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Personality-Based Dating Tips


Whether you’re shy and reserved or outgoing to the point of obnoxiousness, meeting — and dating — is challenging for everybody. Here, we’ve got customized tips for both extroverts and introverts.

By Matt Schneiderman

or introverts, dating can be challenging, requiring the pursuit of chit-chat with strangers and occasionally making the first move. Extroverts, too, can have problems when it comes to dating, particularly if they are unaccustomed to casual meet-ups and otherwise shun quiet moments. But both can cultivate aspects of their opposite personality types in order to enhance their dating lives using these tips.

Dating Advice for Introverts
Solitary pursuits and alone time energize you, whereas large gatherings feel draining. Given the
Practice engaging with people you don’t know well — or at all.
choice, your ideal date would be an intimate tête-à-tête as opposed to a raucous party. And though some may describe you as shy, you’re fully capable of opening up in the right company. For you, a little bit of extroversion will go a long way towards showcasing your true self.

Practice engaging with people you don’t know well — or at all — in conversation until you get more comfortable doing so. Talk about the weather with the counter person while you grab coffee; smile at the restaurant server and ask how his or her day is going; walk over to a quiet coworker’s desk to say hello. Involve yourself in a social or volunteer activity and pursue opportunities to talk with your fellow participants about what you’re doing. Getting accustomed to chatting with people in general will help you feel more comfortable making small talk with someone you’re interested in romantically. Consider enrolling in a public speaking class: “It gets you in front of people in a structured situation where you’ll get a lot of helpful feedback,” says Irina Firstein, a New York City-based psychotherapist.

During the time leading up to a first date, read up on subjects that interest you to prepare yourself for small talk. “It is a good idea to have some questions in mind,” says Firstein. “Think of topics that are important to you to talk about.” Plan small; suggest a meeting for coffee or a walk together. Dress interestingly: “Wear attractive clothing that reflects who you are,” says Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex, and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage. “If you like travel, wear a shirt, scarf, tie, or jewelry from another country. It will help start conversations.” And before you head out, take a few moments to relax and visualize how you want the date to go.

On the date, focus on what you think of the other person — what you like, in particular — rather than worrying about what your date is thinking about you. “Notice what’s interesting or attractive about what your date is wearing and compliment it,” says Tessina. State your opinions without fear of being disagreed with and be prepared to discuss them. Allow for awkward silences — they’re natural. If you’re nervous, mention it — expressing your feelings will dissipate some of the discomfort and strengthen your connection. And
Resist the impulse to march right in and introduce yourself.
continue to relax while letting things progress naturally, but be bold and take the initiative when you’re given the appropriate cues to do so.

Dating Advice for Extroverts
Interacting with others charges you up. Most nights you prefer a social evening with a group than relaxing at home. You arrive at decisions by discussing your options with others, bouncing ideas off friends and coworkers. Meeting people is easy for you, but getting to really know someone via one-on-one interactions is not. “Extroverts talk too much in dating situations,” says Firstein. “Maybe even too much about themselves.” For you, reining in your outgoing nature could allow the right person or people to come into your life.

In social situations, consider hanging back a bit. “Resist the impulse to march right in and introduce yourself,” says Tessina. “Instead, let people come to you. You’ll meet the other extroverted people this way.” Be aware that all introverts aren’t necessarily shy — just because someone’s not the life of the party doesn’t mean he or she isn’t engaging in one-on-one conversation.

Give the other person a chance to take initiative, too. “Don’t make the first move,” says Tessina. But do suggest plans where the focus isn’t necessarily on talking the entire time: an activity date, like karaoke or a bike ride, provides opportunities to get to know each other without forcing you into a heart-to-heart talk too quickly.

On the date, slow down and relax. Be aware of how much you’re speaking and listen actively. “Make a point of not talking so much,” says Firstein. “Take time to be silent for a few seconds before answering or responding to something your date says. Think about it, take it in, and take a few breaths.” Be interested in what the other person is saying and ask questions. And if you’re with an introvert, don’t assume that a pause in conversation is either a warning sign or a tacit agreement with whatever you’ve said, as these quieter daters are likely considering a thoughtful and appropriate reply. “If there is an uncomfortable silence, say something, but then wait for a response,” recommends Firstein. “But don’t ask, ‘Are you OK?’”


New York City-based freelance writer Matt Schneiderman has written for Stuff and Sync.
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