16 Things You Need To Know Before You Date An Introvert

  1. Some of us have very outgoing personalities. We don’t always come across as the stereotypical introvert. We can be social butterflies and charming dates and then need a few days alone to recoup.
  2. Listen when we say we’re uncomfortable with something. It may seem like a simple task — to venture out to a party, to make a speech at a friend’s wedding, to put ourselves on display in one way or another — but it’s not for us. Don’t belittle us when we say we’re nervous about something that seems commonplace to you. Our hearts are pounding and we’re going to be overthinking this for weeks, the last thing we need is to feel like you don’t support or understand us.
  3. More often than not, we’ll bottle up our emotions because it’s exhausting for us to express them all the time. So while our quietness doesn’t necessarily mean we’re upset with you, it also doesn’t mean that we’re okay. Seems confusing, but really all that has to happen is set a foundation of open communication and go from there. Not to mention: there’s a discernible difference between “quiet because we’re seething” and “quiet because we’re contemplating.” Don’t play dumb to avoid conflict.
  4. We’re the “read books next to each other, take long quiet car ride” types. As cliché as it is, we don’t always want to be paraded around town with your college friends and coworkers and extended family. We’re going to feel closest to you when we’re coexisting with one another.
  5. If you want to know, ask. It doesn’t always occur to us to fill you in on where we are mentally, emotionally, etc. Communicate the obvious is the best route in this instance.
  6. When we say something, we mean it. Listen the first time. Take our word at surface level. If we say no, the answer is no. If we politely decline an invitation or don’t answer a phone call for a little bit, this isn’t a chance to press and prod us until we respond or agree. Do not take our seeming passivity for granted. It will do nothing but push us farther away.
  7. Post-break-up, the way to win us back isn’t by smothering us. Sending three emails a day and texting our friends to see what moves you should make next and persisting does nothing but infuriate and encourage us to write you off for good, because you aren’t respecting the lines we draw, however lightly we trace them.
  8. We’re most attracted to independent people. Do your own thing, keep your own interests, make plans without us, hangout with separate friends, live your own life. We’re not looking for a leech, we’re typically not too reliant on other people in the first place.
  9. We’re probably not going to be enthused about the plans you just sprang on us to hangout with a huge group of people in which we only know you. Not fun. Not cool. This is a socially exhausting situation to be in regardless of introversion or not.
  10. We’re not going to give you a running roster of our thoughts and opinions. We work through things in our own ways, and we’ll clue you in on a need-to-know basis. I’d be wrong not to acknowledge the fact that there’s open communication, and then there’s nearly harassing someone to force them into speaking their minds (hint: this usually doesn’t make way for the absolute truth to come out, if we’re not ready to say it, we’ll make something else up to defer in the meantime.)
  11. If we suddenly want to do everything with you, it’s a BIG DEAL. We develop that kind of comfort slowly. It’s not in our nature to want to be with people all the time, so take it as the ultimate sign of interest.
  12. We’re probably not going to take you home right away. Introducing you to our parents and then subsequently having you stay with us for days on end is not something we’re willing to do with just anybody. It’s a huge step and we’re cautious about it. We don’t let people in unless we want them to stay there.
  13. We appreciate and prefer small gestures over larger ones. We’re not going to always have a thrilled reaction to an elaborate surprise, and it’s nothing personal, just that we ultimately prefer smaller gestures of thought and caring, ones that are more digestible and less overwhelming.
  14. And the biggest gesture we can offer you will often seem small. Going on a trip with our family, opening up about a traumatic childhood experience, wanting to spend a few solid days together non-stop — these are all things that remain sacred to us. Letting you into these intimate parts of our lives is a big deal for us, and you should know that you mean a lot if we want you there.
  15. We probably don’t respond to things immediately. And honestly, it has nothing to do with whether or not we’re interested. We like to belabor our thoughts over emails, finish reading the page we’re on before we pick up our phone to respond to a text, etc. We’re just not quick to dive into social situations.
  16. We don’t just want to take it slow, we have to. Love is a sticky, messy, deeply compelling, and opening and changing thing, and it’s not that we don’t have our hearts and a half to give to you, just that we’re cautious by nature and we’re going to make sure we’re on the right path before we completely immerse ourselves.