‘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 aura of mystery 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 preferred if they could just disappear. ‘Leave all my duties and obligations behind, turn off my phone, and find a quiet corner and be there alone.’ Clearly, having a partner who is ready to retreat from the world at the drop of a hat cannot be easy.
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.
Dating an introvert can be a real mixed bag. On the one hand, they can make their partners feel absolutely secure in the relationship, and on the other, deciphering them can be a nightmare.
The going gets tougher if you’re an extrovert dating an introvert because it is a classic case of opposites attracting. So while your inherent differences will draw you to one another, dramatically different expectations from a relationship can lead to clashes. This could lead to misunderstandings, arguments, hurt, and pain, which may harm your relationship.
If this has left you wondering can an introvert date an extrovert, rest assured that such a partnership can take off beautifully. As long as you learn to respect the 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 home vis-a-vis your relationship with an introvert, here are 12 things you should know:
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 it 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 well 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 a lot about you, it just doesn’t come naturally to them to say it out loud unless something inside them compels them to.
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 outside of their core group of people.
So whether your relationship with an introvert will involve a lot of outings, parties and fun will depend 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, 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 – physically resisted being taken away from her spot.
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.
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 any impulse.
They’d any day prefer to spend quality time with you and have a deep and meaningful conversation rather than go somewhere outdoor for a 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 at 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, sing for you at a Karaoke bar or send you a bouquet at work. In fact, they may shudder at such advances made by you too. They 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.
6. Introverts hate to be the centre of attention
Introverts hate being the centre 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 their friends, coworkers and cousins, the whole thing may backfire.
Don’t be surprised if your partner refuses to be a part of the gathering at all or just spends their time sulking in a corner. What’s a perfect celebration for you is as far removed from their definition of a good time as can be.
So, 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 a plan.
7. They are attracted to intelligence
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 get attracted to them.
It is because introverts are most stimulated by strong, bold 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 you’re dating an introverted woman or man, it’s a clear sign that they value you for the person you are. It helps to remember so that you don’t lose sight of the big picture in sweating over the small stuff.
8. 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 woman 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, organise their thoughts, and re-energise 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 relationship. So, accord them the luxury of some space in the relationship graciously, and it’ll work wonders.
9. 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 thinking. 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 that the fact that they’re with you is 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 and will expect you to understand how they feel through their actions. You will have to pick up hints instead of waiting for unabashed expressions of love.
10. They are big thinkers
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 another guy/girl.
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 of 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.
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.
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.
They prefer taking it slow, and if they feel things are spiralling at dizzying speeds or are not comfortable with the pace of the relationship, they may recede and want to move backwards again. A relationship with an introvert isn’t a cakewalk.
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.
Just nurture your relationship with your introvert partner during that initial phase, and you’ll be amazed at how it takes off from there and transforms into something substantial you can count on. Once your partner gets comfortable and attached to you, they will be the more romantic ones in the relationship.