone for too long — and yet all of these (other than online dating) sound like better ways to meet people than cold approaches.

    These are also contexts where I'd be open to getting to know someone, whereas I can't imagine ever giving contact information to someone, or contacting them if they've given me theirs, as a result of a cold approach.

    I love meeting people, and I have no fear of talking to strangers, but I like to get to know someone outside of the context of sex/romance a little before I even consider them from that angle. Being in a class together, volunteering together, putting on an event together, hanging out with mutual friends, etc. are all good ways to do that.

  9. "Someone who’s shy on the other hand tends to avoid social gatherings or interactions out of fear or anxiety. They tend to shun large groups or encounters out of a phobia while introverts tend to prefer solitary pursuits." — I think that's coming on a bit strong / insensitive towards shy people, in a way that contrasts somewhat with the affirmation of introversion and useful advice for introverts in the rest of the article (whereas this sentence suggests that shy people are mired in fear verses the simple preference for alone-time of introverts), particularly since you acknowledge earlier that non-outgoing people get the short end of the stick in terms of what people assume about them in social situations and how likely they are to meet people.

    Shyness covers a range of feelings about unknown people and/or situations (/ the combination of the two) that might run from extreme anxiety through mild discomfort, and can also be situational (I am uncomfortable in unstructured social situations, but happy as a clam in structured ones such as class discussions, in which I will talk your ear off, and I do a mean job interview because I know the rules, whereas there are many people who are very comfortable in unstructured social situations who you can't pay to speak up in a public discussion), and it just seemed odd to me to make such a strongly negative statement about shyness in an article about introversion, instead of just making the distinction. What about the introverts reading this who are also shy?

    (Gotta stick up for the other shrinking violets out there – we just want a little understandin'.)

    • Aunty Del says:

      I'm all three: shy, socially anxious, and introverted. I can't tell where one stops and the other starts and for me it doesn't make a difference anyway, it just means I really don't like crowds.

      I don't mind unstructured social situations eg parties, if I can find one or two people to have an in-depth chat with. But I'm no good at structured groups eg meetings, they make me want to scream "stop talking and get on with it". As for speaking in public, No. Effing. Way. Even in a class where I know the answer I'm reluctant to put my hand up.

      • Yeah – I think I have more of an idea of where they intersect for me because I'm shy, but not introverted, although I am fairly introspective. And I know a very gregarious person who is an introvert – she gets irritated if she has to spend too much time with people and hates "schmoozing", and just wants to be at home with her dog, but she is not at all shy … I think gregarious probably is the best way I can describe her … she's also, IMO, quite confident although I can't read her mind, and she knows lots of people. And I know an extrovert who is very good talking to people he doesn't know in unstructured situations (including flagging down and chatting with people while working a table at a busy summer festival – this is something I find exhausting), but doesn't like speaking up in structured ones.

        It's just totally different for different people, not that that's surprising! And each trait is also a continuum, with most of us in the middle.

  10. "Someone who’s shy on the other hand tends to avoid social gatherings or interactions out of fear or anxiety. They tend to shun large groups or encounters out of a phobia while introverts tend to prefer solitary pursuits." — I think that's coming on a bit strong / insensitive towards shy people, in a way that contrasts somewhat with the affirmation of introversion and useful advice for introverts in the rest of the article (whereas this sentence suggests that shy people are mired in fear verses the simple preference for alone-time of introverts), particularly since you acknowledge earlier that non-outgoing people get the short end of the stick in terms of what people assume about them in social situations and how likely they are to meet people.

  11. I am a female introvert who always excelled in science and math. What others said about being perceived as cold or intimidating rings true for me. I ultimately married another introvert! We each have social situations in which one of us is more comfortable than the other, and I’m the one who needs more “recharging” after being out among people. We are sensitive to each others limits, and I think that is the most important thing wherever your partner/potential partner happens to fall on the scale.

