Traditional dating is not an introvert friendly activity. It involves all of the things that we find draining and uncomfortable: conversation as sport, socializing with strangers, physical contact with people we hardly know, going out when we’d rather stay in, eating in front of someone attractive … and the list goes on.
Fortunately, dating is a skill that can be learned. It can also be done in such a way that it doesn’t obliterate our introvert energy levels. The reason why many introverts don’t feel like dating is a skill they can master is that a lot of love advisors out there cater to extroverts.
Let’s explore a common dating scenario from an introvert’s perspective, and play a little game of what not to do on a first date. See if you can spot where Cyndi and Jake go wrong:
What NOT to do on a first date
Cyndi has a date with Jake, a guy she met through match.com. She’s excited and nervous because she has high hopes for this one. He seems like perfect boyfriend material. He’s handsome, has a good job as an engineer, and loves animals. Plus it says in his profile that he is looking for a serious relationship.
As she gets ready for the date, Cyndi, begins overthinking what they will talk about. She is an introvert, and sometimes doesn’t know what to say . She hopes there won’t be any awkward silences.
During the date, Cyndi discovers that Jake is shorter than she imagined. She is disappointed. She also finds out that Jake likes to play hockey twice a week (they are from Canada ;). This worries Cyndi because she doesn’t normally connect with jock types. She also worries that he won’t make time for her if he’s always out playing sports or watching games on TV.
Jake tells Cyndi lots of stories about all the places he’s traveled and the exciting things he’s done. Cyndi is a little bored, but happy that Jake is carrying the conversation At the end of the date, they hug and make vague plans to see each other again. Neither can tell if the other is actually interested. They never see each other again.
Can you tell what Cyndi and Jake did wrong? There are quite a few things, but I’m going to focus on the three that are the most common.
1. Going in with the wrong mindset
The best love advisors for introverts will tell you that mindset is everything before and during a date. Cyndi goes into the date with high expectations. You can tell that she has already imagined Jake as the ideal guy to sweep her off her feet and become her boyfriend. She also spends a lot of time worrying before the date. This makes her tense and nervous.
A better approach is to go in with no expectations. Instead, view the date as an experiment where the process is more important than the result.
Cyndi also would’ve been better off to clear her mind before the date. Rather than worrying about what could go wrong, she should have enjoyed getting ready. Focusing on sensations helps you get out of your head and into the present moment.
Cyndi spends a lot of time judging Jake. She practically writes him off because he’s a little shorter than expected and he plays hockey.
People can tell when we are judging them. It makes them feel tense and nervous. Not only that …
When we occupy our mind with judgmental thoughts, there is no room for imagination and curiosity. Without those things, the conversation falls flat, and so does the rest of the date.
3. Trying to impress
Jake is clearly trying to impress Cyndi with all the interesting things he’s done. Instead of impressing her, he bores her. Cyndi probably wants to impress Jake, too, but because she is an introvert, her desire to impress makes her shut down. She is so worried about saying the wrong thing that she doesn’t say anything at all.
You don’t need to prove yourself to your date, and they don’t need to prove themselves to you. Remember, this is an experiment, not a competition.
Over to you
Can you spot what else Cyndi and Jake did wrong? Share your thoughts in the comments below.