By Jordan Gray
First of all, what is an introvert? Introversion and extroversion are some of the least properly understood terms in psychology. People assume it means whether or not you like to be around people, but this is overly simplistic and simply not true. And with dating an introvert, especially, people have major misconceptions.
Here is the best way that I’ve heard introversion explained: Introverts recharge when they are by themselves, and prefer less external stimulation. Extroverts recharge by being around others and prefer higher levels of external stimulation.
So, do you have an introvert personality? More than likely, you are introverted, to some extent.
If you’re still unsure, answer these simple yes or no questions:
- Do people frequently tell me that I’m a good listener?
- Do I often think before I speak?
- Do people often describe me as easygoing or mellow?
- Do I prefer one-on-one conversations to large group conversations?
- Do I dislike small talk?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, you likely have a strong introvert side to you.
In western society, we live in a very extrovert-biased world. That is to say, people are rewarded on their sociability and ability to appear extroverted and boisterous.
Many introverts feel steam-rolled in this culture and have lost touch with their inherent introverted strengths. When I even mention those words “introverted strengths” to my introverted clients, they instantly get a puzzled look across their faces. “What’s good about being an introvert!?” It is this confusion that has compelled me to write this.
So, here are the top five ways in which your introversion can help you in your social and dating life, and how you might even fair better than your extroverted counterparts in your dating and intimate life.
1. They are master rapport builders in all kinds of relationships.
It is an unfortunately common misperception that introverts don’t like being around people. This is simply not true. Social energy is just more “expensive” for introverts to use.
Introverts would much rather have a smaller social circle with greater understanding and connection with each person than have a large group of acquaintances with less emotional intimacy. Surface level communication frustrates introverts and gives them a feeling of “What’s the point of just chatting? We aren’t having a real conversation.”
This propensity towards deep rapport building helps introverts massively in the dating scene. Women need trust and comfort to build an emotional connection with the person that they’re interested in, and introverts deliver this in spades.
Studies have shown that introverts outperform extroverts in high-ticket sales positions because they are wired to be able to nurture longer lasting relationships with more depth and patience. It is this exact trait that allows introverts to gain quick and thorough connection with people that they have just met.
Introverts are also more prone to talking about certain “heavier” topics such as sexuality, values, morals, and religion because conversational depth doesn’t scare them away. The fact that introverts aren’t afraid to discuss such topics makes relationships with card-carrying introverts a true gift.
2. They have the ability to listen.
Few things turn women off more than going on a date with a guy that can only talk about himself. Introverts are world-class listeners. They communicate with their conversational partners like laser beams — seeing into the soul of the speaker with intuition and clarity.
Extrovert conversations often have the partners stepping on each other’s toes with their words — rapid fire question and response, rambling stories, and quickly changed conversational topics. Watch a small group of introverts communicating with each other, and everyone is heard equally and people are very rarely interrupted in the slightest.
3. They are thoughtful and caring.
Because they spend so much time swimming in their rich internal world (aka being in their heads), introverts are more introspective and self-aware than most extroverts. The world needs both people who take action and people who are thoughtful; it keeps the world in balance.
To draw an analogy, think of how one shoots an arrow from a bow. If the world were only made up of introverts, the arrow would be cocked and ready to be fired, but the shooter would always be recalibrating and aiming the arrow before it ever took flight. If the world were only extroverts, the arrows would be flying every which way but never hitting any targets. It would be absolute chaos.
Thus, the world needs those who can aim, and those who can let go. You’ve likely heard the phrase, “It’s the thought that counts.” Introverts are keenly self-aware and, due to their sensitivity to their environments, are more likely to store information about their significant other (whether on a first date or fiftieth), and therefore make their partner feel more cared for.
4. They have the strengths of self-reflectiveness and error-correction.
From all the time introverts spend doing their internal homework, they are brilliantly adept at continually making sure they are aligned with themselves and living from a congruent place. This also generally results in lower incidences of egomania because introverts are much less interested in keeping up with the Joneses and chasing external status symbols.
They value things like thoughtfulness, moral integrity, and empathy over extroverted traits like charisma, or being seen as fascinating, or socially dominant.
So, how does error-correction help you in your relationship management? You’re bound to mess up at some point in your dating life. Introverts have a much easier time self-reflecting, realizing what they did wrong, and admitting to it openly. Show me a boyfriend that can admit when he was wrong, and I’ll show you his happy girlfriend.
5. They prefer depth of connection rather than breadth.
Introverts prefer depth of connection in their social and intimate lives, where extroverts are more drawn towards breadth of connections.
I personally know many introverts who are passionately loyal friends to about three to five people in their lives. And, to them, that’s more than enough. In fact, they set clear boundaries around their social lives, and when people try to start relationships with them, they are very clear that their social lives are already “full” and that, although they appreciate the offer, they don’t have any more time for new friends.
This is an element of introversion taken to a bit of an extreme case but it’s admirable nonetheless. Whether you are serial-dating to try to find a partner, or already have one, being predisposed to building deep connections with others will help you in all of your intimate relationships for the rest of your life.
Regardless of whether you consider yourself primarily introverted or not, everyone has at least some part of them that cherishes their alone time.
If you find yourself craving some down time away from your social life or intimate relationship, have no fear. There is nothing wrong with you if you don’t want to be in the social spot light all of the time (or even half of the time).
In modern society, many people associate introversion with shyness or social awkwardness. Introversion/extroversion are completely detached from shyness/outgoingness. Many introverts love socializing, and many extroverts love to read a book by themselves on their Friday night in.
Whatever your mix, make sure you have patience with yourself, and listen to what your mind needs. Some nights you’ll want to hang out with a big group of friends, other nights you’ll want to stay in with your girlfriend and read books next to each other.
In this life, for you to self-actualize and become your truest self, you will need to both think, and take action. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go read a book.
Relationship coach Jordan Gray helps people remove their emotional blocks and maintain thriving intimate relationships.
This article was originally published at The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission from the author.