I’m a happily partnered extrovert with my fingers in a bunch of different offbeat pies like RPGs, crafting, board/card games, Ren faires, semi-nomadic career, and more. But many or even most of my dearest friends are geeky introverts who are (unhappily) single. They express that they want to be in relationships and start families and I’d love to be able to help with some advice. How do I help my beloved nerdy home-lurkers? – J
I ordered my partner on Amazon Prime, so that’s my advice. I kid, of course, but I can certainly relate to the introverts dilemma of not wanting to scour the bar scene or Tinder flings to find a partner. It’s a big world and there’s a lot of TV to catch up on and cats to pet. Hell, most extroverts are super tired of the dating scene and small talk and swipe left and and and, etc. And if they’re under 37ish, they fall into the hell that is Millennial dating. Not pretty these days. Anyone, including introverts (who may not be shy or awkward, but rather just careful with their time spent with others), can find this exhausting.
Can’t I just stay home? Thankfully, these days you kind of can. But there’s more to it. Let’s see some options…
Places like Meetup.com, local libraries, and local interest groups provide ways to meet people without it being a Singles Thing. Direct them to a meetup about their nerdy or otherwise passions (there’s something for everyone), attend when they can (going with them helps the nerves and social fatigue!), meet people with similar interests = profit. Local game shops, arcades, and other nerdy places often spawn event calendars to peruse, too. Even bars have geek trivia nights!
Play gentle wingman
You, as the extroverted friend, can always fall back on being a good (and gentle) wingman/woman. Wingperson? Eh. If you know someone in your crew of introverts who might like another of your pals, host a game night with no pressure. Don’t make it too obvious, keep things low key, and you’re giving them a chance to make a connection. If it looks promising, drop a hint on both sides that you think they might click.
You can also try to do this in public with strangers, but be prepared to turn your back for a second and your friend may have flown away from the awkwardness.
Encourage less ghosting
I was a criminal ghoster. The worst. Well before it became the norm. I gave folks about an hour to give me the impression they could be a potential partner and if not, I just ghosted. I was young, it was always so awkward. It’s sometimes easier to just hide under the covers, right? If your introvert friend wants to bail on someone they met for wishy-washy reasons (not REAL reasons, of course), maybe encourage them to give it another shot. Maybe that person was just off their game that day.
Make sure they’re in their element
Let’s say you’re helping them to plan a date with a potential new friend, point them towards activities that are familiar and fun to them. Nothing makes people want to head home than intimidating places and people. Keep it casual, easy breezy, and familiar.
Steer them towards the internet
In addition to online joints like Meetup, dating apps and sites are still TOTALLY a thing. A big thing. There are even apps aimed at introverts. Here are a few to consider recommending:
Anomo is one which encourages a slow start to relationships, keep things anonymous at first, and focus on shared interests. You can even play games together online. As someone who makes online-only friendships easily, this is appealing.
This huge site has the benefit of relying heavily on survey questions and compatibility, which can alleviate some of the stress of meeting someone you barely know. They even implemented a “no Trump” filter recently based on feedback about filtering potential mates. If your pals are the type to prefer a bigger resume before taking the precious time away from your solitude to date, this type of service is great.
Once has an interesting concept where a live person chooses one potential match for you per day. You’re not overwhelmed with “hi” messages like women often are on normal dating sites. Less overwhelming = more chance of taking the time to peek at the other person.
Ultimately, being partnered isn’t the be-all-end-all of life, and hopefully they know that. But as a good friend, you can help them feel good about themselves and confident in their singlehood. And if you know they definitely want to be in a relationship (which sometimes isn’t always clear), then that confidence will help them no matter what.