Where To Go On Dates
Now, let’s say that you’ve found someone intriguing… just how do you negotiate the potential minefield of actual, y’know, dating? Damn near everyone hates the “getting to know you” part of dating, but introverts tend to especially loathe it. When you pair that up with noisy pubs, music venues, crowded bars… it can be enough to make you tear your hair out in frustration.
Ideally, the best dates for introverts are ones that revolve around actual conversations, not just small-talk. Ones that prompt you to a deeper, more meaningful conversation than just playing Bob Costas interviewing John Legend for the first time.
This is a notable exception to my general rule about coffee dates. While I’m normally not in favor of them, they make excellent dates for introverts, especially if you pick a cool, laid back coffeehouse rather than your local Starbucks. The best ones encourage conversation and engagement rather than “get your coffee and get out” or using it as a substitute office. Many will even have boardgames – a quick game or two of Connect Four , dominoes or checkers can be entertainingly cheesy and just cute enough while you’re chatting.
Let’s see: a chance to take in some culture, debate about the merits of one style of art over another (or whether a particular piece should even be considered art at all) and the opportunity to look at some amazing works that remind us of the wonder that is the creative spirit and makes us feel… museums and gallery shows are great choices, especially if you happen to have an artistic or creative streak in you. Science and natural history museums also make for excellent dates; who doesn’t love to imagine outer space or the remembering the childlike wonder that dinosaurs inspired in us all? Bonus points: visit the mineral section and plot how the two of you would conduct a daring theft of all of the precious gemstones.
Zoos and Aquariums
Zoos and aquariums are natural conduits for conversation and the sharing of thoughts and experiences and the occasional “aawwwww” or “squee!” at the baby animals and zoo-borns. When you don’t necessarily feel like talking, you both have the option of enjoying the silence and just watching the animals cavort. Aquariums in particular always seem to inspire a certain reverential silence; something about the way the light filters through the water in an otherwise darkened room seems to demand hushed voices as you take in the unworldly wonder.
General Dating Tips For Introverts
Don’t Pretend To Be Something You’re Not
There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert, and you shouldn’t try to act as though you aren’t. Trying to force yourself into enduring a massive party or a crowded restaurant just for the sake of a first date is a recipe for misery. If you’re an introvert, don’t hide it. If you have an online dating profile, mention it up front. It’s not a horrible secret like a crazy aunt locked up in an attic, it’s a cool part of who you are and you should be proud of it.
Some folks may not necessarily “get it”; some folks have a tendency to assume that if you don’t enjoy things the way they enjoy them, then something is wrong. They’ll try to help – with all good intentions – but it can be frustrating for everybody if you try to force yourself to fit a completely different personality type. Better to help them understand how you see things rather than try wedge yourself into a mold that will only leave you feeling drained, frustrated and annoyed.
Embrace The Awkward
Sometimes you’re going to find yourself in situations that will be uncomfortable for you, whether it’s a case of overstimulation or just not being comfortable in large crowds… or even just not sure what to say because you don’t really “do” small-talk. When it happens, don’t be afraid to admit that the problems exist in the first place. You don’t want to point fingers, place blame or make your date feel guilty for the situation – you’re just giving voice to how you feel. “Hey, just so you know, I don’t really do well with large groups,” or “I don’t know about you, but I’m getting some serious overload hanging around here. Mind if we step outside where it’s quieter for a bit?” and a self-depricating smile is much more charming than the awkward silence and uncomfortable body language. Discomfort is contagious while being open – a strategic show of vulnerability, even – can actually work in your favor as well as making things easier to handle.
Go Easy On The Booze
A little alcohol goes a long way as a social lubricant to ease you into socializing mode, especially if you’re in an environment that you aren’t normally comfortable in, but be careful not to overdo it. Something to calm your nerves or brace yourself is good… but it’s unfortunately entirely too easy to pass the magic line between”relaxed” to “sloppy drunk”. Keep it to one or two drinks max, especially if you’re on a first date.
Don’t Get Hung Up On Labels
It’s tempting to assume that being an introvert somehow limits your dating options; some people assume that introverts can only be happy with fellow introverts and that all other relationships are somehow doomed.
I hope I don’t have to point out just how limiting and defeatist this sort of belief is. The fact that you are a more solitary person or feel drained by large crowds doesn’t mean that you can’t have a wonderful relationship with someone who’s more socially forward and outgoing. I’ve known many couples – including close and dear friends – where one person is more outgoing and extroverted and the other is decidedly more of a loner. In fact, one couple of my acquaintance have been happily married for more than 30 years. The key is mutual acceptance, respect and compromise. An extrovert who understands that an introvert may want some alone time to decompress and recharge – and gives him or her the space they need is someone who is a valuable partner. Similarly, introverts can help their extroverted partner enjoy their need to socialize and even find a way of participating that makes them comfortable.
Every relationship has it’s challenges, regardless of how somebody’s personality is wired. A willingness to accept, understand and adapt… these are qualities that make any relationship work, no matter how outgoing or solitary the couple may be.
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