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How to make online dating work for introverts

Tinder to Allow Users to Perform a Background Check on Their Matches.Tinder is taking steps toincrease transparencyand safety between users.The dating service announced it will soon provide the ability to performsimple background checks. .This will allow users to feel safer whenmeeting up with prospective matches. .The service will be provided by Garbo,which recently partnered with Tinder’sparent company, Match Group.Garbo is a service that can fetchpublic records using a person’sfirst name and telephone number. .This includes information suchas arrests, police reports, restrainingorders and other legal documents. .It does not include drug offensesor traffic violations. .Garbo is expected to be added toTinder within the next few months. .Match.com and OKCupid.com, which are alsoservices under Match Group, will likely follow.

Online dating can be overwhelming for even the most outgoing person — writing a bio about yourself, putting photos of yourself out there for anyone to see, sending a message to someone you find interesting with no guarantee they will ever reply — it’s a lot.

But for introverts, people whose energy typically gets drained by meeting new people rather than gets energized by it, entering the digital dating world might seem like a lot to handle.

When you think about it, though, online dating might actually be the best route for introverts to dip their toes into the dating pool. Instead of approaching a random stranger at the bar, you actually have a chance to chat and get to know a little about each other before deciding if there’s a potential connection.

With the right strategies — and yes, getting a little out of your comfort zone — even the biggest introvert can make online dating work.

Let yourself shine

While introverts can sometimes be overshadowed in a group since they’re unlikely to jump into the spotlight (who hasn’t started a story only for someone else to jump in with a more exciting version?), online dating offers a kind of advantage: somewhere you can showcase your hobbies and personality without fear of interruption. You can give a genuine idea of yourself — and attract people who have similar values and interests, whatever those are.

Find the perfect platform

Endless swiping and a hookup culture like those offered on some dating sites might not be the best for introverts, who can easily have their social batteries drained. Instead, perhaps explore niche dating apps that cater to specific lifestyles or interests to narrow down your dating pool to a community that resonates with you.

Farmers Only is often pointed to as an example (often as a joke), but if you have an interest in agriculture, it’s actually a great place to start and find someone who already has something in common with you. There’s also MilitaryCupid (for military members or those interested in dating them), Loosid (for sober and sober-friendly people) or Trek Passions (for sci-fi fans), just to name a few. Clearly, there’s something out there for just about everyone.

You may also opt for a place like Match.com, a tried-and-true paid platform (which might mean people are taking their connections more seriously than free apps). Introverts may also want to look for dating sites with detailed questionnaires, unlike blank bios where it’s up to you to make things interesting. eHarmony, for example, asks you for everything from the last book you read to the most influential person in your life.

Take advantage of messaging

Approaching someone at the bar and asking for their number? Being set up on a blind date? Both are a hard pass for many introverts. But meeting potential partners online offers a huge benefit: communicating first over messages.

Whether you get shy in person with strangers or just tend to fumble over words from time to time (who hasn’t been there?), writing things out will give you a chance to think about your messages and responses in a less stressful way. By the time you decide to meet someone in person, you will have a good foundation and a few topics to discuss with a little less stress of a very first impression.

Keep the first date cozy

While a noisy bar might seem like the ideal first date spot for two extroverts, introverts tend to thrive in a less overwhelming setting. When a conversation turns into planning a meetup, suggest a cozy cafe, a quiet park or a low-key restaurant so your focus can be on your match and not the environment.

Pace yourself

Introverts typically recharge their energy with alone time, so it’s important to set boundaries. Setting up five dates with five people in a week could feel exciting at first, but by date three, you may find yourself texting your best friend wondering, “What the heck was I thinking?!”

Know yourself and what you can handle, and if you need a break from the dating scene every so often, take it. In the end, you’ll be better equipped to make connections without overwhelming yourself — and the right partner will understand that going from 0 to 60 overnight isn’t for everyone. (You’ll get to 60, just at your own pace.)

Online dating can sound scary. I know. But it actually provides a unique opportunity for introverts to navigate dating on their own terms and in their own time. Instead of trying too hard to put yourself out there, you can be yourself and find a like-minded match.

Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating. Join her newsletter, eepurl.com/dpHcH for updates and tips.

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