Dating for introverts can be frustrating, disappointing, and downright miserable! When you find it hard or even impossible to date, even though you’re lonely and hungry for a romantic connection, you have dating anxiety.
Actually most singles have at least a touch of Dating anxiety, even if they are not introverted! We get tongue tied and run the other way instead of saying hello to the attractive single guy at a wedding. Or put off meeting men with whom our friends want to set us up. We turn up our noses at the thought of trying online dating. When we actually go on that a blind date we get awkward or quiet or start babbling gibberish.
Dating for introverts usually means that the anxiety is full-blown. You may be paralyzed to the point where you can’t or don’t even try to jump into the pool of possible dating partners. And even if you do manage to date, negative thoughts lurk in your mind like boogey men, ruining any chance of you have of simply being ourselves or having a good time.
Dating for Introverts: Loneliness has its Price
And yet loneliness has its price. Research shows that it is associated with morning surges of the stress hormone, cortisol, elevated blood pressure, drinking more and exercising less and being more overweight. In one study on loneliness students were asked to “taste and evaluate cookies.” Half of them were told privately by researchers that they would have to do the experiment alone because, “No one wanted to work with them.” The other half were told that everyone wanted to work with them, but they still had to do the task alone. The ones who were told they were liked ate an average of 4.5 cookies. On the other hand, the students who were “rejected” ate an average of 9! Most of us understand the results of this experiment all too well.
But here’s the good news about dating for introverts.
You can conquer dating anxiety and all the shyness and anxiety around it. In fact, you can vanquish the fears that stand between you and the companionship, the relationship you truly want. You can tear down that wall of paralyzing thoughts and negative reactions and replace it with something entirely new—a relaxed (yes, I did say, “relaxed”) openness to the adventure of dating.
Hard to believe? Screw up your courage and give this powerful seven-step process a chance to set you free. It has helped me and thousands of others.
Step 1: Dating for Introverts: Harness the Power of Positive Self-Talk
If you’ve read my bestselling book, Love in 90 Days: The Essential Guide to Finding Your Own True Love, then you understand the power of positive self-talk and how practicing it daily can change your life. A large body of research has repeatedly shown the power of positive self-talk or affirmations. This technique has been used to lower stress and anxiety levels and heighten athletic and academic performance. As far as dating and meeting new people are concerned, studies have shown that people cope more easily when going into new social situations and are less likely to make downward social comparisons when they practice positive self-talk. In other words, those study participants who used affirmations before a new social encounter reduced their thoughts about being rejected, compared with another group that focused on the party and who would be there!
The first self-talk technique I’d like you to use is based on acceptance. Understand that you’re not alone. Most, if not all singles, have been through some form of dating anxiety. It’s OK to feel anxious, scared, intimidated, weird, or awkward. In fact, it’s OK to feel whatever you’re feeling. So I want you to say to yourself some variation of, “It’s OK that I am nervous,” or “Most everyone feels this way,” or “It’s normal to be intimidated by dating.”
Step 2: Dating for Introverts: Understand that mistakes are OK and could be majorly positive!
Tell yourself that falling flat on your face is part of the romantic process. Say some version of, “It’s normal to make mistakes.” That’s how you learn. You learn to walk by falling down. You learn to date by writing idiotic emails, sticking your foot in your mouth, and making clumsy, silly and just plain wrong moves. It’s OK. It’s just part of the process.
Besides, the right person will find those not-cool things endearing and adorable!
Practice saying things to yourself like, “My clumsiness is funny and fun.” “My nervousness is sweet.” “I am adorable;” “or “I can be real.”
Step 3: Dating for Introverts: Notice what is right about you
When you are going into a social situation, instead of noticing how tight your skirt is, the bags under your eyes, or the wrinkles on your face, change the focus of your attention. Stand in front of a full-length mirror and carefully notice what is right about the way you look. Describe three attractive attributes that you have to yourself. Say things like, “I have deep soulful eyes.” “My compassion lights up my face.” “I have beautiful ankles.”
“I look incredible in this dress.” Whatever positive self-affirmations ideas come to mind, say to yourself. Do not be modest or shy.
Step 4: Dating for Introverts: Get a Fairy Godmother
A specially trained coach can help you bring out your natural feminine magnetism and charisma. And help you to understand what to text, what to say and what to do in terms of being able to be real, have fun and meet great guys! It is like having a real-life fairy godmother! And working with introverted women is one of our coaching specialties. Sign up for a gift coaching session and you will love the results! We have helped tens of thousands of introverted women (and some men) do just that! Just click here to get your zero-cost session.
