“I like my friends and family, but being alone feels so good. I’m bad at showing how I feel!” – that’s the quintessential introvert sentiment. It is this sentiment that contributes to their brooding, aloof charm which makes them so irresistible. If you are dating an introvert, then it is probably this very mysterious aura that attracted you to them. While the mystery and the charm are all very well, being in a relationship with an introvert is no walk in the park.
An introvert wrote to us that sometimes they wish they could just disappear! “Leave all my duties and obligations behind, turn off my phone, and find a quiet corner and be there alone – that would be my definition of an ideal day,” says John, 24. Clearly, having a partner who is ready to retreat from the world at the drop of a hat cannot be easy. So, if you are wondering what it’s like dating an introvert, you should be aware of what challenges you are getting yourself into.
You’ll find yourself constantly trying to either draw them out of their cocoon or find a place for yourself in it. It will happen someday. Until then, you’ll have to hang in there and handle their quiet, guarded ways with a whole lot of patience. Let’s hear it from Lily, a graduate student at NYU, “Dating an introvert man is hard especially when I identify myself as an extrovert. His idea of a perfect date is going someplace quiet like a library or wineries in the countryside. I could never convince him to come to a house party and meet my friends. Sometimes, I feel my social life gets affected trying to keep pace with his needs.”
That being said, dating an introvert is not colorless and monotonous. Life with an introverted partner can be just as fascinating once you catch their rhythm. To help you with little tricks and tips for dating an introvert, we had a conversation with counseling psychologist Namrata Sharma, (Masters in Applied Psychology), who is a mental health and SRHR advocate and specializes in offering counseling for toxic relationships, trauma, grief, relationship issues, gender-based and domestic violence.
12 Things You Should Know When in a Relationship with an Introvert
Dating an introvert can be a real mixed bag. On one hand, they can make their partners feel absolutely secure in the relationship, and on the other, deciphering them can be a nightmare. It gets tougher if you’re an extrovert dating an introvert because it is a classic case of opposites attracting each other. So while your inherent differences will draw you to one another, dramatically different expectations from a relationship can lead to clashes. You may end up having several misunderstandings, arguments, hurt, and pain which may harm your relationship.
We asked our expert how dating an introvert is different from dating an extrovert. Namrata says, “Introverts take their sweet time in opening up to their partner but they enjoy the company of the person they love dearly. One of the benefits of dating an introvert is that you get 100% of their time and thoughtful attention whereas an extrovert splits their time with other friends and acquaintances too. Introverts are usually very calm and composed; they think before they speak and are very considerate of the other person’s feelings. They are full of small meaningful gestures to make your heart melt.
“If you love to engage in deep interactions and interesting conversations, you are tailored to date an introvert. On the contrary, whereas words flow much more spontaneously with an extrovert, their attention span is often not very impressive. You will face a hard time dragging your introverted partner to a family dinner as talking to a room full of people is an introvert’s nightmare. An extrovert will win on this front and charm your folks in a heartbeat.”
I am sure a myriad of questions are bubbling inside your head now. “Can an introvert date an extrovert?” “Is dating an introvert man long-distance possible at all?” “How do you know if your introverted girlfriend loves you or not?” Before moving forward with a guide to dating an introvert, we assure you that such a partnership can take off beautifully.
As long as you learn to respect the relationship boundaries of someone who is reserved and your partner, in turn, accepts your need to let loose. Space, understanding, and mutual respect are the keys to success when you’re dating an introverted man or woman. If this dynamic hits too close to home vis-à-vis your relationship with an introvert, our guide to dating an introvert will be of great help!
1. They like to take it slow
Unlike extroverted people who enjoy being up and about, introverts are most comfortable in their space. They put a lot of thought into everything they do and prefer to take things slow. As their partner, it is imperative that you understand this aspect of their personality and be empathetic toward their emotional needs in a relationship rather than being critical.
When dating an introverted woman or man, always be mindful of the fact that your partner needs time to get comfortable with new people, situations, and settings. That’s how it is always going to be with them. So, here’s what you need to know about dating an introvert – patience is indeed going to be your best friend.
Instead of trying hard to draw them out, allow them to get comfortable in the relationship at their own pace. Once they do, there is no going back. Your shy, mysterious partner might just turn out to be the most romantic person you’ve ever met.
2. Their definition of flirting is different
If you expect the usual romantic expressions from them, you are likely to be disappointed. As an extrovert, you may be able to vocalize your feelings and emotions effortlessly, but an introvert’s idea of flirting can be very different, and thus, often easy to miss. They may just prefer to gaze at you while you are not looking, and appreciate your smile or the way your hair falls on the nape of your neck.
Introverts are also often stingy with their compliments. While they may appreciate it a lot about you, it just doesn’t come naturally to them to say it out loud unless something inside them compels them to. They may flirt with you, but in a loving way and without being cheeky. You can look forward to more than just the typical run-of-the-mill flirting.
