There has been so much introversion awareness talk in popular media in recent years that you would think we are all aliens dropped down unexpectedly onto this foreign rock full of arm-waving energy-suckers who now require introvert sensitivity training.
We're not aliens. We're not antisocial. We're not particularly shy nor are we unapproachable, though we can certainly come across that way. We can be the life of the party when we feel so inclined.
As all of the "Get to Know Your Introvert" posts have outlined, introverts get their energy from within, while extroverts get their energy from other people. This means introverts are drained by social situations and need to quietly retreat within themselves in order to recharge, while extroverts are energized by being around other people aaaaaall the time.
In the interest of promoting harmony, here are some tips on how to effectively court and date an introvert.
1. Just as nature abhors a vacuum, we abhor vacuous small talk.
Because our energy is limited, we don't want to waste it on something that isn't meaningful to us — and spending any amount of time and energy on small talk is a waste of said time and energy. We prefer deep conversations over small talk, which feels insincere. This is how we form lasting bonds with others: one-on-one and through personally meaningful conversation. All superficial communication feels like punishment.
2. We hate the phone. Oh, dear GOD, do we hate the phone.
That "rule" about dating, where you're supposed to call after three days? Or how people will say that, in dating, calling is preferable to texting because it's more personal or thoughtful or whatever? It's all bullshit. Please don't call us. A phone call is intrusive, it interrupts us and catches us off-guard, and it is often filled with unnecessary small talk. If you call, please have a reason for doing so and get to it quickly. Just don't be surprised if we're on the other end giving the phone side-eye and waiting for it to go to voicemail.
3. And easy on the text messages there, Tolstoy.
If your instinct is to just send text messages all day instead of calling, that's not any better. We can at least ignore them for a while, but seeing those notifications pop up and just knowing that you're waiting for a response causes us anxiety. And as for you small-talk texters: STOP IT. Small talk in person is bad enough. Small talk over text message is excruciating.
4. We must be convinced of your sincerity.
Showing real, genuine interest in what we say and do, and remembering details from conversations we had weeks ago will blow our minds. So do that.
5. Don't expect us to be available at a moment's notice.
"What are you doing tonight?" are the five worst words we can receive in a text message. It's not that we don't like going out — we love it! We just have to be mentally prepared for it, and if we have spent all day assuming our evening would consist of pizza delivery and Netflix bingeing, then by god that is what we are doing. BTW, this is what we mean when we respond with, "Sorry, have plans already!"
6. Just because we need quiet time doesn't mean we expect you to do the same.
Look, we know our need for quiet time can be a bummer to everyone for whom life is a constant party. There are weekends we won't want to go out. We will want to leave parties early. There are social situations we will simply avoid. But we're not unreasonable: If you want to go out when we don't, by all means, go out! Just don't try to force us when we don't want to, and don't make us feel bad about it. We already spend enough time feeling like we're disappointing everyone around us.
7. We just want to feel safe.
We need to know that we can be our natural introverted selves without worrying about hurting your feelings or being judged for who we are. Nothing will shut us down faster than hearing something like, "C'mon, what's your deal?" This makes us feel deficient and we end up apologizing for ourselves a lot for not being "normal." There's a reason we can seem guarded with our hearts: because we are.
8. We're loyal, supportive, and uplifting partners who will listen to you and want you to be happy.
If you need constant validation for every minor day-to-day achievement, we might not make good partners. But if you're down for absorbing conversations and giving space when space is needed, you'll find your relationship with your introverted partner a deeply fulfilling and long-lasting one.
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