  12. I m 17 years old and I m introverted. When I talking to people I find it extremely painful and draining. I prefer to spend time alone and live in solitude but I get constant pressure from everybody on when I m going to get a girlfriend and when I try to explain my problem I get the say advice over and over and that is be more confident which pisses me off beyond belief. Also I get very nervous very quickly which results in me biting my nails off until they bleed. I had a person a knew that tried to set me up with this girl and I just completely froze and after she left I had a very violent out burst. After that and some before that I just feel like a loser and freak and a weirdo. Often times I feel like I want to die I just want to be normal I just which I could be like everyone else.

    • Aunty Del says:

      Hugs. It sounds like you have some social anxiety as well as being introverted. I do too – I think I've had it most of my life and I wish I'd known at 17 instead of 37. Talk to the counsellor at school about techniques for your anxiety, you can get on top of it. Most of the time now my solitude is beause I enjoy it, not because I'm fleeing from other people. And I hate the "be more confident" thing too – those people have no idea and aren't worth worrying about.

  13. Its good to know there are other people out in the world, who feel the same way I do. It's annoying how critical some individuals can be towards introverted people, but thats their loss for not getting to know a very decent person :) My one big recharge has to be skateboarding, nothing beats a few hours rolling around the skatepark listening to music

  14. sorry, don't think you understand introverts. online dating as the best way? that's NOT helpful – introverts don't like their photos and personal business publicly aired on the internet – they are more private and let to disclose personal information in the natural course of one to one conversation. volunteer/classes, blah blah, same advice you see anywhere for both introvert or extrovert.

    • He didn't say it was the best way; he was just offering it as one avenue that might be more palatable to some introverts. Not all introverts are super private and not all introverts let it all hang out.

  15. After being married to an extreme extrovert (and I would say I'm an extreme introvert) for 17 years…and then going through divorce, it feels SOOOOO good getting back to being me. It's a core thing, a gut thing… something I can't describe. My confidence and happiness has transformed me unexpectedly. When compromising your true self gradually over time, it is very hard to keep perspective. (Please note that I'm not bashing the extrovert. He's a wonderful man. Just can't wait to find someone that I can sit with and just be…) I continue to find the seemingly quiet, confident man very…no….extremely attractive. So to all of you introvert males out there, know that many girls see things my way. Maybe someone should come up with a dating website for introverts seeking introverts. Even in coffee shops it is difficult for me to connect with someone I've never met. I have the confident piece, but I also have the shy piece. If I see a man that I'm attracted to, I find it very difficult to even look at him one time. (I'll work on that.)

  16. Thanks for these thoughtful words. I found them helpful. I wonder if you have thoughts about dating places for introverts like me who live in rural areas. There are no coffee houses, museums, art galleries or aquariums where I live.

  17. Great paragraph Pamela-it gives me hope!

  18. Hello, I have been online the last few days searching for communication advice with my introverted coworker. After some online research several months ago, I concluded that SHE is a "full blown" introvert, and I just wanted to make sure what type of personality I am dealing with. I myself feel the introversion traits in me, and can relate well; however, I am fully aware of my extroverted personality. The fact is, I'm super attracted to her and her introverted qualities. But I can't seem to find any common ground, or "break the ice" socially…and it's been almost 7 months!
    Please advise if there is a better platform where I can openly discuss and receive quality feedback, thanks for reading.

    Alex –

  19. Why don't you try the forum?

  20. Why did you say go easy on the booze, getting high on alcohol is good if you're in a club or something. You confident level is high and that when you make that killer move! Oh well, that's what I think anyway. =)

  21. BettyBoo says:

    Online dating? Not really the best place to meet someone since I've read that there are a lot of scams and cheating spouses on these sites. And, often times people get a false sense of security and intimacy thinking they, "know" the person before they meet them. It can take some time before you realize their info was false. Being a female introvert, but quite chatty when I'm feeling comfortable, I'm hesitant to go through all the dating to get to a person I really like. That kind of test dating can be very draining and I'm not even looking for a relationship as much as a bit of fun. Volunteering and classes are usually small groups. This is great in terms of comfort, but does not offer a lot of people to date. So, I'm not really sure the person that wrote this article understands introverts very well. In fact, it sort of sounds like the same stuff I've read on dating sites in general.

