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Good day, Intellectual Badasses! It’s Day 25 of 30 Days of Dating Advice for IBs. I want to talk a bit about how to approach dating if you’re shy or introverted. Not all Intellectual Badasses are shy or introverted, and not all shy/introverted people are IBs. But if you happen to fit into both categories – and many IBs do – dating can be more challenging for you.

First, it’s important to differentiate between introversion and shyness. Introversion refers to being an “internal” person, rather than an “external” person. To quickly summarize, introverts tend to think more, talk less, and find being around lots of people over-stimulating after a while. Shyness, on the other hand, refers more to social inhibition, where the shy person hangs back out of fear of doing/saying something foolish or garnering too much attention. Often, the two constructs overlap. And, the advice I offer here will, for the most part, apply to either one.

Dating requires attracting, approaching, meeting, and interacting with new people. It means getting to know them and letting them get to know you, and finding that thing you both connect on. And why introversion can influence many aspects of your dating life, here’s one significant way it can limit you:

 Introverted and shy people often give off the wrong signals.

How to they do this? Because of their introversion or shyness, they may:

  • Hang out on the periphery of a party
  • Smile less than an extrovert would
  • Make less eye contact
  • Avoid approaching others
  • Wait for others to approach them
  • Be poker-faced, or otherwise difficult to read
  • Talk little in a conversation

What do all these things convey to someone who doesn’t know better? That you’re uninterested and/or unfriendly. And if you come off unfriendly and uninterested, you will get fewer approaches, fewer people talking to you, and fewer dates.

That’s the thing about the shy or introverted – they can come off like they don’t give a shit or seem utterly unavailable. And god help you if you’re introverted AND good-looking – few people will talk to you because they’re convinced someone as attractive as you has options.

I learned some of this in my own life. I’m an introvert with a shy streak, and it took me far too long to realize how unapproachable I appeared at times. People told me I was hard to get to know. Men told me I was intimidating (until they got to know me). I learned that whether or not people talked to me depended heavily on ME and the signals I have off. Since learning that, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a risk and walked up to a quiet, attractive person (male or female) and watched them transform into a friendly, nice person who was nothing like he/she appeared. In the vast majority of cases, the risk paid off.

So if you’re introverted or shy, you can wait for someone like me to take a chance on you… or you can adjust your body language or conversational skills to make sure you convey the friendliness and interest you actually feel.

Try it, and report back to us on what happens!


Some useful links:

Recap: 30-Day IB Campaign

Christie’s books