Namrata says, “As they are not very keen on interacting with people, the major thing to notice about an introvert is their body language. If an introverted person likes you, they will slightly be more attentive to you in a social gathering. When you start chatting with them, they would try hard not to be the awkward conversationalist that they usually are. If you see them laughing out loud at your not-so-funny jokes, they might have a soft corner for you.
“Introverts tend to live behind the curtain so they’d love to stalk you on social media to know more about you. You may get a notification in the middle of the night that they have liked a picture from five years back. That’s an introvert’s way of grabbing your attention. Now everything depends on how good you are at catching subtle hints!”
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3. They are not very social
While they are not extremely social, neither are they necessarily asocial. Introverts have their moments of social stimulation, and that depends entirely on their state of mind. There is a definitive fun, carefree side to them too. It’s just that they’re not comfortable exhibiting this part of their nature outside of a core group of people.
So, whether your relationship with an introvert would involve a lot of outings and fun parties depends entirely on the setting. A friend of mine is a typical introvert who was dating this life-of-the-party guy. Just a couple of months into the relationship and he coaxed her to go to a friend’s wedding with him. It was just one of the things he expected his girlfriend to do.
Once introductions were done and greetings exchanged, my friend parked herself on a chair by the bar and spent most of her time nursing her drink, gazing at the revelry. At one point, her boyfriend’s friends came to drag her to the dance floor but she resisted with all her might. Quite a scene was created and all eyes were on this new girl who wouldn’t mingle. She was furious with her boyfriend for letting his friends do that to her, he was upset that she embarrassed him in front of them.
The incident became a sore spot in the relationship, the kind that rears its ugly head in every fight or argument. That’s why when you’re in a relationship with an introverted guy or girl, it’s crucial to not push them out of their comfort zone if they’re not ready. Accept their boundaries just the way you’d expect them to accept yours.
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4. They prefer quality time over the usual stuff
Introverts are, by character, very thoughtful people. While you may be a carpe diem kind of a person, your introverted partner would always think things through and understand situations before acting on an impulse. They’d any day prefer to spend quality time with you and have a deep, meaningful conversation rather than going for an outdoor date. For them, the idea of dating is not to go through a bucket list of things to do together but to understand their partner and connect with them on a deeper level.
Being mindful of this aspect of their personality can save you a lot of hurt and disappointment when dating an introvert. If they don’t plan a fancy dinner date on your first anniversary, it’s not because they don’t care but because they’d much rather spend time with you in an intimate, cozy setting where you can truly focus on each other.
5. Their way of showing love is different
Introverts’ expressions of love too are more silent and subtle. Don’t expect them to participate in hot, steamy sex in a public restroom every time or sing for you at a Karaoke bar. In fact, they may feel awkward at such advances made by you too. Some introverts hate Public Display of Affection (PDA).
It just goes against the dynamic of introverted personality and relationships. An introverted personality is akin to an onion. There are many layers to it, each seamlessly tucked beneath the other. When you enter into a relationship with one, it may take you a while to figure out that these layers exist because they are so guarded about their persona.
Their expressions of love are hidden in little gestures. Planting a kiss on your forehead, checking in to see whether you’ve reached work or home safely, bringing you a box of your favorite cookies – all of these are an introvert’s way of showing affection and letting you know that they care. Those roses and rainbows expressions will sneak out only when they are in a super romantic mood or you’re coaxing them to no end. Introverts do show their love, but not like everyone else.
According to Namrata, “Before you start complaining that dating an introvert man is hard or an introvert woman is difficult to read, please be considerate of your partner’s love language. Introverts have a subtle way of expressing their emotions. They are more comfortable sharing their feelings and thoughts in a secretive manner, only in the presence of their loved ones. A relationship with an introvert might actually work better if both partners prefer to keep their love life a private affair.”
6. They are attracted to intelligence
If you are dating an introvert man or any introvert person at all, then you already know that introverts are extremely selective by nature. They can be picky even when it comes to choosing their friends and even more so when it comes to a potential love interest. Their partner’s personality may be the opposite of theirs, but they could still be attracted to them.
It is because introverts are most stimulated by strong personalities with a mind and opinions of their own. In all likelihood, they will fall for people with a high intellect, even if they are extroverts. If an introvert has chosen you to be their partner, it’s a clear sign that they value you for the person you are. Count on that so you don’t lose sight of the big picture while sweating over the small stuff.
7. Introverts hate to be the center of attention
Introverts hate being the center of attention, especially among people they are not close to or comfortable around. As such, even your well-meaning actions can trigger unpleasantness in the relationship. For instance, if you plan a surprise birthday party for your partner and invite a large group of friends, coworkers, and cousins, the whole thing may backfire.
Don’t be surprised if your partner refuses to be a part of the gathering or just spends their time sulking in a corner. What’s a perfect celebration for you is far removed from their definition of a good time. A colleague of mine was sharing his concerns a few days back, “My boyfriend is an introvert and I am an extrovert. Our social life and our ideas of a fun time are poles apart. Will we be able to pull through this in the long haul?”
