This article is for those who want to meet their introverted friend or lover, after reading Part 2.
As the inevitable end to your online escapade, you will at some time or another wish to meet your special person – as much as that makes you want to hyperventilate against your computer screen repeatedly, crunching the mouse to dust in your sweaty palms. Even so, the possibility of dating an introvert is an exciting thing. Here are some tips and things to be mindful of during this important time:
Before the day.
1. Distract Yourself.
Try not to give the day too much focus and thought, (as difficult as this is). Believe me, meeting someone for the first time is not only nerve-wracking, but mind wracking as well. Thinking too much about your special day will both increase your level of anxiety and also contribute to any sense of disappointment you may or may not come away with after the day. It is very easy to daydream about the day, creating unrealistic expectations and fantasies of what the person will truly be like, and also jumping to the opposite end and dream of all that could go wrong. Be wary not to do this – the future does not exist yet. Try distracting yourself with intensive chores or housework, tasks, hobbies, (if you’re social) friends, or your job. The less thought you give to the day, the more relaxed and open you will be both physically and mentally to whatever comes.
2. Make It Public.
Most essentially, you need to know where you will meet. If the place isn’t busy – don’t bother. You need to organize to meet at a place and time full of people. This could mean meeting midday at a local metro music store, or an art museum in the city. Although it may seem inconceivably implausible and utterly unthinkable, you don’t want to find out any nasty surprises on the day, walking directly into dangers way and discovering your 23 year old sweetheart is actually a 45 year old lunatic. You must prepare for every possibility – a little bit of caution is necessary and beneficial. The more people, the safer you will be. Similarly, do not accept a ride from them. No matter how much you feel you click or how much you believe you know or trust them, make a promise to yourself to keep yourself safe. Organize other transport means independent of anyone else.
3. Choose An Active Activity.
In reality, there is no way of truly knowing whether you will still have the same chemistry you have on the internet in real life. This is where the dilemma of disappointment comes into the picture. Because you can’t know whether you will be able to speak intimately and unreservedly for hours on end, you need to choose an activity that the two of you can do together the first time you meet. The activity must preoccupy you both enough so that your attention is not entirely on the other to avoid overwhelming and inundation, but be open enough to allow you to communicate. For instance: the museum, the art gallery, miniature golf, or the zoo are good examples of ideal places to first meet. Bowling is another good example – in fact, the first social anxiety meetup I ever organized was hosted in a bowling alley. Bad examples of places to meet are at the movie theater, or at a cafe or restaurant. Avoid activities which provide too much face-to-face stimulation at first, or too little.
4. Tell Someone.
The theme of the pre-preparation for your big day is almost unquestionable safety. This extends to telling someone where you will be going and also when you will be back, or when you will ring them. It is up to you whether to reveal the fact that you are meeting someone from the internet. Many people feel uncomfortable about this, feeling they will be judged negatively for transgressing the traditional method of friend making and meeting lovers. Preferably – be open and let someone know where you will be and what time you will expect to return – just in case you don’t. Yes, this is morbid, but remember that you must prepare for every possibility.
5. Street Suave.
As a socially un-savvy soul, I’m not a big believer in dress codes. However, for those that are, many dating advice articles recommend that a smart-casual approach to appearance is ideal. Think well-groomed worked clothes mixed with casual clothes such as jeans and blouses. After all up to 55% of attraction lies in our physical appearance. It’s worth something isn’t it?
6. Dropkick The Fear.
Vigorous exercise is an excellent way to alleviate the inevitable anxiety that comes with meeting your special person for the first time. Not only has exercise been proven to soothe depression, but according to Mayo Clinic exercising helps to relieve anxiety by releasing feel-good chemicals such as endorphins, getting rid of harmful chemicals of the immune system, and heating up your body temperature which soothes and calms the body – all providing the perfect distraction from anxious feelings and thoughts. Finally, remember: you aren’t the only person feeling nervous! Your friend could be feeling equal or even greater degrees of anxiety than what you are!
During The Day
1. The Time Of Arrival?
The time you arrive is very important – it can determine how much preparation you give yourself, versus how little. Really, it is up to you and what you function better with. If you want to take control of any nerves you may be feeling, you need to decide to arrive either early or a little bit late. Do you prefer to psyche yourself up and plan what you may say and arrive early? Or do you prefer throwing yourself into your meetup, let what comes come spontaneously, and hold a “don’t think just do” philosophy?
2. The Greeting.
What is the best way to first greet? What will your first ever real life face-to-face in the flesh words be to your special person? To some this is not very important, but to others who want to make their (possible) relationship special from the very beginning, first words are vitally important. Once again, choosing first words comes down to whether you prefer thoughtful planning or spontaneity. They also depend on how well you fell you know each other, how long you have been in contact, and how romantically involved you are. This means that your greeting could include anything from a smile and a cordial greeting, to a joke, a hug or a quick kiss on the cheek. You need to consider what would be most appropriate for you.
