Dear J: How do you find a girlfriend/talk to girls if you are truly a nice person but are quiet until you get to know someone well?
Dear Shy: Although I think your question was well intentioned, I would like to warn against the commonly used idea of “talking to girls.” There is no specific way to talk to girls. Girls are just people and you should talk to them just as you would to new guy friends, which means getting to know their interests and sharing yours.
It’s helpful to go into every new interaction with a girl with the goal of just getting to know a friend. This way, there will be no disappointment if it doesn’t lead anywhere romantically since girls don’t owe you a relationship, and you will have gained a new friend. It’s totally okay to be shy! Try to think of other close relationships you have or had in the past and remember how you got there — probably with lots of patience and effort on both ends. If you end up developing feelings for someone, be honest with them and proud of yourself for opening up.
Online dating apps such as Hinge and Bumble could also be a great tool for shy people. You can outline your intentions (to date) in your bio and immediately know that all your matches will have the same intentions. You can also take as long as you want to text and talk with less pressure before you’re ready to meet in person. Good luck!
Dear J: How can I open myself up to vulnerability when I’m scared of getting hurt again?
Dear Trust Issues: There is no timeline for “getting over” past experiences. The only thing you can do is take it step by step. Although it’s unclear if your question is talking about opening up in friendships or romantic relationships, the process is pretty much the same.
It’s important to be honest with yourself about how comfortable you are. Push yourself just the right amount to put yourself out there, but draw clear boundaries. Try to go into each new relationship with an open mind about the person because it’s not fair to put your insecurities and anxieties onto them, but be open about your trust issues and you’ll find most people to be very understanding.
Although trust issues suck, remember that you’re now a much smarter and wiser person because of your experiences. You now know which red flags to look for that you missed in the past and you probably have a clearer idea of what or who you don’t want.