A strategy for introverts to meet people

  • By Carolyn Hax
  • Thursday, August 7, 2014 1:57pm
  • Life

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

In a previous column you advised someone that they should start dating again when they met someone they wanted to date. I’d like to hear more about that.

I’ve been single for a number of years, mostly because I haven’t met someone I want to date, and I’m not very good at the online thing (shy, awkward, etc.). It seems like online dating is better suited to extroverts. I’m perfectly happy with my life as it is, but eventually I’d like a partner. Should I just keep on living and enjoying life, and date when there’s someone I want to date, or do I need to make a more concerted effort to date people just to date?

— Dating

I think the more comfortable approach for an introvert is to “just keep on living and enjoying life,” but in ways that are deliberately geared toward circulating among new people. There’s a lot of room between being perfectly happy socializing with your familiar crowd of people (and then staying home for three nights afterward with a good book), and forcing yourself to go on dates just to date.

Instead, think of it as getting out just to get out. All the better if you can gear this out-getting toward an existing talent, skill, interest or strength of yours. That way, you increase your chances of meeting like-minded people, even just as friends — who often can help widen your social circle.

Even if you don’t make any new connections worth cultivating, you’ll be smoothing out some of your awkwardness through the extra social practice, made easier by having that shared interest to occupy you and break any ice.

Take all that away and still you have the fact that you’re spending time on something that interests you, possibly improving your quality of life in lasting ways.

Dear Carolyn:

I grew up in a family where both parents had terrible anger issues— often manifesting itself in physical abuse. Consequently, my husband and I have a very strict no-physical-punishment rule in our home.

However, I find myself not knowing where the line is with my kids in terms of yelling/losing temper. Is it NEVER OK to yell at your kids? I never, ever insult them or call them names, but I do raise my voice, especially when I’ve had to tell them 10 times to do something.

This may seem like a basic question, but I honestly have no idea, not having a healthy model to base my own parenting on.

— Anonymous

I think of yelling as inevitable but a mistake. I apologize to my kids when I do it: “I’m sorry I lost my cool.” Quick and out, unless I need to apologize also for being wrong about what originally upset me. I think raising one’s voice, too, doesn’t demand an apology the way yelling does. Sometimes a grown-up’s gotta be heard.

Please also ask your family doctor about good, local parenting classes. It sounds as if you’ve broken your family’s abusive tradition, good stuff, but even parents with good role models can use a reliable guide.

Email Carolyn at tellme@ washpost.com,

Washington Post Writers Group

More in Life

How did 300 feathers get stuck in that old utility pole?

Artful adornment in Everett is the creation of a retired Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer.

‘Found’: Author and climber a 20-year veteran of mountain rescue

In her second book, Bree Loewen shares her experiences of volunteering with Seattle Mountain Rescue.

Herb Alpert aims to uplift the world in two recent albums

The Tijuana Brass bandleader releases a Christmas record and an album of covers.

Slick new V6 engine, safety updates boost Nissan Pathfinder

The SUV’s extensive redesign boosts towing capacity and adds driver assistance technology.

Prioritizing permanence and putting down roots

Adapted from a recent online discussion. Dear Carolyn: I’m at a loss… Continue reading

Foo Fighters bounce back with new album ‘Concrete and Gold’

Foo Fighters, “Concrete and Gold”: Can you hate the Foo Fighters? Not… Continue reading

Taking a service dog on the trail

Tenley Lozano hikes with her service dog, Elu. They have section-hiked the… Continue reading

‘Fixer Upper’ couple say they’re ending popular HGTV show

Chip and Joanna Gaines says season beginning in November will be the last one.

How to shop in the street markets of France

It’s the best way to connect with the nation’s farmers and artisans.

Most Read