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5 Tips For Dating An Introvert

5 Tips For Dating An Introvert

You may have never stopped and considered the temperament of the people around you. And if you’re an outgoing extrovert, it may be especially challenging to rationalize with the softly spoken, quiet relative of extroversion. Introversion is not simply shyness; it’s a more complex set of preferences in which the individual tends to extract more reward from intimate social interactions and small groups. Dating an introvert is simple, as long as you’re aware of the characteristics of your introverted partner.

1. Forget about the social stigma surrounding introversion.

Many people tend to think that introversion is a negative quality; it’s often associated with quiet, hard-to-talk-to individuals. This is incredibly inaccurate. Introverts are very easy people to talk to, especially in the proper setting. In fact, people are often drawn towards introverts to have conversations about personal experiences and events they’ve experienced. This is because introverts are typically great listeners. The point here is to forget about introversion as a defining characteristic with a negative connotation. Introverts can do very extroverted things, sometimes better than extroverts. The difference is, the introverted person may need time to recharge.

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2. Find a balance between your need for socializing and your partner’s need for solitude.

One of the largest challenges that an introvert-extrovert couple can have is striking a balance between socializing and alone time. This is especially true if your introverted partner works a job that is mentally demanding and requires a significant amount of socializing with clients and customers during the workday. If the demand for mental capacity to socialize exists at work and at home, five or six days a week, your partner can never find the time to recharge.

Appreciate the fact that your partner may not have the energy and desire to entertain and socialize constantly with friends and family. Recognize that this is not anti-social behavior. The need for intimacy or human interaction is present in both personality types. It has been found by psychologists that people who tend to value intimacy highly are people with a smaller circle of friends who prefer sincerity as opposed to parties.

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3. Do activities that value the traits and capabilities of your introverted partner.

This can really be anything; however, a few activities come to mind immediately. Introverts are extremely good listeners and can offer advice that is genuine and sincere. This becomes apparent in a smaller gathering or one-on-one sessions. Instead of a massive, once-a-month dinner party, perhaps more frequent, smaller gatherings would help ease the pressure.

Reading is also a great activity that couples can do together on a Sunday afternoon. You can explore the endless realm of books and imagination in your own minds, but also enjoy the warmth of your partner simultaneously.

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4. Experiment with conflict resolution.

In conflict resolution, many introverts try to minimize aggression, while extroverts typically raise their voice as they become more engaged in finding a resolution. The more the extrovert raises his/her voice, the more the introvert is likely to retreat in an attempt to minimize aggression. I think this cycle is understandable because no one likes to feel dominated, but at the same time, the extrovert doesn’t want to feel disrespected because it appears his/her partner doesn’t seem to care about the conflict. The solution: Perhaps the extrovert needs to approach the conflict with calmness and a mild manner, whereas the introvert needs to become comfortable with disharmony.

5. Read the non-fiction book Quiet by Susan Cain.

You and your partner should read Quiet. It’s an excellent read that is full of actionable advice for couples and people of both personality types. Prior to reading, watch the TED Talk given by Susan Cain, which provides a good idea of the subjects covered in the book: Susan Cain: The power of introverts.

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Are you in an introvert-extrovert relationship? Feel free to share your tips for making it work in the comments below.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

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