How to date an introverted man

Maybe you’re an introvert, too, or maybe you’re the extrovert trying to understand your introverted boyfriend. But what, exactly, is an introvert? According to Webster, an introvert is “A shy, reticent person.” Comparing shy introverts to their explosive opposites—the extroverts—it’s important to note that people are just wired different. In no way is an introvert “less” of anything. They just don’t get pleasure from the same things we extroverts do, namely making a scene in a crowd of friends or strangers.

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Introverts are social, but they don’t have the need for crowds and they don’t get a buzz from lots of social activities one after the other. In fact, after they satisfy their social “fix,” they just want to go home and do their own thing. The common misconception is that they go home and do nothing, but introverts are just as active as extroverts. They just think a book or other solitary activities are what life is more about.

Did you know? There is loads of rich, inner dialogue in the heads of introverts! Don’t make the embarrassing assumption that introverts have nothing going on behind the silence. They just don’t spit it out in the same blather some of us extroverts do! Here are some tips to date an introverted man, and to avoid more traps like this one:

Understand what it means to “embrace solitude.” Respect that maybe he wants to sit in the park alone for a few hours. In fact, when he invites you into his “safe spaces” and includes you in one of these activities, it’s the most touching compliment he’ll ever give you. This means he feels you’re an extension of him.

Don’t let yourself think his need for solitude is weird, because among introverts, it’s really not. Start off by being understanding that you’re just different in this way.

Ask very specific questions to make sure he’s OK if you’re working through a tough conversation. Be direct, but never aggressive. If you’re talking about your past, and you say something you think might affect him, ask directly how he feels about it. Don’t beat around the bush, because he’ll only answer the question you actually give him. And he won’t see it as dodging the real issue, either.

Be patient! Give him—and the relationship—time. The overwhelming majority of introverts just need to warm up to a relationship, whether romantic or other. They do talk to people, just not to everyone. And the feeling that someone is still a “stranger” will disable them from opening up. But when they’re ready, they will communicate more freely than you realize.

Focus on activity-based outings. If you don’t want to pressure conversation, or aren’t the most extroverted person yourself, go to a movie together! Walk the dog along the boardwalk, or include one of their extroverted friends in an outing at a chill restaurant. Make sure that you both know it’s OK if there isn’t conversation every second you’re together.

Don’t pressure! Be understanding, and don’t pressure conversation where it would make either of you uncomfortable. And don’t be afraid to talk about your differences, and recognize his introversion, too. Let him know that you understand how he feels, and that there’s nothing wrong with it. Be sure you really believe that, too.

If you really think there’s something “wrong” with someone just because they’re wired differently, you probably shouldn’t be dating at all!

Dating an introvert is totally do-able. You might have to make the first move, but hey, all’s fair in love and war! If you’ve ever thought that dating an introvert couldn’t be done, or if you’ve complained about an ex over things that really just made him an introvert, you have some self-improvement to do before knocking on anyone’s door. There is nothing wrong with being an introvert, but—just like with any other personality difference—some of the dating hurdles might be different.

Don’t get into a relationship with an introvert unless you’re comfortable taking things a little slower! Really, this is an example of how you can see your guy’s introverted way as an advantage. Maybe you’ve moved too fast before, and this will be your chance to start a relationship off with something more meaningful.

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Be positive, and know that there is an equally THINKING, FEELING person underneath the shy, quiet introversion. Never make assumptions about what he’s thinking or feeling, and especially not about what he’s “not” thinking or feeling! Let him know that it’s OK to be who he is, and that he has no disadvantage. And that your relationship has no disadvantage for it, either! Start and finish every conversation with a smile, and let the relationship take you wherever it’s meant to go.