Theoretically, online dating is pretty much an introvert’s dream. We can surf profiles from the comfort of our own couches, wrapped up in our Snuggies and footie pajamas and never have to leave the house and see the light of day. There are no awkward run-ins at bars, no late nights spent in heels that are too high, or nights spent approaching people who are rude and just not having it. Everyone on a dating site is there for a reason! They want to email you! They want to text you! And maybe, they even want to — gasp — meet you in person. Maybe.
So yeah, maybe online dating was made for introverts, but actually, being an introvert on a dating site is actually chock full of situations many of us introverts are just not comfortable with. I know that dating in general is sort of awkward and well, the worst, but being an online dating introvert comes with its own unique challenges.
1. There’s no motivation to meet in person
Uncomfortable with social situations, I’m constantly wary of meeting someone I’ve met online. Usually I lose interest halfway through conversations or fail to connect during stilted messages and when you stop talking to someone online, it’s like they never existed at all. Poof! No harm done. At least when I meet someone in person, I can gauge what my initial attraction level is and whether they seem interesting or kind. There’s less connection through a computer screen, and so the motivation to leave the house for a stranger is even less.
2. It feels invasive
When I’m home, I’m home. Hair up, sweats on fleek, the whole package. So because I think of my house as my safe little hidey-hole, the last thing I want to do is bring a whole bunch of strangers into it. My time at home is my time at home, where I can relax and turn off, without being stressed out about scanning the quiz questions of a bunch of guys posing in their profile pictures with their pet dogs. Even though I’m an introvert and generally more comfortable alone at home than in a big group of people in a public place, meeting someone in person is more comfortable for me because my mindset when I’m out is much different than when I’m in hermit mode at home.
3. It’s too comfortable sometimes
I’m the type of introvert who tries to fight her introvertedness. Part of that means pushing myself to go out more and get comfortable with situations that don’t come naturally to me. That way, I can overcome all those challenges introverts tend to have, like too few nights spent out with friends, or having perpetual cheese dust stains on your fingers. Surfing profiles doesn’t have the same immediacy, excitement and gravitas that meeting someone in person has. You can almost forget about it entirely, and so that doesn’t really work, does it? Sort of defeats the purpose.
4. Messaging someone first
It took me a while to message someone first, and for the first few weeks of the online dating experience, I only ever responded to very few of the messages I received. It took me a while to become comfortable with initiating contact, because even in this microcosm of the internet, this fictional dating world, I was uncomfortable making the “first move.” Without an actual person standing in front of you expecting you to speak (and not stand there like a statue, saying nothing) it’s just so much harder to start a normal conversation.
5. Describing yourself and what you like
There’s almost a faint stigma associated with being an introvert. Wanting to stay home all the time translates into being a loser or socially awkward, and while some introverts are more outgoing than others, I’m one of those introverts who really does love staying home on a Friday night reading a book. So if I say that on my profile, no one will message me! I’m the loser! There’s the challenge of self-description on some dating sites for the introvert. And of course, again, lying totally defeats the purpose. So I try to be totally honest about my hermitness, and hope that I find someone who loves wine and reading in bed on the weekend as much as I do.