Dating for introverts can very often be an intimidating experience since romantic relationships – especially new ones – involve reaching out to others. For someone who is naturally shy, the whole routine of making small talk with stranger, getting out of the comfort zone and making the first move can be quite unnerving, if not downright frightening. However if you happen to meet an introvert and wish to date him/her, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Give your partner enough time
Shy people don’t like being rushed or forced into unfamiliar situations. They usually require some time and planning to embrace a dating opportunity. Thus if you are thinking of asking out someone who is an introvert, give him/her enough time to run the idea in their heads. Plan a week before with your date, and acquaint him/her with the particulars, including the time, place and when you will like to meet. The more information he/she has, the more comfortable your partner will be.
Plan dates carefully
When dating an introvert, avoid going to places where a lot of social interaction is required. This could mean a nightclub or your friend’s poolside party. Shy people are uncomfortable in situations where they are expected to meet and socialize with unfamiliar faces. At the same time, if you going out with this person for the first time, choosing an intimate location like a semi-dark movie theater or an isolated park could also make him/her uncomfortable. One of the best things you can do is to base a date on a shared interest. You could sign up with a Thai cooking class for couples or one that teaches how to make painted pottery. On the other hand if your partner is the outdoor type, opt for a gardening course for couples or join a bird-watching society in one of their tours. Small talk can be particularly torturous for introverts which are why friendships built on common hobbies can be more successful than those built around activities like meeting for a drink at a bar. For an introvert, that means no longer being tongue-tied at a date but lots to discuss on the finer points of a shared hobby like glass painting or French wine tasting.
Explore volunteer work
Shy people are uncomfortable when they are the focus of attention. Thus one of the most fulfilling date ideas when going out with an introvert may be volunteering for a cause that he/she is passionate about. It could be as varied as helping out at a homeless shelter to tending the community center garden. If your partner is spiritually-inclined, you can consider volunteering at your local church or if you both are book lovers, arrange to help out once a week at the community library. Being engaged in volunteer work on a date would mean that the focus is on helping others instead of how your partner should act, talk and reply. This will help your date to be more relaxed, expressive and thus help you to known him/her better.
Go on a group date but with known people
While introverts have trouble making new friends, most are quite comfortable among people they know. Thus if you are thinking of asking a shy girl or guy out, suggest a double date with mutual friends. Your partner is more likely to be at ease and you may be surprised with aspects of his/her personality, like humor and a love of music, that you never knew about.
Don’t force conversations
When dating a shy person, be prepared for occasional lulls in the conversation or moments of awkwardness. Don’t force him/her to keep up the stream of conversation by relentless questioning, like ‘do you like movies’, ‘what movies do you like’, ‘why do you like musicals’, ‘can you sing yourself’. This may overwhelm an introvert and push him/her further into silence. At the same time don’t force yourself to complete his/her sentences or fill in the gaps in the conversation with constant chatter. Rather learn to accept the pauses as natural and give your partner enough time to come up with their own observations. Indeed you may find yourself looking forward to conversing with your partner because you know that a shy person is more likely to discuss what is meaningful.
Establish suitable modes of communication
Shy people often like to communicate more indirectly, such as through email or text messaging. While asking a person out via phone or face-to-face may be preferable for some people, indirect communication may work best for your partner. When you have something important to discuss, confronting him/her directly may again make them uncomfortable and clam up. See if writing out your concerns in the form of a letter or numbering them in a list works better for your partner.
Give the person enough space
Introverts like their own space. So no matter how you much enjoy dating each other, don’t rush things. Reach out to your partner physically, only when you receive definite signals that he/she would welcome intimacy. Even then, indulging in public display of affection with your partner can leave him/her uncomfortable. For the same reason don’t behave in a highly dramatic manner with your beloved in public – for instance you may feel that proposing to your beloved on her favorite radio show is a highly romantic gesture but she may be acutely embarrassed and even upset. Similarly don’t go all touchy-feely with your boyfriend especially when he is among friends and family.
Finally if you are interested in a committed relationship with an introvert, you need to show that you are honest and dependable. Shy people are extremely wary of putting their trust in others for fear of being disappointed or hurt. They often use their reticence as a wall against fears of vulnerability and rejection. For this reason, try to be on time, do what you say you will do and prove to be a good confidante. When you show that you are mature and reliable, you will gain your partner’s trust and best of all, his/her steadfast commitment for a long time to come.