Dating isn’t always easy, even for the most confident people. For shy types, flirting, dating and starting relationships can be hell. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are six tips that introverted people should bear in mind when heading out for their next date.
Now before you all rush to vent in the comments, we understand that shyness and introversion are not the same thing. At its heart, shyness is the fear of negative judgment, while introverts simply prefer quiet, low-key environments. Nevertheless, the symptoms of both can make dating equally difficult.
Here are six tips that can help make things easier, regardless of where you fit on the "shyness" spectrum. Give them a read, breathe deeply and think positive. Everything will be just fine.
#1 Be assertive in your preparations
Every date has a prelude, where you make first contact, swap small-talk and decide whether to take the next step. Nowadays, much of this stage takes place online, which is good news for shy people. At this point, try to take an assertive stance. Don’t be completely passive about where to meet and when. Try to show that you have a decisive side, even if you are surrounded by doubts. That way, your date will cut you some slack if you don’t immediately appear to be brimming with confidence when you meet.
#2 Don’t be afraid to compliment your date
Flirting isn’t rocket science, and even the smallest compliment can go a long, long way, especially if you use it near the start of the conversation. Everyone loves to be validated, so praise your date’s outfit or make-up. If they have fixed their hair specially for the occasion, be sure to compliment it. It doesn’t just make them feel good, it also helps to ease you into a relaxed mode that bodes well for the rest of the date.
#3 Follow up on any promising dates
Many introverted people have a pessimistic default setting. Even if almost everything goes well on a date, they will look back on a joke that didn’t fire, or a period of silence as a killer blow, and they won’t follow up their date with another message. Don’t expect people to make the running. Other people have plenty of choice thanks to online dating, and even if they are interested in you, they will expect you to be pro-active. So make sure you put a bright spin on things and send that follow-up message.
#4 Look around for compatible partners
Online dating has opened up a huge pool of single (and not so single) people to choose from. You can usually see their interests and hints about their personality when you search and chat, so be sure to find someone who has similar interests to your own. Look for people who may also find life a little tricky sometimes (there are plenty of them), and don’t always go for the most impressive, confident profiles. They may not be for you.
#5 Set boundaries to ensure private time
Introverted people usually need some time alone. Sometimes, the stress of the world becomes too much, and an evening in is simply essential. On your dating profile, make it clear who you are. If you are the kind of person who needs to read for a few hours most evenings, why not include that? There are tactful ways of including that kind of information, and you’ll be amazed by how tolerant people are of a little honesty. Make sure that you set out boundaries with any new partner about your need to personal time. Be honest and open about your personality, and your need to be alone. That way, your partner can fit their social life around your own, and any needless friction is minimised. It just makes things much easier.
Dating is supposed to be fun, not a trial to endure, but many shy people seem to forget this. Instead of relaxing with their date, they tense up and expect too much from every social interaction. They also often lose the ability to make small-talk – an essential tool for getting to know strangers. Before you get to the venue, take a few breaths. Walk around the block. Have a cool drink. Listen to some music. But don’t dwell on what might go wrong. Try to inhabit the moment, and don’t expect miracles.
If you want to meet the partner of your dreams, dating is a necessity. It can be awkward and frustrating, but there’s no getting around it. So try to put expert advice into practice, relax and have fun. You’ll find yourself becoming more assured with every date, even if they go badly, as dates often do. Eventually, you will find the right person, and it will all have been worthwhile. Good luck!
Shannon Kelly is a content creator for dating site Badults. You can find more of Kelly's introvert dating tips here.