Of the many different personality traits studied by psychologists, arguably the most well-known (yet most widely misunderstood) are introversion and extraversion. So before we can fully understand what dating as an introvert means, it’s important to clearly define introversion first.
According to self-help writer and introvert expert Susan Cain, introversion and extroversion are defined by their different ways of responding to stimulation. Extroverts have a strong desire for external stimulation, which they can often gain from social interactions, while introverts prefer internal stimulation such as thinking, feeling, imagining, and just altogether being in their own world.
From this definition alone, it’s not hard to imagine why some introverts may run into trouble when dating and pursuing romantic relationships. With that said, here are some common challenges you may encounter in dating, as an introvert:
Meeting New People
Now, while introverts aren’t as anti-social (or more correctly, asocial) as most people mistakenly believe, it can still be a struggle for them to meet new people. This can make first dates and set-ups tricky, because introverts desire meaningful interactions with others and dislike tedious small talk. Their initial difficulty opening up to others can also make it harder for them to find compatible partners and effectively communicate their desires and needs, says emotional wellness and relationship coach Pooja Priyamvada.
Because most introverts prefer to communicate over text or chat, it may take them a while to want to meet up with someone in person, and even longer to be open to meeting their friends and family. Dr. Steven Schlozman, assistant professor of psychiatry at the Massachussetts General Hospital, explains that this is because introverts expend energy during social interactions, unlike extroverts who gain it. So they’re more selective about who they spend time with, prioritizing the people they’re already close to over those they still need to get to know.
Needing to Recharge
It’s a well-known fact that introverts need time alone to recharge after extended periods of social interaction. But when you’re dating, it can be hard for introverts not to seem like they’re losing interest in another person or trying to ghost their romantic interest. Some may even take this desire for solitude personally. That’s why certified professional life coach Sherri Gordon stresses the importance of communication; it’s important for introverts to communicate their desires and personal boundaries to those around them in a clear and respectful manner.
Pressure to be Outgoing
In her New York Times best-selling book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking,” author Susan Cain wrote that society has a cultural bias towards the “extrovert ideal.” And true enough, a lot of introverts feel pressured to be more outgoing than they really are just to appease other people. They may go along with things they don’t really feel comfortable with or conform their behaviors to others because they don’t want to be made to feel bad about being introverted (“Why are you so quiet all the time?”) or told that they’re boring to date (“Why don’t you ever want to go to a party? Your idea of a good time is quiet night in? Snooze!”).
Taking Things Slow
Because introverts need time to warm up to people before letting themselves get close to them, most will want to take it slow when they’re dating, says communication coach and self-help author Preston Ni. Introverts tend to take their relationships seriously, so they don’t flirt around or play the field. Rather, they want to really get to know someone before committing because they are looking to meet “the one” for them. And that can be a challenge when other people may not want the same thing or have the same thoughtful and patient approach to dating.
Dealing With Rejection
Last but certainly not the least, introverts may struggle with the rejection that sometimes comes with dating. According to behavioral economist and writer Nina Marie, introverts may be more sensitive to rejection than extroverts because of their tendency to internalize things. That is, they spend longer than introverts dwelling on things and trying to understand the meanings and motivations behind. And that’s why introverts are more about comfort and flow than sudden, exciting change. Some introverts may even feel that the struggle of putting themselves out there and asking someone out, only to be rejected, is too uncomfortable to risk.
So, what are your thoughts on this video? Do you relate to any of the things we’ve talked about here?
Dating can be hard for anyone, but introverts may face unique and unexpected challenges. That’s why it’s important for introverts to be attuned to their own needs in a relationship, know their own boundaries, and practice effective communication strategies with potential partners.
Let us know in the comments down below what are some challenges you’ve experienced as an introvert trying to date, and how you overcame them.
- Cain, S. (2013). Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. Crown.
- Chaudhardy, A. (2022, Oct 1). Dating An Introvert – 11 Communication Hacks To Use. Bonobology. https://www.bonobology.com/dating-introvert-communication/
- Gordon, S. (2023, Mar 31). What to Know About Introvert Dating. VeryWell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-to-know-when-dating-an-introvert-5093777
- Gracen, E. (2022, Mar 1). 5 Introvert Dating Challenges (And How to Overcome Them). Introvert, Dear. https://introvertdear.com/news/5-introvert-dating-challenges-and-how-to-overcome-them/
- Marie, N. (2022, Oct 20). Why Introverts Struggle to Find Love (and What to Do About It). Introvert, Dear. https://introvertdear.com/news/7-reasons-introverts-struggle-to-find-romantic-love/
- Ni, P. (2017, Feb 12). 8 Signs You’re a Romantic Introvert. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/communication-success/201702/8-signs-youre-romantic-introvert
- Solan, M. (2018, Nov 14). The introvert’s guide to social engagement. Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-introverts-guide-to-social-engagement-2018111415353