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10 Pieces of Honest Dating Advice for Introverts

Trust us: Going on a date can't be scarier than what's going on in your head.

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Like ballroom dancers, introverts perform best in pairs

Introverts thrive in one-on-one situations and get overwhelmed when in groups, so it turns out they may actually have a bit of an advantage on dates over extroverts. So remind yourself of your natural strength beforehand, and let it give you a little burst of confidence. Check out these other hidden strengths of introverts.

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Make sure your plans work with your personality

Be true to your nature when deciding what to do for your date. Introvert-friendly activities include coffee or drinks at a cafe or bar; a movie followed by a low-key dinner; a trip to a museum, park, or flea market; a picnic. Introvert-unfriendly activities might include karaoke; a birthday party for your date’s friend; or going to the hottest/loudest/trendiest club/restaurant of the moment. Also try these tips from a dating expert for meeting new people.

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Take a breather during the date

Introverts can get quickly tired out from socializing, especially with people they don’t know well, so feel free to recharge and regroup by taking a break to go outside or to step into a quieter space (even if it’s just a bathroom stall). But don’t step away for too long. Limit your break to five minutes, tops; taking any longer is rude and could make your date feel rejected. Introverts will relate to these funny cartoons.

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Settle down about silences

Ask yourself this: When you’re with your closest friends, how often is there a lull in the conversation? At some point whenever you get together, right? So it’s inevitable that pauses will punctuate your date, too. Because introverts excel at having super-busy minds that read meaning into everything, try not to worry about occasional sounds of silence. Here’s what all good listeners do during daily conversations.

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Don’t forget to smile

Yep, Mom’s advice applies here, too. Because introverts tend to be reserved, they may come across as a bit standoffish. If you’re having a good time, make sure your date has no doubt about your feelings with a smile, laugh, or—why not?—both. And check out these expert tips for making small talk.

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Direct your attention outward

Speaking of super-busy brains, introverts excel at being their best (or worst?) critics, judging what they’re saying and doing at all times. On the job (here are some of the best jobs for introverts), this makes you careful, precise workers, but this behavior can make you feel self-conscious and inhibited in social settings. On a date, introverts need to make an effort to quiet their inner critics and focus instead on the real, live person sitting across from them.

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Always have an escape plan

Even on the best dates, introverts reach the “enough” point much sooner than non-introverts do. That’s why it’s good to devise an exit strategy, like saying you have an early-morning workout, doctor’s appointment, or (if it’s a day date) a friend to meet up with. And if you know you’re the type of person who is reluctant to be the first to say goodbye, enlist a friend to text you at a certain point and remind you it’s time to start making your farewells. This is why it’s so hard to take other people’s advice. 

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Enlist an objective perspective

An introvert’s introspective tendencies can be whipped into a frenzy during the post-date wait—i.e., that window of time after a date when you’re waiting to hear from your partner, that fraught time when you find yourself endlessly replaying the last exchange you two had in order to tease out any hidden messages. Before you get lost in a mental hall of mirrors, recruit your most level-headed friend to serve as a voice of reason.

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Respect your limits

Introverts get easily overstimulated by socializing. Deep down, you’ll know if going on, say, three dates in a week is a little too much togetherness for you. Trust your gut.

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Know there are no hard-and-fast rules

Some people swear that extrovert-introvert couples make the best matches; others say that only two likes (either introvert-introvert or extrovert-extrovert) will last. Much as we’d like to give you a law of human behavior that you can follow, one doesn’t exist, which means you shouldn’t pursue a relationship just because your best friend/mentor/aunt says it “should” work.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest