Dating and being an introvert may not seem like a match made in heaven but it really can work. There is just a different approach things.
While extroverts are comfortable with starting a conversation with a random stranger at a bar, introverts might not even be at the bar to begin with. So, how do you meet new people as an introvert?
Online dating could actually be an introvert’s secret weapon. You are not immediately faced with, well… a face in front of you. The apps and dating sites offer a more gradual dating process which can take away some of the social anxiety.
If you are an introvert and want to give online dating a try, these tips could help you feel more comfortable around your date.
Tip 1: Be Honest in Your Profile
Okay, nobody is 100% honest in their dating profile but going the extreme and pretending to be somebody that you are not does not help the dating experience. As an introvert, it is not a good idea to list hobbies and preferences that sound like torture to you.
If you feel much more comfortable with a good night in then say so on your profile. This will help you to match with someone that would much rather have a movie night with you than go bowling with a large group of people.
Tip 2: Prepare for the Small Talk
Small talk is an art. There is a reason why high rollers and corporate professionals are paying big bucks for someone to teach them how to connect with people. You don’t have to go to that level for a successful date but some prep work will help.
Before going on a date, make a list of topics that you are comfortable with. Write down a few conversation starters; questions that will draw out a story from your date instead of 1-word answers. This way, they can do more of the talking and you can chime in whenever you see fit.
Tip 3: Go with the Good Online Conversations
One thing everyone discovers about online dating is that the messaging don’t necessarily translate to good conversation in-person. However, they are a good start.
As an introvert, starting a conversation with someone new is already a likely hurdle so lower it by only going on dates with those you have things in common with. Those common things are topics that you can always revert to when you’re unsure what else to talk about.
Tip 3: Choose an Active Date
Doing something active is the perfect first date (and not just for introverts). Having an activity to do takes away some of the pressure of keeping up a conversation and it fills up some of the awkward silences. It might also give you clues about your date’s true personality.
Going on a hike, taking a cooking class together or going to the arcade are all good activities for a first date. These activities also give you a natural conversation topic.
Tip 4: Stay in Your Element
A first date can be nerve-wracking enough, you don’t have to make it worse for yourself by going too far out of your comfort zone. It is okay to stick to something that you do on a regular basis and that you know you will be comfortable with.
Staying in your element is not just about the date activity but also how you present yourself. Wear what makes you feel good and like yourself. You’ll be much more comfortable wearing your trusted outfit than when you are wearing shoes that pinch your toes, for example.
Tip 5: Have a Set Time Limit for the Date
A date that could potentially drag on forever might make introverts feel pressured to stay longer than they are comfortable with. Don’t do this to yourself. Have a set time frame so that you can go in with the mindset that it is just for a short time.
Lunch dates on a weekday are perfect, for example. It is just an hour in your day and what better reason to have to leave than having to go back to work? Other examples include a smoothie before your (members only) workout class or a walk before having to pick up your kid .
Tip 6: Practice on Others
Unless you manage to stay inside all day, there is a good chance that you will have to speak to others at some point. The cashier at the supermarket, the barista in your favorite coffee shop or your neighbor walking their dog. These small encounters are a great opportunity to practice your small talk.
It doesn’t have to evolve into a deep conversation that requires wine. You don’t know each other well enough for that. But simply asking them if they’ve had a busy day could already help you find the courage to start a conversation with someone else.
Tip 7: Break Away from Larger Groups
Many online dating sites also organize events. Go to them, even though they may not seem like an introvert’s favorite setup. Your goal at these events, as an introvert, is to find a smaller group of people that you feel comfortable around.
Ask this smaller group if they want to join you for a drink after the event, or maybe ice cream. Many introverts do better in smaller groups, even better than in one-on-ones. Ask both men and women to come with you and you might end up with new friends.
Dating as an introvert does not have to be a horror story. Identify the things that make you feel more comfortable, no matter how small they are, and incorporate those into the date. Whether it is your favorite outfit, a hobby that you enjoy or a topic you can speak volumes about – do it.
If you don’t know what those things are yet, give yourself the time to explore. Online dating is not smooth sailing from the start. That applies to both introverts and extroverts.