Dating is hard enough as it is. You have to go out, meet new people, find someone you share a connection with, spend the time with them to see if it’s a serious connection… The list goes on.
But what if you’re an introvert? You don’t do well with small talk, or like being the center of attention. How do you go about dating if you’re perfectly happy to spend your free time snuggled up with a book?
As an introvert myself, I’m going to give you some dating advice for what I do to try and find that “Mr. (or Mrs.) Right”.
Dating Apps Are Your Friend
If you’re an introvert, dating apps are going to be your best friend. They are there to help you find people in your area (or not, long distance is a thing) that you can connect with without leaving the comfort of your blanket fort.
Dating apps are in abundance and it seems like more and more pop up every time you turn around. According to Forbes back in 2013, there were almost 8,000 different dating apps to choose from. Considering it’s been 6 years since that’s been posted, I can only assume that number has hit and exceeded the 8k mark.
With so many to choose from, you’re going to have to narrow down your options. Mashable put together a list of the “10 of the best dating sites for introverts, wallflowers, and shy people“. I personally have used OK Cupid and Bumble.
Ok Cupid is one of the top free dating apps. It’s been around since 2004, so you know they’re at least doing something right. It’s updated in recent years to look like more like the Tinder-type apps where you swipe left or right depending on your opinion of the person. Personally, I preferred the older version, at least just the ability to see who viewed your profile.
Bumble is considered the “best app for women” since the way it works is the woman has to make the first initial connection. Once you match with someone, you’re given a time limit to send a message and connect.
If you’re more like me and prefer to have a genuine connection with someone before meeting up, make sure you set boundaries with yourself about what you will and will not do.
I’d prefer to have a connection with the person I’m talking to before meeting them, so I won’t just send a few messages and then meet up for coffee. That’s not me. I view meeting a person from an online dating site as another “step” in the process. So I’m more likely to want to talk for a month or two so we get to really know each other. Why waste your time meeting someone if you don’t know if it’ll be worth it?
So figure out your own boundaries. Will you meet up at the first suggestion of coffee? Do you want the first time you meet to be more secluded like a restaurant or more open like a coffee shop? Will you go home with this person after the first date? Is sex an option? Is it okay if they already have kids? Do you want to have kids?
Figure out what your boundaries are and stick to them. Don’t let other people tell you it’s wrong or weird. You’re looking for a potential partner and if they don’t like what you’ve set, then move on.
…But Be Willing to Compromise
A healthy relationship has compromise, so being willing to bend things a little here and there can be a good thing. Personally, I would only do this with smaller things, like where to meet up, when in the conversation to meet up, or who pays for drinks.
For example, as a recovering alcoholic, the first meet being at a bar is something I’d rather not do. Not only is there temptation to drink involved, there’s always the possibility of my date being too nervous and over drinking. So if someone suggests a bar, I’d counter with some place more neutral like a Starbucks or local coffee shop.
However, if they say something like “Hey, I’d like to meet up at this bar, they have fantastic wings. We don’t have to drink/I won’t drink” I would be willing to reconsider.
Step Out of You Comfort Zone
Dating in and of itself it like stepping out of your comfort zone as an introvert. We usually take a while to warm up to people we’ve just met, so it can be a scary thing at times.
Sometimes just the thought of meeting someone new can give me anxiety, but once I’m ready to put myself out there again, I’m going to try and actually do it. I’ve only met two people in real life that I’ve connected with online. The first guy and I talked for about 6 months before meeting up, and he came to my apartment (I’ve already been yelled at about how terrible of an idea this is). In all honesty, he was so easy to talk to and we literally just sat for a few hours talking about anything that came to mind.
The second guy I met was my recent non-relationship. That one was more complicated and it took about 2 years of talking to finally meet. Though this one was long distance while the other was local, so the situations were different. I booked a hotel room near him for 4 nights and we tried to hang out as much as we could. Both of us were really nervous about it, but we got through it.
You’ll never find someone if you don’t leave your comfort zone. But you can bring someone back to your comfort zone after you’ve met them.
Have you tried any of these dating apps? Do you have a dating app success story or funny fail you’d like to add?
Feeling extra generous? Head over to my Ko-Fi page and leave a donation!