Start Winning at Life With These 10 Dating Tips for Introverts
In a world full of exuberant drag queens and fabulous flamboyance, all-night dance parties, drunken brunch, and chaotic kikis, there you are — a gay introvert who’s exhausted by the mere thought of it all.
We love our extroverted besties, but if you need three to five business days to recharge after hanging out with friends, plunging into the daunting and performative dating scene is downright intimidating.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to date introvert-style. So, if you feel drained just scrolling through dating apps, know you’re not alone. You don’t have to pretend to be an extrovert just to meet new cuties out in the world (although you might have to leave the house).
Time to bring someone into that shell: 10 dating tips for introverts
Introversion and extroversion are personality types so fundamental to the human experience that they have their own spot right in front of your Myers-Briggs result. Introversion means you’re more comfortable with your own inner world, value smaller social interactions and one-on-one relationships, and recharge best in quiet solitude.
It does not mean you can’t dip your toe into the dating world (or even make the first move). Don’t worry if you’re a little uncertain. We’ve got your back with these sweet tips on securing a honey.
1. Spend your time wisely
Socializing as an introvert is all about keeping an eye on that social battery. Try online dating so you can swipe through prospects and take your time responding to DMs in the comfort of your own space.
This gives you time to consider what personality traits you want in a partner while still giving people a chance to surprise you. You might wind up talking to an extroverted charmer who makes you want to try something new. Maybe you’ll meet a fellow introvert who’s also uncomfortable in crowded places and shares all your interests.
Either way, check in with yourself frequently and take time to recharge your energy. Otherwise, you might burn out and decide you hate dating entirely, and that simply won’t do. We want you out there finding your guy as much as you do, so set yourself up for success and go get him, honey!
2. Make connections through your interests
So, you want to meet people, but you need to save up your social energy for a weekly trip to the rock climbing gym. Why not do both at once?
We’re picturing it now: a meet-cute on the bouldering wall when you both reach for a hand grip at the same time and tumble from a safe and reasonable height to the floor. You apologize and help each other up, and then — BAM! Eye contact.
Or you could put your particular interests in your bio and find someone who wants to go on a rock climbing date with you. Either way, you get two social outings at once with a built-in shared interest. Bonus points for seeing how he handles ropes and harnesses.
3. Keep it familiar
You’re already going outside your comfort zone to meet someone new; there’s nothing wrong with reducing other stressors. Go to a restaurant where you already know your favorite order or take a walk through a park you’re familiar with.
This way, you can lean on your comforts while sharing something about yourself with your date.
4. The ultimate first-date survival tool: Prepared questions
Okay, so you found someone — awesome! After you’ve planned a romantic first date activity, the horrifying realization dawns on you: You actually have to go on the date. Tragic, we know.
You’re familiar with that lingering silence when a conversation dies. Your mind goes blank, and you desperately wish he would just say something, anything. Yeah, we’ve been there.
First, remember there’s actually nothing wrong with a bit of silence. No matter what your inner critic tells you in the moment, it doesn’t mean you’re boring or awkward. She’s a judgy bitch who’s dragging you for no reason, so take a breath and go easy on yourself.
But if that silence stretches on too long, it might be time to keep a mental list of go-to first-date questions. Ask about hobbies, work, pets, whatever! Find the wildest thing on the menu and ask if he’s ever eaten it. You just need to break the ice a little to get things flowing.
5. Don’t knock the small talk
Small talk gets a bad rap for some reason, but it’s the bread and butter of getting to know a stranger. There’s nothing wrong with discussing the weather with someone you just met.
Ask him where he’s from. Tell him your favorite color. Find out his love language and whether he’s ever eaten at this restaurant before.
Not everyone is comfortable opening up about deeper topics right away. As an introvert, you know this all too well. Plus, small talk can quickly become banter if you have chemistry with your date. And good banter is always a green flag.
6. How much talk? How much listen?
The social anxiety spectrum contains multitudes. Maybe you practically black out and talk at him like an insecure auctioneer. Perhaps you’re the type to silently nod along without saying a word for half of dinner.
Try to find a compromise between absolute silence and a nonstop infodump. The point of dating is connection, after all.
If you find yourself stuck on either end of the spectrum, first, we’ll reiterate: Take a breath and go easy on yourself. And second, try to reset. The date isn’t over until it’s over. There’s still time to let him get a word in or to speak up.
If your date is the confident, outgoing type, maybe he’ll enjoy listening to you word-vomit at him for a while. And if he’s more quiet and observant (a fellow introvert?), he may view you as thoughtful and intriguing. There’s only one way to find out.
7. Embrace the awk
Everyone feels at least a little awkward when meeting new people, especially in the vulnerable and complicated realm of romance. Dating as an introvert (or anyone!) is awkward; sex is awkward; everything’s a little bit awkward at first.
The solution? Practice! Like any skill, it gets easier the more we do it, so get out there and do it.
8. Communication is key
Let your date know you’re an introvert up front so they know what to expect. Tell them if you’re shy or feeling uncomfortable about something.
And talk about what you’re looking for. Do you want something serious or more of a friends-with-benefits situation? Open discussion about sex and intimacy will keep you both on the same page and hopefully alleviate some anxiety.
Clear communication is crucial at every step of the dating process, so don’t pass up opportunities to express yourself.
9. Try, try again
If you’ve convinced yourself you’ll never find a supportive partner who loves you for you, think again. The internet age has shown you can find someone out there who shares even your most esoteric interests.
Bad dates happen. We aren’t compatible with every person we meet, no matter how much effort, emotion, and hope we put into them. But great dates happen, too, so don’t forget why you started dating in the first place. And don’t stop looking for love, even after setbacks or disappointments.
10. Own it!
You have the power to overcome your insecurities and anxieties, but even after all that growth, you’ll still be you. If you’re genuinely introverted, you shouldn’t feel pressured to change that. Embrace your truth, stay open to opportunities, and don’t you dare change yourself for anyone.
You’re unique and wonderful, and you bring just as much to the queer community as your most flamboyant counterparts. You don’t need a drag queen’s overt fabulosity to open the whole world up to freer expression in all forms.
Let the good times roll on Grindr
The squeaky wheel might get the grease, but those other, quieter wheels are just as necessary to keep the big, gay cart rolling!