Dating is hard enough as it is. When you are an introvert, it’s as sure as sunrise that the cards are stacked against you, especially when it comes to meeting new people. It’s worse when you are a socially awkward introvert.
So, on behalf of all the socially awkward introverts out there, here's an open letter to our future husbands, wherever they are.
Dear future husband,
You could be out there looking for me. I am sorry if you are having a hard time finding me.
Don't get me wrong, I am trying my best to make it easier for you to find me. Heck, my socially awkward, introverted self is trying my best to find you, too. I know both of us need to exert more effort if we want to find each other soon, but being the socially awkward introvert that I am, I am most likely doing things that are counterproductive to meeting you.
Not that I am unaware that my efforts are ineffective, but I just find that "putting myself out there" is a very scary idea. People tell me I should do it, and I know I should do it. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. It's like forcing myself to get out of bed on a Monday morning, or going to the dentist to get a root canal, or giving away the last piece of my favorite chocolate bar. It is something that I dread doing.
My extroverted friend advised me that instead of staying home on a weekend and playing the ukulele all day (She is exaggerating! I do house chores and go to church, too.), I should join those yuppie networking socials (Networking?! Socials?!... Horror of horrors!). She told me I might meet you there.
I replied that overcoming social awkwardness is one of those challenges that I have set out for myself, though I am not sure that it's even possible. I wanted to do it. I know I needed to do it. Some day, when I am ready, I will do it. I just don't know when I'll be ready, or if I'm ever going to be ready.
To make it easy for you, let me tell you the places where you will most likely find me: at home, curled up on my bed, reading a good book; at home, curled up on the sofa, watching my favorite TV series (the awkward characters on "Big Bang Theory"); at home, in the kitchen, trying out some new recipes; at home, in front of my laptop, expressing my thoughts through my blog.
I do get out, sometimes. I love nature and the outdoors. I could be at the park jogging or just sitting on a bench, people watching. I like relaxing at cafes with my three closest friends. I do go to the movies with my housemates, or sometimes I'll be in the library, returning a book I borrowed (the one which I read while curled up on my bed). Other times I'll just be somewhere in the city, taking a long walk.
Let me tell you where you are least likely to find me: at a party. However, if you do see me at a party, it is probably one of those work-related gatherings where employees are required by their bosses to attend. It could also be a party my friend practically dragged me to because she claims it will give me “exposure” (whatever that means). It could also be one that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has personally invited me to attend (Who wouldn’t say yes to that?).
Do note that my presence at a large party happens once in a blue moon, so if you see me, better grab your chance at approaching me.
Yes, that's me in the corner, pretending to look busy while eating my food, hoping someone nice and interesting will come up and talk to me; although, I admit, I am dreading it at the same time. Try to initiate a conversation with me (because it’s not easy for me to do so). I will do my best to respond to you.
Ignore the shocked look on my face. If I am standing stiff as a stick or as frozen as ice, just pretend it isn't happening. It's just my initial reaction to you breaking my personal bubble and being petrified of what I should say. I personally dislike small talk, but if I find you interesting, I won't excuse myself to use the toilet.
Have you heard of the tip about giving darting glances and second looks to a person you find interesting in a crowd? Well, forget about that because I am either oblivious or awkward in receiving that “hey-I-am-interested-in-you” second look. Neither am I brave enough to be a giver of that second glance. I may give you one quick look. If you didn't notice it, that's it. You missed your chance.
I did try the "second glance tricks" before (maybe a couple of instances), but not without hilarious results. Instead of giving the "hey-I-fancy-you" look, my friend swore that I gave a “what-the-hell-are-you-looking-at" look or "I-just-have-lazy-eyes" look. I am sorry; I am just really terrible at playing this game.
If you happen to successfully ask me out on a date, you might initially find me quiet and reserved. It's not because I don't like you; I'm probably relishing in the moment of being with you. It’s also me processing the thoughts in my head and rehearsing the things I'll say before I actually speak them. Though it's not easy for me to initiate and carry the conversation, ask me open-ended questions; I will most likely give you a reply.
If you are able to find out the things I am interested in -- things I am passionate about -- then you've pushed the right buttons because you'll be hearing me talk longer than usual. I can spend all day with you talking about some of the things in this world that stir my interests and emotions and topics I have a strong opinion on.
Please excuse me if I don't seem to initiate anything or make the first move. It takes a long time for me to warm up to a person. It may take a long time before I open up to you about my personal life. It's just one of those things I like to keep to myself until I am sure you are worthy of my affection. By the time I give you a hug, it means I am already comfortable with you. Sometimes I do make a move, and I hope you see all the courage I gathered just to be able to do that.
If you get to know me a little better and have the chance to meet and spend time with my friends, you'll discover that I am actually not that reserved. You might even be surprised to find out that I am the joker of the group; that I can be silly and I know how to have fun.
I look forward to spending a lifetime with you; it means that despite my awkward and introverted ways, you appreciate me. Despite me being "difficult" to read, you get me, and in spite of the wall I put up, you were able to get through to me.
I know I may be too much work, that getting to know a socially awkward introvert like me takes a lot of time and effort, but I know you know that I am worth the try. As they say, anything worth having is worth working hard for.
Your socially awkward, Future Wife
P.S. If you happen to be a socially awkward introvert, too, well, even better!
Photo via We Heart It