Dating an introvert can either be intimidating or a relief depending on how you look at it. They’re quiet, they’re great listeners, and they keep drama to a minimum. But you also have to work harder to learn anything about them and it can sometimes feel like you’re struggling to earn affection from someone who’s perfectly fine being on their own. Here are some things to keep in mind when dating an introvert that will help you along the way:
1. They Have To Recharge After Being In Public
Unlike extroverts, introverts don’t thrive on being out and about. No matter how well-loved the people, every person in the introvert’s bubble takes a toll on their energy, even if the interactions are casual. To be honest, the more casual and impersonal the interaction, the more energy it takes—we introverts are awful at small talk and have to force ourselves to act like, well, extroverts.
If you take your introvert out and they start to withdraw, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with faking their way through conversations and braving the energy of the room. If you can get a few minutes’ breathing room, I guarantee your introvert will be grateful for it and loosen up.
2. Being Okay Alone Is Not The Same As Not Missing You
For all the extroverts out there (or even the introverts, because being with another introvert can be oddly disorienting), one important thing to keep in mind is that just because someone is fine being alone doesn’t mean they don’t miss or want to see you. It simply means we’re not clingy about it and respect the need for space (on both sides).
So if you tell your introvert you won’t see them for awhile, expecting them to cling harder and beg for a scrap of your time, you’re going to get a surprise. However, not minding being away from you doesn’t equal not wanting you around. Believe me, they’re glad for the time they do get with you—they’re just equally glad when you both get alone time.
3. Introverted Is Not The Same As Shy
For those of you just beginning to date an introvert (and for those of you further in because, let’s face it, introverts are not an open book), you might still be confusing your introvert for someone who is shy. There’s no shame in that—it’s a common misconception, and some introverts are indeed a little shy. We’re not big talkers and we don’t seek out social interaction. We’re flustered when people initiate conversation with us because they probably jolted us out of whatever daydream we were having.
But assuming your introvert is shy simply because they’re quiet is going to hurt more than help in the long run. “Shy” implies sweetness, innocence, and naivete—things most introverts are not on account of their sharp minds, practicality, and distaste for social conventions. So if you’re not prepared for the fully-formed, strong opinions and utter weirdness to come when your introvert finally opens up . . . whoops.
4. Blushing Does Not Mean Attraction
I find this to be a common problem when introverts and social interaction mix: someone yanks us out of our thoughts, we get flustered trying to figure out what they asked, and now the cheeks are on fire because they know we weren’t paying attention. Or someone compliments us unexpectedly—an old lady, perhaps—and our brains fail to compute so our face conveys our distress.
If you’re dating an introvert and you notice they blush around people besides you . . . they’re not attracted to everyone who talks to them. I promise. Disentangle every notion about blushing and attraction you have when it comes to your introvert. Instead, figure that blushing equals distress, surprise, or even “trying to think of a response” mode and maybe step in to help your introvert; you’ll forever be their hero after that.
5. Introverts Are Confident (In Their Own Way)
Most people don’t equate introversion with confidence because they’re not confident in the traditional sense. You won’t see an introvert swaggering up to someone they like with a pickup line or eagerly taking control of a room with their awesome jokes. This makes it difficult for introverts (guys, in particular) to find a date because most people will avoid an introvert if they think they’re not interested or attractively confident.
But while most extroverts are busy flaunting their social prowess, introverts are honing their hobbies and skills they’re interested in, their minds, and their sense of self, making them confident in who they are and what they can accomplish. If you take time to draw an introvert’s thought process out, you’ll be rewarded with an intelligent and mature confidence different from social expertise.
6. Introverts Pay Attention
Silence is golden, some say, and yet introverts are often accused of zoning out because they don’t feel the need to fill the void with chatter. Rest assured, though, if they’re truly interested in you, they’re paying attention. They’re genuinely listening to your stories, taking note of the way you play with your hair or angle your head when you talk, and filing everything away for future reference.
Just because we don’t always know what to say when hit with “What are you thinking about?” doesn’t mean we weren’t listening. Come on, we’re introverts—all we do is listen and think.
7. They’re A Closed Book
I briefly mentioned this earlier, but it bears repeating. Many people expect an introvert to start opening up fairly soon into a relationship, but that’s rarely the case. It will take a lot of patience, understanding, and coaxing on your part to get them to let slip anything about them. An introvert values someone who has all of those traits, and they need to feel they can trust you before they let you fully into their lives.
Once they trust you, though, you’ll find none more loyal and caring than an introvert.
8. They Enjoy Talking (About Meaningful Things)
Introverts like to talk? Nonsense. The very nature of introversion demands silence.
Well, yes, maybe—to strangers and people we don’t care for. But if you’ve ever seen an introvert with their closest friend or asked a family member about them, you’ll hear a conflicting point of view: “They’re so crazy” or “I can’t get them to be quiet.”
The difference here is that the introvert has accepted this person into their life, loves them unconditionally, and can talk about any crazy theory, hobby, or convoluted thought process that goes through their mind. Be that person for an introvert and you’ll be rewarded with the talkative side they don’t show to everyone.
9. Plan Dates Ahead
Introverts don’t mind a little spontaneity in their lives. Deciding you want to go get coffee on the spot is great, and if you surprise them with a gift they don’t expect, they’ll love it as much as the next person.
But if you tell them you’re going to do one thing and switch to another last-minute or, worse, show up at their house to “kidnap” them for some fun, you have intruded on the one basic rule introverts need to trust you: respect for their alone time and decision-making.
Assuming your introvert will be up for a random visit because you are intrudes on both the time they thought was theirs and the ability to plan their day for themselves.
Pro tip: text them at least a couple hours ahead to see if they’re cool with it. That’s all we need.
10. Don’t Expect Them To Be Extroverted
This should be a basic rule for any relationship, but don’t try to change the person you’re with. So many extroverts think bringing an introvert “out of their shell” will mean showing them how to have fun (as if they’ve never had any before?) and teaching them to talk to people.
News flash: if we wanted to talk to people or go to parties, we would. But introverts don’t enjoy that sort of thing and will quickly lose touch with someone who spends all their energy trying to fix them. Respect who the person you’re dating is. They’ll be just fine going to parties with you as long as you’re equally fine having a quiet day at home with them.