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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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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

“A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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What are Interpersonal Skills?

Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

“That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

Don’t overlook introspection.

While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

“Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

The Bottom Line

You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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