Good places to meet women as an introvert
October 31, 2010 3:37 AM   Subscribe

What are good places to meet women as an introvert?

I am an extremely (!) expressed introvert
(INTJ / ISTJ according to 100% introversion in both cases.)

I do not miss male friends at all. However, being a perfectly healthy male in his early twenties (22) I would like to find a girlfriend / wife - someone to start a family with in the near future.

I absolutely hate nightclubs and gatherings in general and have a stressful and time-consuming job. What are time-effective ways to meet women for a guy like me?

The internet, workplace or a library are no options.

Thanks in advance for any advice,

posted by pu9iad to Human Relations (27 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
A dating service is the classic for people like yourself. It works. The hardest part when you are shy is meeting someone, taking that first step, and it is for both parties. Here it gets done for you.

If this is out then get into social situations. Join a group and interact with people.

A great way to meet people in everyday life is where you least expect, like the grocery store. If you are shy you are probably not going to talk first, just carry a friendly smile with you and others will engage you. However, if you are looking for something beyond friendly conversation in such an initial meeting it will probably not go as well.
posted by caddis at 4:49 AM on October 31, 2010

Have you considered online dating, such as OK Cupid (I suggest them on the strength of their awesome blog)? It has the advantage that you're going to be talking to women who you know are single and looking for a relationship.

If you're not so keen on online dating, can you think of any classes, clubs or activities you'd be interested in? For example, dance classes, joining a trampolining club, taking walks in the countryside, or anything like that? Of course, unlike online dating, not all the women you meet in real life will be single and looking for a relationship.
posted by Mike1024 at 4:55 AM on October 31, 2010

Meeting women pretty much requires meeting people. I'm introverted myself, and feel your pain, but sometimes we have to leave our comfort zones for the relationships that nourish us. Dating sites or services are the obvious places to go to date if picking someone up at the library, in a class, or bar are out of the question.

But I'd also recommend that you might want to make a male friend or two. You don't have to get a big posse of dudebros, but having a good friend will help you meet others and give you feedback on what you're doing wrong or right. Extra bonus: friends are awesome!
posted by ldthomps at 5:29 AM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]

Don't classify yourself on some ridiculous psychological scale as "a something." Everyone has introverted phases, everyone likes to be alone sometimes, everyone finds dating socially awkward.

You want a girlfriend? Go talk to women. Everywhere. All the time. Not to get a date, but to learn how to communicate when you're anxious. Learn how to get over your introversion (which is the same thing as shyness, anxiety, nervousness, etc.) No one ever did it differently.

Also, at 22, starting a family in the near future is not a good idea for most people, including many women. Don't come right out of the gate with a lifetime plan, just date, meet people, feel your way through it.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:00 AM on October 31, 2010 [12 favorites]

Seriously? Unless you adjust your attitude you won't.

I am an extremely (!) expressed introvert
(INTJ / ISTJ according to 100% introversion in both cases.)

And you're telling us this because?????.......I know, because you don't want us to tell you that you'll need to make an effort to meet more people with women being people!!!

I do not miss male friends at all. However, being a perfectly healthy male in his early twenties (22) I would like to find a girlfriend / wife - someone to start a family with in the near future.

It'll probably take several girlfriends before you find somebody to marry and start a family with and it'd probably be helpful to have some male and female friends and to become comfortable around a large range of people because any kind of job advancement tends to depend as much on your interpersonal skills as your ability to deal with the task at hand...

I absolutely hate nightclubs and gatherings in general and have a stressful and time-consuming job. What are time-effective ways to meet women for a guy like me?

Well you either want to meet people and start to approach that with the same effort you put into your time consuming job or you embrace being alone.

The internet, workplace or a library are no options.

Why not, online dating has worked for lots of people and in most workplaces there are plenty of women (and you say you spend a lot of time at work!!!).
posted by koahiatamadl at 6:08 AM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]

If you are as introverted as you say you are (and you are unwilling or unable to change that), and you eliminate online dating as an option, you don't have that many options left. There are dating services and matchmakers; there are organized dating events (like speed dating); you can take classes and hope to meet someone there; and you can tell all your female relatives to help you look, which is sort of the informal matchmaker approach.

But at some point, doing this effectively is going to require less introversion or a change of approach. It takes practice, and trial and error, to figure out how to be in a relationship.
posted by Forktine at 6:27 AM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm going to agree with fourcheesemac and add to it: ok, so you prefer to not be the social butterfly. Big deal. That doesn't mean you have to seal yourself into a cave and take a vow of silence. This is going to require an effort on your part. I am probably going to get flak for this, but whatever. I guess this hit a nerve this morning because it seems like a lot of people on this forum like to hide behind psychological labels (and other ones as well). This arbitrary labeling system does not change the fact that you have to function like everyone else, that you are subject to all the 'stressors' that everyone else faces, and that you have to get out there and just do things that maybe aren't at the top of your list. Everyone does. You might even find out that despite what the label dictates that you like some of the things that the label says you don't.

