I like to drop little hints throughout my online profile about how much I value my quiet time; this roots out any suitors prowling for a party girl.
I mention that I tend to spend many hours reading and that I like book recommendations.
Since that never happens to me (and because it made me feel like a bouncy, shiny-haired cheerleader for the first time ever), I pushed myself to accept all the offers. If awful dates, which your friends seem to be able to turn into funny anecdotes on a dime, seem catastrophic to you, that’s okay too. And while we’re on the subject of dating fears, it’s okay if you want to cancel.
It’s important, first and foremost, to set some personal boundaries with yourself. It was a strange, atypical situation where a lot of fellas seemed determined to meet yours truly. Ignore your mother when she hounds you about grandchildren.
Instead of waiting to hear what your date suggests, have a couple ideas in mind before you actually start planning with him or her.
Say, “I’m not sure if this is your thing, but if you want to eat, we could try this place I like; if you would prefer to do some sort of activity, we could do a movie or walk through a museum.” By taking an active approach in dating, you won’t default to your shy ways as easily.
There’s a problem with the one-size-fits-all wisdom commonly intoned during dating discussions (“Just put yourself out there! After jumping through the hoops of answering questions such as “where are you from? ” one too many times, you start feeling that dates are no longer probable sources of a deep, meaningful relationship, but rather deep, dark pits of despair. You tend to be sucked of all your energy as if you’ve been set upon by a Harry Potter dementor. Don’t feel the need to go into some long, drawn-out explanation either.
Because, as introverts, we often derive our energy from solitude and quiet contemplation in which to process life’s events, we have only so much social goodwill to go around. Just simply state that you need to reschedule, and offer an alternative date, time, and place. I’m going to pass along the best piece of advice my old therapist ever gave me.
You have to go on dates, just not every single one.
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In fact, any form of socializing has the potential to deplete these stores. You get to meet complete strangers (not always our strongest suit), who will then subject you to a barrage of intensely personal questions and judge you! There is good news too, but let’s get the bad news out of the way first. He said, “You can’t fuck up soul mates.” Write that down, and put it in your pocket. You should never feel bad for treating them as such, and don’t let anyone tell you different. You can use subtle ways to tell your profile visitors you are introverted, without standing on a mountain top and screaming down a declaration for the masses.
Dating, fraught with the anxiety and possibility of rejection and/or romance, even more so. Doesn’t that sound like the ideal situation when you’re looking for true intimacy and affection? The discussion of introversion has only recently become part of the larger cultural dialogue.