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15 Things to Know Before You Date a Person Who Enjoys Being Alone

15 Things to Know Before You Date a Person Who Enjoys Being Alone

Dating can be incredibly intimidating. There are a plethora of rules that self-declared love experts have set in place. What not to say on the first date; how long to wait before following up; would it really be a bad idea to mention that restraining order? These can be tricky waters to navigate even if you don’t have a Ph.D. in dating. It can be increasingly so if you are dating someone who enjoys being alone, the classic introvert archetype. Being an introvert myself I can attest that us quiet peeps typically have a higher sensitivity level than others. While we don’t need to be treated with kid gloves, these 15 tips will help you to get the most out of your dating experience and to understand our psyche a little clearer.

1. They are more likely to choose solitude over socializing.

It is important to know that in dating someone who values her alone time, it is highly unlikely that Friday nights are going to be spent consuming cocktails with work buddies at happy hour. Some people might blow off steam at the end of the week by chatting it up over a beverage or two, but for those that don’t crave that kind of social interaction, solitude provides an equally fulfilling sense of stress relief. Introverts don’t want to be completely alone, but they need people differently.

2. They do enjoy company too.

Here is the misconception about people who like their own company: they do actually enjoy being a social butterfly, just in small doses. Much like Cinderella at the stroke of midnight, these butterflies need to turn back into a caterpillar after an evening of social activity and have some quiet time to themselves.

3. They can come across as stand-offish.

Loners by nature lean to the side of introversion, meaning that they are typically harder to get to know initially. Much to their frustration, this can be interpreted by others as snobbery or a sense of being better than others. It’s not; it’s just a byproduct of being an introvert.

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4. They will open up as you get to know them.

It’s worthwhile to think of loners as a slow burn rather than a fast-acting fuse. While they might not regale you with interesting anecdotes about their lives upon first meeting, give it time and they will open up. Once they feel comfortable with you, those barriers come down fast and their true personality shines forth.

5. They will not be the life of the party.

If your potential mate has to leave a trail of dropped jaws behind him as he enters a room, dating a person who likes his own company might not be the best fit. You might not notice these people as they arrive at a party, but if you give them time and attention, your conversation might be the one that you remember long after the party is over.

6. But that doesn’t mean they don’t like to party

While they might not be the ones initiating a group dance-off, they will certainly participate if they feel comfortable. If your date is feeling secure with himself in the situation you might be surprised as his inner James Brown awakens and he “gets up offa that thing” and embraces his inner dance machine on the dance floor.

7. They can be highly sensitive.

By their very nature, people who enjoy their own company are typically deep thinkers. When they feel something, they tend to feel it with their mind, body and soul. So don’t be offended if they feel slighted at something you say. Sometimes even the most innocuous comment can send them spiraling back into themselves and it’s just harder to for them to brush it off their shoulders. They need time to process, so it is important to give them some breathing room.

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8. But this can make them thoughtful partners.

Yes, you might have to think before you speak when dating someone on the sensitive side but it’s important to know that sensitive people are also typically highly attuned to the feelings of others. As a result they are less likely to trample all over you in conversation and more likely to actually listen to what you have to say.

9. They don’t do well with criticism.

Being so in tune with their feelings, criticism can often be a highly inflammatory source of tension. As a result, it’s important to know that these quieter types might employ certain tactics to avoid any criticism at all, which can manifest in the form of people-pleasing, being self-critical, or just avoiding the source of the criticism altogether.

10. But they do well with emotions.

Dating someone who needs her alone time means dating someone who is not afraid to get to know herself on a deeper emotional level. A byproduct of this is a sense of empathy which typically manifests itself in showing concern for you and any problems you might be experiencing. They are not afraid to sit down and go deep with you, figuring out the root cause of the issue. They are emotionally available, if not always physically available.

11. They rarely get a case of the FOMOs.

In a world where social media dominates, the level of exposure to each other’s social diaries is at an all-time high. This leads some to develop a real fear of missing out (FOMO) on any of the action. Not so for those that enjoy their own company. For the most part, they couldn’t care less if they have an open weekend ahead with no plans.

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12. They march to the beat of their own drum.

They don’t need to be seen at every party because their sense of identity isn’t attributed to how socially active they are. They enjoy dipping in and out of the social scene as and when it benefits them, followed by time to decompress. While dating a person who likes his own company means that you may not be out and about every night, those events you do attend together will feel more special.

13. They are self-sufficient.

It may feel sometimes that your date doesn’t seem to want or need you around them every second of their lives. They need their space in a relationship and at times it might not seem like they even need you in their lives. But don’t misinterpret their behavior–having their own space is of huge importance to them and as a result they are usually highly protective of it.

14. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have room in their lives for you.

The good news is that there is plenty of breathing room for both of you in these types of relationships. There will be no Jerry Maguire declarations of how you complete them though; they simply aren’t interested in anyone completing them. They are interested in finding out who you are, what makes you tick and they will give you plenty of room to shine.

15. They are full of contradictions, but that makes dating them especially unique.

Sometimes it may seem that you are dating someone with a split personality. They enjoy being with you but also enjoy being with themselves. They enjoy being social but only on occasion. But in dating a human oxymoron, life can remain interesting and it is less likely you will feel that you are stuck in a dating rut.

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While it is important to be mindful of the behaviors you might encounter with dating someone who enjoys being alone, the most important lesson of all is to accept them for who they are and not who you want them to be. In learning acceptance instead of expectance, there will be far fewer dating disappointments.

Featured photo credit: Portrait 37/garmend via deviantart.com

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

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Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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