Tips For Dating An Extrovert
Do you prefer to sit back and observe in social situations? Are you drawn to natural entertainers? Here, we offer some crucial advice for introverts considering dating someone who’s an extrovert.
he person who is pursuing you is flirting like a house on fire and you want to know whether it’s due to being focused on having a potential relationship with you — or just giving you a hot first-date performance. Welcome to the dilemma everyone faces when confronted with an extroverted love interest.
Typical extroverts, according to Myers-Briggs, can be aggressive, passionate, and socially adept and they’re usually fast thinkers. All of these attributes can be great qualities in a date. Of
course, there are pros and cons to dating an extrovert. For example: if you’re both extroverts, you might match each other’s social energy and interest in keeping your level of intimacy private. If you’re an introvert and your date’s an extrovert, opposites often attract — which can help you appreciate each other’s differences.
|I feel invisible when people notice him much more than they do me.|
“My boyfriend is really extroverted, but he says he loves my calmness and the fact that I don’t constantly have to be entertained,” says Claire, 27, from Virginia. “When he’s out and about, he doesn’t mind if I hang back. And when he’s ready to shut down for a bit, I am right there.” On the other hand, opposites can repel when you both have different dating expectations. “I’m currently dating an extrovert,” says Marylander Julie, 37. “I go through bouts of feeling anxious and insecure. I feel invisible when people notice him much more than they do me. And once he enters a room, he’s ‘on’ and I feel alone. I remind him to circle back with me so I don’t feel stuck in social situations for extended periods of time. It’s worth it, but it’s still a challenge.”
But when is it not worth it? How can you distinguish acceptable, charming extrovert behavior from unacceptable, insincere, or self-absorbed ways? When it comes to the following five important aspects of dating, consider these pros, cons and flat-out red flags.
Pros: Being expressive can also be charming, right? At least your extrovert will be animated and you won’t need a shot of liquid courage just to get a conversation started. The really good news is this: since dating is a numbers game and extroverts are in the majority (common consensus seems to put them in the 70% range of the population), your pool of extroverted dating prospects is naturally higher.
Cons: Is your date entertaining you (and everyone else within earshot) like someone who’s on stage in Vegas? Or is your extrovert expressing genuine (albeit bubbly) interest in getting to know you? In other words, is your date interested in who you are or the reactions you’re giving? Sometimes, it’s hard to know the difference.
Red Flag: If your date’s behavior is less flirtatious when you’re alone together than when you’re two people amongst the crowd, applaud this person’s performance skills — but don’t be fooled into thinking it’s anything else.
Pros: Conversation never lags and you always feel energized around an extrovert’s charisma.
Cons: But what happens when you two are alone? Does the charisma leave the room when the other people leave, too? When it’s just you two, does this person express genuine interest in you…and retain any of the information you share?
Red Flag: Perform a “gut check” test to see if your sweetie remembers any details about you — what you’ve said and what things you like, for example. If your date doesn’t pass, it might be a case of being all talk and no action when it comes to wanting to build a balanced and genuine romantic relationship.
Pros: Extroverts are often gregarious, aggressive and talkative people.
Cons: Communication is about more than just talking. An extrovert can be confident on the
outside, but hard to get to know on the inside. Most communication is nonverbal, and sometimes you want to communicate without all the chatter. Silence can be golden, but not for an extrovert. Silence is…well, frankly, it’s usually not happening.
|Of course, personality differences can complicate dating.|
Red Flag: When you communicate, is there a marked difference between the frequency and quality of your conversations? If your extrovert is constantly talking, texting and instant-messaging, yet still not really connecting with you, then talk is cheap.
Pros: An extrovert may be the life of the party… and that can be wildly attractive, can’t it? Sometimes it’s entertaining, sexy and fun to be in another person’s charismatic presence. It certainly takes some social pressure off of you, doesn’t it?
Cons: What happens when your date’s not only keeping up one end of the conversation — but also keeping up yours and anyone else’s within earshot? What if you want a quiet night for two or a smaller dinner party for six and your date insists on having a room full of people to play “entertainer” to all night?
Red Flag: If someone doesn’t know when to take the metaphoric lampshade off his or her head and concentrate on what you’re creating together, just the two of you, then you’re not in a relationship — you’re part of a commune or a member of a theatrical troupe.
Pros: Your extroverted date won’t have trouble expressing relationship issues. (Extroverts think fast on their feet.) Plus, you won’t have to contend with passive-aggressive reactions to an argument after the fact, either, because the extrovert moves on.
Cons: What if your extrovert speaks before thinking and there’s no real substance behind any of your disputes?
Red Flag: It may be confusing when an extrovert seems to change his or mind while speaking. Is this person flip-flopping? That’s par for the course. An extrovert’s literally working through his or her thoughts as they come to the surface.
Bottom line: Of course, personality differences can complicate dating. But “E and I” differences are only a barrier if we allow them to be by taking them personally rather than seeing them for what they really are and responding in kind.
In any “E and I” discussion, it’s important to remember that people rarely fall into one of the implacable extremes. There’s an introvert-extrovert continuum, and the majority of us fall somewhere between the two polarities. While one of the traits may be dominant, you can develop the other. For example, if your date leans toward extroversion, this person can nevertheless learn to embrace the quieter times with you, focus on one conversation at a time, and give you time to gather and express your own thoughts.
Want to read the other side of this story? Read Tips For Dating An Introvert.
Dave Singleton, an award-winning writer and columnist for Match.com since 2003, is the author of two books on dating and relationships. Visit Dave’s website and send your dating questions and comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.