Friends are a great way to meet women (get hooked up with friends of friends and the like). You can hang out with friends and de-stress from your stressful job and go places with them to meet women. There isn't a secret room anywhere where introverted women hang out and wait for men to sweep them off of their feet. You will find introverted women that go out in public and go to gatherings and such, and meet other people who may prefer not to go to concerts every weekend or hang out at bars.

Something further to consider, and like the rest of this post is just my opinion, but a guy with no friends at all would really creep me out. Serial killer style. Especially if said solo person with no friends seemed to be looking for a brood mare. You are too young to be enslaving yourself to the workplace, and most women I know would rather not be involved with a robot. Go out, learn to communicate, find some friends, have fun, and once you relax I bet you will find a woman who would want to spend time with you. Alternately, you could join one of those churches that emphasizes early marriage and find what you are describing there.
posted by bolognius maximus at 6:32 AM on October 31, 2010 [20 favorites]

I'm an INFJ girl who is similar to you--I hate nightclubs and bars, and my job is stressful and people-centric and makes me want to come home and be alone afterward. BUT when I am out and about, I am secretly hopeful to meet someone at the bookstore, grocery store, while volunteering at the animal shelter, and on hiking meetup events.

The bigger picture for you (it is for me, anyway) might be how to meet people in general. I've been in my town for about a year. I have work friends, I have acquaintances, but I haven't yet made real, true friends yet. I met most of my real, true friends from friends-of-friends in another town, and it's hard to start from scratch in a new city. Hard, but not impossible.

I like the advice to just find something you love and do it consistently, and see who you keep running into. I stepped WAY out of my comfort zone and took a hip hop dance class, and it was nice to see the same people every week, but so far I haven't made anything more than aquaintances from there. I like hiking meetup groups, but so far they've mainly been people in their 30s and 40s. Volunteering or taking a class, or joining a meetup group, would at least let you run into the same people every once in a while. And you get to do cool stuff! That you could talk about on a date if you meet a cute introvert girl at the grocery store! (I have NO idea how this would happen, but you know...)

I understand about not wanting be meet a lady on the internet. BUT I joined eharmony about a year ago, and I think it's one of the more quality dating sites, especially since you seem to be looking for something more serious ("girlfriend/wife"). I joined with the intention of just getting comfortable with the IDEA of dating through browsing online, and maybe flirting via email (I know, sexy, right?), but I actually met someone cool, and though it didn't work out due mainly to distance, we still talk every week. There are lots of questions about your introversion/extroversion preferences in eharmony's profile.

There was a post from a 21 year old girl who was feeling spinstery and lonely, and the general advice was to do things she loved, and that she was WAY YOUNG to be feeling that. It's true that you're young, but if you want what you want, it's hard to be without it, at any age. It's ok to want a relationship if that's what you want. Just let that be a motivator to going outside your comfort zone to achieve what you want.

Good luck to you, fellow introvert!
posted by shortyJBot at 6:36 AM on October 31, 2010 [10 favorites]

I think bolognius maximus hit it on the head.

But to directly answer your "How do I meet people" question, I'd reconsider online dating by also strongly recommending eharmony only because they do most of the matching work for you.

What I think you may appreciate about it as opposed to other dating sites is that you do answer a fairly lengthy questionnaire and it's a gentler entry into this way of dating because after you answer their questions , you can sit back and let them do their matchmaking. They'll deliver you profiles and you can avoid all that anxiety-producing searching (if you're prone to that).
posted by dzaz at 7:26 AM on October 31, 2010

Seconding online dating and male friends: platonic friends help you meet potential SOs.

Along those lines, can you get a dog? First, they're great to be around-- much better than people sometimes. Second, it's incredibly easy to strike up conversations with other dog owners; I'd say it's actually difficult NOT to. Naturally, many of those dog owners happen to be women.
posted by supercres at 7:50 AM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]

Hi brother introvert, I'm an introvert guy like you and just a few years older. Don't let the uncharitable yelling in this thread make you feel like you're wrong for being an introvert or like you're hiding behind something. If you can see past the criticism, most of the posters have excellent ideas - so take the ideas and leave the criticism. Some people relax by hanging out with others, and others find constant contact draining - I take it you're of the latter persuasion, and I am too. I've found that introverts generally "get" extroverts, but extroverts tend to assume there's something wrong with introverts. Don't let them push that on you.

