Survey Says: Introverts Don't Mind Being Chatted Up, Sometimes

Do introverts like being chatted up in public?

Posted Jan 30, 2012

Thanks to everyone who responded to my survey about meeting introverts! I am happy to share the results and some of the comments over the next couple of posts. I will draw no conclusions, but at least it gives us all something to think about.

As someone mentioned, it would have been useful to know if respondents were male or female, to which I say DOH! Of course I should have asked. But if we assume that respondents were pretty well balanced between male and female (as it seems readers of this blog are), then the results indicate that male and female feel similarly. In general, this survey was far from perfect or even remotely scientific, but it elicited some great comments.

Of the 608 respondents to the survey, 547 identified as introverts, 13 as extroverts, and 47 consider themselves an equal balance of both.

A miniscule majority, 50.6% of respondents (280 people) have no preference when it comes to dating introverts or extroverts.

And surprise, suprise, a lot of people love them some introverts!

Among the 186 introverts with a preference, 183 of those prefer dating other introverts. Not only that, of the 88 extroverts with a preference, 81 also said they prefer dating introverts. (Three people skipped the question.)

As a few people pointed out, questions three and four were all but identical, so today we will look at those, In my next post, we'll talk about favorite ways to meet new people.

A large majority of introverts—82.8%—are OK with being chatted up in public places, with caveats.

Generally, they want their "don't talk to me" vibe respected. That is, if they appear focused on their book or work, if they have headphones on, if their body language says "go away," then go away. Quite a few said that if they didn't want to talk, they would stay home.

But introverts also want the conversation to be interesting and not just random chitchat or your entire life story. And please be sensitive to unspoken messages that they are done talking. Don't wear out your welcome.

Only 20.5% of introverts said that they don't want anyone talking to them in coffee shops or bookstores, no way, no how. The rest are cool with it—again, if it's done right.

Some introverts' comments:

  • If someone walks up and appears to have a *genuine* interest, expressed by a an unsightful question or enthusiastic comment, then absolutely I will talk with them—especially if that someone is an attractive woman. Now, many of my friends are very attractive women and a shallow comment or question—"Whatcha' reading?" or "Good day for a coffee, eh?"—is going to get the diffident "Yup (now leave me alone)" response, man or woman, pretty or ugly.
  • It depends on my mood and the location. When I am shopping or browsing, I very much do NOT want to be disturbed. I find being in stores (especially if crowded or over stimulating) to be stressful and adding inquisitive people to the mix makes me internally flinch.
  • When it's a cute guy, well of course haha! I know I like to look great when I go to the bookstore since the place is so important for me. I feel very comfortable being alone there and there is always this feeling that there will always be likeminded people surrounding you there.
  • Those are generally social places, so I would anticipate the possibility of interaction when going there. A library would be the opposite, imo.
  • Emphasis on the "sometimes." :)
  • Just a simple "Hi, how're you?" will work. If I don't want your company, then I'll end the conversation. If I am interested, then I'll probably stumble for words to keep you talking to me.
  • ...I really think that if someone is going to start a conversation, they should put in the effort to keep it going. I cannot stand someone making a comment about the book I'm reading and then expecting me to carry the conversation about it...If you're going to start a conversation, be prepared to share the work in keeping it going.
  • If anyone wants to make the initial move, God bless them
  • ...If I'm not actively responding to what you're saying and only giving short, noncommittal responses like "huh," or "oh," then leave me alone. If I actually talk back and engage, meaning eye contact and body language, then continue.
  • When I'm alone, that's because I don't want to talk
  • I'm perfectly fine with chatting occasionally in public places. I just worry that, being an introvert, I'm always exuding a "no chatting" vibe, whether I mean to or not.
  • If the person comes at me with too much energy, though, I'm really put off. (And there ARE extraverts in bookstores)
  • As long as they're not too pushy and get immediately to a good conversation without annoying small talk, than I'd probably be fine with it.
  • I don't mind being chatted up in a public place if my mother is not with me (and I would take the inititave and talk to men I find intriguing or attractive if my mother was not shopping with me...)
  • I dont mind being chatted by a complete stranger, that i wouldn't probably run into again. But chatting with the worker or someone I know i'll have to run into again by walking into that coffee shop or bookstore makes me cringe. Thinking that I'll have to small talk w that person every time I walk into that place.
  • I'm fine with some friendly joking from the barrista or person at a neighboring table, especially if I'm a regular. I enjoy a friendly atmosphere. But if the interaction remotely stinks of being "chatted up," I turn into an iceberg.
  • I find being chatted up anywhere very creepy indeed
  • Anything less than polite and humble would get shot down promptly. Overall, I would be more open to being approached at an official social event like a party. That is when I am in the proper mindset to be most receptive to such things
  • ...If the person is saying something very very interesting and not just bugging me. I prefer silence to nonsense.
  • If I choose to go to a coffee shop or bookstore to read or do school work then I am putting myself out there to be open to small conversations. If I see a cute guy and he sees me, I would only hope he would come talk to me!
  • Coffee shops and book stores are where I feel most relaxed and comfortable. It's not on the bus, at work, or while grocery shopping, when I'm tired, busy or hungry that I want to meet new people.
  • Personally, I love meeting people at book stores simply because the type of person who is likely to go to a bookstore will likely have similar interests to me.
  • It's always nice to interact with a friendly person. I'm not too keen in hearing their life's story though.
  • Always being open to chat is, IMHO, a wise idea. Don't let "the one that got away" get away!
  • Most of the time, but not always. People should be courteous enough to ask if they're interrupting me first.

And a few extroverts' comments:

  • I love it when people chat me up in public; I do the same thing, no matter where I go! I love talking to everyone. I wonder why some people hardly ever step out of their safety zone to chat to others when in a public setting.
  • Provided one is socially comfortable and confident, I view each conversation as an opportunity to create something positive or beneficial: e.g., sharing a funny story, building social capital, unexpectedly discovering a connection to someone, etc. Such instances are often more rewarding in a public place because they're unplanned, and thus no initial expectation exists regarding whom one will encounter.
  • Closing yourself out to new people in public is bad because you never know what fantastic people you can meet.


My book, The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World, is available for pre-order on Amazon. It will be released December 4, just in time for party/festive/family-togetherness season. You know you need it.

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