3. The Conversation.
Will it be awkward? Will it be fascinating? Expect that to some extent, conversation will be a little bit awkward at first. You can hardly plan the conversations you will have with the other (it’s a bit uninspiring), but it’s a good idea to have one back-up subject or conversation piece to help create a flow of communication if you find it is disjointed or awkward. This is really simple – just think of one thing you can talk about freely.
For example: you could comment on the surroundings and ask a question, e.g. “look how massive this place is! What is the best direction to go do you think? Would it be a good idea to go to the African display?” Or you could make your topic more personal, e.g. “ice skating has always freaked me out – remember when I told you my mum was a finalist in the Olympics? Well I wish she could see you now – how do you do this so easily?” Or if you introverted friend is more reserved and is forgetting to share a lot about themselves, try bringing up topics and personal information they have shared in the past, so as to not interrogate them too much in the present.
This is important to remember: if your friend is uncommunicative (as some introverts at first may be) use past online conversations to create present real life conversations. Of course, this is assuming that you are more ‘outgoing’, but even if you aren’t, the same rule applies. An example is “remember when you told me that you like Doctor Who? Well, I watched the latest episode last night, and I really liked _______” There is always the possibility that you will be delighted with your first few conversations, but if you aren’t don’t give up.
Anxiety, shyness and the natural reservedness some introverts have can make it difficult to have satisfactory conversations at first. Remember: they must have a fascinatingly rich personality and inner world if you decided to meet them. Slowly, with persistence, you will be let in entirely.
4. The Body Language.
To understand body language is an invaluable skill. Not only will body language help you to learn how to present yourself as being open and friendly, but it will help you to decipher how your friend is truly feeling. Are they feeling uncomfortable, or bored, or are they feeling excited or flirtatious. If you read Sol’s body language articles, you will be equipped with an excellent tool both for your first meeting, and all your subsequent ones. You’ll be able to tell what you are doing well and what you aren’t (such as if you’re being too overwhelming). The following article is recommended for reading first: The Beginners Guide to Body Language.
End Of The Day
1. How to Extend Or End Your Day.
How tired are you? How much fun are you having? How bored or overwhelmed are you? If you are having so much fun that you don’t want the day to end, it is a good indication that your friend is feeling the same way as well. To make sure, ask your friend (and possible partner), if they would like to continue. Judge how eager or grudgingly polite their response may be by observing their body language. Are they sending positive or negative signals?
Remember: they may not be feeling what you feel – but if not, don’t take it personally. They may just be tired, or inundated. Remember to quickly alert the person you have told where you will be if you stay longer.
If you aren’t enjoying yourself on the other hand, you can cut short your day by using one simple trick. This trick requires forethought and fore-action. If you are feeling doubtful about your meetup, or want the security of knowing you can leave prematurely whenever you want, try bringing your mobile phone. Either ask some friend or family member to text you every 30 minutes, or program your phone to sound an alert every half an hour, and turn the volume up high. This way, you can pull out your phone and make a comment along the lines of “it looks like I need to go now – I just got this message. Thanks for coming – see you around.” Make sure you turn your volume to low at the beginning – give it a chance if you feel doubtful. Turn the volume up later – but only if you have to. On the other hand, you can choose the more confronting method of telling them candidly that you need to go. Thanks for meeting… but I want to go now.
2. How To Show That You’re Interested … Or Aren’t.
As daunting as this is, it’s very easy to do. Just consider the following tips to dating an introvert, or not dating:
- Be open and tell them how you feel directly. Being clear helps you avoid misunderstandings at such a delicate time. e.g. “I’ve had such an exciting day with you. I’m so happy to have finally met you, even though I was shy at first. Do you think we could meet again sometime?”
- Be mindful of body language, e.g. don’t cross your arms (defensive), but do touch them gently on the shoulder, or even hug them. Be careful not to overwhelm them.
- Thank them for meeting with you, but tie up the open end, e.g. “thanks for coming along today. Take care”. The point is to remove the possibility of taking things further.
- If they are interested to meet again, but you aren’t – thank them for the day and say that maybe you can get together online again and chat. You may not gain a lover, but you may gain a friend. The point is to emphasize that you just want to be friends.
- If you are interested but they aren’t, and seem to avoid answering your questions about wanting to meet again, don’t take it personally. They may be tired, socially drained, or inundated, as many introverts easily get. But once re-cooperated and reliving the day, they may very well be eager to meet again. Give them time and space. End the day by organizing to chat online/over the phone.
- Always be mindful of body language, both to emphasize how you feel and to more accurately judge how the other is feeling.
If you found this article helpful, please feel free to comment below and share any of your opinions!