Dear Dating Coach,
I am naturally reserved. I tend to spend my free time alone (although I have wonderful close friends) and feel most relaxed at home. I recently started dating and the process has been very difficult for me. There is so much talking. I know that a guy cannot possibly get to know me if I don’t talk and share, but it seems so inauthentic. I am an introvert. Even if I pretend to be “outgoing” I will still always be on the quiet side. Yet, the feedback from previous dates always centers around my being “too quiet.” I need some advice.
Our toddler has decided he is a dinosaur.
“You are not a dinosaur” my other children exclaim.
“Roar,” replies my toddler.
(No, fact checkers; I am not sure if dinosaurs actually roar.)
By day our toddler runs through the house, a dinosaur on the go, creating havoc and chasing humans. Certainly, the other dinosaurs would be proud of his commitment to their kind. Our little guyasaurus dances like a dinosaur, eats like a dinosaur (shockingly a dinosaur and a toddler have similar table manners), and plays like a dinosaur. (Of course, dinosaurs play; bone toss, ring around the fossil, and spin the triceratops.) Yet, every night after our tyrannosaurus has his bath and is snuggled in his nest, he looks up at me and without fail, whispers, “I not dinosaur, I boy.”
I am a Social Vegan.
Dating can be tough. Especially when you struggle with the need to share and communicate every single time you go out on a date. For an introvert, a date can feel like a huge obstacle that they are unable to scale. There is a lot of “talking” on dates. This is an important way to share who we are, what we believe in, and our hopes for the future with the person we have been set up with. Sure, over time, in your marriage, you may have periods of comfortable silence when you are together, but until then, talking is vital to moving forward. You feel that all this “communication” is inauthentic since you are not naturally gregarious. You want to be a successful dater but not at the expense of being your true self.
You can do this.
There are two parts to connecting on a date when you have a hard time making conversation with someone new. The first is preparation. Prepare for your dates like you would for an exam or a project. Read up on current events and choose interesting stories to discuss. Think of personal anecdotes that you could share that offer a glimpse into who you are. Planning conversation might feel strange initially, but instead it will relieve any potential awkwardness. Your preparation will offer quick and easy conversation to fill silences that have otherwise plagued your dates.
Next, remember that making a connection with a date is not just about your willingness to share, but also your willingness to listen. Show interest in your date by asking them questions about themselves and their lives. This will give them the chance to talk, and will still showcase your interest in forging a connection. Asking your date pertinent and valuable questions will give you organic conversation that should flow more naturally.
I Avoid Meet.
And remember this; It is not inauthentic to work harder than you normally do to share. It is not inauthentic to talk when you might otherwise be quiet. This is your commitment to dating and to finding your match. This is you putting your best self forward with effort and determination. You can be a great dater who has meaningful conversations on a date and still be you, miss introvert, when you go to bed that night.