I’m not in a bad mood or giving you the cold shoulder. Just because I don’t want to go to that party with you, it doesn’t mean I don’t want to see you — I just want to meet up somewhere quiet and more soul-nourishing. I’m an introvert, so if you want to be with me, you’re going to have to understand that I need some important things from you:
I need to go slowly. I’m not about the whirlwind romance. I need time to take things slowly so that I can think things through before proceeding. I’m a big thinker, so please don’t rush me. This doesn’t mean I’m a commitment-phobe or that I’m not into you, I just need to go at a steady pace. We have our whole lives to be together if we’re meant to be — what’s the rush?
I need to avoid grandiose romantic gestures in public. PDA is fine when it’s a kiss or holding hands, but if you surprise me on my birthday by getting the waiters at the restaurant to sing “Happy Birthday” and make a fuss, I seriously won’t be able to cope. I don’t like to be thrown into the spotlight. I know gestures like that are meant well, but they’re embarrassing and uncomfortable and I really can’t handle them.
I need downtime on my calendar. My social circle is pretty small, but that’s the way I like it. I like to focus on connecting with people in a place where we can actually have a conversation without screaming over the music. If your idea of fun is hanging out with loads of people, hitting the clubs and pubs every weekend, we’re not going to work.
I hate conflict, so I need peace. It might be a good idea to check in with me from time to time to see that I’m not stressed out about something. See, I tend to bottle things up and I’m not one for confrontation when I’m upset. I need a peaceful relationship, not one fraught with constant fights and tension.
I need non-sexual intimacy. The physical stuff is great of course, but I also need to share who I am and what I value with you. This emotional connection is huge for me. I need a deeper connection than a physical attraction.
Be patient — I need time to be romantic. I’m shy, so it takes me some time to feel comfortable enough to be romantic. But don’t give up on me, I’ll get there. I just don’t throw my affection around easily all the time. Rather, I reserve them for when it’s most meaningful.
I need you to not take advantage of the fact that I’m a good listener. I’m always keen to listen to what you have to say, but that doesn’t mean you should treat me like your private psychologist. Just because as an introvert I don’t easily talk about myself, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take an interest in finding out who I am.
I need time for myself. I can’t deal with clingy people — they make me feel anxious. I want to have space to do my own thing on my own and to recharge my batteries, and I’m sure you want that same time, which I’m happy to give. This is a regular requirement that’s an absolute must if I’m going to be happy.
I need you to be okay with the fact that I’ll never be a social butterfly. It’s just not going to happen. I have my friends and I can be social, but I’m not going to be attending all the get-togethers on your social calendar. I don’t want you to try to “get me out of my shell,” either — just accept me for who I am or this isn’t going to work.
I need you to stop asking me if I’m okay. Just because I’m sometimes quiet and value silence, it doesn’t mean that something’s wrong or you’ve pissed me off. So please stop asking! Understand that I don’t feel the need to be talkative all the time.
I need alone time with you. Group dates can be fun, but if we’re going to date, I need to know that we’ll have quality time together where it’s just the two of us. This is important for me to get to know you and it’s a comfortable setting. As an introvert, I value this private time.
I don’t do fake, so I need you to give me something real. It’s not that I don’t want to be social, I just see through a lot of social interaction and view it as fake. I don’t like being in those situations where I have to wear a mask and fake a smile that hurts my cheeks. I don’t have time for small talk. Either get real with me or don’t be with me at all.
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