It’s already difficult for introverts to find their niche in a world that predominantly values extroverted tendencies. As a result, introverts’ needs don’t get enough attention and aren’t talked about as much. This includes the way that they function in the love department. Are you dating an introvert? Here are 10 things that we need in relationships for you to consider:
1. Meaningful conversations
We look for depth in a partner —someone who can keep up with us when we talk about possibilities and theories. If there’s one thing we never get tired of, it’s the mere entertainment of ideas. Ask open ended questions instead of dead end ones that result in single one word answers. Don’t be afraid to enlighten us with your knowledge and wisdom. Be cultured. And be aware. Intelligence is sexy, classy, and timeless.
I tend to gravitate towards men who are excellent conversationalists. And I’m not talking about your cliche smooth sweet talkers. I have a lot of respect for men who can challenge me on an intellectual level. Chances are, if you’ve ever gotten me to question what I thought I was once so sure of, I can guarantee you’ve landed yourself another date with me. The person I’m with right now never fails to enlighten me with his perspective. We bicker and debate a lot, but it’s all in good fun. It’s an interesting mixture —how incredibly different we see things, yet somehow we can meet on a common ground. I think it’s our mutual desire of wanting to understand the way things work that pulls us together. Curiosity can be a magical thing.
2. Less stimulating environments
We’re sensitive to external surroundings. You won’t find us going to every social party. Small gatherings and places where we don’t have to shout to hear one another are more our cup of tea. It’s not about what we’re surrounded by that matters; it’s about the company we’re choosing to spend our time with.
I prefer dates that take place in less crowded locations. As someone who gets overwhelmed easily, simplicity is what I aim for. If someone has to constantly be doing something or is prone to boredom susceptibility if he’s not doing something new, then I already know I won’t be able to build anything long-lasting with him. It says a lot about a person by the places one prefers to spend his time in; therefore, intimacy is very subjective. Where we choose to spend time with our romantic partner influences deeply how people build connections to establish what closeness means to them.
3. Slow steadiness
A slow and steady pace wins the race to our hearts. We’re careful about who we let in. We like to gather as much information as possible about people before we display more affection towards them. While that might make us seem less exciting on the surface with our self-control, there’s so much more we can offer in a relationship that isn’t based solely on the factor of impulse. Don’t take it the wrong way if you don’t get a kiss from us on a first date.
While others perceive me as bubbly and enthusiastic on first impressions, it actually takes time for me to warm up to someone romantically. I always tend to explain to people that I don’t want them to misinterpret my subtlety for indifference. Building trust is a slow dance for me, but I feel fortunate that I’m with someone right now who learned how to step in rhythm with me.
As introverts, we tend to internalize a lot, so we’re prone to bottling things up inside. We need someone who is sensitive and considerate of our feelings, because we don’t enjoy starting conflict. That’s not to say we’re necessarily afraid of it. It just means we’re more careful about what battles we’re willing to fight.
The biggest turn-offs for me are those who are judgmental and quick to dismiss feelings. What often attracts me in a romantic partner is someone who is very much in tune with understanding human motives. People who can analyze actions and can make meaning of what is happening even within the worst of conflicts. I trust people who are capable of these skills, because it means that they see me for my flaws, but still want to stick around to watch me evolve and grow from my mistakes.
5. Help us get out of our heads.
We’re prone to analyzing and over-thinking. It’s hard for us to stay in the moment when our minds dart back and forth with thoughts and concerns. We don’t even mean to do it, and it might create distance and misunderstandings as a result. Just try not to take it too personally. Chances are, we’re probably ruminating over what next move we’re going to make, because we care about how the relationship is growing, or maybe we have a lot of other things going on in our lives. Play the best friend role and provide support. It’ll help us ease up and we’ll appreciate you more than ever.
The person I’m with always talks about headspace with me. He knows how much I like to indulge in it. He’s also familiar with the way I tend to build walls, because I don’t know how to get out of my head. When we’re watching movies, sometimes my hand will tighten up because my mind will go elsewhere. He’ll place his hand over mine and ask, “You with me?” It’s such a simple action, but it’s reassuring. It helps me stay in the moment.
