An Introvert Asks: First dates for introverts?

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An introvert emailed me this question, and I think it’s one that a lot of single introverts or singles who would like to date an introvert may wonder about:

I was just wondering if anyone had good ideas for what to do on a first date. I find the traditional dinner and a movie or coffee dates to be really uncomfortable since I feel like I have to constantly be talking. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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35 Comments

  1. The traditional dinner-and-a-movie is a terrible idea for anyone’s first date. It brings in baggage from all the past dinner-and-a-movie dates both people have had (and heard about and seen on TV), and puts pressure on them to make it “work.” If one is buying, the other may feel pressured to reciprocate in some way. The guy is wondering when/if to put his arm around her in the theater; the girl is wondering what he’s going to expect after. And it’s bound to be worse for introverts, since we can’t just babble our way through the awkwardness.

    So stay away from the whole “date” paradigm. Save official dates for after you get to know someone and reach a certain comfort level. Until then, do stuff you enjoy, and invite him/her along. Say, “Hey, I’m going fishing/shopping/dogwalking this afternoon; wanna go with?” No pressure, no specific expectations; and since you’re doing something you like, you’ll be able to be more talkative than you would be in the middle of a restaurant trying to come up with conversation topics. You’ll be more interesting, too.

    • I emphatically disagree with some of the main points of this post. Movies are cliche and kitschy but there is nothing wrong with dates, or dinner dates specifically. It is a great chance to show her where you enjoy to eat, it signals things about you that don’t normally arise until later when you have sunk time and money.

      Dinner I consider to be a great ‘no pressure’ situation. All you can do to screw it up is say the wrong thing but for the first date I don’t know anyone who will hold it against you. Activity dates involve considerably more room to fuck up or even hurt them. Dinner dates are great to scope out whether or not you want to pursue a more close relationship in my opinion. I also just like food though so.

  2. Personally, I think doing some sort of activity together where you can talk, but you can also focus on the activity you’re doing, instead of making conversation with the person doing it, is ideal. Say, a walk, a bike ride, or some sort of crafting activity. Personally, I’d like the movie idea because you can talk, but you don’t have to talk much, and you have an automatic topic of conversation. Plus, you can gauge the taste of your companion!
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  3. I totally agree with Aaron and Heather. It’s a lot easier to do something together, rather than sit face-to-face and try to make small talk. Even if this is someone you’ve talked to in the past, it’s just too much pressure on the conversation. One time (years ago, LOL) a nice introvert surprised me with an afternoon trail ride at a place where there were rental horses. With plenty to do and see, we never felt the need to babble awkwardly, yet talking came easily and naturally as we rode our horses. Not everyone will like horses, of course, but he just happened to know that I’d ridden a lot as a teenager so he arranged the ride as a nice surprise for one of our first dates.

  4. Well, that’s a tough one. You could do the movie thing, but I really like the horse ride suggestion. Of course you can’t just ride a horse anywhere in the city. I think if you find someone who is similar to you (i.e., also an introvert), you could do just about anything and get along fine. More info like this at willieverfindlove.net.
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  5. I’ve always thought going to a museum would be a nice first date. One of my favorite places to be is the museum of natural history near my home. It’s usually quiet- unless you encounter the kiddies on fieldtrips. There are things to look at so you’re not pressured to constantly talk or even look at one another for hours on end (as you would in a dinner), but it’s not so distracting that you can actually get into a good, deep conversation. That, and you can leave whenever you want. No waiting for the dinner check or the movie to end. Admittedly, I’ve never been on a date to a museum (my dating experience is extremely limited), but it’s definitely one that appeals to me above most other ideas.

    • M, what a wonderful idea! It’s something you can do together, talking as much or as little as you want, and no forced hour(s) of eye contact. Something about a very first date sitting across the table from each other and even the shortest lull can start to feel awkward.

      • Thank you!
        Dinner dates can be especially awkward if you’re like me and can’t think of a single thing to say. At the same time, going to a movie has never been anything but a disaster for me as far as first dates go. Sitting next to the person and saying absolutely nothing is just as awkward, in my opinion. Museums are a good way to avoid all of that. ;)

    • Be wary of anything new to you at the museum, if you’re dealing with an ESFJ. Many don’t understand the concept of needing processing time and don’t really like abstractions. The museum could end up being worse, since you won’t be able to cover your slow response by chewing your dinner or changing the subject! Good luck.

  6. What a great question! And some equally great answers. I’ll throw in my own suggestions. How about:

    - going to the zoo
    - attending a semi-pro sports game (pros are too expensive for a first date)
    - walking through a botanical garden.
    - canoeing / boating
    - going to an art gallery
    - attending a community play

  7. I’ve spent many hours pondering this exact question.

    And ultimately, I think it all comes back to just doing something fun. There are too many landmines to try and avoid on a conversation-centric date.

