By JoEllen Notte, June 2, 2014 5 Reasons Online Dating is Made for Introverts
Online dating gets a bad rap. Folks like to blame it for killing everything from monogamy and traditional dating to love and marriage. Folks seem to think there’s too much virtual communicating and not enough “real” connecting; that there’s decreased communication and increased promiscuity. The consensus seems to be that we need to step away from OkCupid and its cohorts and listen to rallying calls to action like “Get out from behind your computer and go meet people in the real world! Wink at that cute someone at the bar! Say hello to that guy you’ve eyed at the coffee shop! The real world is so much better than the internet!”
I say, “Screw that!”
I’m the Redhead Bedhead and I am a raging introvert and an avid online dater.
I love online dating. Love it. I think it is a terrific way to meet people and for some of us, the only way we will do it. I know some of you are like “But Bedhead, the internet didn’t always exist. What would you have done before?” Honestly? I think that without online dating I would be one of those people whose family talks about them behind their backs saying things like “she used to be married, now she has cats” Seriously. The internet has offered me a way into the dating world that I am comfortable with and that, I imagine works for many others too. I will now explain the reasons online dating rocks my introverted face off and might do the same for you.
1. Putting your personality out there – uninterrupted.
Listen, I’m pretty cool … smart, funny, quirky, modest… I am all of the things! But, as I am also a raging introvert who will not compete for attention, will not try to catch your eye and will not shout over other people, the odds of most folks finding out the awesome stuff about me when meeting in, say, a bar or at a party are pretty slim. While many people are presenting their best selves in these super-social situations, Introverts like myself tend to shine one on, and the whole bar scene thing doesn’t really allow for that. This is what makes online dating awesome! It provides a forum to put us personalities out there and say “Okay, this is me!” giving folks a much better idea of the awesome people we are than they would ever get at a party or bar. Bonus: you don’t have to worry about the louder people (and there are always louder people) interrupting you!
2. You can do away with small talk
I hate small talk … like really, really hate it, and I’m far from the only one! One of the worst parts of first dates is the small talk. With online dating, though, you can get around it. How? Well, you can establish some rapport before you meet by messaging, which I love – it’s great to just continue a conversation you were already having rather than do the awkward “So, it’s nice out today” nonsense. Further to this I’ve incorporated something into my profile to get us talking right away: I have a tattoo in Italian that’s tricky to translate, so on my profile I challenge them to try. It usually starts a conversation as I geek out pretty hard explaining the translation. I figure that any guy who can handle me saying “second person singular imperative of a reflexive verb” can probably hang. Once a guy declared that explanation to be “grammar porn” and we spent several messages speculating as to what would happen in grammar porn (entitled Cunnilinguistics,obviously) – In one fell swoop, I had started the conversation that carried us well into our first date (no small talk necessary) and figured out that this guy totally, got me. Which leads us to…
3.You can make sure folks get you BEFORE you meet them
Look, let’s be honest about it, going in to meet a new person is scary anyway. Knowing that it’s possible that that new person will stare blankly at everything I say and miss all of my humor is pretty much my nightmare. To avoid this, my profile opens with a Super Mario Brothers reference, quotes Will Smith’s Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It, mentions the 1980 Olympic hockey team and straight-up tells folks I don’t want to have to be explaining references and humor to them. If someone reads that and still writes to me, there’s a decent chance that they haven’t been scared off by the litany of references and we won’t end up on that date from hell where I realize that no matter how much I quote Ghostbusters he’s never going to laugh or that if I share my sincere hope that Lisa, Angela Pamela and Renee met up with Michelle, Tamika and Tanya for a party he’s just going to ask if they are people I went to college with. Knowing that the person you’re heading out on a date with gets you is priceless!
4. There’s a bit less “Stranger Danger”
For me new people are very scary. Seriously. So, if they approach in public I am most likely going to try avoid talking to them. This is why I tend to wear headphones and carry a book. I will never be the star of one of those sweet “meet cute” stories that takes place in a park or coffee shop, or some such. I leave no opportunity for strangers to approach me in public. If you are a fellow introvert, you get this “battle armor” thing. However, online dating creates a forum for strangers to approach me, for me to feel it out, take my time and respond if I feel safe. Think of it as a controlled way to meet new people.
5. Hello, you can meet people quietly and comfortably!
Sorry for yelling, I just got excited. I’ll never forget being 23, living in NYC and having a friend tell me “You’ll never meet anyone if you don’t spend more time out at clubs and stuff” and feeling my stomach turn. This was 2002, online dating was not something many folks did and at that point it seemed true- I would have to suck it up, put on a dress and face the world if I wanted to meet people. It was exhausting. Cut to 2012. Newly divorced, I set up an online dating profile and suddenly I was flirting with potential dates while wearing pajamas, on my couch, watching Gilmore Girls Mad Men. It was a-maz-ing! I had been terrified about how to get back into dating (I hadn’t been single since 2004) and it felt like I had found a comfortable way to do it.
For me online dating has allowed me to date (a lot) on my own terms. I’ve never waited around for someone to notice me. I’ve never given someone my number and then agonized over whether someone would call (PS- I loathe the phone). I’ve never had my friend ask if her husband’s friend is single and might be interested. The thought of all of those things makes my stomach turn and if that was dating I would declare myself done with it right now. Online dating might not be the right answer for everyone, but it’s an amazing tool for those of us who may have otherwise opted out of the dating scene and I think it’s fabulous for the So, yeah, when I’m in the mood for a hot date, you’ll definitely find me behind my computer.
For more information on dating, introversion or both, check out JoEllen Notte online at: www.redheadbedhead.com. JoEllen is available for one-on-one coaching and workshops, including the popular “Online Dating for Introverts, Geeks, Wallflowers and Freaks”
The Redhead Bedhead came to life when JoEllen Notte decided she wanted to talk about sex on the internet (“Do people even do that?!”). She has gone on to write for multiple outlets including the award-winning RedheadBedhead.com, tour the US and Canada both cataloging North America’s best adult retailers on the Superhero Sex Shop Tour and making the world a safer place to date in her popular workshops, “Online Dating for Introverts, Geeks, Wallflowers and Freaks” and “Keys to Casual Sex Success” and publish the e-guide “Spotting a Great Sex Shop (and Surviving a Bad One.”
Serving as the Education Coordinator & Lead Sex Educator for the Portland Academy of Sex Education and a co-Emissary of Sex Geekdom Portland, JoEllen is helping to spread the gospel of better living through sex ed. Working as an adult retail consultant, she is working to help promote better sex through better adult retail.
JoEllen is on a mission to prove that through constant learning, perpetual experimentation, fearless collaboration, non-stop dialogue and frequent wise-assery we can save the world from mediocre sex – and have a damn good time doing it.
The Redhead Bedhead resides in Portland, OR, where she spends her days writing, working internet magic, geeking out about sex, and tasting all the beer.
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