Things you shouldn't do when dating an introvert

So you're thinking of dating an introvert? Actually making their acquaintance may be the first hurdle you face. While it's always difficult, at least in the early stages of dating, to be the one who makes first contact, sends that first text, issues the first invitation, or in any other way breaks the ice, this is almost an impossibility even to contemplate for an introvert, much less to pull off. If two introverts ever manage to get together, this must be a true miracle — or possibly, it means that there's been a little necessary behind-the-scenes matchmaking from some of their more extroverted friends.

As the introvert-focused website Introvert, Dear makes clear, though, just because an introvert can't seem to work up the nerve to start a conversation with you, doesn't mean that they're not dying to get to know you better. You will probably need to learn to pick up on some of the more subtle signals they may be sending your way — a look, a smile, some intense listening — but once you catch on to what's really going on, never doubt that the introvert's interest in you is real, even if they're not expressing it at the top of their lungs. If you actually want to start dating, however, there are certain precautions you're going to have to take.

Don't rush to judgment when dating an introvert

Once you do manage to make a date with an introvert, don't expect that the two of you will just "click" right away. No matter how into you the introvert may be, they will still need some time before they can really open up. What's more, anyone who's introverted may be a little out of practice with the whole dating scene. This could be especially true if you and your introvert are a somewhat older couple, since a study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science shows that social interactions tend to peak at around age 25 and will drop off rather sharply after that point. This is true for anybody, but introverts, especially, may have a tendency to keep to themselves more and more as they grow older.

If you can keep from writing your chosen introvert off after those first few awkward encounters, your patience will very likely be rewarded in time. As the introvert starts to feel more relaxed around you, they may come to surprise you with their intelligence, humor, thoughtfulness, empathy, and numerous other once-hidden attributes. In fact, you may feel honored by the fact that you're likely to be one of the few people to see this side of your not-so-social companion.

Don't push the introvert you're dating to party

In the early stages of dating, it is likely that you'll need to be the one acting as the social director and activity planner, since an introvert may be too shy to tell you exactly what they would like to do or even to drop too many hints. When considering your date night options, you'll need to try to the best of your ability to see things through the introvert's eyes. Loud, crowded dance club? Sold-out concert? Trendy, jam-packed restaurant? Party with 500 of your closest friends? No, no, no, and hell no.

As publisher Simon & Schuster's Tips on Life & Love notes, introverts don't always tolerate much in the way of external stimuli like loud music and bright lights. What's more, the larger the group in which an introvert finds themselves, the quieter the introvert is likely to be, as they may feel they're being swallowed up whole by a crowd. If you're still in the getting-to-know-you stage, it's especially important that your dates involve spending one-on-one time in a quieter, more intimate setting than any of the ones described above.

Don't let dates drag on too long if you're with an introvert

Even if you're dating an introvert who is just crazy about you, they still need some downtime to decompress. As a popular t-shirt slogan puts it: "Introverts Unite! We're here, we're uncomfortable, and we want to go home." It's not your company — it's just the mere fact of being out of the house too long that introverts find uncomfortable. If the evening drags on for too long, you may find your date becoming more and more reserved, even taciturn. No, they don't mean to be rude and they're not losing interest; they are just worn out and experiencing something Introvert, Dear calls "that dreaded introvert hangover." Better to cut the evening short, and plan another get-together for as soon as the introvert is willing. That way, they will have the time to go home and recharge, and you can both fully enjoy each other's company the next time you meet up.