These Introverted Dating Tips Will Help You Take Your Online Situationship IRL
Picture this: you've matched with someone on your dating app of choice, and you begin talking to each other. "The rizz" on their profile is nothing short of impressive, and the conversation flows effortlessly. You speak daily, except no one brings up the pending issue of meeting IRL. So, instead of planning your first date, the spark fizzles out. Eventually, all you're left with is a failed prospective relationship, which means it's time to start swiping again.
We've all been there, but what is the reason behind so many singles struggling to take the connection to the next stage? It could be that you're an introvert. As for what this really means, the Cambridge Dictionary defines an introvert as "someone who is shy, quiet, and prefers to spend time alone rather than often being with other people". But qualified sex and relationship therapist Georgina Vass explains that in real terms, the personality can be a broad one. "Like any personality trait, introversion occurs on a spectrum," she tells POPSUGAR. "But generally those who identify with being an introvert tend to be more reserved, thoughtful, value time alone, or in one to one relationships."
But there's no reason why extroverts should be having all the fun in the dating world. Online dating can be tempting as an introvert because there's no pressure to meet in person, but it can be more difficult to transfer your online situationship into a real-life one because of the perceived idea that introverts take longer to warm up to new people (side note: this is totally okay).
In a new study, Tinder has discovered that over 30 percent of users actually refer to themselves as introverts in their bios. Meanwhile, introverted Tinder users are 40 percent more likely than extroverts to say they're still figuring out what they want from a relationship.
"When I first started dating, I always gave up because I didn't see myself highly at all. So I put a barrier up."
Courtney Lovell, self-proclaimed introvert, found that she would "shut down" when it came to her early days on the dating scene due to her personality type. "I won't go somewhere unless I know someone else is going," she tells POPSUGAR. "I'm that person who will happily stay at home, watch some Netflix with a blanket, and that will be my evening."
When the care worker began dating, she unsurprisingly found sparking up a conversation over a message a lot easier than speaking in person, which was nerve-wracking in comparison. So much so, she would take friends with her on dates to help give her a confidence boost in socialising face-to-face. "When I first started dating, I always gave up because I didn't see myself highly at all," Lovell admitted. "So I put a barrier up."
Yet the 24-year-old introvert decided to ditch the dating apps when her flings failed to flourish, and managed to find love with wife Becca Lovetto, whom she met at the theatre where they both previously worked. After initially asking their mutual friend to speak to Lovetto on her behalf, she found herself dropping hints to find out if the chemistry she felt with her co-worker was reciprocated. "I would subtly ask her, 'who's gay here?', and then ask, 'what about yourself?'"
Taking things slow seemed to work for Lovell, who ended up dating Lovetto for four years before marrying her in July 2022. "I was worried it would be too good to be true because from day one, I was smitten," Lovell revealed. "When she did ask me out, it was a relief."
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Courtney Lovell
Of course, overthinking isn't something that is exclusive to introverts, but Vass explains that it's more likely to happen in situations that we find difficult. For those who are more reserved in social settings or find socialising takes a lot of their energy, dating is one of those scenarios. "With any difficult situation, it can be easy to get stuck in unhelpful thinking patterns like predictions, catastrophising, or mind-reading," Vass says. There are some simple practices that can help singletons take their relationship offline. Read on for Vass's top introverted dating tips.
Introverted dating tips:
Set small goals: Create a pyramid diagram with the most difficult situation at the top, like sitting through an entire face-to-face date with someone new. At the bottom, begin with easier goals you could achieve, such as saying hello to a stranger, sending a voice-note or short video or photo to an online interest, or talking to someone on the phone or meeting someone for a timed coffee date. Work your way through your goals until you reach the most difficult one. Don't indulge in negative thoughts: Challenge [these thoughts] with alternative thoughts and notice when you're doing it. Find familiarity: It may be helpful to find a familiar place with not too much noise where you feel comfortable and safe to meet your date. A spot like a coffee shop could be helpful if you need to cut the date short if they're not a match. Try an active date: Alternatively, a date doing an activity that you enjoy (a new trend, which has been coined as workout wooing) in a familiar and safe setting or attending an event could also encourage attention outwards, which may be helpful for those who focus attention inwards and overthink. Come prepared: It may be helpful to prepare some topics or questions to discuss in order to shift small talk into something more meaningful, and try to ask open ended questions. Be honest with your date: It may be helpful to manage expectations for you and your date by communicating to them that you may prefer to move at a slower pace with more meaningful conversations and create deeper connections with people. Speak to a professional: Introversion is a personality trait which is different from being shy or having social anxiety. If you're confused about the distinction and want to understand more about it, seek support from a mental health practitioner who can help make you make sense of it and support you with tools to thrive in all situations. Maintain your self-care routine: As always, continue to maintain the wellbeing activities that make you feel good like exercise, mindfulness, and breathing exercises before going on any dates.