(exert from The Polyamory Dating Guide)
“I want to be alone… with someone else who wants to be alone.” – Dimitri Zaik.
There are introverts, extroverts and ambiverts. Most of us are ambiverts, but slide on the scale more towards introvert or extrovert. Introverts recharge in solitude. Extroverts recharge around people. That’s about the simplest way to put it.
I am an introvert and I find it to be one of my biggest challenges to dating. Being an introvert isn’t a bad thing, it’s just many people aren’t quite sure what to do with us and sometimes we aren’t sure what to do with ourselves. I prefer alone time, but I like to meet people and date and develop relationships as well. It just looks different than how other people do it.
So, how is being an introvert a challenge?
Most introverts are solitary creatures. Me included. I used to think I was just shy and it was something that needed to be overcome. But, I started to notice other personality traits that made interacting with people in certain situations difficult. I love being on stage and presenting. I love co-hosting a podcast. I love producing events and running groups. All these involve people, but I don’t have to actually interact except how I choose to. I’m in charge. I can leave when I want to and no one recognizes that I’m off hiding and recharging in a quiet space.
I actually figured out I was an introvert when I went to a “meet and greet”. Those are super difficult for me especially when I go alone and I don’t know anyone. But, I did know someone here and they were having a hard time, but realized what they need. The went to a corner and had me stand in front of them. This hid them enough from people that they were able to breathe, recharge, put a smile on their face and get back out there. I asked them later about it and they said that as an introvert, people are overwhelming after awhile and he just needed to recharge a little bit so that he could make it through the evening. OH!!! Ding ding ding. I’m not alone and now I know what t am.
Now that I know what I am, an introvert, I know that there isn’t anything to “fix”. I just need to learn some skills to be with people, especially being polyamorous. I’m not going to find people to date or have relationships with if I’m always by myself. It just doesn’t work that way.
Challenge 1 – Communication styles
A lot of people like to chat on the phone and will want my phone number right away. Personally, I don’t like chatting on the phone now that I have options. Talking on the phone doesn’t give me time to form my words. Introverts pause a lot when they are talking, so that they can think about what they want to say. This means they get interrupted a lot during the pauses. Talking on the phone can be rough and I find that I stop talking because I’m not able to take those pauses without someone trying to fill the emptiness.
And texting can be a challenge for me as well, oddly enough. I have a problem with returning texts. That should be the easiest thing for me, as it’s easier than meeting in person. Instead, a text comes through and either I’m in the middle of something else and not wanting to refocus on a text or I find that I’m not wanting to say the wrong thing or looking too needy, so I think on it waiting till I have the right thing to say, and then forget to text them back all together. This has been found to be a trait of introverts. I’ve learned that if I’m not going to answer right away, to add them to my daily to-do list, or to answer right away with an emoji or something, to show I got the text and am not ignoring them.
So, my preference in communication is emails. That certainly doesn’t work for everyone, as it’s not instant enough. I have to actually write people back or text them that I got the email and it may take me a bit to reply. This gives me time to think about how to respond. I’m slow.
Challenge 2 – Setting up an actual date
I love to chat online and miss the days of chat rooms and yahoo chat. They were more instant than the options I’m currently finding. I could have an instant conversation with someone and would spend hours doing so. But, at some point it would progress to meeting in person. I’d get nervous and excited. And really NOT wanting to do so. Do I have to? Well, yes, I do if I’m going to meet people. Plus, I’ve found that if I wait too long to set up an actual in person date, people tend to lose interest, thinking I’m not interested in them or are leading them on. It’s not true. It’s just that I’m having a hard time getting out the door, out of my comfort zone.
(continued in The Polyamory Dating Guide)