But everyone who says this will take some effort are right - this will take effort, not just going to the right places. Whatever venues you choose to meet people, you must make some effort to learn to be engaging and personable in situations where you meet new people so that you can meet interesting women, even if you don't seek out social spaces as often as extroverts do. So focus first on "am I good at meeting people?" because no matter where you go, you won't meet women if you don't meet people in general. That's not to say that you have to stop being an introvert - In fact, I don't think that's possible. But you can be an introvert and still interact well with other people. You can learn to be engaging; I did. The books that got me going were "How to Win Friends and Influence People" (Dale Carnegie; good for overall "how to be engaging" ideas) and "Intimate Connections" (David D. Burns; a great, sensitive book focused on finding a romantic partner). So that's where you start - work on yourself so you're ready to meet women.

As to where to meet women, you must be ready to try things. I find it troubling that you want to meet someone, but have ruled out dating websites - if you reject good methods of meeting people, you'll really reduce your chances of meeting someone you're compatible with. nthing anywhere / any activity where you feel comfortable and have fun. Experiment a little - get involved in a sport for fun, make some male friends and try going to a bar every once in a while. But if you're going to stick with something, stick with it because it's interesting, not to meet women. If you're just there to meet women, you probably won't have a great time, and it'll show and be off-putting to the women you might meet.

Finally, a bit of advice about trying to meet someone long-term: I'm focused on long-term too. But the long term is made up of many, many short terms. So upon meeting someone, don't pursue because you think "I"d like to start a family with her!" See her again if and only if you think she's interesting and you just want to see her again. A relationship based on "I like being with this person" is much more likely to last than one based on "I hope this lasts despite differences."
posted by Tehhund at 8:13 AM on October 31, 2010 [11 favorites]

However, being a perfectly healthy male in his early twenties (22)...

As a male High Priest in the Church of Introverts, who is nearing 40, I would make an effort to gain a few male friends and find activities I enjoy doing. While doing those activities I would make an effort to get to know the women who also enjoy doing those activities.

Were I to gain a girlfriend or wife while in my 20s, I would make an effort to have at least one conversation per day with someone other than her, in order to appear and remain interesting to said girlfriend or wife.
posted by nomadicink at 8:17 AM on October 31, 2010

What do you do when you're not working? Take that, and push the boundaries outwards such that you're encountering strangers.

Enjoy reading? Join a local book club.
Like astronomy and stargazing? Join a local astronomy club.
Like to go for walks? Join a local walking club.
Prefer hikes? Join a local hiking club.

Classes are a great way to meet people, too. There's a whole variety out there, from one-night two-hour sessions for $30 at the local extension college, to honest-to-god community college courses.

If you don't have interests outside work, then this is a great time to start cultivating them. Take a painting class. Start brewing beer. Learn to knit. Raise tropical fish.

Cultivating a non-work pastime will greatly relieve the stress of your job, and make your life more enjoyable in all respects. (And give you something to talk about with the females you encounter in your efforts!)
posted by ErikaB at 8:28 AM on October 31, 2010 [3 favorites]

I've scored as an introvert in a bunch of online tests. I do keep to myself in public and I hate the idea of talking to a strangers "just because", but I've never really had a problem finding people to date, and I'm not even "perfectly healthy" myself. ha.

If you're really approaching the serious search for a long-term mate to have kids with, starting with a "stressful and time-consuming job" isn't going to make it easy, and if you do find someone to have a relationship with, when are you going to find time to make it a good one and have kids?

When I was 22 I worked a bunch and didn't do much else. Fast-forward a few years and I work a lot less and have a ridiculous amount of interests and many friends with single friends I could start dating. Everyone's balance is different. It's been my experience that cultivating a life outside of work is a better way to start dating than many people give it credit for.
posted by glip at 10:20 AM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

>I am an extremely... 100%
>I do not... at all
>I absolutely hate
>no options

Your rigidity is probably much less useful to you than you'd like to believe.

While in theory a dating service would be ideal for you, I suspect you'd get much more benefit out of it, or indeed out of any approach one might care to name, by developing some comfort with a less black-or-white approach. (Of course, you're 22; I might well have rejected-- vehemently!-- this advice at that age.)

Perhaps you can explain why the internet is not an option for you; it would seem convenient, given what you've offered so far.

Precisely because you're such an introvert, I suggest you challenge yourself, and perhaps even scour around for the local semi-underground pick-up artist club in your area. I suspect you'll find it eye-opening, as well as rather shockingly socially-beneficial.
posted by darth_tedious at 10:49 AM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

"Hang out with friends to de-stress from work!" said the extroverts.