Just remember, when you’re dating someone who is reserved, you may have to learn to second-guess your most instinctive responses to certain situations. Whenever your extroverted self feels compelled to make a grand gesture, remember to factor in their likes, dislikes, and quirky tendencies before acting on the plan.
8. They do love you
As an outgoing person who thrives on expressing what they feel in the moment, the constant guardedness of your partner can sow seeds of doubt in your mind. “How hard is it to say ‘”I love you” back?” you may find yourself wondering. When introverts fall in love, it is just different. There will be instances where you will question their love and feelings, especially in the nascent stages of your relationship with an introvert.
At such times, remind yourself of the fact that they’re with you because that’s what they want. Their feelings for you may well be far more intense than they let on. It’s just that introverts aren’t good at expressing their feelings frequently and will expect you to understand how they feel through their actions. So one of our tips for dating an introvert is that pick up the hints they are dropping your way until they are ready for unabashed expressions of love.
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9. They need their alone time
It may be hard to decipher why someone who claims to be in love with you would want to recede into a cocoon of their own from time to time. If that makes you feel like you’re dating a guy who is hard to read or that the person you love can be unpredictably distant at times, find solace in the fact that all introverts love their alone time.
To them, it is like coming up for fresh air. It allows them to clear their head, organize their thoughts, and re-energize for the real world again. Them wanting to spend time by themselves is in no way a reflection on how much they love you or the health of your bond. So, accord them the luxury of some space in the relationship graciously, and it’ll work wonders. And if you look at the bright side, this could be one of the benefits of dating an introvert. In a good way, you are released from the worries of your partner encroaching on your personal space too.
Namrata says, “Before you got into a relationship with an introvert, they had an unwavering self-care routine. They expect you to understand that they had an organic lifestyle going on before you entered their life. And they can’t let you consume the space that they completely set aside for themselves. The best way to share space and time in a relationship with an introvert is to take interest in their passions and get involved in the activities they love doing.”
10. They are big thinkers
Eddy, a psychology student, says, “My boyfriend is an introvert and I am an extrovert, currently living in different cities. For me, dating an introvert man long-distance gets a little difficult due to the inherent nature of my partner. There are times when he would go MIA. No texts, no calls for hours – then he would just come back and say, “Sorry, I was reading and lost track of time.” And here I feel exhausted worrying about him.”
Introverts live inside their heads. Their train of thought is constantly chugging, often causing them to get lost inside their mind. You may be sitting right next to them and yet they may seem disconnected and emotionally distant. No, they are not thinking about someone else.
Anything from a line from the book they just read to a childhood memory or a work-related problem could pre-occupy their headspace. Every so often, they’re unable to shake out of that maze of thoughts on their own. When this happens, don’t shy away from intervening. It may well be exactly what they need.
11. They will not open up that easily
There are many layers to an introvert and you will not get to see their real self instantly. Primarily, because they’re more invested in discovering their partners rather than talking about themselves. And partly, because they need to feel a sense of security and comfort with their partner before they open up to them.
If you are dating an introvert man or any person for that matter, don’t worry if they don’t share things with you right from the beginning. They’ll get there; you just need to be patient. Waiting to be let in is going to be more rewarding and effective than trying to get your foot through the door when your partner isn’t ready.
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12. They scare easy
Truth be told, introverts scare easily when it comes to moving forward in a relationship. If they are in a relationship with an extrovert, the pace at which the relationship is progressing can get a tad too daunting and overwhelming for them. In case you are wondering what it’s like dating an introvert, you should know that they prefer taking it slow.
If they feel things are spiraling at a dizzying speed or are not comfortable with the pace of the relationship, they may recede and want to move backward again. A relationship with an introvert isn’t a cakewalk as falling in love too fast or moving in together out of an impulse is not their thing. It’ll certainly require a whole lot of understanding and patience from your end for it to work, but the results are magical and every bit worth that extra effort. If you are dating an introvert, you’ll relate to every single trait mentioned here.
So, what’s your takeaway from our guide to dating an introvert? Let’s brief you once again. Just nurture your relationship with your introvert partner during the initial phase of your bond, and you’ll be amazed at how it takes off from there and transforms into something substantial that you can count on. Once your partner gets comfortable and attached to you, they will be the more romantic ones in the relationship.
Dating an introvert can be as smooth as a glider if you enter the relationship keeping in my mind that you are dating a wholesome person and not an ‘introvert’. You need to step into their shoes to understand the world from their perspective and everything else will fall right into place.
As their partner, an introvert would expect you to be more empathetic of the challenges they face in their daily life. Meeting new people, being the center of attention in a crowd, expressing their love in big words – these things don’t come easily to introverts. All they want from you is not to make them go out of their way to validate their love for you.
This is a subjective question given that the value of the word loyalty varies from one person to another; it is not based on their introverted or outgoing nature. But introverts are more than capable of maintaining a meaningful, romantic relationship as trust and loyalty hold great importance to them.
You can have a warm and highly romantic relationship with an introverted partner if you make a genuine effort to understand their love language and speak the same.
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