  22. Marc Poppen says:

    Very nice post :) I don´´t agree with getting high on alcohol is only for clubs, it depends how much you can take and behave I believe :)

  23. Eddard Stark says:

    A Game of Thrones marathon is a fantastic idea! I would consider myself an introverted nerd, and I love that show. Maybe I can get one going on campus to meet some people.

  24. Bart Rood says:

    Does the doctor not know the differences between who's and whose, it's and its? "An introvert is – very simply – someone [who is] personal energy …" "Every relationship has [it is] challenges …" You should be embarrassed.

  25. Love it! I was an introvert for quite some time. People never guessed I was shy because I was always around friends, but when it came to meeting new people, it was difficult. Alcohol never worked for me, it made me more shy actually.

  26. Try tinder

  27. Thanks for this! I'm really glad I found this as I'm an extreme introvert who's longing for a soulmate.

  28. I’m a female introvert. My sex drive has always been high. My self esteem has had to be built, consistently, over time. I am 25 and I don’t care about how other’s percieve me. I believe I am unique. Because of my sex drive, I use my introversion to appear innocent. My sexuality threatens other women and intrigues men. I don’t smile or flirt, but I still manage to get the attention I crave, because I pay attention to whom I prefer to seduce . And I learn about seduction through reading (books and social.situations This leaves extroverted b!tche$ envious and wondering how I do what I do. (Without touching myself, preening, mentioning my breasts, touching men, etc.) I’m private and secretive….so I always look like I have a big juicy secret. Men want to know. Their curiosity attracts them to me, unlike your extrovert who leaves nothing unknown. Men tell me they like my walls, because there’s always more to find the deeper they go.

    I have a life history of being mis judged and outcasted. So, I’ve learned to be both sensitive and edgy. Never loud, I have learned to be physically obnoxious, mentally assertive and I am highly competitive beneath my reserve. I practice magnetic eye contact to allure or intimidate. I only smile when I blush or am turned on or talking to a man, which infuriates females because I don’t share myself with them too much or at all. I find extroverted females want my attention, but they end up giving me theirs since I pretend like they don’t exist. I create an atmosphere around me that is deeply hypnotic and sensual….which is helping to develop a personal brand for business.

    My dad raised me not to chase men. My , mom raised me to be wise, intelligent and chaste. My brothers raised me to be keen. I read sun tzu instead of cosmopolitan.

    My introversion serves me, not others. In turn, others serve me

  29. saddledspaceboy says:

    ive been without girlfriend for most of my life in my opinion because all of the girls i have shortly known werent what i want to call a REAL relashionship but sadly its what experience i do have with women? im 26 now , i cant say ive ever really had a honnest to god real relasionship with a girl because all of them have left within 3 to 4 months and i got to see them 2 or 3 times a week. they never had much of a bond to me, we also missed out on doing things together since i couldnt get a job or keep the jobs i had. and i was depressed and tired most of the time.anyways now ive had some years to fix myself more and improve upon myself and health im still haveing trouble talking to girls. i finally learned to notice when girls are checking me out and i have been able to muster up the courage and break through the axietys to give a girl my phone number before. but now…. i dont, when a girl looks at me now i clentch up and get heart palpitations im not a shy person. but my initaial reaction is internal panic mode…i used to do so well with girls now the expectations of what a man should have and where he should be on the tottem pole to women is so much futher than i am in life right now im feeling that if i open up to a girl and try , every time they are going to ditch me for a guy with more money and who is less boring. im venting right now these are simple emotions i understand and im not expecting any well thought out replies. sorry for the typos, i have not learned to spell yet

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  3. [...] example I return to over and over again are extroverts who are dating introverts. The couples who make their relationship work aren’t the ones hoping the extroverted partner can [...]

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