Dating strategies for the introvert

Sep 28, 2007 at 9:29 p.m. ET

Are you energized by spending time alone? In meetings, do you need to be asked for your opinions and ideas? Do you tend to notice details that other people miss? Is your ideal celebration a small get-together, rather than a big party? The good news is, you're an introvert. Dr Laney, author of The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, offers these tips to help you work with, instead of against, your temperament while dating.

With the anticipation (sometimes anxiety) leading up to it, trying to be on top of your game during it, and the stimulation of getting to know someone new, dating can be exhausting. Here are some tips to make it go smoothly.

  1. Make the first meeting short, e.g., have coffee or a drink.
  2. Suggest a specific start and stop time.
  3. Meet at a neutral location so you can leave if you want.
  4. Use your good observational skills to gain information about the person.
  5. Reveal as much personal information as the other person does, within reason.
  6. Take a bathroom break or two if you're feeling anxious or overexcited.
  7. Don't try to be extroverted!
  8. Don't rely on alcohol or drugs to help you loosen up.
  9. Don't overextend yourself; watch your energy level.
  10. Notice if you are getting irritable and think about why.
  11. Don't push yourself to have physical contact; you need time to feel comfortable.
  12. Look for red flags, such as how he or she handles conflict. Note whether you think he or she is too passive or too aggressive.
  13. Pay attention to any uncomfortable feelings you have, such as anger, fear, or boredom. Think about what messages these feelings are sending you.

It's time that introverts realize just how unique and special they are. We are ripe for a cultural shift toward the okayness of introversion. It's all right for us to stop trying to fit in and to "shape up." We need to appreciate our own shape as it is.

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