6. Read between the lines.
We invented the art of subtlety, so we’re not usually outwardly flirtatious. The way we communicate is very nuanced. Pay close attention to what we say and how we say it, too. Sometimes, even the smallest phrases can have large meanings behind them.
I’m not the most direct person, but I’m trying to communicate better. I admire the forthright manner of the person I’m with. This is because I can always count on him to say exactly what he means. The manner in which we communicate is almost as if we’re on opposite sides of the spectrum, and yet he’s good at handling the personality of someone like me. Slowly, I’m learning to be more directly affectionate.
7. Be respectful to our need for space.
While we may like you, we also have a need for space. We need to go off on our own to recharge. It’s important to not be overbearing or suffocating. This will only add more to our stress levels and may cause us to retreat within our shells even more.
I make time to see the person I’m with once a week in between our busy schedules. Sometimes when I’m overwhelmed, though, I need time to go off and be alone before I see him. He understands that part about me, because he’s wired the same way, too, with both of us being introverts. We’re never pushy with each other and respect each other’s boundaries. It’s refreshing finding someone who just gets it.
8. Quality time
It’s not about the amount of activities we end up doing. It’s about the way we interact with each other. Spending quality time with us is crucial. Although it may seem as if we like to go off and be on our own as introverts, at the end of the day, we still crave meaningful human interaction. Learning to make the most out of time spent together creates a strong bonding experience.
No matter how busy my schedule may get, I will always make time to see someone I’m interested in. This is usually the biggest giveaway that I’m catching feelings for someone, because I’m pretty selective with who I choose to spend my time with. Although I’m fairly open to learning about people in general for the most part, I’m particularly careful about who I choose to learn about me. Spending quality time with someone puts me in that vulnerable position.
9. Be mindful of who we are and don’t try to change who we are.
We live in a culture that is obsessed with self-improvement, always striving to be better. As introverts living in an extroverted world, ever since a young age, we were seen as individuals who can be molded and conditioned to love being in the spotlight. Because “better” somehow always translates to “extroversion,” which is pretty dehumanizing. And we certainly don’t need that sort of baggage hanging over our heads in the realm of dating. When we’re trying to build and maintain stable relationships, we don’t want to waste our time with people who see us as potential projects they can fix. If we wanted that, there’s plenty of self-help books out there.
The last person I was seeing was an extrovert and a natural networker being a social butterfly. He was charming. An actor. Had everyone around me fooled. And had me especially fooled. But overtime, slowly but surely, I watched his performance slip. I didn’t pick up on how controlling he was until it was too late. Then, I wondered why I was hurting so much. Looking back, I don’t think he ever saw me for who I was. He was far too obsessed with his mental checklist of his perfect mate. I was just this trophy he could show off to and talk about to his friends and family. Then one day, he dropped the bomb, telling me that I wasn’t enough for him. There was this overwhelming pressure to change. Believe me when I say that any relationship based on image and ego will die because self-absorption can’t dish out love.
10. Don’t assume anything.
Always ask questions and communicate with us. The thing about silence is that it can often be misinterpreted for plenty of things —anything but the actual truth. We might be slow to reveal things because communicating what we think doesn’t come as easily or naturally, but that’s not to say we’re incapable of such tasks. Mind-reading should never replace difficult conversations.
The person I’m together with right now often communicates his concerns and needs with me. I appreciate his honesty, because it shows he cares instead of just slipping them underneath the rug. When he tells me what is bothering him, I take the time to reflect on what is happening between us, and then work on it. I respect someone who isn’t afraid of raising things that may lead to disagreements. Working things out together instead of just making assumptions about the other person brings two people closer.
What are your experiences with dating an introvert? Are you also an introvert? Do you agree? Psych2Go would love to hear your thoughts! Please be sure to leave a comment down below!
Granneman, J. (2015, July 7). 12 Things to Know About Being in a Relationship With an Introvert. Retrieved October 29, 2017.