Comparing Extrovert and Introvert Dating Styles

Introvert and Extrovert

Is your boy or girl friend an introvert? Then let these questions from readers for our Expert Dating Coach help you too.

Extrovert and Introvert Dating

Reader Question

Dear Lori, I met this guy at a party Saturday night. He was all by himself and he seemed kind of shy, so I walked up to him and introduced myself. We spent the rest of the party (3-4 hours) talking out on the balcony. We have a lot of things in common and I really liked him. Then at the end of the night he offered to drive me home. I accepted. He drove me to my house and I told him we should hang out again. We exchanged numbers, and then he walked me to my door and gave me a hug (I don't kiss after meeting a guy once). After waiting for him to call me for two days, I called him. I asked him if he wanted to hang out with me and a couple friends on Thursday. He agreed. But I don't know if he actually likes me, since he didn't make the effort to call me. How do I know if he's just being a nice guy, or if there are actual feelings there? I thought he liked me, but occasionally I got a hot/cold feeling from him. I don't know if I'm just overreacting or if I should just start getting over him now. This may seem like a stupid problem, but this is the first guy I've been able to like since my ex one year ago. I just don't want to make a mistake and scare him away.

Expert Reply

I've got this habit. I don't know when or how it started. I just know I can't stop myself. I love to read books and no matter how hard I try, I have to read the last page of the book first. I get satisfaction out of knowing how the book will end before I can enjoy reading the beginning. You might be thinking, "If she knows the ending, why read the book?" The answer is simple: it's the story - how they got to the ending - which I look forward to reading.What I have noticed is that people go on first and second dates wanting to know how the relationship will end. This is your situation, except that the two of you have not even had your first date. You met a guy at a party, enjoyed getting to know him, let him give you a ride home, and then called him later to ask him to join you and some friends to hang out. Now you want to know how the story will end even before you've even had your first date! You might have said to yourself, "Based on what I know, what is the likelihood we'll have a happy ending?" You seem to be trying to hurry the relationship along. Here's the problem: dating, like any relationship, goes through stages.

For most people, when conflict (even a conflict in personality types or styles) arises one or both individuals either fight or take flight. This can be especially evident in the early stages of dating and getting to know someone, like when an introvert and extrovert meet, or people try to hurry through the stages of dating.

Here are the first two. This information should help you understand what is called for in the particular stage you're in.

Stage One: Meeting

  • The purpose of stage one is to determine if there is enough chemistry, commonality and interest to warrant a first date. Sometimes, it may take a couple of meetings to determine if two people want to date each other.

Stage Two: Dating

  • Stage two is the romantic stage. At this stage the two of want to spend as much time together as possible. Dopamine is soaring, which is why you can stay out until the wee hours of the morning and still get to work on time. Each of you is willing to overlook those cute irritants of your partner in order to focus on the strong attraction each feels for the other.

You are wondering whether or not he is as interested as you are? Maybe he is, maybe he is not? Here is what you know for sure. He talked with you for 3+ hours, presumably because he enjoyed your company. He drove you, a woman he hardly knew, home. He behaved honorably during the drive home. He walked you to your door. He respected that you don't kiss a guy after meeting him once and opted to hug you goodbye. He accepted your invitation to go out with you and friends. He is willing to spend time with people he doesn't know well. I'd say he has a level of interest. You asked "could he just be behaving this way to be nice?" The answer is no. He is not going to give this much time and attention, just to be nice.

I get the sense that the real difference between the two of you has more to do with temperament rather than level of interest. Introverts and extroverts behave differently. Extroverts make up 60 to 70 percent of society. They tend to think and behave in ways that center around a task or a person. They feel the most energized through interactions with others. You sound like an extrovert. Introverts on the other hand account for 20 to 30 percent of the population. Not all introverts are shy. Some enjoy engaging in long conversations that explore personal thoughts and passionate interests. Introverts also need and desire time alone to explore their own ideas and interests. This can be foreign to an extrovert who gets energized by the company others.

Based on the information you provided, I think you may be interested in an introvert. This is why you get the hot/cold feelings. I can assure you (speaking as an introvert myself) an introvert is not going to spend time with you just to be nice! To date an introvert (especially when you are just starting out) takes time, patience and understanding. To draw out your introvert, find activities he is interested in and suggest or plan dates that balance "doing something" with time spent in each other's company. Another way to support an introvert is to recognize their need to can get lost in thought…their own thought. Extroverts don't understand this and tend to think something must be wrong. Don't ask, "What's the matter?" or "Are you all right?" You may be initiating getting together more often in the beginning, but as the relationship moves forward your guy will pick up the slack.


Learning Intimacy

Reader Question

My biggest problem in a relationship is learning how to open up. I am not a shy person, in fact I am outgoing, social, great at flirting, and I date a lot. But when the dating goes to relationship status, I find it completely hard to let the other person in by being open and sharing my feelings. I'm in a relationship now with a guy I like and I can see that he's starting to wonder why I am "emotionally unavailable" (a term I've affectionately used to coin my condition). I want to move forward, but I don't know how...~~Maggie

Expert Reply

Dear Maggie,

You sound like you may be an introvert. Contrary to what many believe, not all introverts are shy. An introvert can be very social and outgoing. They can take an active interest in other people and can be great listeners. However, when it comes to sharing information they believe to be personal or private, they naturally shut down. Being 'emotionally unavailable' and being an introvert are not the same. Someone who is emotionally unavailable doesn't want to connect with others. They prefer instead to keep their hurts, pains, and weaknesses from others and they certainly don't want others sharing this information with them.

On the other hand, someone who is an introvert naturally gravitates toward not sharing vulnerabilities because they don't know how to share or what is important to share with others. This sounds more like you. Before you get started opening up to others, you'll need to realize that in the beginning it will feel awkward to talk about yourself. With practice, opening up will get easier and you'll feel more confident about the information you choose to share.

The reason sharing personal information with others is important in a relationship is that it's a way to connect and to build trust. When someone doesn't share private information they come across as distrustful and not committed to the relationship. You don't have to share your dirty laundry or all your deep dark secrets to be considered 'open,' you just have to be willing.

To be considered an open person, you do have to balance talking with listening. One way to think about sharing is to think of a great tennis match. In order for the ball to be in play, it has to go back and forth. If the ball is not returned or out of bounds, the point goes to the other person. In a conversation, two people talking works much the same way, except that if you don't return the sharing, you lose and the other person doesn't win.

When you're out with your guy, share what you like about what you're doing. For example, say you're at the movies and the previews come up. You can share that the previews are your favorite part, because you like to see what movies will be coming out soon. From there you can share what types of movies you like and who your favorite actors are. Then you 'toss' the conversation back to your boyfriend and ask him what types of movies he likes, etc. When you're sitting really close to your guy, lean over and tell him what you like about him. For example, I love your smile, or the way you smell. The point is you're letting him know how you feel about him, or what you find attractive about him. Both examples are simple ways of consciously letting the other person know your preferences, thoughts, or likes and dislikes. This comes across as being open and sharing your feelings.

Each time you and your guy are together; make a point of letting him know something about you. This can be as simple as sharing your opinion, what you like about him, your mood, or even your dislikes.


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Comparing Extrovert and Introvert Dating Styles