This article is for those who have found an introverted friend or lover, after reading Part 1.
Once you have found your possible partner there are a number of factors you must keep in mind when preparing to meet. Here are some pointers for this blossoming stage of dating an introvert:
#1 Don’t procrastinate.
Get out into the real world. Escape from your imagination. Many people misrepresent themselves online, both knowingly and unknowingly. Meet your possible partner as soon as you feel comfortable – to avoid disappointing yourself because of illusion. There is no rule that dictates when you should decide to meet your online amor. As a guideline, don’t rush into meeting, but don’t leave it to 6 months either. Make sure your friendship is firm and constantly deepening for a couple of months and see how you feel about meeting.
Ensure you gather as much knowledge, insight and understanding about your possible partner as possible in the first online stage. This is very important as you need to know what and who you are getting involved with. It is unlikely candid online chat is going to be an option after you meet, so use your time wisely online. If you want a serious non-fling relationship, you need friendship, not flirt. It’s better to save flirting for later stages.
#2 Ask all the brutal questions.
This is absolutely essential. Find out about the dark, poisonous side of your possible partner. We all have them. The trouble is that we don’t like thinking about them, and the natural impulse is to avoid such red-raw topics when talking to a possible partner. But resist the urge to give into fluffy unrealistic butterflies-and-angels talk with your possible partner. Open communication must be established from the start. This will embed a flow of honesty in your relation with the other.
Remember that you must also reciprocate – you must be willing to share your dark qualities as well. The more you give, the more you will find that you get, so be honest about yourself. Finally, try to refrain from judgmentalism and skepticism about your possible partner. The perfect partner free of faults is an unrealistic dream, what you must do is free yourself and embrace the nitty gritty – within reason of course. Wanting to emotionally attach yourself to a pyromaniacal bomb-making mastermind may not be the wisest of decisions.
In my experience, asking difficult questions and exchanging difficult answers was extremely rewarding. Yes, it opens you to emotional vulnerability by exposing yourself, but it also builds a strong foundation of trust and openness between the two of you. It’s reassuring to know that you’re not living in a romanticized dreamworld by knowing the others faults. But also be aware that you won’t find all the person’s faults just by asking.
The questions and responses are only a taste test. Often times many people are oblivious to their own flaws, only knowing a few. I may tell you that I’m bossy, but may not necessarily know that I have an annoying habit of flatulating all the time. Therefore, don’t expect to find certainty and security in what may be said. There are always surprises along the way. But isn’t life the same? And doesn’t the beauty lie in the uncertainty?
Depending on your beliefs and values, the following questions may be useful in helping you to get an idea of what to ask. Most of them I have used myself:
- What do you think are your worst physical qualities?
- What would you consider are your biggest personality flaws?
- Did you have any bad relationships experiences?
- Are you a virgin?
- Tell me about all of your crushes.
- Have you ever tried/ are you involved in any drugs?
- Do you drink alcohol/ how often do you drink alcohol?
- What are some of your most disgusting habits?
- What things have you regretted the most in your life so far?
- What’s the biggest mistake that you have ever made?
In order to ask personal, and at times tough questions, it is better to introduce them slowly after the first week. You don’t want to overwhelm and interrogate your possible partner.
This can’t be stressed enough. As much as I don’t want to make this sound like you must adopt the un-romantic Freudian role of cross-analyzing your possible partner – similar to some kind of specimen – you must try to understand them as much as possible. You need to have a good insight into what your possible partner says and does and why. To do this, you need to operate in an analytical mindset, something that occurs easily to some and more difficult to others, such as myself. Even so, it is important to analyze in order to discover any ‘red flags’ which may pop up. Red flags are those certain negative verbal and behavioral characteristics which reveal unhealthy and destructive thinking patterns. These can be damaging to any relationship, and through time can slowly eat away at your relation, creating problems and undermining your connection with the other. A couple of examples of red flags are:
- Self-depreciation and self-put-downs. “I fail at everything. I’m such an idiot! I always do that.” If you hear the same kind of negative self-talk repeatedly, this is a red flag and must be explored. If a person doesn’t like themselves, how are they to genuinely like others? If they can’t appreciate their own strengths, how can they appreciate those of others? Low self-esteem is very poisonous to relationships. Why do they seek your love and companionship if they don’t respect or like themselves? Perhaps because they possess deep-rooted feelings of neediness and desperation, or perhaps because they feel they can ‘do no better’ ? Red flags like these must be explored and worked on together if you are truly serious about establishing a firm and healthy relation.
- Lack of commitment. For instance; they never finished school, they dropped out of university, they move on quickly from interest to interest and one hobby to another, they find it hard to finish books, and persevere with other leisure activities, they constantly change houses and move to new places never seeming to settle. All of these equal the red flag. It is worth questioning their level of commitment and stimulation seeking. Are you just another novelty to them? How much commitment will they have with you?
The more you think about your possible partner, the more likely you will find a red flag. The more red flags you find, the more likely you will avoid a lot of pain, a lot of stress and a lot of conflict by mindfully addressing these issues in the beginning. Psychoanalysis applies to yourself as well. You need to discover what you want out of life, your boundaries and limits, your values, weaknesses and strengths. A Greek philosopher once said ‘know thyself’. It’s a beautiful thing to grow in understanding of ourselves and those we love mutually.
If you found this article helpful, please feel free to comment below and share any of your thoughts or opinions!