Step 5: Dating for Introverts: Use Mental Rehearsal to banish the fear
Take the helm of your own mind. You have to break the chains of association between dating and fearful thoughts and reactions.
Write down a fear hierarchy of dating situations or steps that range from least to most anxiety-provoking. Rate how much fear you experience thinking about each situation on an intensity scale of 1-10.
For example, if you feel mildly nervous about posting your photo and writing your profile (fear score=2); more nervous about emailing someone who looks interesting (fear score=3); even more nervous about meeting that person for coffee (fear score=5); you really worry about asking to see the person again (fear score=6); and you are terrified about making physical contact (fear score=8).
Practice relaxing by sitting in your favorite chair and meditating, or listening to soothing music, or a relaxation tape or whatever works to settle you down. This is critical. If you do not have a relaxation technique, you’ll have to learn one. Do deep breathing—that is, slow breathing from the belly area. Fold your hands together in your lap as an anchoring gesture that reminds your brain to relax. Start by picturing the least-feared situation in your hierarchy. Describe it as vividly as possible WHILE YOU ARE RELAXED. See the scene, hear the sounds, feel the feelings.
Dating for Introverts: Envision Happy Endings
If a scene involves another person, envision two happy endings to the encounter: it doesn’t work out and you fed at peace about it: or, it does work out, you’re seeing the person again and you feel happy and at peace about it. Practice this until your rating of anxiety associated with the scene goes down to 0. If you have trouble with this, go back to a scene just before the whole sequence started (e.g., in our example, eating dinner before you got ready to go online and post your photo). Then start again from that point.
Relax and practice this mental rehearsal exercise every day and move up the levels in your hierarchy until you have cleared away the anxiety from each step of the situation. Do not go on to the next level until you have cleared the previous one.
Step 6: Dating for Introverts: Take your Mental Rehearsal into more positives
Every day, take a few minutes, close your eyes and do one of the following exercises. Remember and think about an interaction with a guy where you felt great about yourself and your femininity. Imagine that you are in that state and meeting a new date for the first time. See his eyes light up, the smile on his face when he looks at you. Feel his warmth and hear the compliments he pays you. Or visualize being your not-cool self while an interesting partner chuckles, smiles, and really digs it. Imagine laughing, feeling connected and having a great time.
Research shows that you can actually rewire your brain by linking thoughts together. Brain researchers say that neurons that fire together, wire together. If you spend some time putting your full attention on imagining dating as an activity that makes you feel good this will tend to rewire your neural functioning!
Step 7: Dating for Introverts: Confront Your Fears IRL
Follow the lighthouse of fear to the land of mastery. You have to face and directly confront each level of the fear hierarchy you wrote down in Step Four. Practice your deep breathing and relax with folded hands to anchor yourself in a place of peace before you do each activity.
Following our example in Step Four, you would start by relaxing, breathing deeply with folded hands and then go to the computer to construct your profile. You would follow the same procedure before emailing any prospective partners and before meeting them for coffee, and so on.
You can practice this peaceful state even when you’re with your date. If dating anxiety flares up, try folding your hands, breathing more deeply and putting your attention on your breath. If the anxiety persists, stop, excuse yourself and go to the restroom. Then take a few moments and go back to envisioning the whole sequence of the activity from before you started. For example, go back to when you fed your dog before you got ready for the date. Envision yourself ending the date in peace, no matter which way it goes. Then, go back out there. You may find that a whole new level of relatedness opens up. Even if it doesn’t, that will be OK too.
Dating for Introverts: When Things Don’t Work Out
Understand it is normal and expected for things not to work out. Putting yourself out there in the dating world is a form of interpersonal training—you are learning and mastering the art of dating. For example, expect disappointment or rejection. It happens. When it does, you are that much closer to meeting your match.
And do not take rejection personally. If a guy doesn’t call or says it is not working, it is not personal to you. Dating appeal is very complex and is largely a matter of the man’s upbringing, biology (even scent plays a role!), relationship history and image of his perfect match.
Even if a relationship ends, give yourself a reward for succeeding. Because even though it didn’t work out with the last person, the bottom line is that you are moving yourself forward. You sent that email, made that call, went on that date. You put yourself out there and that’s what counts. Get a Caramel Macchiato, go shoe shopping, or call your best buddy who moved to Florida. After you do, hang out with loving friends or family.
So if you have difficulty with any of these steps or your dating anxiety still stops you, definitely sign up for a supportive, informative, inspirational coaching session as my gift to you. These gift sessions are like super charging your dating life for introverts!