A new decade of dating is upon us. And if the last was anything to go by, we’re looking at a period of innovation, excitement and engagement. The possibilities of potential partners are endless, but it seems that the modern-day dating scene is weighted to favour extroverts. 

But there might be good news for those of a shyer disposition, too. Author Sophia Dembling, of Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After, thinks it could actually be rather beneficial. “Extroverts sparkle; introverts glow. If you appreciate your own quiet glow, other people will see it too.” She even claims that “dating itself is not hard for introverts because we tend to be most comfortable in one-on-one social interactions where we don’t have to compete for attention.” So, let’s step into 2020 with optimism, and these; our 5 IDEAL tips for introverts. 

INITIATE A ONE-ON-ONE CONVERSATION AT A SOCIAL EVENT

Parties or group functions can be daunting if you’re the kind of person who feels more comfortable in small, intimate gatherings, but don’t allow this to deter you. Pick one individual out of the crowd who looks approachable but is not currently in the middle of a conversation, and walk over to them. You might fear rejection or be unsure of how to lead into an interaction, but “socializing is a learnable skill,” notes Well+Good, so if you “start by making warm eye contact […] before long, your nerves will be replaced by curiosity.” If you need a conversation opener, just keep it simple—ask the person’s name, compliment their hairstyle or remark on the hors d’oeuvres. Any neutral ground is a great place to start.

CONNECT WITH SOMEONE THROUGH A HOBBY YOU SHARE

In most cases, it’s easier to form a meaningful connection when you and the other person have common ground to bond over, so use one of your existing hobbies as an outlet to meet someone who has a similar interest. Take online games, for instance—in a recent poll from Chumba Casino, one in three surveyed gamers met their significant other on this medium, and another 34% confirmed that relationship building was their favourite part of the online games culture. This might seem like a niche example, but the same idea applies to other hobbies too. Whatever you’re passionate about, there’s someone else out there who shares your enthusiasm and would love to talk about it.  

USE A DATING APP FOR INTROVERTED SINGLES

In 2019, online dating was the most popular platform in the U.S. for singles to find a romantic partner, based on data from Stanford University, and this could be an especially attractive option for those who need to feel out someone before initiating face-to-face contact. Some dating websites and mobile apps are even geared specifically toward introverts, as they minimise certain variables that add stress or hesitation to dating in real life. Here three online dating services to check out:

  • Zoosk:  If being the first person to break the ice is not your signature move, Zoosk handles this for you with its “Super Send” feature. Just choose a message from the already curated options, and Zoosk mass delivers it to all the people its algorithm has matched you with. Then if someone wants to respond, you will be notified and given access to each other’s profiles.     
  • Match: If browsing publicly on a dating website makes you feel anxious or exposed, Match has an “Incognito Mode” that enables you to view profiles anonymously. With this feature, no one else on the website can see your activities—including the person whose headshot you just clicked on.   
  • Anomo: If you prefer to take a relationship slow, then gradually deepen it over time, Anomo is ideal for maintaining this privacy. All personal data the website collects from you is off-limits to others unless you choose to show them. In the early stages of an interaction, you’ll just see each other’s avatars, then if a connection grows, you can decide to share more information. 

PLAN A DATE THAT INCORPORATES A SIDE-BY-SIDE ACTIVITY

Once you move past that awkward introduction, it’s time to focus on the actual date. Though conventional and well trodden, coffee shops or restaurants are not always ideal settings for an introvert stressed about the date to begin with. When a relationship is brand new, stick with activities that place you next to—instead of facing—each other. “The event itself creates an opportunity to interact in ways that don’t occur when you are sitting politely across the table from one another. [But] in an activity, you are negotiating, compromising, collaborating, demanding, sharing and working toward a common goal,” explains Rhonda Milrad founder of Relationup.

DON’T PRETEND TO BE SOMETHING YOU’RE NOT

Because we’ve all been there, being economical or poetic with the truth. And as anyone who has done so will testify, you’ll be found out sooner or later. The temptation is particularly strong to fabricate if you’re of an introverted temperament, to hide behind a mask. The temptation, let’s face it, can also linger to drink a little too enthusiastically to grant a temporary, false sense of confidence. Resist both, be true to yourself, and be the best version you can be. Good luck!

Should you be recently single and wanting to meet people again, then check out our 5 IDEAL tips for rejoining the dating scene over here.

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