This is a guest post by Jeremy Kochis, founder of Unstoppable Match.
Lots of shy, introverted men feel completely stuck in their dating life. Things haven’t changed much for a couple of years or more, and they feel like their ability to attract the women they want to date is really weak. I used to feel this way all the time.
When I was in my final year of college, I had a deep suspicion that I was an outsider to the normal dating world because of my shy and introverted nature. It seemed like dating was for extroverts and the most energetic, sociable people. I didn’t think I could fit that personality type, so over months I slowly started giving up.
It wasn’t until I got closer to a couple of fellow introverts that I realized that the problem was with my outlook on myself and my ability to grow. The problem wasn’t that I was an introvert, or that I was shy, but was my conviction that “this is just how I am”.
In dating (and socializing in general), you will subconsciously send signals of your internal feelings and thoughts. It’s pretty easy for people to pick up on how others feel about themselves, simply by how they communicate, the words they use to talk about themselves, and their body language.
One feeling I used to signal a lot would have been, “these women are too good for me, I’m not attractive or exciting enough for them.” I was caught up in what I assumed they must think of me, and let that make me fearful of introducing myself to attractive women.
I grew up with a fraternal twin brother who I always saw as more socially outgoing than I was. We went to all the same schools, including college. So during that time period, I described earlier toward the end of college, my social life was strongly dependent on my much more social twin brother and the most outgoing of my friends. If I didn’t get a text inviting me to join them to do something on the weekend, I stayed in.
I suppose what kept me from reaching out and making plans myself was a fear of the “rejection” if they declined my invitation or didn’t want to hang out that night. It may have also been that I found it difficult to come up with ideas for things to do, or coordinate with everyone without feeling self-conscious.
One decision has an enormous domino effect
In the last couple of months of that college year, things changed for me when I decided to go to a meetup at a restaurant for students who were interested in entrepreneurship. It was a scary idea because I was going alone! In a moment of beautiful serendipity, I met a fantastic girl there and we hit it off. We mostly talked about startup companies we thought were cool, and ended up exchanging numbers.
We dated seriously for a while after that, and it turned out to be extremely eye-opening for me. She was totally an extrovert and certifiable social butterfly, but she taught me to embrace what made me unique. She helped me improve my own social skills and encouraged me to learn more about things I had a passion for.
One thing she introduced me to was swing dancing as a hobby — a partner-style dance, usually done where people could gather at a dance studio. She took me to lessons and we had a great time dancing together, but more surprising to me than my newfound passion for partner dancing was how great the other people at these events were! I met so many kind, interesting, and inquisitive folks I had never seen before.
Consider if there is some activity with a social component you’ve always thought about trying — what possibilities are waiting for you if you were to take that leap?
Once you have a couple of fun things going on in your life that you really like, you won’t be able to help but talk about them when you meet new people! “What do you like to do?” is a very common question people ask when getting to know someone. When someone sees that you care about this hobby and have something interesting to say about it, they will be naturally more drawn to you.
Turning the self-talk around and finding your inner social magnetism
People will respond best to you talking about yourself positively. This applies to talking about your interests as well as other aspects of life. For example, when it comes to your job, there is a bad way and a good way to talk about it with someone you’ve just met:
BAD: “I’m a mechanical engineer. It’s pretty boring stuff, mostly just running numbers on a computer. It’s kind of annoying to sit at a desk all day, too, you know?”
GOOD: “I’m a mechanical engineer. It’s been so cool to learn about how things are manufactured, and how my knowledge of the moving parts helps with that. I’m pretty lucky to work with the people I do, too.”
Even if your job is less than satisfying, or you’d rather run your own business or something, here is nothing to be gained by complaining about it when you meet people. If you’d prefer to talk about something else, just change the subject afterward!
Find your crowd and grow your circle
The reason this was eye-opening to me was because I realized that different types of people can be found doing certain activities and hobbies. Just like you can expect to find bodybuilders at a weights gym or classic rock fans at a Rolling Stones concert, there are specific qualities you can reasonably expect of people who attend each social hobby.
Hobbies are one great way to expand your social circle if you can muster the boldness to introduce yourself to some kind strangers and stay in contact.
Another, slightly more obvious way would be to pay attention to which of your current acquaintances you really enjoy spending time with and making a point to stay in touch. This is the way I slowly improved my skills with reaching out to people to make my own social plans.
When you have this ability, you have more control over when and how you socialize — if you like certain bars or restaurants over others, it will make the evening more fun for you to invite friends to go to one of those, instead of waiting for an invitation of your own.
This control has another added benefit for introverts: since we value our “down time” just as much as quality time with good friends, frequently taking agency over your plans can allow you to schedule in that sweet, sweet alone time.
I used to take it personally when friends would decline my offer to hang out or go out, but through this whole process I’ve been talking about it was easier to let it roll off the back. Most of the time people decline or cancel because of some personal reason.
And even if it is because they don’t like you — that’s great for both of you because friendship has to include a mutual fondness and respect. If it’s not there, it’s in both of your best interest to move on!
Find some aspects of your town to become passionate about. Work yourself into the mindset that there are lots of interesting things to be done and seen, and become the person that brings those things to your friends.
And I want to emphasize again: you have to get comfortable with reaching out to people to propose plans (as often as you want to do things, of course). If you wait for them to do it for you, it may never happen.
Now, let’s talk about the final piece of this puzzle:
Putting it all together, and consistently meeting great new women
As I mentioned before, it’s highly likely that you’ll meet new people you like in social hobby/activity spaces. You might even form a regular group and see them frequently!
As you become more involved with a hobby/activity or two, you may be excited enough to invite your other friends to try it out too. This is a great idea, and it always helps to have a friend along rather than going to an event on your own.
The more you plan and execute fun nights and weekends with your friends, the more often they will bring others into the group to participate. Friends of friends are often great for dating because first, they’re most likely good people (since your friend likes them) and second, you have an immediate reason to get to know them, due to your mutual friend.
This succession of social contact can easily snowball and result in fun plans happening every week, and you’re bound to have opportunities to date women by whom you’re excited!