By Dina Cheney
Many of us have the wrong idea of what dating an introvert is like. They’re not necessarily shy or antisocial, says Sophia Dembling, author of “Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After.” Shyness involves wanting to interact with people but being held back by fear, while introversion stems from not being as motivated to socialize, she explains. Basically, extroverts tend to gain energy from social interaction, whereas introverts are drained by it.
“Introverts can behave like extroverts when it serves them, but it takes a lot out of them. Introverts need alone time to recover after extensive people-time,” Dembling explains. For a shortcut way to determine whether someone is an introvert, ask them how they feel after a big social event, suggests Dr. Goali Saedi Bocci, psychologist and adjunct professor at Pepperdine University. If their answer is drained or tired, they’re probably an introvert. But of course like no two people are the same, no two introverts are the same.
If you’re interested in a Bumble match and sense that they might be an introvert, here are a few expert tips on how to be understanding and make the dating process as comfortable for them as possible.
Give them time
First, be patient. “An introvert might come across as passive or even uninterested because it can take them some time to assess and warm up to people,” says Dembling. “But hang in there if you’re truly interested.” And don’t feel insulted if your introverted partner expresses a desire for lots of alone time. “Some introverts may need a few days apart in order to recharge,” explains Courtney Geter, therapist and author of “The Introvert’s Guide to Dating: How to Leverage Your Unique Strengths to Connect and Find Love.”
Choose low-key dates
Bocci’s number one tip for dating an introvert is to steer away from large and loud events, like concerts or festivals. Instead, pick intimate settings, such as coffee shops or bookstores, she says. To take pressure off and give your introverted partner time to relax and warm up, consider activities in quiet and peaceful places, like walking in a park or catching a movie or museum exhibit, suggests Dembling. Plus, avoid inviting your friends on dates, as this can drain an introvert, says Geter. If you do attend a group activity or party, don’t worry if your date sits quietly and watches, advises Dembling: “Introverts can be perfectly happy watching the scene as activity swirls around them.”
Know it can work if you’re also an introvert
If you’re an introvert yourself, pairing with a fellow introvert is likely the most natural fit. “Introverts may prefer to be with introverts because both people feel more comfortable with someone who shares their preferences,” says psychologist Dr. Beverly B. Palmer, author, Love Demystified: Strategies for a Successful Love Life. That said, there is a risk with introvert-introvert pairings, according to Dembling. They can flatline if neither partner brings up problems or takes the initiative to keep the relationship fresh and interesting, she warns.
…or if you’re an extrovert
Across a lifetime, it can be exhausting to pair with your opposite, says Bocci. However, if extroverts respect introverts’ personality and are willing to compromise, the two can be compatible, Dembling adds. “That means introverts go to the party sometimes, and extroverts stay home sometimes,” she says.
Overall, dating an introvert requires being understanding of their needs. If you’re considerate and flexible, you can build a satisfying relationship, whether you’re a fellow introvert or very outgoing.