Wifey’s & Gentlemen,
I am so so happy to be back! Did you miss me? Two weeks is WAY too long!
Quick update: The good people at Apple were able to restore my computer (for the most part) and while the keyboard is still trying to give me drama, I bought a fancy new wireless one for now so I can keep on truckin!
Now that we’re almost ½ way into my favorite month of the year, I’m ready to give you guys some fun, new things on this blog! I’ve got some awesome new topics coming your way, all new episodes of our podcast, and even my very first (albeit very short) VIDEO!
Stay tuned and be sure to subscribe to the blog to stay in the know!
So…show of virtual hands, how many of my readers/friends are introverted or socially awkward like me? If this news of my introversion surprises you, I recently found out that I am actually an “introverted extrovert” (whatever that really means), but I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty awkward person and, much of the time, I prefer to keep to myself.
I recently had a conversation with some coworkers and one of them said:
I am painfully awkward, I can’t date. How can someone date if they can’t stand talking to people?
I didn’t say anything at the time, but the remark really struck me. Although some of us might be skeptical, yes, first dates still do actually happen. In fact, I think the definition of a date has changed so much that even a ‘casual hangout’ might seem intensely stressful and overwhelming for someone who is introverted.
Even though I can’t say that I was the BEST at dating back then, I thought about what I might have wanted someone to tell me when I was putting myself out there as an introverted lady on the market.
Here are some of my quick tips that you can try RIGHT NOW to help give your introverted ass a boost:
Meet People Online First
This one might seem obvious but, for anyone who might be hesitant to give it a try, online dating can be an introvert’s dream! Sometimes, it’s the forced “small talk” or “ice breaker” conversations that are the hardest for an introvert to navigate. Making friends online eliminates some of that “on the spot” awkwardness by allowing you to type our your responses/questions with more time and thought. Spend as much time as you need to getting to know someone online before moving into voice on voice contact or in-person interactions. You might be surprised at how much easier it is to have a first date with someone you’ve been chatting with for some time prior; the “getting to know you” part is out of the way.
Connect with Others Organically
One thing that I wish I would have tried before I met my husband is meeting people who had the same hobbies and interests as me. Maybe I could have met people at a community theater or a local acting class? Maybe I could have taken a few cooking classes at Sur La Table or went ahead and signed up for that BDSM seminar? (hehe) Sometimes we can alleviate the discomfort of getting to know someone when we have confidence about the conversations we’re having. If you meet someone in the yarn section at Michael’s, make your small talk about craft projects! Connect with people in areas where you feel like you’re the expert. Go places where you know you’ll be in your element/comfort zone.
Choose Dates & Activities That Aren’t Focused on Conversation (Exclusively)
Some people would disagree, but I do not think there is ANYTHING wrong with going to the movies on a first date. For an introvert, this is an especially good idea because you can limit your conversation to shorter windows and give yourself breaks in between. Chat while you’re on your way to the theater, chat while standing in the popcorn line, chat while waiting for the film to start/comment on what previews look good, whisper to each other once or twice when something crazy happens in the movie, and chat about what you thought when it’s done. These are controlled little pockets of time where you can make connections without overthinking or freaking yourself out. Try to choose dates that have an activity involved. This will give you both something to chat about and/or focus on outside of each other. Make sure you’re also picking dates that you really enjoy or want to try. Save the dinner dates or “outside of your comfort zone” activities for when you know the person a little better.
Learn How to Ask Questions & Practice for Your Date
Please don’t be ashamed to practice for your date in advance! If it makes you feel better, I sometimes will rehearse fights or arguments I am about to have before I have them. I get nervous about confrontation or having to have a tough conversation with someone I care about and as a result, I practice. Does it always come out the way I plan it? NOPE! But it makes me feel better to have an idea of how I want to represent myself in the discussion. Learn about the various types of questions you can ask and then prepare a handful of them beforehand. It’s also 100% fine to Google a few conversation starters or hot news topics to keep in your back pocket in case you find yourself struggling.
*You likely won’t always have to do this, but if you’re new to dating it can relieve A LOT of anxiety.
Be Honest about Who You Are (Don’t Fake it Till You Make it)
You know Mrs. Renai is (usually) all about that “fake it till you make it” life. I think that this is true for things like confidence, self-love, or trying to learn certain new things/skills. However, for us introverts, it is NOT a good idea to try to pretend to be an outgoing extrovert if you’re not. The person you are dating wants to get to know you as you really are. If you know at the core that you’re an introvert, you’re only hurting yourself if you try to deny that part of who you are. I think more of us should be upfront with our dates about this personality trait. There is nothing wrong with it! If you’re an introvert whose dating an extrovert, you might find that (over time) some of their traits rub off on you. Still, you don’t need to try to match their attitude or energy. The right person will like you for you (and will find your quirks irresistible). PERIODT.
Always Have an Exit Strategy
This is important for everyone, no matter your personality type, but I wanted to bring special attention to it for my introverts because we might not be as confrontational as our extroverted counter parts. If you are on a date with someone and you begin to feel uncomfortable, anxious, or overwhelmed, please have a means of getting out of there and getting yourself home ASAP. Now, if the discomfort you experience has nothing to do with the person you’re with, it’s okay to tell them how you’re feeling. Whether you need a short 5 minute break or want to take a rain check on the entire date, anyone worth dating should understand if/when the environment simply gets the better of you (this is especially true for dates that occur at parties, clubs, concerts, or huge social events that require interacting with lots of new people). HOWEVER, if you find that your discomfort is being caused by the person you’re with, make sure you pre-plan how you’re going to get away from them and get somewhere safe. Do not put yourself in a place where you have to be confrontational or defensive if it makes you very nervous to do so.
Check in With Yourself
Lastly, I wanted to just point out that there is a difference between being an introvert or someone who is socially awkward and having social anxiety. If you find that your inability to interact with others is causing major problems in your life, be honest with yourself and get some help. I have diagnosed anxiety and while I do not take medication, I do see a therapist to help me quiet my anxious mind. Sometimes this anxiety does manifest in my social life and I am so thankful that I have self-care strategies that I use to help me (1) feel less overwhelmed when it crops up and (2) feel less guilty or ashamed to let people know when it’s going on. You deserve to have a full and happy life on your own terms. Sometimes it is as simple as taking a day to yourself or having that alone time to re-charge and sometimes it’s much more than that. Sometimes the need to heal is even bigger. Even if you aren’t in a position to afford therapy or medication, there are tons of resources online that can help you with coping strategies to get some balance back.
See? It is more than possible to have a happy dating life as an introvert!
Does it take work? Oh Yes! But anything worth having usually does, right?
Let me know in the comments if you have any other strategies for my introverts out there? Or if you have any stories to share about your personal lives!
Until Next Time,
Carry on Wifeys!