What Does it Mean to Be an Introvert?
Before we share tips on how to date when you’re an introvert, it might help to know if you are one.
The term is said to originate with Carl Jung who defined introversion as inwardly directed psychic energy. Dictionaries define introvert as a “shy, reticent person,” or a “person characterized by concern primarily with his or her own thoughts.” Neither is completely accurate.
“In the bulk of the research on personality psychology, introversion is usually defined by what it is not: extroversion. If extroverts are assertive and enthusiastic individuals who thrive in highly stimulative social environments, then introverts are the opposite. End of list. What introverts think about it doesn’t really factor in.”
(Sounds like extroverts were running the universities.) Dahl goes on to describe four types of introverts.
An article in Scientific American beckons us to shed outdated notions of what we think of as an introvert. They write that the sphere of introversion-extroversion can be reduced to a matter of enthusiasm and assertiveness. We’re enthusiastic about different things than extroverts and we assert ourselves in different ways. They also offer a quiz (bottom of page) to determine if you’re an introvert.
Then there’s Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution introvert test, developed from research at the University of Pennsylvania. “From this research, we determined that introversion and extroversion can best be explained through the facets of stimulation and deliberation. Stimulation measures your preference for environments that are either calm or exciting. Deliberation measures your preference for deliberation vs. action.”
It’s complicated. And incredibly, there are many more variations on the theme. Yet we all fall somewhere on somewhat similar scales, however they’re defined.
I took both quizzes above which confirmed what I know—I’m an introvert. I like calm environments, small groups of people, solitude, am deliberate about decisions, and am energized when thinking about a subject or activity that interests me.
Although I’m an introvert, I’m not shy. I played in rock n roll bands for many years and sang in front of large groups of people. I was a salesman for my own successful business and could give impromptu press interviews. I could play extrovert for a day but then I’d have to retire to my quiet home for the evening to rest and re-energize.
The title of Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, sums it up nicely. Our desire for quiet, reflection, solitude, genuine (and gentle) relationships, is a sign of strength.
While it’s a noisy world, seemingly created by extroverts (it wasn’t,) it’s natural to think we must be part of that noise to be successful at anything, including dating. We don’t. As it says on The Quiet Revolution Manifesto, “Love is essential; gregariousness is optional.”
We all have gifts to share with the world. When we remain authentic and true to ourselves, these traits and gifts will attract the right person for us.
Here are 10 smart dating tips for introverted men to help you get the perfect girlfriend or partner.
1- Are there any introvert dating sites I should use?
Yes. All of the major dating sites are ideally suited to introverted guys (and women too.) Allow me to explain.
Think about how a dating site works.
- We get to safely and anonymously put ourselves out there in our online dating profile. Generally speaking, introverts are good with words and many of us are writers. We feel at home crafting a written message about ourselves.
- Dating sites are great screening tool. We get to read about our potential girlfriends without the pressure and awkwardness of the first date. With proper screening, we don’t have to suffer through as many bad first dates as we do with blind dating.
- One of the best things about online dating for introverted men is that we get a head start on a relationship without going on a date. We get to know our potential date via email and phone calls first. If there’s an authentic connection, we’ve already started the relationship. It makes the first date much easier.
Pick a few sites you like and use the paid versions. You’ll be taken more seriously, and you’ll have more tools to help you find your ideal date. It’s money well spent.
2 – Be authentic in your online dating profile.
Don’t try to be someone else. Be authentic. It’s the only way you’ll get a girlfriend you like. Remind yourself that a big chunk of the female population is attracted to people just like you.
If you’re hesitating to create your online dating profile, see #9 below.
3 – Force yourself to take action.
If you’ve made the decision to date, make a dating plan. Don’t use introversion as an excuse to avoid dates.
Even introverts like people, except we usually prefer them in smaller doses than extroverts. Encourage yourself with the fact that dates, especially first dates, are typically short, maybe two or three hours. We can handle that.
An added bonus is that dates don’t necessarily involve being part of large groups of people, such as when you go to a club.
4 – Don’t be afraid of the dreaded first date.
For us introverts, the first date has all the ingredients for what we don’t want in life: meeting strangers, making small talk, trying to get personal without giving away too much of ourselves. The fact is that these are all easy to deal with, and both extroverts and introverts have anxiety about first dates.
Remember, your first date is only a “get to know you” event. The worst case scenario is that you don’t go on a second date, but you’ve had a couple hours to learn about another interesting human being.
Avoid alcohol. Let her pick the place as long as it’s comfortable for you too, preferably a coffee shop you both know.
5 – Don’t be afraid of small talk.
If you’re not good at it, practice your conversation skills. Have a few questions ready for your new date. Be prepared to answer the standard questions from her.
Remember, sitting across from you is a human being with a lifetime of experience and stories to share. It’s been my experience that once you get the other person started, conversation will flow from that.
6 – Listen more than you talk.
Even though you’re an introvert and good at listening, it’s easy to start talking too much out of nervousness. She might ask you a question and suddenly you find yourself talking ad nauseum about your siblings, or work, or a hobby. Respond thoughtfully to her questions without losing your focus.
7 – Don’t be afraid of silence.
We introverts love silence, but it can get awkward in a conversation—at least that’s what we tell ourselves. The fact is that short, reflective silences are a normal part of a conversation, especially between introverts. Every lull doesn’t need to be filled with noise.
8 – What’s an introvert to do when your date takes you to a party?
If you’re an introvert and you must go to a party with your date, you have to talk to other people. Sorry.
My plan in a group scene has always been to pick out one or two people to focus on, one at a time. Introduce yourself and have a few questions ready to get the conversation started. It’s better than standing in a corner alone, waiting for your date to return to you.
Remember, people LOVE to talk about themselves, even introverts. A couple of questions and a good listening stance, and you’ll be fine.
9 – Privacy, dating, and the introvert.
I admit that I was initially hesitant to put anything in my online dating profile. I’m a private person. I also had the lingering notion that online dating sites were for losers, desperate people, and the occasional scammer.
So I didn’t add anything for a few weeks. But that’s OK. It was and is a good way to get comfortable with how the sites work.
Yet I knew that to participate fully, I’d have to write that profile, answer questions, and upload photos. There is no way around it.
If you’re hesitant, just put yourself in the woman’s shoes. You’ve got to establish a lot of trust before you can ever expect her to respond to a strangers’ outreach. Secrecy, a lack of detail, a generic profile, and no photos is a warning flag to your potential date. If you want to get a date, you’ve got to take that risk and extend yourself. The dating sites all have recommended practices for communicating safely.
Of course, I was utterly wrong about the type of people who use online dating. There is an incredibly rich diversity of men and women from all walks of life. You get to meet people online that you’d never get to meet in the course of your normal day.
10 – You’re in charge of your dating life.
You don’t have to do “what everyone else is doing.” Remember, “everyone else” is getting media attention because they’re noisy.
There is a whole world of mature women who prefer to date exactly like you do. You don’t have to go to the hottest clubs or restaurants just because they’re getting all the attention. It’s ok to go to museums, classes, meetups, shows, plays, or outdoor events.
If you’re an introvert in search of a girlfriend or even true love, these tips should ease your fears about dating and make it easier.
Have a tip to add or a story to share? Please share it below in the comments!