I totally get that after a stressful and draining job, you need to be by yourself to recoup.

The solution, therefore, seems to be that you need to dial back the stress of and/or hours spent at your job. That way, you'll have free time to de-stress (alone), and enough free-time reserves left over to do something where you can meet people. Or get a new job where there are more women -- try non-profits (and tell me where you work; maybe we can switch places!). Of course, few men I've met are willing to alter their career progressions to serve their marriage goals.

So, that leaves getting involved with groups of strangers (book clubs, classes, etc), which are tiring, and online dating.

You really need to come back and explain why online dating is "not an option."
posted by thebazilist at 11:22 AM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

If you plan to date and marry an introvert, I strongly suggest online dating. If that is not an option, I suggest hiring someone to post on your behalf on online dating sites. If neither of these are options, an actual professional matchmaker might be your best bet.

If you're willing to date and marry an extrovert, get a less demanding job, so you will have the mental resources necessary to suck it up and hang out with people.

I'm an introverted female, and hobbyish activities are where I meet guys I'd be willing to date. Hobbies don't seem to mesh well with your effectiveness needs.

Oh, and if you're religious, there's church. In many religions, guys your age are relatively rare (young single adult activities in my church usually have a 3-to-1 female-to-male ratio.) But it helps a lot to be a believer.
posted by SMPA at 11:37 AM on October 31, 2010

Sometimes you have to leave your confort zone to improve your life or better yourself. There is no way around this. Using a web test to confirm to yourself that you're an introvert and subsequently using that as an excuse to avoid normal human modes of contact may be convenient and easy, but it's sure as shit not going to do you any good.

There are some questions that are unanswerable because the asker prohibits all possible solutions in advance. This is one of them.
posted by Gandhi Knoxville at 11:45 AM on October 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

Okay, first off I am very much what would be called an "introvert", and was practically a hermit when I was in my early-mid 20s. It's never been easy - like you, I worked very hard to build a career and felt like I didn't have the time. Finally I hit a point around 24-25 where I decided I really couldn't see myself like this anymore and forced myself out of my comfort zone, a little bit at a time. You know what I discovered? That I can actually have FUN in groups, and that there are people out there I really enjoy being around!

Anyway, so you don't like socializing but want to get married - I totally understand that! The thing is, a successful marriage is built on the same foundation as any good friendship. If you've ever talked to couples that have long, successful marriages, you'll consistently hear them refer to their spouse as a best friend/closest confidant/etc. So if you can't (or won't) have any friends at all, how on earth can you maintain a healthy marriage? Focus on socializing and maintaining a few basic friendships first, then go from there.

As to how...I (like everyone else here) suggest a combination of classes/shared activities and internet dating. I know you don't like meeting people online but look on it as practice: you're honing those social skills and stepping a bit out of your comfort zone. I was a bit hesitant about it too (my roommate had to pester me until I caved in), but I actually had a lot of fun with it once I got over the misconceptions I had. Unfortunately the one success I had online later failed due to the distances involved, but at least it taught me that it's possible and better prepared me for when I finally meet someone new.

On a side note:

...scour around for the local semi-underground pick-up artist club in your area.

Please, please don't do this. Seriously. Learning creepy pick-up lines is not going to help you find the type of girl you want.
posted by photo guy at 11:50 AM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the answers so far! Keep them coming.

I am not shy or something like that! I have no trouble walking up to a woman to flirt with her - for a limited amount of time. It is not that I do not know how to communicate (I have read "How to win friends and influence people" and am rather good at small-talk. It is just that I find socializing extremely tiring.)

I have tried that at the office and the reception of my female colleagues was quite positive. I even had to turn down an invitation to dinner - I like to keep my private and professional life seperate.

Online dating is not an option because I do not trust some strange organization to keep very personal information - being an introvert I am slow to open up.
posted by pu9iad at 12:00 PM on October 31, 2010

Internet dating might work for you (it didn't for me, but it did for friends of mine). But one comment struck me. You said you have a stressful and time-consuming job. Relationships take work and time. I hope you are going to find ways to reduce the amount of stress in your life and to give yourself more time or you are going to make a lousy boyfriend.

