"An introvert is an individual who is fueled more by solitary time than by turning attention outward into social gatherings," says Carla Marie Manly, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of Date Smart: Transform Your Relationships and Love Fearlessly. These folks often just need to be alone in order to recharge. So while extroverts may naturally feel energized and enlivened as a result of social interactions such as going on dates, the same may leave many (but not all!) introverts feeling drained and depleted. And during the season largely characterized by darkness and cold, which can be draining and depleting in its own right, winter dates for introverts are extra-necessary.
That's largely because depending on where you live, doing anything in the winter is no easy feat—and that includes dating (in the midst of the pandemic, no less). "Given that there are fewer opportunities of outdoor gatherings, wintertime often seems to present fewer dating venue options. Winter is [also] filled with important holidays that can feel very charged and pressure-filled for those who are dating. From Thanksgiving and Christmas through to Valentine’s Day, wintertime dating can present a host of stressful potential landmines," says Dr. Manly.
While those aforementioned holidays are often marked by large crowds and big parties that aren't necessarily an introvert's cup of tea, there is an upside to the season chill in the realm of dating: The winter can be the perfect time to get to know someone slowly and intimately without having to go out all the time, and introverts tend to enjoy more one-on-one time as opposed to big gatherings. It’s often best for these folks to date in environments that cater to emotional comfort as a means to facilitate feelings of safety that may give way to vulnerable conversations. "Winter can promote introvert preferences, and an invitation to share coffee or to watch a vintage film will be more tempting this time of year," says Laurie Helgoe, PhD, psychologist and author of Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength.
Furthermore, these date venues and environments tend to better facilitate meaningful conversations than large crowds or bars. Since introvert daters may have a hard time with superficial small talk, this is key, says eHarmony relationship expert, Laurel House. Small talk may be the norm for extroverted daters, who can run through classic "get to know you" questions with ease, but introverts may prefer conversations with depth to "create a connection that is more substantial and enduring and can help to quickly reveal if two people are a match or not," House says. So basically, avoid "what do you do for work" and opt for "what makes you happy in life?"
3 general best practices for dating an introvert
1. Ask how much emotional and mental energy they have for a particular event before going
If they're up for an event, consider an option like a film, show, or performance. These ideas limit the pressure to talk on demand and provide material to discuss afterwards.
2. Have conversations, but don't conduct interviews
Ask about your date's favorite books, topics, places, music, or films, and allow for quiet time to think and reflect between responses rather than bombarding them with interview-style, rapid-fire questions. That can be stressful for anyone, after all.
3. Be respectful of boundaries
It's important to know their preferences and limits, and they should know yours as well. Be respectful and kindly nudge each other toward the borders of your comfort zones—whether that's finding peace in moments of silence (for an extrovert) or a taste for spontaneity (for an introvert).
10 winter dates for introverts
In general, anything you can do by yourself would make a great date for an introvert. So, feel free to get creative with that information in mind. "First think about what vibe you’re going for, whether that means romantic, playful, aspirational, or emotional. Then create a date idea around that," says House. Here are a few ideas:
1. A new museum exhibition
2. Lunch at your favorite neighborhood spot
3. A walk in a local park (bundle up!)
4. Going ice-skating
5. Watching a sports game together on television
6. Seeing a movie, either in a theater or at one of your homes
7. Sledding or having a snowball fight
8. Cooking a new recipe together or taking a virtual cooking class.
9. Taking a paint-and-sip class
10. Having a picnic indoors at home, basket and all, to conjure sunnier days
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