Cupid at Kenyon: Introvert Dating

This article is part of our "Cupid at Kenyon" series, in which our writers talk about Valentine's Day.

 

People understand the introverted/extroverted dichotomy in a variety of different ways. Most commonly, and I think most accurately, is the definition that these terms relate to how you recharge, how you get energy. And, of course, it’s not a true dichotomy. Rarely are there even splits with no overlap. An introvert exhibit extroverted qualities and vice versa because unique situations may inspire out of the ordinary reactions.

I am an introvert. After spending a certain amount of time with people, I am exhausted. I prefer small groups of under 10 and spending time alone is a glorious special occasion. So, when my boyfriend wants to take me out for our anniversary or for Valentines Day, he’s got quite a challenge on his hands. My boyfriend loves amusement parks and big activities, both things I almost exclusively hate. As most things in a relationship end up, we try to compromise. Compromising, however, does not mean eliminating my comfort zone entirely. I’m happy to do things I wouldn’t pick myself, like go to a concert four hours away on a school night, but I’m never going to ride a rollercoaster. Together, we’ve come up with some introvert-friendly alternatives for going on dates.

 

 

As a disclaimer, I’m also fairly anxious. Anxiety and introversion are not the same things, they happen to coincide for me. Also, there is a myriad of introverted preferences; the ones below are just specific to me.

You can go out to dinner, but pay attention to the venue! Restaurants are not out of the question even though they can be bustling and loud places. Try to avoid prime times, like the lunch or dinner rush. Go on a Tuesday night instead of Saturday and ask for a private table. If you can’t get one, do what makes your partner feel seen and safe. Hold their hand or ask if they want their favorite drink; remind them that, really, it’s just the two of you there.

The movie theater is an amazing introvert date because it’s out in the world under the cloak of darkness. It’s the same deal as with the restaurant; try to avoid popular times and pick a seat on the edge or in the back. Movies offer a lot of stimulation without a lot of personal interaction because it’s frowned upon to talk during a movie. That’s a perfect rule for someone who wants to go out, but wants a stay home mentality. Museums offer a similar experience due to similar behavioral requirements. At a lot of museums, especially fine arts museums, disturbances are limited. Walking through The Met by yourself or with a partner is a quiet and interesting experience.

 

 

Another helpful move is to portion out the actual going out part. If you want to get out of the house, but don’t think you can do it for long, go and pick up take out. Get movie snacks at a drugstore and watch the movie on your couch. Cook dinner with each other and do the weird New York Times 36 questions to get to know someone game. It’s not that dating an introvert is this radically different experience, it just comes with a special set of concerns. Crazy enough, all dating is like that. Everyone has idiosyncrasies and quirks, whether they can’t be in the same room as peanut butter or more than 15 people. Being in any sort of relationship requires that sort of communication and understanding of the person you’re spending time with.

 

Image Credit: Feature, 1, 2