    I’ve never tried this out personally, but I think bowling would be a great one. Who doesn’t enjoy getting to smash stuff repeatedly with big heavy balls? :P

    All of this also depends on who you’re asking. An introvert asking an extrovert to a museum wouldn’t go over very well, I don’t think. Much the same way an extrovert asking an introvert to a rock concert wouldn’t be such a hot idea either. That’s why I’m a big fan of bowling…it’s a very personality neutral activity. A little friendly competition never hurt either.

    Zeroing in on the other person’s interests would be a good place to start. Doubly so if an introvert is on the receiving end of the invitation.

  8. I suggest going to a concert or sporting event or other kind of performance. You can talk and make comments if you want to or you can just sit back and watch the show.

  9. I believe, no matter what activity you engage in on the first date, you have to talk at some point. Conversation just can’t be avoided when you’re trying to relate to another human being.

    So if you’re the kind of person who’s hard-pressed to come up with stuff to talk about, I think that the best thing you can do in the days/hours leading up to the date is to just read up a little on a bunch of different things: world news, sports, weather, fashion, technology, science, literature, music, movies, TV, politics, religion (even though I realize these latter 2 topics should be initially avoided). So that no matter what topic comes up during the date, you’ll feel confident that you have something interesting to contribute…

    And if that date doesn’t develop into anything like a relationship, at least you’re now more well-rounded as an individual.
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  10. I am not a “date” guy (infact I don’t tend to use that word because it causes me to become self-conscious, I just say wanna go somewhere and tell people I’m going out with a girl), I can talk to a girl easily if it is just typical talking e.g. about the day, movies, music, books, etc, and I can do things with females, but as soon as the whole “date” word comes into play and other typical social norms (e.g. flirting) for furthering a relationship come into play, I go blank and can’t think of anything to say and then get self-conscious because I can’t do all the typical social norm nonsense that alot of people are generally use to. There are times when I have succeeded but those weren’t times where I felt forced to interact a certain way, and I was just myself. So with it being very hard for me to do typical interactions to further a relationship with a girl, I tend to do different things then what is typical for someone my age (20), I tend to do the type of things people do when they are 14 e.g. going to themeparks, carnivals, bowling, cinema (I have never understood the whole problem people have with movie dates, even extroverts, I prefer going to the movies on a “date”), etc. I have never been on a “dinner date” (other then when I was younger and I was in town with my then girlfriend and we stopped off to eat at McDonalds, it was terrible, I am a confident person so I must of come across very strangely to her, espcially as while on the bus home I was back to my normal self. At this time I had no idea I might be introverted) the only “dinner date” I’ve had is going to barbecues.

    I like the idea of going to a museum or art gallery, I normally prefer to do those things alone (therefore I can spend as little or as much time in there as I like) but I find it to be an interesting location for a “date” (at least to try once), as I would enjoy relating my opinions and views of the artworks, statues, etc, plus it gets me a good chance to see whether I could ever be in a relationship with the girl.

    I would advise 1st dates that don’t necessarily need alot of talking, other then the usual getting to know you stuff and pop culture chat. These are unavoidable subjects that start the understanding of each other (and further understanding if you already know the person) and whether you wish to go further.

  11. Lawrence Garcia on

    I would really think the best way to go for a first date is to ask your date what she/he think. Talk to her on the phone or even personally and plan it. First impression lasts. So plan ahead and think it over. It’s really not with the place but with the setting itself. If you two agree and love to go a move then go for it.

  12. I think that these suggestions are great — museum, amusement/theme park, carnival, art gallery.

    However, I am wondering if these are ideas that an extravert would enjoy.

    It’s been my experience that most extraverts do not experience anywhere close to the amount of enjoyment that most introverts receive engaging in the aforementioned activities.

  13. I don’t know if you’d consider this as a date, but we both had a good time spending our evening together!

    It was his idea of course – my extrovert introvert friend. Actually, I was going to buy a book and when I told him this, he volunteered to accompany me. So it started with that and went into a “getting to know each other more” zone afterwards. The latter part took place in a quiet semi-fine dinning restaurant, with the Chinese tea and the elegant food – y’ know, the “works”. We talked and laughed at our faults and ups under the serene ambiance the place creates. It was a simple dinner yet meaningful and relieving. The fact that we got to converse with each other in a comfortable way (as we ate our dinner comfortably, too ;) ) made it an A+.

    Another “getting to know each other” took place later that week under the same condition, with the serene venue and a good topic! What can simply go wrong?

  14. I wouldn’t go for a dinner either. It would require more talking. If you’re a guy, you may need to initiate the conversation so not a good one for an introvert. Maybe a movie can be a good idea even if its a cliche. Just ask your date which movie he or she wants to see so that he or she can enjoy your movie date and there’s no need for you to talk a lot.

  15. perfect date would be to go to a concert… loud music would keep you from having a normal conversation the the electric in the room is energizing and fun… you wanna have a fun date so she will want to see you again. When she does want to talk she will have to lean in close to speak into her ear… perfect time to steel a kiss… the trick is to find a good band that you know she will like… good luck.

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