Whether or not you identify as an introvert, an extrovert, or anywhere in between, everyone can benefit from a little alone time now and then. If you like being alone or find being around large groups of people more draining than average, you might be an introvert. But, that doesn’t mean introverts don’t want to date or find love!
Maybe you’re an introvert, or you’re dating an introvert, or you’re just curious about what it’s like to date one… whatever the case may be, here are some expert-approved tips from therapists and dating pros on things you should know before dating an introvert, or dating as one yourself:
1. Should introverts date each other?
An introvert dating an introvert can be a good match, explains Andrew Aaron, LICSW. When two introverts date, they’re more likely to find comfort and understanding from being with someone with similar personality traits, and who values and appreciates the same things. However, he adds, like any relationship, two introverts could potentially struggle together if their communication is poor.
2. Do introverts like affection?
Yes! Please banish any notions of introverts as totally antisocial haters from your head, because it’s not only inaccurate, it’s harmful. “Introverts enjoy affection as much as any other group of people,” Aaaron says. However, if you’ve been in a relationship for a while and you find that you or your partner starts feeling emotionally withholding (or perceived emotionally withholding) due to introversion, you should nip that in the bud with a heart-to-heart chat about it before it becomes a larger issue.
3. How do introverts open up?
“Introverts open up when they feel safe and also when they know they will be fully listened to,” explains Aaron. If you’re in a relationship with an introvert, make sure you’re providing the safe space and support that will allow your partner to open up. Let them know you’re willing to listen and understand without passing judgment. If you’re an introvert and you want to open up, it’s totally fair game to tell your partner that you want to be more communicative, but require more of their attention and support in order to do so. “If an introvert feels he or she has to compete with another for air space, they’d rather stay quiet… Feeling valuable and important are vital conditions that support an introverted person opening up,” says Aaron.
4. Are introverts clingy?
Introversion isn’t a sign of clinginess either way, explains Aaron. An introverted person can be clingy or prefer distance, same as any non-introverted person. Generally speaking, people react to internal distress in one of two ways, says Aaron. They either seek closeness to soothe themselves, or distance themselves to feel safe. So, seeing either emotional reaction from an introverted partner might feel extreme, but remember, that’s just how legit everyone reacts.
5. Why doesn’t my introverted partner want to hang out with me more?
It probably isn’t a reflection of how they feel about you! Don’t take it personally if an introvert needs time to decompress and be alone. One of the hardest things for partners of introverts to understand is that their partner is probably busy trying to manage their level of stimulation in case they get too overwhelmed and then need a long time to recover from that extra stimulation, explains psychologist Tamar Chansky. It’s generally not something to take personally, and eventually, the introvert will come back around.
6. Can introverts and extroverts be a good match?
Yep, they can be a great match! “It all depends on maturity, self-confidence, and communication,” explains David Simonsen, PhD, LMFT, and author of Relationship Reconnected. If the non-introverted partner can recognize when their mate needs space and understand that it’s not personal (and vice versa for the introvert understanding their partner’s need to socialize), then there’s no reason why you can’t have a successful relationship.
7. What are some good date activities for introverts?
Movies and dinner dates at a place that’s familiar enough for the introvert can be great, adds Simonsen. At the movies, both partners can sit close to each other, but since talking is a faux-pas, there’s less pressure on the introverted person to be “on” the whole time. As for dinner dates, the extroverted partner can interact with staff and be as jokey or social as they want, but there isn’t the same pressure for the introverted partner to do the same.
8. How do you tell your introverted partner you want them to open up?
It’s all in the wording, explains Simonsen. Don’t go up to them and start off with saying “you need to open up” — this immediately puts the introverted person on the defense. “It’s important to make requests of one another by [saying] ‘would you be willing to…’” adds Simonsen. This is less pressure for the introverted person, and is also just a fairer way of communicating.
9. As an introvert, how do you tell your more extroverted partner that you don’t really feel like being social?
Get their full attention and start the conversation factually, suggests Simonsen. You can say something like, “Tonight, we’re supposed to go here. I wanted you to know that I’ve been going out all week and need some down time.” This is a non-accusatory way of letting your more extroverted partner know what’s going on for you personally. “If you have a loving partner, then the conversation should progress pretty easily going forward,” he adds.
10. How do I know if an introvert likes me?
The signs of an introvert liking you are similar to those of anyone liking you. If they continue talking to you or hitting you up out of the blue, that’s a sign says Simonsen. “Most introverts need space and solitude to recharge,” he adds. “If they include you in this space and during times of solitude, there’s a good chance that they like you.”