Here is how I found Mrs. Lurgi. I'm not extroverted at all and don't really enjoy meeting new people, but I found volunteering to be a lot of fun. I've mentioned One Brick before. They are a sort of meta-volunteer group - they find the events for you so that you don't have to and you can sign up for as many or as few as you like. You can focus more on the thing itself if you don't feel much like socializing or you can relax and chat with the other people who are also out there doing good. If nothing else, it gets you out of the house and doing something new.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 12:06 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think you should reconsider online dating. OK Cupid doesn't ask you to give any more information than gmail or metafilter does, and you can keep as much of it private as you want. I met my wonderful INTJ spouse (supercres) on OK Cupid. You will have to open up a little if you want to meet the woman of your dreams. Try it.
posted by two lights above the sea at 1:43 PM on October 31, 2010

I think you seem to want an easy answer instead of trying to work on or work around your quirks. Quirks can be endearing, but if they stop you ever being with anyone then nobody gets to find you endearing.

At the moment your best hopes are church, and mail-order brides.

You get what you're prepared to put the effort into getting so its up to you.
posted by meepmeow at 2:48 PM on October 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Well, my answer would have been via online - that's how I've met 100% of the men I've dated since I was 18. In fact, most were on OKCupid. OkCupid, in my opinion, is the site where all the "nerdier", well-read, introverted people hang out - and I loved it. All the other sites seemed to be full of superficial people that didn't really have a sense of humor, and were a little too "normal" for my taste. If you have a high-profile job, you can at least sign up and look around without posting a profile picture. I went on a date with someone who filled out a profile but didn't attach a photo because he didn't feel comfortable. Instead, we chatted online and he sent the photos to me via IM. What about something like that?

Other than that - well, I have no idea.
You don't like parties, places where people gather - you won't consider online dating because it's "unsafe" (?), you don't like night clubs, and the workplace is out of the question.
You have a stressful and time-consuming job.
You are introverted.
You seem like you don't want to date - but just find the magical someone right away and start having a family.

Well. I'm guessing since you don't like gatherings, the following are probably out of the equation, too: volunteer groups, book club things, hiking groups, church meet-ups, etc.
But if not, start there.

And I'm guessing since you let your work be time consuming, you probably don't think that taking (hobby) classes or joining a group is worth it. If not, start there.

I'm guessing you probably don't have a lot of friends that could help out with finding you someone or friends to join a group with. If not, start there.

Stand in a parking lot with a hand-made sign?
posted by KogeLiz at 3:54 PM on October 31, 2010

N-thing OKCupid. I met a lot of women through that site. Your age is well represented .
posted by spacefire at 4:46 PM on October 31, 2010

My husband and I are both introverted, and we met through online dating. Frankly, I think you'd do better by working through your anxieties about sharing personal information so you can pursue that avenue, than by working through your anxieties about socializing IRL.

But let me also add my $0.02 about extreme introverts and serious relationships. Although I score strongly as an Myers Briggs introvert (in fact, its my single strongest score of the 4 parameters), I'm the sort of introvert who doesn't enjoy crowds and doesn't need to socialize a lot, but who has always had friends/boyfriends and who values those relationships. My husband is an introvert, but more in the asocial direction--he had only had one girlfriend as an adult, and that was 10 years prior to when we met. When we met it had also been a few years since he had had any friends that he socialized with (which is still the case). Really, the only person he ever socialized with outside of work was his brother.

Now, they say that it's a bad idea to rely solely on your partner or mate for your social outlets. "But," you object, "I don't need any friends now, so it's not like I'd be burdening my hypothetical wife with my unmet social needs." Still--what I have found is this: the same thing that led my husband to accept a life of social isolation (his need for social interaction is so low that it wasn't worth the effort/anxiety of going out, maintaining friendships, looking for a partner) has meant that, as the years have passed, he's also willing to accept a life that is fairly isolated from me, from his step kids, and from his family of origin, rather than put in the kind of effort needed to build rich, intimate relationships with any of us.

So, when you say you "do not miss male friends at all" but that you want a girlfriend/wife to start a family, this makes me worry that you're mostly seeking (a) a physical outlet; and (b) the mother of your children, rather than someone to be your best friend forever first and foremost, with whom you YAY get to have sexyfuntimes with. And, being such a strong introvert, have you really thought through how you will react to parenthood, which requires huge amounts of social interaction. If nothing else, your hypothetical wife and kids deserve to have you value, treasure, and need the social side of your relationships with them.

tl;dr: There's a difference between being introverted and being asocial. Not liking nightclubs and busy gatherings is introversion. Not having any friends at all is (IMHO) asociality. If you're not just introverted, but actually asocial, you might find it harder to be a partner and parent than you realize.
posted by SomeTrickPony at 7:30 PM on October 31, 2010 [4 favorites]

Seconding volunteering... Also try single volunteers
posted by bananafish at 11:31 AM on November 1, 2010

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